Ever since Apple’s AirPods made waves in the industry, brands have been left and right releasing earbuds of their own. Even Anker has joined the party with the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2, which although seen as an AirPods knock-off, are proven to be a solid contender. What are the Air 2s like and how well do they perform? Read on to find out.
Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 earbuds sit among the best Bluetooth earphones when it comes to microphone quality. Moreover, the IPX5 water resistance rating makes them great for sports or while commuting in rainy weather. However, they’re not the best-in-class when it comes to sound — a no match against flagship earbuds.
Inside this Article
- Overview: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2
- Connection and Compatibility
- Build Quality
- Audio Quality
- Call Quality
- Noise Cancellation
- Fitness Quality
- Controls and Voice Assistants
- Battery Life
- Liberty Air 2 Vs. Liberty Air 2 Pro
- Who Should Buy Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2?
Overview: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, aptX and AAC|
|Battery Life||Approx. 7 hours on a charge|
|Charging||Fast charging & Qi wireless charging|
|IP Rating/Water Resistance||IPX5|
Despite Apple’s AirPods being the standard in wireless earphone technology, they’re still unaffordable for most. That’s why tons of folks turn to alternative earbuds that are cheaper and just as functional, if not more.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 is an example of such and checks all the essential boxes. At below $100, you can already get IPX5 water resistance, Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, a 7-hour battery life, and a look that resembles AirPods. Moreover, the case even comes with fast charging and is compatible with the Qi charging standard.
The microphone quality, mono listening, and customizable controls also make the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 a sweet deal. It’s even fairly durable and well-designed despite the lower price tag. If you’re an athlete, a commuter, or just a general user, the Air 2 is definitely a worthwhile purchase.
Of course, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 is by no means flawless. They’re pretty cheap so the company has understandably cut back in some other aspects. For instance, it’s not the best choice if you need excellent sound quality. Moreover, the touch controls on the device are somewhat hit-or-miss. It also lacks the handy auto-pause feature that a lot of its competitors simply perfect.
Nonetheless, if you’re not as picky about sound and love every other feature, these earbuds are well worth the price. Check them out on Amazon for less than $100.
Also read: Best Budget Earbuds under $100
Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Review
Without further ado, let’s get right into how these earphones sound, feel, perform, and how long they last.
Connection and Compatibility
If you prize connection stability in earbuds, then know that the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 will not disappoint you. For one thing, the buds use Bluetooth 5.0 which is great at both maintaining consistent connections and power management. Hence, as long as you keep within a 10-meter radius, you’ll never have to worry about dropping calls. That’s true regardless of where you are, whether indoors or out in a field.
However, the buds do have a catch when it comes to connection, and that is the lack of Bluetooth multipoint. Unfortunately, this means you can’t switch seamlessly between devices as you would on higher-end Bluetooth earphones. You’ll have to clunkily disconnect them from a device every time you want to switch to another audio source.
It might not seem like a big deal to people, especially if you’re budget-conscious and don’t mind the setback. Nonetheless, it can get pretty inconvenient and annoying over time, especially during emergency calls.
On the other hand, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 is pretty good in terms of supporting different operating systems. It supports both aptX and AAC connections allowing you to stream in high-quality across different platforms. Moreover, these also mean that you’ll have less latency when using the buds — a big concern, especially in cheap products.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 is fairly easy to pair with almost any device you have. You simply have to open the charging case and it should immediately startup. Afterward, the right earbud should also automatically connect to the left and should be ready to pair.
Once this happens, you can simply go to your Bluetooth pairing menu to pair it to your mobile device/laptop. A pop-up notification should appear to request access and, once paired, things should be good to go.
With all that said, pairing should be a pretty straightforward process. However, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 isn’t always flawless when it comes to pairing to new devices. That’s because some users have reported issues when they first pair the buds to their devices.
