Friday, February 28, 2020

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We’ve all heard of the sophomore slump—well, all folks except Anker. The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 exceeds our expectations for a way an inexpensive pair of truly wireless earbuds should perform, making it one among my personal favorites.

 The Qi-compatible charging case feels premium and therefore the call quality is great. Let’s jump right in and explore the strengths and weaknesses of this generally great headset.


·         Excellent microphone quality
·         Hit-or-miss touch controls

·         IPX5 water-resistance

·         No Bluetooth multipoint

·         Battery life

·         Lacks auto-resume functionality
·         Bluetooth 5.0, aptX and AAC

·         Mono listening

·         Quick and wireless charging

·         Customizable controls

·         Auto-ear detection for auto-pause

Who should get the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2?

  • General consumers should consider these earbuds; at $99, they’re within the limit of most shoppers’ budgets and pack in many features.
  • Hands-free callers got to get these earbuds because the microphone system is among the simplest we’ve tested in truly wireless earbuds. Unless you’re willing to spend upwards of $230 for the Apple AirPods Pro, this is often the simplest mic quality you’ll get.
  • Commuters should consider this package; albeit the ‘buds don’t offer noise-canceling, they passively block out tons of sound.
  • Athletes might want to distribute for these versatile earbuds as they’re IPX5-certified, meaning they will withstand strong sprays of water from practically any direction.

How is the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 built?

For the attainable price, these earbuds are extremely well built. Yes, it’s an all-plastic construction from the earbuds to the case, but it's and feels great.

The case is almost flawless. The soft-touch matte finish tricked me into thinking this was a costlier headset and made it a pleasure to use. Flipping the lid open or closed is straightforward to try to to with only one hand, and therefore the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 fits well in their respective cutouts. Even a forceful wrist flick will open, too, so be wary: the case will pop open if it falls on the bottom. rock bottom of the case holds a USB-C input and manual Bluetooth pairing button, while the front has three 3 LEDs to obviously communicate the remaining battery status.

The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 follows an equivalent stemmed design as before, but this is often faraway from a carbon. Thankfully, SoundCore dropped the last model’s glossy finish, which attracted an inordinate amount of fingerprints. The second iteration is more mature and doesn’t attempt to garner attention with a shiny veneer. The stems are easy to grip, and therefore the circular section emblazoned with the SoundCore logo is a multifunction touch panel on each earbud. The one downside to the stems is that earrings scrape against them and produce an unpleasant sound, but this is often more or less the case with all stemmed earbuds.

Each housing conceals a sensor that detects when the earbud is inserted or far away from your ear; doing the latter automatically pauses playback. Unfortunately, the earbuds don’t support auto-resume functionality, but double-tapping the proper earbud does the trick. Angled nozzles keep things comfortable, and that I listened to the SoundCore Liberty Air 2 for four consecutive hours with none fatigue or irritation.

You should explore the SoundCore app

The SoundCore app affords a couple of useful features to those willing to download it, the foremost obvious of which is access to firmware updates. you'll also take a basic hearing test via the HearID feature, which tailors the sound profile to your hearing abilities. It takes a couple of minutes to finish, but it’s just a matter of holding a virtual button down once you hear a tone, and releasing it when the tone is not any longer audible. you'll toggle this profile and retest yourself at any time.

Aside from that, you'll also remap controls, check battery levels, toggle auto-pause functionality, and more. once you remap controls, the custom functions aren’t enabled during mono listening. this suggests volume controls aren’t usable in mono mode, because they’re a custom command, instead of the default.

A drawback to the SoundCore app is how its functionality is restricted to only a number of its headsets. While this doesn’t affect Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 users, it means anyone with the Anker SoundCore Life P2 won’t enjoy downloading the app. consistent with SoundCore, more headsets are going to be supported within the future but hasn’t offered any specifics yet.

Connection stability is great with the SoundCore Liberty Air 2

The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 uses Bluetooth 5.0 firmware which optimizes connection stability and power consumption. goodbye as I kept within the designated 10-meter wireless range, connection consistency was flawless indoors and outdoors.

