Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 review: Packed with gimmicks

    As Apple pushes new variations of its flagship earbuds, the AirPods, into increased and better worth ranges, it leaves quite a lot of room for rivals to undercut it on worth. That’s precisely what Soundcore is doing with its new Liberty Air 2 true wi-fi earbuds. From the form of the protruding microphone arms to the wi-fi charging case, the Liberty Air 2 earbuds look, sound, and really feel so much just like the AirPods for lots much less cash.

    I don’t wish to use a phrase like “you get what you pay for,” in relation to the Apple Airpods since I choose some earbuds—like the Monoprice True Wireless Plus—which are even cheaper than the $99 Liberty Air 2. But, in a comparability strictly between the AirPods and the Liberty Air 2, the Air 2 do really feel like much less of a discount. Soundcore tried to make the Air 2 stand out with some attention-grabbing options, like higher microphones and a companion app with equalizers personalized in your particular person listening to profile. Unfortunately, these options all fell flat for me.


    Making a superb impression is a superb begin, and the Air 2 look extraordinarily swanky. They have the modern curves and clean traces that I search for in a really attractive piece of tech. Plus, their matte black exterior helps to cover smudges from pores and skin oils and fingerprints, so that they all the time look kind of superb. I additionally actually wish to name out the splashes of ruddy orange on the finish of the arms and below the silicone ear suggestions. The Air 2 general look actually fancy, and I received stopped by a number of strangers in elevators and grocery shops to ask about them.

    That clean, seamless look comes at a worth, although: there’s no bodily button on these earbuds. A touch-sensitive button is hidden someplace in or across the Soundcore brand—I’ve been experimenting, however I’m nonetheless unsure precisely the place it’s. Wherever it’s, the way in which it acknowledges contact inputs is significantly spotty. Sometimes, these earbuds utterly ignore a direct, purposeful double-tap. Other instances, the slightest unintentional brush of a finger alongside the surface edge will skip a music observe, ramp up the quantity, or—most frustratingly—grasp up a telephone name. This isn’t normally the kind of criticism that makes it right into a tech evaluate, however significantly: I’ve by accident hung up on my girlfriend so many instances previously week that I owe her some flowers.

    Ian Birnbaum / IDG

    The matte gray heart and contact of orange look nice in all settings.

    One of the options that I assumed confirmed promise was the Soundcore companion app, which let me outline my very own contact controls. I had horrible luck getting the Liberty Air 2 to acknowledge a double-tap, so I used to be solely too completely satisfied to vary the enter on pausing and skipping tracks to one thing else. Just holding my finger on my proper earbud for 2 seconds takes longer than a double-tap, however it works usually sufficient that I wasn’t irritated by it.

    I encountered just a few issues with Bluetooth connectivity, too. Sometimes, customized controls I saved within the app stopped working. One function, which robotically pauses playback when it senses me pull an earbud out of my ear, stopped working and wouldn’t resume till I put each earbuds into the charging case and left them there for a minute.

    On one memorable event, the left earbud made a noise like a dying arduous drive and …crashed, I suppose? Putting each earbuds within the case and restarting the connection appears to have put issues again to regular.

    It’s a disgrace that I had so many issues with the Liberty Air 2, as a result of they arrive geared up with my favourite carrying/charging case of any true wi-fi headphones I’ve examined. It is small and comfy to hold in a pocket—it’s in regards to the measurement of a field of Tic Tacs. This is slightly element, however I like the way in which the lid has only a tiny little bit of spring help to open and magnetic help to shut. It makes the case lid easy to snap open and closed, however it by no means flaps round or falls open by accident.

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