Anker is a popular brand for smartphone power accessories such as charger bricks, wireless chargers, portable chargers, and cables, but it's also well known for its audio products under the Soundcore sub-brand. Although facing tough competition from various brands in the affordable space in India, Soundcore's mid-range, feature-driven products have made a mark in the country. The company has now launched its latest and most advanced pair of true wireless earphones yet, the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro.
Priced at Rs. 9,999, the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is currently the most expensive true wireless headset in the company's product range. It features customisable active noise cancellation and a promise of good sound quality. Going up against the excellent Oppo Enco X, is the Liberty Air 2 Pro a good pick for under Rs. 10,000? Find out in this review.
The Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro features an in-canal fit for proper noise isolation and effective ANC
Qi wireless charging for the case of the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro
Relatively new in the personal audio segment but quick to grow, Soundcore started out with simpler products and focused on sound quality rather than premium features. That changes a bit with the Liberty Air 2 Pro; this is the company's first true wireless headset with active noise cancellation. That isn't the only ‘premium' aspect of this headset either, with good design, a very customisable fit, and wireless charging making this an impressive overall package.
Available in four colours in India, the Liberty Air 2 Pro looks and feels great. I quite liked the silver strip on the outer side of the white review unit I was sent, which incorporates the touch-sensitive area for the controls and Soundcore logos. Each earpiece has three microphones, which work together to enable active noise cancellation and voice communications on the Liberty Air 2 Pro.
The earpieces have a proper in-canal design, with an impressive nine pairs of silicone ear tips of different sizes included in the box for a very customisable fit. The factory-fitted medium-sized tips suited me best, but it's great that users have options in getting the best fit possible to ensure proper noise isolation and ANC. Also included in the sales package is a USB Type-C cable for charging, and of course, the charging case for the earpieces.
The charging case of the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro isn't too big, but it isn't small either. The texture and colour make it look a bit like a pebble, with a polished Soundcore logo on the top adding some contrast. The case charges through a USB Type-C port at the back, but you can also charge it wirelessly using a Qi wireless charger. The front of the case has three indicator lights for battery and charging status, and the lid slides open or closed with a unique horizontal motion.
Controls on the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro are touch-based, and can be customised using the app for iOS and Android (more on that in a bit). It's possible to set controls for playback, volume, ANC and transparency modes, and triggering the default voice assistant on your paired smartphone with taps, double-taps, and tap-and-hold gestures. The left and right earpieces can be set to trigger different functions for each type of gesture, so you can set up the controls exactly as you like. I found the sensors responsive and fairly accurate, with only the rare mistaken input or lack of response.
The Soundcore app offers a lot more than just customisation settings and firmware updates for the earphones; there are music recommendations powered by Lum, community conversation zones, and the ability to play the Lum playlists directly through the app for free, which is a useful touch. Once the Liberty Air 2 Pro was set up within the app, I could change ANC modes, conduct a tip fit test, customise the controls, and also create a personal equaliser profile.
A total of nine pairs of silicone ear tips are included in the box with the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro
Interestingly, you can also create a widget on your iOS homescreen to quickly switch between ANC modes, which resembles the noise control switching toggle on the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.
ANC on the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro can be set to any of three pre-tuned modes – Transport, Indoor, and Outdoor – or you can set it to a level of your choosing using the Custom mode. Even the Transparency mode allows you to choose between Full Transparency or Vocal, which boosts voice pickup by the earphones. I found these modes to work well for their specific purposes, and having this level of control on true wireless earphones in this price range is impressive.
The Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro has 11mm dynamic drivers for sound, with Bluetooth 5 for connectivity and support for the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. The lack of support for advanced Bluetooth codecs is a bit disappointing here. The earphones are IPX4 rated for water resistance, and you can use either earpiece individually. There's no multi-point connectivity, so you can only connect the Liberty Air 2 Pro to a single source device at a time.
Battery life on the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is decent enough for a pair of true wireless earphones with ANC. I was able to get around 5 hours of listening on the earpieces with ANC usually on and at moderate to high volume levels, with the case adding just under three additional charges. This made for around 19 hours of listening per charge cycle. There's also quick charging, promising 3 hours of listening with 15 minutes of charging.
Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro has decent sound, good active noise cancellation
Anker's Soundcore brand has always had a reputation for good sound quality, and I quite liked the Soundcore Liberty Lite, which I had a chance to review a while ago. With the Liberty Air 2 Pro, the focus may be on the feature set, but Soundcore hasn't neglected good tuning and sound quality. This is still a pair of true wireless earphones that definitely sounds as good as you'd expect for Rs. 10,000.
I used the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro primarily with an iPhone 12 mini (Review), but I also tested it with an Android smartphone and Mac laptop. Since the headset used the AAC Bluetooth codec on all three devices, I couldn't hear any difference in sound quality across sources. The sonic signature is tuned with popular genres in mind, but the Liberty Air 2 Pro does offer a fair amount of detail and insight into tracks, while keeping the focus on the lows.
Starting with Truth by Kamasi Washington, I was impressed with the deep bass in the orchestral lows, with the double-bass and percussion in this smooth jazz track sounding beautiful and engaging. As this 13-minute track progressed, I enjoyed the detail and wide soundstage with all the instruments playing well with each other, even as the deep lows remained the focus of the sonic signature.
While Truth did sound good on the Liberty Air 2 Pro, these earphones tended to bring out more in popular electronic tracks, usually with strong, refined lows. Closer by Lemaitre started out decently with crisp, clean vocals, but the bass drop in this dubstep track is where the earphones truly performed to their full potential. What is notable about the bass is that it's powerful and focused, but never quite eats into the rest of the frequency range. Vocals, gentle instruments, and the general level of detail never quite suffered under the aggressive drive of the lows.
While the sonic signature and bass-happy approach works well for popular genres, I couldn't help but feel that there was something missing, which I did manage to hear on the excellent Oppo Enco X, thanks to its dual-driver setup and attention to detail in the sound. The Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro isn't quite as detailed or even as loud; I had to increase the volume to 90 percent to hear what I usually do at around the 70 percent mark on most true wireless headsets.
However, the Liberty Air 2 Pro makes up for this with more refined bass and attack, which made much of my playlist sound much more fun than on other headsets in this price range. Glitter (Netsky Remix) by Keys and Krates with the volume up and ANC turned on was focused, engaging and extremely enjoyable, thanks to the tight bass and refined aggression.
Active noise cancellation on the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is very good for the price; noise reduction was considerable in both indoor and urban outdoor environments. This made for much more focused music listening and calls, and even allowed for a general sense of quiet when nothing was playing on the earphones.
I found the ANC performance to be largely on par with that of some much more expensive true wireless options such as the Jabra Elite 85t and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. Having multiple ANC modes is useful since this lets you tweak the ANC for different surroundings. They worked well for me and were easy to change through the Soundcore app.
Call quality and connection stability are also decent on the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro. I was able to use these earphones for calls both indoors and outdoors with no trouble at all, and had no connection issues or incidents of lag or connection drops during my time with them. Active noise cancellation definitely helped in making voices on the other end of the call clear and audible.
The Soundcore audio range features bass-friendly tuning that suits popular genres well
Where most pairs of true wireless earphones in the mid-range segment falter is in the tuning, and in getting the sonic signature right for the audience the brand hopes to appeal to. Soundcore has pitched itself as an upgrade for users looking beyond the budget segment, but who still want the popular bass-friendly sonic signature that sells in huge numbers in India and the world over. The Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is exactly this; it's a safe pair of true wireless earphones that looks good and sounds good. It has features that more than justify its selling price of Rs. 9,999, particularly when it comes to ANC quality.
However, sound quality is a subjective matter; while bass lovers and fans of electronic music will enjoy the sound on this headset, the Oppo Enco X offers a bit more when it comes to detail and refinement, and is definitely louder and more immersive. That said, this is a very good pair of true wireless earphones priced under Rs. 10,000, especially if you're looking for good active noise cancellation.
Is Mi 11X the best phone under Rs. 35,000? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Later (starting at 23:50), we jump over to the Marvel series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.