To my dismay, Bluetooth multipoint isn’t supported, and albeit my laptop was shut while the earbuds were connected thereto, they wouldn’t let me hook up with my smartphone without reopening my laptop and disconnecting from it. However, the freedom Air 2 earbuds support both aptX and AAC for high-quality streaming no matter your preferred OS. Another benefit: reduced latency; audio-visual lag is almost imperceptible when using the freedom Air 2, which is great for people that stream video from bed or the treadmill.

How to pair the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2

  • Open the charging case without removing the earbuds, this automatically powers them on. the proper earbud will automatically hook up with the left earbud.
  • Enter the Bluetooth pairing menu on your device and choose the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2.
  • A pop-up notification will then request access to the left earbud, which is important for correctly completing the stereo pairing process.

Some users have reported initial pairing issues, which are addressed in Anker’s user manual. Not all devices are compatible with Qualcomm True Wireless Primary-Secondary dual pairing names, so once you attempt to pair to the second earbud, you'll encounter a “connection unsuccessful” notice— that’s ok. the first earbud will still relay information to the secondary one.

If you happen to run into repeated connection issues, you'll have a faulty unit or got to perform a tough reset of the device. this might be done by inserting both earbuds into the case, and holding the case’s button down for 10 seconds until the earbud LEDs flash red 3 times.

How long does the battery last?

The batteries exceeded our expectations and lasted 7 hours, 5 minutes on one charge, which may be a huge improvement over the first SoundCore Liberty Air earbuds. The Qi-compatible wireless charging case supports fast charging: a fast 10 minutes within the case supplies listeners with two hours of listening. The said case provides a further three charge cycles before you've got to plug it into the included USB-C cable for 2 hours. this suggests you recover over a day’s worth of listening from the whole package—pretty solid.

How does freedom Air 2 sound?

The frequency response isn’t accurate, but it's enjoyable for casual listening. this sort of response targets something like the “equal loudness” curves, which is more common among the sub-$100 options out there. While it's going to appear as if it’s got emphasis all out of control, it really isn’t as wild because it looks. However, because this standard is applicable in just a narrow kind of circumstances, headphones and earphones with this sort of response may sound a touch too bass-heavy and fewer clear than you would possibly want.

Despite the emphatic bass exaggeration, midrange frequencies are very accurately relayed. this is often great, though bass notes are two or 3 times louder than mids, which may cause auditory masking— a phenomenon that occurs when a loud sound makes it hard to perceive a comparatively quiet one. this will make it appear to be something that is “missing” from your music. It’s not that these sounds disappeared, they’re just harder to listen to above the louder bass notes.

Passive isolation is superb, as indicated by the consistently boosted bass response we tested. External seems like background chatter and out of doors traffic is rendered half as loud with the earbuds in than without. this is often great for commuters who don’t want to pay a premium for the noise canceling true wireless earbuds. to realize this type of isolation performance, you've got to require the time to seek out the simplest fit you; Anker SoundCore supplies listeners with five pairs of ear tips (XS-XL), so you ought to be ready to get a correct seal.

Lows, mids, and highs

In Taylor Swift’s song, I feel He Knows, an understated bass line enters and remains throughout in tandem with a gentle pattern of finger snaps until the chorus starts at 0:39. before the chorus, Swift’s vocals are relayed relatively clearly with minimal masking. Once the more dominant bassline ushers within the chorus, though, the nuance of Swift’s vocals are lost. As she sings “Got that, oh! I mean…” all harmonic resonance on the vocalization of “got that” is rendered imperceptible relative to the instrumental noise.

It isn’t as bad because it sounds though: speech remains intelligible. I used to be never left wondering the elemental content of her words, but it is often hard to understand self-harmonizations. this is often immediately reduced once you switch from the default profile to the Flat profile within the SoundCore app, though, or by creating your own.

These are good earbuds for phone calls

The microphone quality is astounding. The four-microphone array works in tandem with noise reduction technology to relay speech clearly and minimize ground noise. Voices of all pitches will come through loud and clear with the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2. This microphone system is amazing, especially considering the value of the earphones, and it blows pricier competitors like Master & Dynamic out of the water.

