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Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2
May 31, 2019
July 2022: $34 USD
50 x 56 x 25mm (case)
We’ve all heard of the sophomore slump—well, all of us except Anker. The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 exceeds our expectations for how a cheap pair of true wireless earbuds should perform, making it one of my personal favorites. The Qi-compatible charging case feels premium and the call quality is superb. We spent two weeks with the Soundcore Liberty Air 2, exploring its strengths and weaknesses to share with you.
Editor’s note: this Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 review was updated on July 14, 2022, to add new charts and update the scores accordingly. We also changed the formatting to match our new style and included information about how to EQ the sound.
- General consumers should consider these earbuds; at $38.99, they’re within the limit of most shoppers’ budgets and pack in plenty of features.
- Hands-free callers need to get these earbuds, because the microphone system is among the best we’ve tested in true wireless earbuds. Unless you’re willing to spend upwards of $230 for the Apple AirPods Pro, this is the best mic quality you’ll get.
- Commuters should consider this package; even though the ‘buds don’t offer noise cancelling, they passively block out a lot of sound.
- Athletes may want to shell out for these versatile earbuds as they’re IPX5-certified, meaning they can withstand strong sprays of water from practically any direction.
How is the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 built?
For the attainable price, these earbuds are extremely well built. Yes, it’s an all-plastic construction from the earbuds to the case, but it looks and feels great.
The case is nearly flawless. The soft-touch matte finish tricked me into thinking this was a more expensive headset, and made it a pleasure to use. Flipping the lid open or closed is easy to do with just one hand, and the earbuds fit well in their respective cutouts. Even a forceful wrist flick will open it, so be weary: the case will pop open if it falls on the ground. The bottom of the case holds a USB-C input and manual Bluetooth pairing button, while the front has three LEDs to clearly communicate the remaining battery status.
The earbuds follow the same stemmed design as before, but this is far from a carbon copy. Thankfully, Soundcore dropped the last model’s glossy finish, which attracted an inordinate amount of fingerprints. The second iteration is more mature and doesn’t try to garner attention with a shiny veneer. The stems are easy to grip, and the circular section emblazoned with the Soundcore logo serves as a multifunction touch panel on each earbud. The one downside to the stems is that earrings scrape against them and produce an unpleasant sound, but this is more or less the case with all stemmed earbuds.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 used to have auto-pause functionality, but it seems that Anker has silently removed this feature. However, you can still double-tap the right earbud to pause and resume playback. Angled nozzles keep things comfortable, and I listened to the earbuds for four consecutive hours without any fatigue or irritation.
Should you download the Soundcore app?
The Soundcore app has a handful of useful features for those willing to download it, the most obvious of which is access to firmware updates. You can also take a basic hearing test via the HearID feature, which tailors the sound profile to your hearing abilities. It takes a few minutes to complete, but it’s just a matter of holding a virtual button down when you hear a tone, and releasing it when the tone is no longer audible. You can toggle this profile and retest yourself at any time.
Aside from that, you may also remap controls, check battery levels, select from EQ presets, and more. When you remap controls, the custom functions aren’t enabled during mono listening. This means volume controls aren’t usable in mono mode, because they’re a custom command, rather than the default.
A drawback to the Soundcore app is its limited functionality to just some of its headsets. While this doesn’t affect Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 users, it means anyone with the Anker Soundcore Life P2 won’t benefit from downloading the app. According to Soundcore, more headsets will be supported in the future but hasn’t offered any specifics yet.
How does the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 connect?
These earbuds use Bluetooth 5.0, which optimizes connection stability and power consumption. So long as I keep within the designated 10-meter wireless range, connection consistency is flawless indoors and outdoors.
The Liberty Air 2 supports SBC, aptX, and AAC for high-quality streaming regardless of your preferred operating system. Another benefit: reduced latency; audio-visual lag is nearly imperceptible when using the Liberty Air 2, which is great for people who stream video from bed or the treadmill.
EQ settings are saved to the earbuds and are applied when listening from any device.
To my dismay, Bluetooth multipoint isn’t supported, and switching between devices proves to be a pain. Even if my laptop is shut while the earbuds are connected to it, they don’t let me connect to my smartphone without reopening my laptop and disconnecting from it. Another way around this is to open the charging case and hold down the button until the LED lights go out and then connect them to a new device. This is my only major complaint about the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2, but it can be really annoying.
Editor’s note: this Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 review was updated while using firmware version 10.11.
Initially pairing the earbuds is super simple, and requires just moments.
- Open the charging case without removing the earbuds, this automatically powers them on. The right earbud will automatically connect to the left earbud.
- Enter the Bluetooth pairing menu on your device and select the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2.
- A pop-up notification will then request access to the left earbud, which is necessary for properly completing the stereo pairing process.
Some users have reported initial pairing issues, which are addressed in Anker’s user manual. Not all devices are compatible with Qualcomm True Wireless Primary-Secondary dual pairing names, so when you try to pair to the second earbud, you may encounter a “connection unsuccessful” notice— that’s ok. The primary earbud will still relay information to the secondary one.
If you happen to run into repeated connection issues, you may have a faulty unit or need to perform a hard reset of the device. This may be done by inserting both earbuds into the case, and holding the case’s button down for 10 seconds until the earbud LEDs flash red three times.
How long does the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 battery last?
