Soundcore—Anker’s audio arm—has gone above and beyond expectations with its Liberty 2 Pro True Wireless Earbuds. Here’s why it’s producing studio-quality sound with an affordable price tag.
Comparatively speaking, Anker hasn’t been on the audio scene for very long, but it has achieved plenty within the 5 years that it has been producing such hardware, proving that the Anker brand isn’t all about their charging units.
The company launched its first Bluetooth speaker back in 2014 and has continued to improve on its audio offerings in the years since. So, when the opportunity to review the new Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro True Wireless earbuds (phew – mouthful) presented itself, I jumped on it.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at how they fared.
The first thing that I noticed, which is an important factor where any wireless headphones are concerned, was the lightweight design. Despite packing in plenty of cool features (not to mention the studio-quality sound), the headphones aren’t cumbersome or overly heavy, meaning they are comfortable to wear.
The box contains several pairs of spare ear tips, meaning you can tailor the headphone to suit your ear canals. The box also contains three different options where the Gripfit ear-wings were concerned, further adding to the customizable comfort factor.
I noticed that they didn’t protrude too far from the sides of my head when I was wearing them, too, so I didn’t look like one of Doctor Who’s Cybermen when they were in-ear. Wearing a coat with a rigid or high collar didn’t seem to affect the earphones either; they still felt like they were held securely in place.
I did have to tinker around with the tips and wings, though. Wearing them for a couple of days made me realize that I needed to use the smallest ear tips as they were obviously putting too much pressure on the inside of my ear canals, causing them to become tender.
The ear-wings were the same story, as using a pair that were too big caused pain in both my ear canal (from the tips being pushed in one direction) and my outer ear (from the wings pushing against my ear cartilage.
I can’t help but feel that the wings could have been more of a hook-like design, rather than an oval shape. This would have made them feel less rigid while still holding them in place. Once I had the headphones properly configured, though, they fit snugly and without any discomfort at all.
Their lightweight nature meant that I also wasn’t concerned that a sharp head movement would send either ear’s earbud flying through the air, on a suicide mission underneath the wheels of the nearest moving vehicle.
The headphones carry an IPX4 water-resistance rating, meaning that they’re perfect for using in the gym or for other exercises as they’re sweat-resistant. Just don’t wear them for swimming, because they aren’t waterproof. It is advisable to dry them afterward if you do exercise with them. They remain secure and comfortable even during a long session on the treadmill.
You’re (Mostly) in Control
Located at the top of each headphone is a control button that can be customized in the Soundcore app (IOS/Android). This allows you to pick one of three commands for each headphone: Next/Previous, Voice Assistant, and Volume Up/Down. You can only have two of these three commands in use at any time.
The Skip Track and Volume controls only work if both earphones are in use, as one headphone will move the track forward and the other will move it back. Similarly, with the volume, one headphone increases while the other decreases it.
The commands are operated by a short-click, long-press, or double-click of the button. In Playback mode, a short-click of either left or right button toggles pause/play. Long-press and double-click options can be fully customized so they control the volume, skip the track, or the voice assistant. The choice is yours!
It is worth mentioning that the voice assistant doesn’t have a tailor-made voice control to activate, as with the Ticpods 2 Pro headphones. In my case, a long-press of the button brings up the phone’s digital assistant and I am able to ask it to play a certain track or album.
Standard default call functions, such as answering a call, are taken care of with a single click of the button. If you want to reject a call, this is simple too—just press and hold the button for one second and it is sayonara nuisance caller.
A Perfect Case
The case really is something to behold. Assuming a pebble shape in a matte black and a soft-touch finish, it feels nice to hold in the hand. The bottom of the case is flattened, so it will stay put on another flat surface. The lid carries a silver-print Soundcore logo.
Opening the case is actually a joy in itself, and I mean that genuinely. Ditching the hinged lid that many other manufacturers employ, Soundcore has opted for a sliding mechanism. I felt a bit like a character from Star Trek every time I pushed back the lid, half expecting the “whoosh” sound from a starship’s doors to accompany the gesture!
As is the case with most true wireless headphones, the case charges your earbuds as well as protects them from damage. The interior is molded to hold the headphones in their charging position, so the contacts are always flush for uninterrupted power boosts.
