If you’re shopping for some of the best true wireless earbuds in their price bracket, you’ve landed in the right place: here comes the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 review. Retailing for less than $150, these Anker-made earbuds make for a more affordable alternative to Apple’s AirPods Pro, i.e. they’re an excellent choice for people on a tight budget.
To be more precise, for something like $130, give or take, depending on how good a “deal” you can get, you’ll receive a lot of bang for the proverbial buck asked: stellar build quality, tons of primo-comfort for your ears, personalized sound output that meets and exceed expectations (mind you, these earbuds are not cheap at all if compared to brands other than Apple or B&O), and excellently implemented active noise-cancelling technology.
Before we proceed, if you want to understand the difference between earphones and earbuds, go read this lengthy article explaining it.
- Water resistance: IPX4 (splash resistant)
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, SBC, AAC
- Battery life: six hours ANC on (up to 21 hours with case; 26 hours with ANC off)
- Earbud dimensions: 37.3 x 22.1 x 23.1mm
- Earbud weight: 5.2g each
- Driver size: 11mm
- Charging case dimensions: 62.0 x 59.7 x 30.0mm
- Charging case weight: 50.5g
- Case charging: USB-C, Qi wireless charging
What it is
Other than being some of the best earbuds out there, the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 are an irresistible proposal from Anker, a lesser-known company with huge future prospects: these earbuds offer ANC (active noise cancelling) and true wireless technology for only $130.
This is a midcrop moment, as $130 is waaay less than what Apple charges for their AirPods Pro, which retail for $250 (almost double the price), or Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro ($200). So, what’s the catch you may ask?
Except from a small design problem, which is a “love it or hate it” kind of a deal, the answer is: absolutely nothing.
Most of the time, you’ll have these earbuds firmly planted inside your ears, so design should not be a deal-breaker in our view. However, since we live in weird times, the styling of a particular electronic product may be an issue to some; in this case, Anker doesn’t go for the most auspicious start.
As in, the earbuds’ stretched-out stalks that look like shrunken versions of the Bluetooth headsets you used to see on businessmen in the early 2000s are not everyone’s cup of tea, especially in the grey model, though all color options are kind of ugly.
However, strangely enough, ugliness has its advantages in the Soundcore Liberty Air 2: the practical side of bad design saves them from being a design bust. As in, the touch controls work great, as the generous “real estate” prevents accidental skipping and the like. Failed inputs will never be a problem, and that’s awesome in our book.
Another strong selling point of the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 is IPX4 water resistance. This particular rating doesn’t mean you can swim with the earpods on, but you can definitely take them out for a jog, i.e. they’re at least sweat/splash resistant, which makes them a more-than-decent set of sport earbuds at an affordable price.
Mind you, the charging case is not waterproof, but at least looks pretty cool, featuring a smart soft-touch finish to the plastic and a nice sliding cover. On top of that, the charging case supports Qi wireless charging, so if you lose your USB C cable, Anker got that covered for you.
Comfort and fit
This is where we must give credit where credit is due: Anker did a terrific job in this department, due to the fact that the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro arrive with no less than 9 sets of silicone tips in the retail package. 7 tips range from XXXS to large sizes, and on top of that, you get 2 extra sets of slightly deeper variations of the medium and large circumferences, so even Shrek would find one to fit his ears perfectly.
In comparison, Apple’s $250 AirPods Pro only include 3 sets of tips. Quantity doesn’t equal quality, we know that, but Anker’s tips do not fall into this category, as they slip in easily and hold fairly firmly, which is impressive considering their design; more precisely, the lack of hooks/wings, not to mention they don’t even use the twist-to-fit shape design you can find in Sennheiser and Samsung products.
In real life, the earbuds are comfortable to wear for 1-2 hours at a time, but for longer listening sessions, they may start to feel fatiguing on your ear-canal, due to the fact that the weight of each earbud is behind held up primarily by the tips rather than the load being spread around the rest of the ear.
Setup and control
Setting up the earbuds with a source device is pretty simple and straightforward, just like any other pair of Bluetooth headphones. To put them in pairing mode, you’ll simply have to slide back the cover if they’re inside the charging case. As expected, installing the companion app is essential to manage the earbuds’ key features.
The first impression is that these earbuds are bass-heavy, but not in an unpleasant way. Bass never gets out of control, and if you’re into rap/hip-hop/drum and bass and things of that nature, you will fall in love instantly. However, the bass preference of these earpods may be too much for some.
But, there’s a remedy to that: this “super-bass” thing is the default sound, but not the only one, i.e. you can tinker with the settings via the Soundcore app and customize the sound via the awesome HearID feature, which plays a series of beeps to test how well you can hear different frequencies at various volumes and uses the results to craft a sound profile that’s specific to you.
The point being, you can create a customized profile that fixes the intrusive bass entirely, with a better balanced middle and treble. And for $130, give or take, these earbuds sound great, with clean vocalization and defined instrument separation if setup correctly. Moreover, you can also affect sound quality manually via the EQ using the Custom profile in the app to get the earbuds sounding however you want.
Beside the cool HearID feature that we love, the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro offers active noise cancellation (ANC) technology, which is a nice touch in a pair of $130 earbuds. And we’re not talking about cheap ANC stuff, but 3 flavors, including Transport, Indoor and Outdoor, plus a Custom option. Keep in mind that these petite earbuds cannot mute things like speeding cars around you, or generators, but bring them down enough to allow you to enjoy your music.
All profiles work great, but we find the Transport mode to be the most effective for quieting traffic sounds. Another cool thing about these earbuds is that they can automatically detect when you take them out of your ear, and this feature automatically pauses playback saving both battery and your favorite tune for later.
According to Anker, you’ll get 7 hours of playback on a single charge, but with ANC switched off. In real life, you will get maybe 5 hours of music at moderate volume with ANC on. Even if this is not stellar battery performance, it’s quite enough for most people. The AirPods Pro gives you basically the same autonomy at double the price, so there you have it. Moreover, the charging case is good for an extra 19 hours/12 hours of playback with ANC off/on. Charging speed is pretty good, as it takes 15 minutes of charging to get half capacity.
This is another department where the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro are doing great, making for a respectable voice-calling tool.
Except from design, these earbuds from Anker really shine in terms of ANC technology, waterproofness, sound quality and overall capability, so they come highly recommended by our test-team.
- ANC technology
- Decent battery life
- Sound customizations
- Tons of tip options
- Bright audio performance
- Kind of ugly