The batteries exceeded our expectations and lasted 7 hours, 5 minutes on a single charge, which is a huge improvement over the original Soundcore Liberty Air earbuds.
The Qi-compatible wireless charging case supports fast charging: a quick 10 minutes in the case supplies listeners with two hours of listening. Said case provides an additional three charge cycles before you have to plug it into the included USB-C cable for two hours. This means you get well over a day’s worth of listening from the entire package—pretty solid.
Does the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 block out noise?
The chart above indicates that passive isolation is good with the Liberty Air 2. Frequencies ranging from 400-600Hz are half as loud with the buds in than without them, and the buds effectively hush high-frequency sounds too.
This is fine for commuters who don’t want to pay a premium for noise cancelling wireless earbuds. To achieve this kind of isolation performance, you have to take the time to find the best fit for you; Anker Soundcore supplies listeners with five pairs of ear tips (XS-XL), so you should be able to get a proper seal.
How does the Liberty Air 2 sound?
As the chart above shows, the frequency response deviates from the SoundGuys Consumer Curve a bit. You’ll notice that frequencies below 100Hz (sub-bass) sound a bit quieter through this headset than most, and the treble boost from 2.5-10kHz may make other parts of music sound a bit too loud and can even cause listening fatigue. Thankfully, you can always enter the Soundcore app to equalize the sound, or choose from any number of Soundcore’s presets.
Editor’s note: for the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 review, we enabled the Soundcore Signature sound profile.
Lows, mids, and highs
In Taylor Swift’s song I Think He Knows, an understated bass line enters and remains throughout in tandem with a steady pattern of finger snaps until the chorus starts at 0:39. Before the chorus, Swift’s vocals are relayed relatively clearly and it remains this way due to the underwhelming sub-bass response. This may be disappointing to listeners who are used to tracking a song through its bass line, but it’s generally easier to EQ your earbuds’ sound if the bass is too quiet as opposed to too loud.
We recommend bringing the sub-bass up 10dB at 20Hz and then bringing the midrange down 2-3dB. You can make more dramatic adjustments to the treble by decreasing its loudness anywhere from 5-10dB in the 2.5-10kHz range. Again, this is so you match our consumer curve, but if you like how the earbuds sound out of the box, more power to you!
Is the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 good for phone calls?
Microphone quality is quite good and the four-microphone array works in tandem with noise reduction technology to relay speech clearly and minimize background noise. Voices of all pitches will come through loudly and clearly enough for most all kinds of phone calls.
Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 microphone demo (Non-standardized):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2?
This is a great set of true wireless earphones, especially when it comes to earbuds under $50 USD. You can usually find the Liberty Air 2 for $34.99 USD, if not cheaper, so if you want a pair of earphones to do it all, this is an excellent value. If you’re willing to sacrifice the occasional frustration of switching between devices, and you don’t mind taking a few moments to EQ the sound, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 is a top-tier set of buds.
Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus: Which is better?
The original Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus retails for around $100 USD these days, making it one of the better more affordable options. Samsung is fastidious about rolling out software updates to its older earbuds, and retroactively enabled direct Spotify access after its release.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 is more durable than the IPX2 water-resistant Galaxy Buds Plus, and more premium Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 for that matter, and but the Buds Plus has a much more impressive battery life (over 11 hours). I love the fit of the Galaxy Buds. Both headsets use touch controls; Anker’s aren’t quite as sensitive as I’d like, while Samsung’s are a tad too sensitive.
Readers with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone will benefit more from the Galaxy Buds Plus since it supports Wireless PowerShare charging from atop a compatible smartphone. What’s more, users can take advantage of the scalable proprietary codec. However, for other Android users and iPhone users, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 may be preferable, as it supports aptX and AAC.
What should you get instead of the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2?
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is a clear alternative to the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air. With the Pro model, you get active noise cancellation, which you can adjust within the Soundcore app. You also get nine different ear tip sizes, which basically guarantees a good fit. The case supports wireless charging and an ear tip fit test, which is pretty remarkable for less than $100 USD. You don’t get aptX support with the Liberty Air 2 Pro, which is a mark for the standard Liberty Air 2.
Listeners who want a more unique design that still has stems should spring for the Nothing Ear 1. This headset costs $99 USD, includes active noise cancelling, a standard frequency response, and mobile app support. The USB-C case can charge wirelessly and fast charge the buds.
Frequently asked questions about the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2
While the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 is not fully waterproof, its IPX5 rating might mean that you can rescue your earbuds. Fill a bowl with dry rice and place each individual earbud and the open charging case into the bowl. Leave them in the bowl for at least 24 hours. The rice will absorb some of the water from the buds and case and will hopefully save you from having to buy a new headset. Unfortunately the SoundCore warranty will not cover water damage.
No. I’m not aware of any true wireless earphones with replaceable batteries.
Grab a firm hold of the ear tip and pull straight off. It should pop off pretty easily. Then, align your new ear tip hole with the nozzle and push until it pops on.
Great question! We reached out directly to the SoundCore support team who responded with the following: Since the setting remains on the [Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2], the EQ remains in effect when listening from your laptop if the headphones are not reset. Also, when an EQ is applied, it will not change the Bluetooth codec that is used. This means if you use a custom-made EQ, you are also able to stream over the aptX or AAC codec.