Should Your Ditch Your Old AirPods for This Cheaper Alternative From Anker?

Stefan Vazharov
·5 min read
Photo credit: Soundcore
Photo credit: Soundcore

From Best Products

We judge all headphones and earbuds on a scale of 10, analyzing the categories we think are most important: sound, comfort, design, battery performance, and, if applicable, special features. Here's how the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro wireless earbuds stack up.

Announced during CES 2021, the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro wireless earbuds by Anker are a more feature-packed take on the excellent Liberty Air 2. In a manner that’s befitting its “Pro” moniker, the colorful new iteration brings better sound with sophisticated noise cancellation and an upgraded microphone setup.

With a $130 price tag, the latest Soundcore earbuds are also as value-packed as they are high-tech.

SCORES

Sound: 9/10
Comfort:
8/10
Design:
8/10
Battery Performance:
8/10
Overall Score:
8/10

The Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro At a Glance

  • The earbuds deliver high-quality sound, tailor-made to the user's hearing

  • Their companion app has best-in-class customization tools for sound and noise cancellation

  • Their storage case has wireless charging capabilities

SOUND: 9/10

Anker has equipped the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro with 11-millimeter audio drivers, capable of delivering a distortion-free sound with rich bass, well-sorted midrange, and crisp highs even at high volume. That’s just one of the reasons why they are among the best in their price range.

Photo credit: Stefan Vazharov
Photo credit: Stefan Vazharov

A defining feature of Soundcore's Liberty Pro 2 earbuds, HearID is also available on the Liberty Air 2 Pro, allowing users to experience sound that’s tuned to their unique hearing. Setting it up requires a test, which consists of hearing and responding to barely audible sounds via the Soundcore mobile app. The process is quick and intuitive — all you need is a quiet space.

The earbuds’ noise cancellation is solid and a contender for the best in a sub-$200 pair. They can tune out street traffic, and work well tuning out background noise during calls, too. The buds have a total of six onboard microphones, which make them great for talking on Zoom or FaceTime.

It’s worth noting that the AirPods Pro, the Bose QuietComfort, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, and the Sony WF-1000XM3 wireless earbuds offer better noise cancellation, but they’ll cost you. Unless you are willing to drop considerably (up to twice) more cash to snag one of the aforementioned products, the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro buds are your best option.

The Soundcore mobile app offers an exceptional set of tools for customizing sound and noise cancellation. In addition to 22 equalizer presets for various genres and types of content to pick from, it allows users to manually adjust the equalizer settings to their exact liking.

When it comes to noise cancellation, users can adjust its performance for various scenarios like indoor or outdoor use, as well as transport. Each mode reduces specific sound frequencies that are typical for such environments. There’s even an option to fine-tune the buds’ transparency mode.

COMFORT: 8/10

I tip my hat to Anker for not only including nine sets of ear tips with the Liberty Air 2 Pro, but also for adding a fit test to the Soundcore app. The feature will help users find the right seal to deliver optimal sound and noise cancellation.

Photo credit: Anker
Photo credit: Anker

The product's touch-sensitive controls are reliable and easily customizable via the Soundcore app. I liked being able to individually set the double-tap and the long-press functionality of each bud. Thanks to built-in wear detection sensors, the Liberty Air 2 Pro will also automatically pause the playback when you take a bud off.

At just 6 grams each, the buds are lightweight, comfy, and suitable for prolonged use. I didn’t feel any fatigue while I tested them.

DESIGN: 8/10

The Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds have an elegant stem design like the regular non-pro Liberty Air 2 model. The stems also ensure that the buds don’t protrude as much as some of their big-name rivals when worn. You can order them in black, white, blue, and pink, and each variant comes bundled with a matching charging case.

Photo credit: Anker Soundcore
Photo credit: Anker Soundcore

With IPX4 rating for water resistance, the Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds are more durable than regular Apple AirPods. They are suitable for exercising, though fitness enthusiasts should probably consider a more durable set of wireless earbuds.

BATTERY PERFORMANCE: 8/10

According to Anker, the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro can deliver up to 6 hours of wireless playback with noise cancellation. Disabling the feature adds another hour of wireless tunes.

Photo credit: Stefan Vazharov
Photo credit: Stefan Vazharov

The wireless earbuds performed in line with their maker’s claims while I tested them. Their overall battery endurance is slightly longer than the pricier AirPods Pro’s, and on par with that of premium wireless noise-canceling earbuds from Bose and Jabra.

Unlike similarly priced rivals, the earbuds have a charging case that’s compatible with wireless charging. The accessory holds more than three additional full charges. Its USB-C connector on the other hand, can bring 2 hours’ worth of use after only 10 minutes.

OVERALL: 8/10

The Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro wireless earbuds are cheaper, tougher, and more feature-packed than the second-generation AirPods, and a legit alternative to the AirPods Pro for buyers on a tighter budget. Only Apple hardware owners who need to constantly switch between an iPhone, an iPad, and a Mac should consider AirPods over the Soundcore offering.

SHOP SOUNDCORE LIBERTY AIR 2 PRO

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