The Lypertek SoundFree S20 review in a sentence: Far more thoughtful and accomplished that your usual ‘affordable’ true wireless in-ear headphones.
Lypertek have been making excellent value, great sounding wireless and wired earbuds for a while now. Its flagship product before now, for most people, has probably been the curiously named Lypertek Tevi buds. The Soundfree S20, however, are ultra vogue-ish true wireless buds, which is, let's face it, what everyone wants right now. In a previous existence which never actually happened, they were originally called ‘LEVI’, but let us now never speak of that again.
There have been several very solid stabs at making sub-£100/$100 true wireless buds that don't sound like absolute arse: Cambridge Audio's Melomania, most notably. At an even cheaper price than those hugely successful, true wireless winners and with an arguably better fit – admittedly this is subjective – Lypertek Soundfree S20 may just be the best budget buds of 2021.
Lypertek SoundFree S20: price and availability
The Lypertek SoundFree S20 are on sale now – they went on sale on the day this review was published, in fact.
They sell in the UK for £69. Naturally, the international standing of the UK’s currency being what it is, Lypertek is happy to sell its American customers a pair of SoundFree S20 for $59.95.
Australian customers may not be able to buy the Lypertek yet, but should expect to fork out something like AU$90 - AU$120 when it finally reaches fair Australia's shores.
Lypertek SoundFree S20: battery life, build quality, design
SoundFree S20 are a compact proposition. The earbuds are of the ‘lozenge’ shape rather than the ‘dangly stem’ alternative, and are small enough to fit comfortably into even quite small childrens’ ears. Lypertek provides three sizes of silicone tips and three sizes of double-flange tips in the box, so finding an agreeable fit shouldn’t be too tricky.
Thanks to the tiddly dimensions and equally insignificant weight, the SoundFree S20 are easy to site comfortably, and once in position will remain comfortable for hours on end, which is just as well, given the ample battery-life on offer.
There is a physical control button on each earbud - it’s accessible on what is the upper edge of the earbud when it’s positioned in the ear. ‘Play/pause’, ‘previous/next track’, ‘volume up/down’, ‘answer/end/reject call’ and ‘enable/disable voice assistant’ are all available, and as the controls are on top of the ‘buds rather than on the top surface, they’re all available without pushing the earbuds any further into your ear. There’s a mic in each earbud, and voice assistants prove sharp-eared and responsive - although not being able to activate an assistant while listening to music is a bit odd.
It’s also possible to access a feature called ‘ambient sound’, which is intended to make having a conversation while still wearing the earbuds a bit easier. In truth, it doesn’t make a whole heap of difference. If you want to have a chat without appearing rude, you’re better off taking the S20 out of your ears.
The earbuds and their equally discreet charging case are finished in mildly textured black plastic. The earbuds themselves are just the right side of the ‘subtle or anonymous?’ line, while the case itself unarguably feels a little bit cheap. There’s no arguing with the build quality of any of this stuff, though. The SoundFree S20 and their case feel competently made and built to last.
Wireless connectivity is via Bluetooth 5.0 with SBC and AAC compatibility. There’s no aptX, unlike the more expensive true wireless in-ears in the Lypertek range, but the S20 prove perfectly capable of accepting a nice fat TIDAL Masters file. And once it’s on board, it’s delivered by 6mm full-range dynamic drivers – one per earbud, naturally.
Lypertek is claiming a battery life of eight hours from the earbuds themselves, as long as you’re listening at moderate volume, which you should be as you only get one pair of ears. There are an additional five full charges held in the compact charging case, so you can expect the SoundFree S20 to operate for getting on for 48 hours before they need a sniff of mains power. That’s an impressive number, and one any number of more upmarket rivals can’t get anywhere near. Charging, when it eventually becomes necessary, is available via USB-C or any Qi-certified wireless charging pad.
Lypertek SoundFree S20: sound quality
The world is far from short of inexpensive true wireless in-ear headphones, but Lypertek has already demonstrated its ability to stand out from the pack. And with the SoundFree S20 the company has basically done it again - but at an even more eye-catching price.
Play some absolutely bog-standard 320kbps content from Spotify’s free tier and the S20 are a robust, enjoyable and even-handed listen. Any number of price-comparable alternatives will ramp up the low frequencies in the name of ‘excitement’, a policy that invariably results in lop-sided and unsatisfactory sound - but that’s not in the nature of the S20.
They may not be the last word in detail retrieval or dynamic impetus, but the S20 are tonally balanced and convincing. The top of the frequency range has bite, but little suggestion of hardness - even when pressing on, volume-wise. The midrange is presented confidently, with voice pushed just slightly forward but by no means dominant. And down at the bottom end, where so many otherwise-competent earbuds fall flat on their metaphorical faces, the S20 are fast, well-controlled and impressively varied where textures and intensities are concerned. And they have sufficient bass extension to make a thumping club tune just as thumping as it should be.
It's fair to say that the Soundfree S20 tend to gloss over the very finest details, but that’s not to say they’re uninformative. Plenty of the detail that brings a recording to life, whether it’s the squeak of a piano pedal or the little gasp for breath a vocalist takes between lines, is delivered by the S20 - and as a result they sound both engaged and engaging. If it’s greater depth of analysis you want from your true wireless in-ear headphones, it’s available - but it is going to cost you.
Where broad dynamic scale is concerned too, the S20 aren’t about to set the world on fire but neither are they at the bottom of the class. They can put respectable distance between ‘quite quiet’ and ‘very loud’, and they can do so without getting shouty about it. The combination of dynamic headroom and worthwhile poise is a rarity in more affordable earbuds such as these.
The soundstage the S20 present is decently defined and of a passable scale, and their overall tonality is only slightly on the warm side of neutral. In fact, obvious shortcomings aren’t really apparent - which makes the Lypertek SoundFree S20 among the most accomplished of the truly affordable true wireless in-ear headphones you can currently buy.
Lypertek SoundFree S20: Verdict
Originally called Lypertek Levi, the Soundfree S20 has arrived six months late and with a different – and better, frankly – name. They've been worth the wait, because It’s not possible to significantly improve on their performance without paying significantly more.
With a mix of comfortable yet secure fit, exemplary battery life and aural quality that belies the low, low price Soundfree S20 should be among the most successful true wireless earbuds to date. And deservedly so!