House of Marley has always put a special emphasis on using materials in its products that leave a small environmental footprint. And while no electronic products can be said to be genuinely environmentally friendly, some are clearly much friendlier than others. Such is the case with the company’s latest headphones, the $150 truly wireless Liberate Air earbuds, which the company previewed at CES 2019.
The Liberate Air (which we are testing right now for a soon-to-be-published review), offer the kinds of features that are now becoming standard on true wireless earbuds, like a long, nine-hour battery life, a charging case that extends this playtime to 32 hours total, and touch-sensitive controls for play/pause, track skipping, and answering calls. They’re also compatible with both Siri and Google Assistant, either of which can be summoned via a tap on an earbud.
However, it’s House of Marley’s extensive use of bamboo, recycled plastic, and recyclable aluminum that help the Liberate Air stand out from the increasingly large true wireless earbud crowd. The bamboo is especially prominent in the design of the Liberate Air, gracing both the outer surface of the earbuds and the interior of the charging case.
We’re all for audio products that take a smaller toll on the environment, and the Liberate Air are a welcome choice in the true wireless category. What’s still unknown though, is how (or if) House of Marley will be able to address the biggest environmental problem associated with these devices: The fact that the internal rechargeable batteries may not be able to retain a charge after a few years of use, and that when they do die, some can’t be easily replaced at all. Apple’s AirPods are currently retaining less than 50% of their stated battery life after only two years of use, which is not a good sign for the category as a whole.
Still, while the Liberate Air’s use of sustainable materials may not save the world, they definitely help make a problematic audio product better for the planet. The fact that they happen to look good too is a bonus.
You can buy the House of Marley Liberate Airs right now for $150 on thehouseofmarley.com, Amazon, and other retailers.
Updated July 30, 4:50 PM ET: We previously stated that the Liberate Air worked with Alexa and Google Assistant, however it actually works with Siri and Google Assistant, not Alexa.