True wireless earbuds are all the rage in consumer audio right now, with new options announced seemingly every day. The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is the newest challenger to the market, and packs a bevy of features into an affordable package. Let’s see if it stands out from the crowd, or if your money is better spent elsewhere.
Editor’s note: this Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro review was updated on November 3, 2021, to update the frequency response chart, include results from our reader poll, and to answer an FAQ about the Liberty 3 Pro.
Who should buy the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro?
- Long-haul commuters will benefit from the portable design, selectable noise cancellation modes, and strong battery life.
- For iPhone users, this headset is a much better (and cheaper) option than the regular AirPods. The earbuds have AAC support for lag-free, high-quality playback on iOS devices, a tight seal with silicone ear tips, and an IPX4 rating.
- Gym rats will enjoy the bass boosted frequency response as well as the sweat-proofing and lightweight design.
What is it like to use the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro?
Anker nailed the unboxing experience with the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro. Opening the magnetic clasp on the box reveals the earbuds and their case, alongside eight sets of extra ear tips on display. Fidgeters rejoice, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro has one of the most satisfying charging cases to open and close. You can slide it open with a single hand to reveal the earbuds, and it magnetically snaps shut with a satisfying click.
Read more: What makes a good set of in-ears?
Selecting the right size of ear tips is crucial for getting a tight seal with any earbuds, which is why Anker features an ear tip fit test within the companion Soundcore app. The test plays a test track to detect sound leakage from the earbuds, and if needed, it will recommend you switch to a different size. This software works, but none of the ear tips are very long which, combined with the shape of the earbuds, means you may struggle to find a deep enough seal within your ear canal.
Anker is one of few budget brands with an ear tip fit test to help you find the perfect ear tips.
The Liberty Air 2 Pro is made almost entirely from plastic, so the earbuds don’t look or feel as premium as some more expensive true wireless earbuds. However, the earbuds are extremely light at only 5.2g, so you won’t have to worry about them falling out of your ears, even during intense workouts. The earbuds also have an IPX4 rating, protecting them from sweat and light splashes of water.
Can you control music from the earbuds?
You can control playback and noise cancellation with the touch controls on the side of the earbuds. Within the Soundcore app, there is an option to select what a single tap, double-tap, or tap and hold will adjust on the earbuds.
These tap controls make it easy to adjust volume, control music playback, activate voice assistant, or switch between noise cancellation modes. The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro also has wear detection that auto pauses your music when you take an earbud out of your ear.
Should you download the Soundcore app?
The Soundcore app is essential to getting the most out of the Liberty Air 2 Pro, and is one of the most robust companion apps around. Aside from the aforementioned fit test and earbud controls, the app sends firmware updates to the earbuds so you can stay up to date with any bug fixes and added features.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro supports HearID, which uses a hearing test to develop a tailored sound profile. The test only takes a couple of minutes and produces a recommend EQ setting based on your ability to perceive different frequencies of sound. You can use the HearID EQ setting, make your own custom EQ curve, or choose a custom EQ curated by Grammy-winning producers Anker has partnered with.
The ambient sound menu features customization control over the earbuds’ various listening modes. Not only can you toggle active noise cancellation (ANC) and transparency modes, but you can select the strength of these effects. Transport, indoor, and outdoor modes attenuate different frequencies, and there is even a custom dial for selecting a granular degree of ANC. Transparency can also switch from fully transparent to vocal mode, which amplifies more of the low-mid frequencies where vocals live.
Other features within the Soundcore app include help and quick start guides, and integration with streaming service LÜM for music playback from curated playlists. iPhone users can also add the Soundcore widget to their home screen to quickly see battery info and adjust listening modes on the fly.
How well does the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro cancel noise?
Active noise cancelling on the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is about equivalent to the Apple AirPods Pro—impressive considering the Anker earbuds cost about half as much.
Passive isolation from a tight seal most effectively blocks notes above 1kHz. Turning on ANC decreases the perceived loudness of sounds from 100-1000Hz by about 50%. This is where most ambient droning noises live, such as the train on your commute or the AC unit in your apartment. ANC also affects high frequencies, but it combats tones below 1kHz most aggressively. The earbuds struggle to attenuate sounds below 100Hz, which could lead to auditory masking of bass notes when in noisy environments (more on that later).