Usually, this happens because some devices are incompatible with Qualcomm’s True Wireless Primary-Secondary dual pairing names. As a result, pairing to the second earbud isn’t always successful. When that happens, don’t panic as the information will still cross over from the left earbud to the right. Hence, you’ll still get working earbuds even if the notification pops up.
However, if you persistently encounter issues with it, you might want to refer to the user manual. On the other hand, you could also have a faulty device. This is where you should consult your local retailer.
Overall, while the pairing process is fairly straightforward, it isn’t perfect because of the way the earbuds were programmed. Nonetheless, it’s not too bad considering the price and the fact that the issues don’t always spring up.
Tons of AirPods clones and cheaper wireless earbuds have pretty lackluster build quality based on experience. However, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 seems to have stepped up in build quality despite the low price.
Both the case and earbuds on the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 are made with plastic — but that isn’t bad. In fact, they’re surprisingly well built and have a high-quality finish. The (almost) perfect case employs a somewhat soft matte finish that could even fool you into thinking it costs more. Moreover, the earbuds themselves fit perfectly well within their cutouts so no wobbliness occurs.
In addition, the case itself is easy to use, letting you easily flip it open with just one hand. However, we don’t recommend doing this with too much force as it’s pretty easy to pry open. Dropping it to the ground will also, unfortunately, open it accidentally.
Moving onto the outside of the case, you’ll find a USB-C port and a Bluetooth pairing button at the bottom. In front, you’ll see LEDs indicating battery status — handy if you don’t want to manually check it on your phone.
On the other hand, the buds themselves feel well-built. They look similar to the old models with the stems still sticking out of the base. However, they seem to have been redesigned slightly and feature a matte finish, unlike the previous generation.
Sound quality can make or break a Bluetooth earbud purchasing decision. Unfortunately, audiophiles might have to pass on the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2. This is because the frequency response isn’t very accurate on the buds. You’ll also probably find that it isn’t as clear-sounding as higher-end devices. It’s also a little heavy on the bass, so we recommend checking out alternatives if you’re particular about sound.
Of course, not everything is completely terrible on the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2. The mids sound fairly accurate despite the emphasized bass. Moreover, it sounds good enough if you’re just a casual listener and just want to listen to music without wires. In addition, you could also try to fiddle with the Soundcore app to equalize the sound if you’re unsatisfied. You could use the app’s handy presets or mix things up yourself, depending on your preference.
The microphone quality on the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 is just great. There are four mic arrays in the buds and they work flawlessly well when paired with the built-in noise reduction. Through these systems, you can confidently speak knowing that your voice is perfectly relayed to the other side. It also ensures you that whoever’s on the other end won’t have to deal with too much background noise.
Overall, the call quality on the Liberty Air 2 is loud and clear. Regardless of your pitch or voice quality, you shouldn’t have to worry about your voice sounding small or muffled.
Unfortunately, you won’t find any sort of active noise cancellation on the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2. Of course, it would be kind of unreasonable to expect because of how cheap this product already is. Nonetheless, the earbuds do have passive isolation in place because of their design. It performs excellently in this department so there’s truly not much to complain about.
Putting the earbuds on will immediately muffle ambient and background noise. They’ll sound about half as loud compared to when you’re not wearing them. As a result, it’s pretty much perfect for average commuters who want to drown out the surrounding noise. However, you do have to find the best fit for your ears to make it work. Thankfully, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 does come with five pairs of replacements in varying sizes. These range from XS to XL from which you can choose to properly isolate noise.
Also read: Guide to Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds
As the world becomes increasingly health-conscious, so have the features in consumer technology. Of course, not all products live up to that expectation if the price is low enough. However, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 certainly doesn’t cut corners in this aspect.
Whether it was intentional or not, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 is great for fitness and working out. With proper fitting silicone tips, they should feel relatively stable in your ears and shouldn’t fall off easily. Moreover, they’re built well enough to not feel irritating or uncomfortable after wearing them for long periods. Hence, whether it’s a 15-minute workout or an hour-long gym session, you shouldn’t have a problem keeping them on.
