Affordable Airpod Alternatives
Anker started out as a battery pack manufacturer, but have quickly expanded into a reliable audio manufacturer as well. And Soundcore, which is the brand name for Anker manufactured audio products, has been making some waves with their more affordable Bluetooth audio speakers and TWS earbuds.
The Liberty Air is their take on Apple’s Airpod design and is aimed at people who might not have the money to buy actual Apple Airpods.
But how do they compare?
Let’s find out in this in-depth Anker Soundcore Liberty Air review…
The aesthetics, at least at first glance, resemble the Airpods in every way. The case is rounded and small enough to fit comfortably in your pocket or bag. The matte black finish feels nice and won’t be a fingerprint magnet like the gloss finish found on most budget earbuds.
Once you open the magnetic case, you’ll find two small earbuds that at first look like Airpods, but once you take them out, you know they aren’t.
Instead of sticking to the matte black, they cover the plastic earbuds in a black glossy finish that gets smudged once picked up. It gets dirty easily, which is distracting.
Let’s not forget about the horrible, cheap-looking logo on the side of the earbuds. Instead of just keeping the logo on the case, Anker opts to slap a fairly large logo, which is just “Soundcore” written out fully. There’s just not enough space on a small earbud to slap a full name on them without it looking bad.
The earbuds themselves feel cheaply made. One decent drop might be all they need to stop working. The one good thing about the earbuds themselves is the IPX5 rating, so sweat won’t be an issue here.
Swapping out the ear tips for a better fit might also be problematic because when we did, the case was unable to close. So, if the provided ear tips don’t seal well, you might be stuck between getting a good seal, or being able to close your charging case.
How Do They Sound?
It’s a known fact that the original Airpod’s two biggest issues were the seal/isolation and sound. Even the most die-hard Apple fans will admit that the OG Airpods don’t sound very good.
If you can look past some of the design flaws, you’ll find the audio on these earbuds is of much higher quality than the Airpods.
Anker finds an amazing balance with the sound frequencies and keeps it quite flat. There is a bit of boosting in the higher range, but not so much that it was really noticeable. This creates a great foundation for any genre of music. There’s no lack of bass, and since it isn’t boosted, so there is no sign of any audio masking present.
The mid-range frequencies, where most vocals live, sound clear and have their own space in the mix. The high-end frequencies, like the cymbals and hi-hats, sound crisp and sharp.
Genres like rock and pop will sound great with the balanced mix. If EDM or Trap is more your taste, you can easily EQ the earbuds because of the flat sound profile. If you boost the bass, the earbuds will give you a nice thick, loud bass response without distorting.
These TWS earbuds don’t have any ANC, but the isolation is good if you find the right fit. Without ANC, you can expect to hear all the low hums of daily life, like busses and cars passing, or the air conditioner. It’s not that noticeable when you are listening to music, but you might need to raise the volume, which in turn can damage your hearing.
The microphone is about as good as it gets for a pair of TWS earbuds under $100. We never had someone complaining about the quality of the call, but the earbuds do de-emphasize a lot of the low frequencies. So, if you have a deep voice, you not sound quite like yourself and might need to speak up a bit.
Connectivity & Battery Life
The earbuds come with Bluetooth version 5. And we didn’t experience any disconnects or latency issues on multiple devices.
The earbuds are able to remember different devices and connect to them, but you will need to disconnect from the current device you are using and reconnect to the other one. It’s fine if you only use one device for most of the day, but if you’re someone looking to quickly swap out between devices, you might become frustrated.
There are also no buttons on the earbuds, which means it’s all touch gestures. Most of them worked fine, but the biggest dud here is the skip back option. You need to hold the left earbud for two seconds to skip back. This usually meant that we would just repeat the same track, and by the time the two seconds are over, it would just repeat the same track again.
These earbuds offer average battery life, with five hours of playback on a full charge. You get another fifteen hours from the case. The only problem is you’ll need to drag around a micro-USB cable because these earbuds still use the outdated method of charging.
Who Is The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air For?
These earbuds are for those who want all the convenience and features the original Airpods bring, for about half the price. However, even though far cheaper, these earbuds do well against the Airpods, and actually, sound much better.
It also covers the void left by the Airpods for Android users. Yes, the Airpods work on Android, but you lose so many great extra features that Apple users get, that it doesn’t justify paying the premium price.
In that case, the Soundcore Liberty Air offers everything you get from the Airpods, in a cheaper, Android friendly package.
Anker Soundcore Liberty Air Pros & Cons
- Great sound.
- Well-designed charging case.
- IPX5 Rating.
- Connectivity lacks diversity.
- Earbud design isn’t great.
- Micro-USB charging.
Also see: Anker SoundCore Life P2 Review
Interested In Some Alternatives?
If so, you need to check out our review of the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 to see if they are more to your liking?
It’s also worth taking a look at our reviews of the Best Earbuds under 100 Dollars, the Best Earbuds under 50 Dollars, the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds, the Best Headphones and Earbuds for Sleeping, and the Most Durable Earbuds on the market, for even more options.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air holds up against the more expensive competition and does everything it sets out to do.
If you can get past the few design flaws, you will find a great pair of earbuds that don’t break the bank. The case is as perfect as a TWS case can be; the earbuds sound good, and the microphone works well too.
All that makes these are the best budget alternative earbuds for the Apple Airpods.