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The transport, indoor, and outdoor ANC modes all target different frequencies. Transport mode attenuates the most ambient noise, so it’s what I use most often. Anker’s headset certainly doesn’t have as good of noise cancellation as the Sony WF-1000XM4, but for most people, it should be more than enough.
What Bluetooth codecs does the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro support?
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro features Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC as well as the standard SBC Bluetooth codec. AAC performance on Android phones is unreliable, but iPhone users will benefit from consistent, high-quality playback.
Read more: The ultimate guide to Bluetooth headphones
How does the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro sound?
The default frequency response from the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 amplifies notes below 100Hz to sound nearly three times louder than mid-range frequencies. Bass and sub-bass notes in pretty much any genre of music will sound overpowering with this frequency response.
Lows, mids, and highs
On rap songs such as Motley Crew by Post Malone, the 808 bass notes are so loud they mask the vocals and synth instrumentals, creating a perceptible loss in detail and clarity.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is customizable to fit your needs and preferences.
Since these earbuds struggle to block out environmental sounds below 100Hz, Anker may be increasing the low end to compensate for the effects of auditory masking. If you’re in a busy street or otherwise noisy environment, bass notes don’t sound overpowering, as the music competes with low-frequency noise from your environment. Listen to the earbuds in a quiet room though, and you’ll notice just how much the bass is turned up.
Fortunately, it is easy to adjust the sound of the Liberty Air 2 Pro from within the Soundcore app. Within the custom EQ profile, drag the 100Hz slider down for a more accurate sound. Or if you really love thumping bass, go ahead and crank it to the nines.
How long does the battery last?
Anker claims the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro lasts 7 hours on a single charge. In our testing with constant playback at 75dB(SPL) with active noise cancellation enabled, the earbuds lasted 4 hours, 50 minutes. This is pretty average for true wireless earbuds, and we wouldn’t recommend wearing earbuds non-stop for more than five hours anyways.
The charging case provides nearly three additional charges, enough to last a full week of normal use. Fast charging the case via USB-C provides 180 minutes of playback in only 15 minutes. The case can also be charged wirelessly with any Qi-compatible wireless charger.
How good is the microphone on the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro?
The mic system reproduces vocals clear enough for taking calls on the go. Six onboard microphones aim to reduce background noise while clearly transmitting your voice. You’re not going to get studio-quality recordings here, but they work fine for calls and meetings. Let us know what you think of the microphone sample below.
As of November 29, 2021, 943 readers have rated the above mic sample as somewhere between “okay” and “good.” This is a pretty typical result for true wireless earbuds, and pretty good for the price.
Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro vs Liberty Air 2 vs Liberty 2 Pro
The most important difference between the earbuds is that the Liberty Air 2 Pro has active noise cancellation, whereas the Liberty Air 2 and Liberty 2 Pro don’t. However, you can find the older Liberty Air 2 and Liberty 2 Pro at a significantly reduced price compared to the new Liberty Air 2 Pro. The older earbuds also support the Qualcomm aptX codec, for reliable, high-quality audio on Android.
Related: Anker Soundcore Life A1 review
Should you buy the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro?
At a starting price of $130 USD, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is in a market saturated with competitive true wireless earbuds. However, we’ve already seen frequent price drops on these earbuds to under $100. For that price, the Liberty Air 2 Pro is a very compelling buy.
Full EQ and ANC adjustments within the Soundcore app, nine different ear tip sizes, and HearID listening profile all add up to something you can really customize. No matter who you are, you should be able to tailor these earbuds to your needs and preferences.
See more: Best true wireless earbuds under $100
However, just because these earbuds do a lot, doesn’t mean they do it exceptionally well. Compared to other true wireless earbuds, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro doesn’t sound the best, doesn’t have the best noise cancelling, and lacks expanded high-quality Bluetooth codec support. Still, it does all these things well enough to satisfy most budget-conscious consumers.
If you’re looking for fun everyday earbuds for life on the go, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is a great option. Pick up the earbuds on sale for a great value buy.
What are some alternatives to the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro?
If you aren’t interested in customizing and tweaking your earbuds, the 1MORE Comfobuds Pro is a great option. These earbuds don’t have a custom EQ feature, but most consumers will enjoy the accurate sound response right out of the box. The 1MORE Comfobuds Pro also features active noise cancelling, and can be found on sale for under $80.
If you want the best battery life, go for the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. These earbuds last 11 hours on a single charge, with fast charging attaining an hour of playback from only three minutes of charge time.