The Liberty II Pro I tested came in a mixture of matte and polished black plastic, matching the case, with a gunmetal grey panel on the outside that carries the Soundcore logo. Beneath this panel lies the notification light, which performs the fairly standard task of pulsing while the earphones search for a device to pair with.
A white pair, with similar high-luster and muted tones in place of the black, is also available. The branded panel, in that instance, is a silver color rather than dark grey. I actually liked the look of the white ones, as the translucent ear tips allowed the orange tip interior to show through for a splash of cool color design.
A USB-C input sits at the exterior of the housing, which is obviously where you connect your charging cable. The earbuds themselves will get you eight hours of playback time, with the case bumping that up to a massive 32 hours on a full charge. Fast charge is also a plus with the Liberty 2 Pros, with 10 minutes providing enough juice to last for around 2 hours.
The front of the case features three small lights, which indicate the charge level of the headphones. Three full lights mean the onboard battery has a complete charge, with three extinguished lights denoting that they’re fully drained.
They Can Read Your Mind*
One of the nifty features that Anker has included in the Liberty 2 Pro is the HearID software that tailors the sound to suit how you hear. A quick download of the Soundcore app onto my smartphone, and I was good to go.
With the headphones synced up to my phone, a short hearing test was performed by the app and the HearID function set the EQ to match the frequencies I could hear. This resulted in clearer sound quality with better definition between the bass, mids, and trebles.
This is a nice touch from Soundcore, as it allows you the choice between using the HearID function or one of the predefined set-ups. These include selections based around the style of music you are listening to (Rock, Electronic, etc.) or to boost a certain frequency like bass or treble.
* – not strictly true.
The Sound Quality Is Crystal Clear
It has to be said, the sound quality produced by these little earbuds is excellent. As I am also a music writer, I have plenty of ammo to put the Liberty 2 Pros through their paces, so that I did. I selected some Danny Brown, a bit of The Hypnotist, a hint of Ghost BC, and some Michael Ayrapetyan to even things out a bit. The results were something else.
It is plain to see why 10 Grammy award-winning producers have recommended these headphones. The sound quality is superb, which is thanks to the Astria coaxial acoustic architecture that has been packed into the housing. The Knowles balanced armature driver for the mids and tops, and the 11mm dynamic driver for the bass, ensures that the different genres all sound excellent.
As mentioned, the HearID profile that my headphones set up for me ensured that I received a version of each track that was true to my ears. I noticed little nuances that I had not noticed before and, having previously been rocking a pair of the Soundcore Liberty Neo, I was pleasantly surprised that the improvement was more than noticeable. (Definitely not knocking the Neo either, by the way, they are a great entry wireless headphone.)
The sound stage is fairly broad too; I was able to pick out where various sounds where coming from on the occasions I was supposed to. This further enriched the listening experience. For example, the breadth of the sound stage made certain classical music sound sublime, as I could position the different instruments as though an orchestra was playing the music in front of me in a concert hall.
The Liberty 2 Pros use aptX, so latency is greatly minimized to the point where it isn’t noticeable at all. This means you can use them to watch TV and you won’t suffer from sound lag. They also feature Bluetooth 5.0 as standard.
It’s Your Call
Another important feature: phone calls. Being able to take a call is important when your smartphone is doing a bunch of other stuff at the same time. Mine is forever pumping out tunes, so when a call comes in, it is crucial that I can interrupt what I’m doing. As explained earlier, answering or rejecting a call requires only one click of the button, with call rejection needing a 1-second press and hold.
The call quality, thanks to the Qualcomm cVc 8.0 technology and the four noise-canceling mics, was crystal-clear according to my chat partner. It actually sounded like I was in the same room as the caller, so perfect for making conversation even on a busy street or amidst the hustle and bustle of a cafe.
Conclusion: Grab a Pair
These are great headphones and an excellent contender for someone looking to take a step up from their current wired setup or upgrading from a basic wireless pair. The sound is crisp and clear, the unit is lightweight, and the case is super cool as well as protectis them when they’re dormant.
Price-wise, for what you’re getting, at $129.99, the Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro represents an excellent choice of headphones. Even the product packaging is really nice! If you are after a pair that doesn’t involve quite so high a price tag, then check out this selection of six wallet-friendly true wireless earbuds.
Here’s What We Like
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Great sound quality
- Excellent battery life
- VERY nice charging case
And What We Don't
- Can feel uncomfortable
- Not noise cancelling