This Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Review makes us consider the question of where did headphones and earphones actually came from. They didn’t just appear one day. They have been through quite a few designs, operational, and functional changes.
Earphones certainly serve their purpose and have done so for a very long time. They were originally developed from the telephone earpiece used by the first telephone operators. And until amplifiers were developed, they were the only way to hear electrical audio signals.
Big business now, of course, and every manufacturer, large and small has their product range. Some are good, some not so good of course as with all things. Some with connections that mean we don’t need wires anymore. The Danes invented Bluetooth and changed the world of listening forever.
It can be a confusing job to wade through all the possibilities. So let’s keep it simple and look at what the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 have to offer. Before we do that, though let’s take a quick look at the manufacturer.
Steven Yang established Anker in 2011, so they might be considered new kids on the block. However, he knew his way around sound and software when he worked at Google. And in that short space of time, they have become recognized as one of the best headphone and earphone manufacturers worldwide.
But more than this, they offer affordable options but still maintain a good quality product. They have offices in various parts of the work these days but are based in Shenzhen, China.
So, let’s take a look at one of their products, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2…
Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 – An Overview
These are earphones with a variety of uses, great for the commute, or even wearing in your workplace if you are allowed to. They are very typical of an Anker design. Functional and practical with a decent sound delivered at an affordable price. They have some good features that enhance the sound experience and noise reduction facilities.
Considering the quality standards and costs of other earphones, they stand out for a number of reasons. Let’s find out why?
If you are familiar with the original Soundcore Liberty Air, then you will immediately see a difference. The originals had a glossy finish, but these have a much more refined matte finish on the case and both earbuds. We happen to think that’s a big improvement.
However, the plastic construction is still solid and feels substantial in the hand. The design itself has that Airpod-like teardrop that we have all become so familiar with. The left earpiece has the extended stem which houses the Bluetooth antenna and is well-placed to ensure a good and stable connection.
Each earbud has a 6mm driver but with a special feature. They have been given driver domes with the tough and rigid structure of diamonds. It is a unique feature and allows the drivers to remain secure. Especially when vibrating at higher volumes. This has an effect on increasing the bandwidth and giving a more prominent bottom end.
They are fitted with four microphones, two in each earbud. These incorporate cVc 8.0 technology for noise reduction and, of course, facilitate excellent sound reception for voice calls.
However, the battery life might be considered a little disappointing, depending on what you want to use it for. One full charge will give you between six and a half and seven hours of playing time. If you were hoping to use them for a commute to work and, of course, home, that will be enough. If you also want to use them during your working day, it won’t be enough.
There is a quick charge facility using the case that will give you an extra two hours for a ten-minute charge. If you want to give them a full charge, then that will take about two hours using the USB-C connection. The charging case will give you an extra twenty-eight hours.
The case itself is a good design and very compactly made to fit in your pocket. There are three LED lights that give you the status of the charge. When replacing the earbuds in the case, they will automatically turn themselves off. When you take them out, they turn on. A little word of warning that will seem obvious to some. Don’t lose the case. There is no other way to charge them.
They have been given an IPX5 rating, but before we leave that subject, let’s clarify what that means. You do come across some manufacturers who like to advertise their products as waterproof when they are actually water-resistant. There is a big difference. In fact, the difference being you may well destroy them if you take them in water.
Anker makes no such wild claims at all. In fact, they hardly mention the fact.
An IPX5 rating means that they will be able to handle light water contact. Perhaps sweat if you were using them in the gym. But probably not a very heavy downpour if you were out running in them. That is not a problem as far as we can see. They are not made for the athlete. But having an IPX5 rating is a little extra in the design and its performance. Just don’t jump in the sea wearing them.
Build quality is important as is the sound quality, but comfort is also very high on the list. If they are not comfortable, then you aren’t going to wear them.
If earphones are too heavy, then you are going to know it. Their use will cease quite quickly. The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 weighs just 2.08 ounces. It is fair to say you will hardly know you are wearing them. They have a very simple fit that is also quite secure.
As we said in the Build section, these are not for the athlete necessarily. Especially those that really hit the streets or undertake serious gym activity. Though it is fair to say they can be used in moderation in that environment.
The end of each tip is made from silicone, which is soft on the inner ear, and because these do not sit too deep in the ear canal, they fit neatly and comfortably. They come with a variety of sizes to ensure you get a comfortable and practical fit. You will have a choice of extra small, through small, medium, large, and extra-large.
The comfort level of earbuds that go in your ear is a subjective issue. We are all different, and therefore so is our ear size. What is comfortable for one is not for another. But Anker seems to have gone out of their way to get as good a fit as is possible.
Let’s not forget that comfort is everything in earbuds. The sound can be the best there is, but if they are uncomfortable to wear, then the sound won’t matter because you won’t wear them. These are good value from a comfort perspective, especially considering the price point.