Lastly, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 also has an IPX5 rating so it can handle water splashes. Thus, you don’t have to concern yourself too much about damaging them during your sweaty episodes.
One of the many benefits of the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 is the provision for customization. Through the Soundcore app, you can easily find useful features that truly bring your experience to the next level. These include handy hearing tests, the ability to remap controls to your preferences, checking the battery, and more. Moreover, you can even choose from different EQ presets to customize your music listening experience based on what you like. Lastly, you’ll gain access to perhaps the most important feature: firmware updates.
Controls and Voice Assistants
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 feels somewhat decent to navigate overall. It’s significantly better than the previous model, that’s for sure. With the buds, you can trigger almost any command using just physical touch controls and gestures. You can even activate the voice assistant just by using a gesture.
Unfortunately, it isn’t perfect in terms of controls. For example, it only offers four programmable controls via the app, which are long-press and double-taps for each earbud. It would have been better if there were more given how versatile customizable controls can be.
Anker seems to have removed the auto-pause feature, which is disappointing for the many who loved it. You’ll have to resort to pausing playback manually if you want to talk to someone, now.
In addition, the touch controls don’t offer you anything in terms of haptic or physical feedback. Hence, it’s a little tricky to know whether or not you’ve successfully conducted each gesture while using them. There’s no audio feedback for this either, except for when you choose to turn them on/off.
True wireless earbuds are arguably pretty useless if they can’t last you at least a few hours on a charge. Thankfully, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 earbuds can last you almost a whole workday. Based on tests, they last about 7 hours on a charge. With the charging case, that number quadruples to 28 hours in total.
In addition, the charging case is compatible with both fast-charging and Qi-wireless charging technology. You can earn two additional hours of listening just by charging it for 10 minutes. Moreover, it uses a USB-C port so you don’t have to worry about finding a micro-USB cable for charging.
Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Vs. Liberty Air 2 Pro
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 is pretty good at what it does. It offers good quality features all around without going overboard to keep the price down. However, it isn’t the only pair of Bluetooth earbuds Anker has put out in recent years. In fact, the company released a newer, more “Pro” version in the form of the Liberty Air 2 Pro.
With that said, you could argue that going for newer models is the better option if you have the budget. While that is generally true, it’s not always the wisest choice given how most new models only feature incremental upgrades. Moreover, “Pro” models don’t always make the better choice despite the title.
What’s the difference between the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 and Pro? To put it simply, it all boils down to sound and noise cancellation. The newer earbuds feature active noise cancellation instead of simply relying on passive isolation. It’s also better-sounding with full EQ so it could be a better choice in that aspect.
Moreover, the fast-charging and microphone array seems to have improved on the newer model. However, it does, unfortunately, remove the aptX codec for high-quality streaming on Android, which is a weird change.
Nonetheless, if active noise cancellation is important to you, it might be worth taking a look at. However, at roughly $130, it’s not exactly the best-value device unless you can find it at a discount. That’s especially true since it’s not an exceptional performer compared to alternatives at the same price range.
Who Should Buy Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2?
Overall, there’s a lot to love about the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2, particularly if you’re just a regular consumer. It has great call quality, decent enough sound quality, good controls, and great peripheral feature sets. The app is handy and the IPX5 water resistance rating is a great addition to something less than $100.
Despite its benefits, this pair of earbuds isn’t for everyone. They will probably satisfy most general listeners, hands-free callers, commuters, and even athletes who need affordable, sweat-proof wireless earbuds. Unfortunately, they won’t pass the test if you’re someone who highly values the best-in-class touch controls or sound quality.
Overall, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 is a fairly decent device. It’s versatile, lasts long, and performs well enough for almost anyone. All are made better by its price tag of less than $100. If you’re looking for a good all-arounder and aren’t too particular about audio, then these earbuds are certainly worth buying.