Even when outside, ground noise was slightly reduced. Wind noise, while not completely nullified, is additionally mitigated, which made me much less wary of answering calls while on my daily walks with the freedom Air 2 earbuds. If you prioritize call quality in particular else, these are truth wireless earbuds to get—unless you’re willing to distribute for the Apple AirPods Pro, Google Pixel Buds (2020), or Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, all of which are significantly costlier than the headset in question.

How does freedom Air 2 compare to other true wireless headsets?

Suffice to mention, the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 fare exceptionally well compared to other cheap true wireless earbuds, but let’s put them against some popular alternatives.

Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds

The original Samsung Galaxy Buds retail for small quite $100 lately, and is an excellent buy for Android and iPhone users. Samsung is fastidious about rolling out software updates to its older earbuds, and recently enabled direct Spotify access—a feature previously reserved for the new Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus earphones.

The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 is more durable than the IPX2 water-resistant Galaxy Buds, and that they have about equivalent battery life. Isolation is far better with SoundCore’s earphones, but I loved the fit of the Galaxy Buds. Both use touch controls; Anker’s aren’t quite as sensitive as I’d like, while Samsung’s are a tad too sensitive.

Readers with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone will benefit more from the Galaxy Buds as they support Wireless PowerShare charging from atop a compatible smartphone. What’s more, users can cash in the scalable proprietary codec. However, for other Android users and iPhone users, the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 could also be preferable, as they support aptX and AAC.

Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 vs. Anker SoundCore Liberty Air

Anker SoundCore’s first-generation Liberty Air was an absolute hit, but the sophomore model is far better and costs just $20 more. Unless you’re on a particularly tight budget, get the freedom Air 2. Heck, if your cutting costs that much, turn your attention instead to the JLab Go Air which costs just $30.

Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 vs. JLab JBuds Air Executive

The JLab JBuds Air Executive even has a stemmed design but feels less expensive than what Anker SoundCore is functioning with. Sure, the charging case is exclusive and appears premium because of the synthetic leather wrap, but it doesn’t add much functionality to the headset. JLab’s integrated USB charging case is one of my favorite features of its true wireless products, but it lacks wireless charging afforded by the freedom Air 2’s case.

Plus, the Anker SoundCore earbuds support aptX, AAC, and SBC Bluetooth codecs whereas JLab’s only support AAC and SBC, limiting high-quality streaming to iOS. Battery life is significantly better with the freedom Air 2, as is microphone quality.

Should you buy the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2?

Absolutely, yes. These are my favorite affordable true wireless headphones yet, and I’m thrilled with how SoundCore has improved its popular headset. My days are crammed with conference calls and personal calls with family and friends, so microphone quality is of the utmost importance. the very fact that this mic array punches well above its weight class is wonderful. If you don’t mind taking a couple of moments to EQ the sound, the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 may be a top-tier set of ‘buds

Bluetooth 5.0 makes a difference

The Liberty Air 2 earbuds make the jump to Bluetooth 5.0, which is an improvement in both connection strength and battery life. As long as you stay within the 10-meter range, you ought to be ready to enjoy the crisp sound. Bluetooth multipoint isn’t an option, but the earbuds support aptX and AAC to form up for it. this suggests Android and iOS smartphones can stream high-quality audio to the buds. You won’t notice much delay between the audio and video, which may be a huge plus if you’re bingeing Space Force.

Some users have reported challenges with the initial pairing process. this is often apparently a standard problem because Anker covers most of the problems within the user’s manual. one of the most causes of the problems is that some devices don't support Qualcomm True Wireless Primary-Secondary dual pairing names. albeit you see a “Connection Unsuccessful” notice you ought to still be ok. the first earbud will still relay with the partner, though both aren't connected individually.

Bottom Line

These cheap true wireless earbuds have a superb microphone system that punches well above its weight. Anyone who fields tons of hands-free calls should get the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2. The charging case is straightforward to use, packs three charging cycles, and therefore the build quality feels premium.
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