One of the most difficult areas to work with when you are either designing or wearing earbuds is the operating controls. This is simply because of the lack of space you have available. Unlike headphones, where there is the circumference of the earpiece to work with ear cups present problems. This is further complicated by the number of features they offer.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 controls are one of the few areas where some may not be happy. You really only have two options. In default mode, a double tap on the right bud is to play and pause and on the left to move to the next song on your list. A two-second tap and hold, and you will reach whichever voice assistant you have chosen. You can go to the Soundcore app, but there are not a lot of options.
The problem with these earphones is that there is only only one area on each bud that is a controller. Therefore the choices are automatically limited. You can change them from the default setting to other functions like skip track or volume control. But that is about all.
We are certainly not going to be overly-critical about the control elements. It is the nature of the beast when you buy earbuds. Unless, of course, you want it to be so complicated that the only option for operating them as you want is to take them off?
Bluetooth 5 is built to the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2. These operate with Qualcomm aptX. For those unsure, this offers a higher quality codec. This compresses the data to give you faster transmission and also decompresses the data you receive. An important issue for effective and fast communication.
The previous Bluetooth options of AAC and SBC do not offer this level of data transmission.
As we said previously, the antenna is located in the stem from the earpiece. This will give you much more consistency in the connection. Overall the call quality is also good and at a level that you would only expect from higher-priced products. Hearing your caller, the voice is crisp and clear, and the same applies to what they are hearing.
However, there is one potential problem that we have not been able to find out if it has been rectified by Anker. These, to our knowledge and as we post this review, are not compatible with the iPhone 11. We are sure that this is a temporary issue and that Anker will rectify this if it hasn’t been already. It is worth checking, though?
The Noise Reduction
As with water-resistant claims, noise cancellation is another area where some rather exaggerated claims are made. Built-in to these earphones are four microphones, two on each earbud, all of which have cVc 8.0 noise cancellation uplink.
The cVc 8.0 will certainly have an effect on reducing external noise, such as the wind. But it has been designed to concentrate on the sounds that are relevant; the result is that when you make a call, the external noise is not totally reduced, but only by around 60%. It does though, keep over 90% of your voice at the front end of the sound to ensure you can be heard.
These earphones do not have transparency or an ‘awareness’ mode. This is a feature most often found in more expensive earphones, and allows you to hear what’s happening in your vicinity as well the music you’re playing or call you’re taking.
So, assuming you get a good fit, the noise cancellation will be quite good. That being the case, they will not allow in much external sound when you are walking the street, for example, which could cause problems.
These earphones have a good reproduction across the frequency ranges. It makes a nice change to hear some earphones where the mids are very much at the front. Why shouldn’t they be? The vocals are there, as are other vital elements of the mix. The top end is a little bright, and the bass could be punchier. But, overall, the sound is nicely balanced.
We think most people will be quite happy with the quality of the sound. If there is one thing we do not like so much, it is they seem to lack a little volume. You don’t get a great deal of it. But maybe this is a good idea.
If you are not happy with any of the sounds or the balance, you can go to the Soundcore App and make changes. The app works with both iOS and Android devices.
The sound might actually be one of these earbuds weaker points, but this may only be because the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 excels in so many other areas, As we said we don’t think too many people will complain about the sound, especially at this price point.
The extra ear tips we have already mentioned and Anker has included enough options to get you a good fit.
We have also already discussed the Soundcore App, which has 22 EQ options and other sound profiles to choose from.
However, one thing we haven’t mentioned about the app yet is the HearID, which lets you create a personal sound profile, perfectly suited to your ears. It listens to the sensitivity of your hearing on multiple frequencies, and then analyzes that information and creates a perfect sound for you. We are tempted to ask what on earth next?
There is also the charging case, which we have already discussed. But, we don’t really see that as an extra more a necessity.
Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pros & Cons
- Stylish design and looks.
- Overall balanced sound.
- Excellent carrying case.
- Wireless charging.
- Lacking in volume.
- Touch-sensitive controls could be better.
- Gimmicky companion app.
More Earbud Options
As you have noticed, we really like the Air 2’s from Anker, but they may not be what you’re looking for? If that’s the case, please check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Earbuds under 100 Dollars, the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds, the Best Earbuds under 50 Dollars, the Most Durable Earbuds, and the Best Headphones and Earbuds for Sleeping on the market.
What We Think
You cannot help but be impressed with these earphones. They are well-made with an attractive, understated design and they have some very good features. The Bluetooth connection offers the latest codec, and the noise canceling is good.
There are some things that possibly could have been better. Sound transparency being one. That is more a safety issue than anything else, and the volume possibly could be a bit higher. But these are relatively minor issues, and for the price point, hardly matter that much.
The important issues are Comfort, which is very good with extra ear tips, and Sound, which is more than acceptable and can also be tailored to exactly your needs via the Soundcore app. Finally, the build quality is also very good.
They represent great value for the price point and think that the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 might well be one of the best earbuds around for the money.