Soundcore has a lot of things that I like. First of all, their goods compete with market leaders in terms of performance but undercut them in price. They compete with the best true wireless earbuds. Battery life, comfort, and sound quality are all important factors.
One increasingly popular feature they were yet to introduce was active noise cancellation, but that’s now changed with the launch of the new liberty air 2 Pro, which I will be reviewing in full in today’s article.
The addition of ANC makes these a true competitor to Apple AirPods Pro, but it’s over 100 cheaper. They have great potential to be the new AirPods killer. Soundcore has established a pretty comprehensive lineup of true wireless earbuds and even within the Liberty series.
There are a few different options to choose from. These are the second earbuds in their pro lineup, and I will be drawing comparisons to the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro.
I will also be comparing Airpods Pro vs Liberty 2 Pro vs Liberty Air 2 vs Liberty Air 2 Pro and explaining exactly what’s different from the pro model. Hopefully, this review will explain the differences between these earbuds and decide which one is right for you.
Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Review
Unboxing and Charging Case
Let’s take a look at the box. First, we have the new charging case and earbuds, and an Anker USB c charging cable. The usual paperwork like the quick start guide and many different-sized ear tips is much more than most companies.
It gives you many options for getting the perfect fit. The new charging case is like a cross between the air 2 case and the 2 pro case. It’s closer in size and shape to the air 2 but changes the flip-up lid for the smooth magnetic sliding mechanism from the 2 pro.
More compact earbud cases are out there, but this one is easily small enough to put in your pocket and take traveling. It has a smooth matte textured finish, and this new onyx black color has an almost metallic sheen to it that looks and feels nice.
You can get these in sapphire blue, white, and pink too. There are more color options than we’re used to seeing from Soundcore. The magnet system makes it easy to access the earbuds and is very convenient when placing them back, guiding the earbuds onto the charging pins.
I found this to be less fiddly than with the air 2. The case design is a significant improvement for me with the LEDs at the front. Let you know that the earbuds are charging and give you an estimate of the case’s remaining battery.
You can check this at any time using the button at the rear, which is next to the USB-C charging port as part of the air series.
The earbuds have the same long stem shape of the air 2 instead of the bulkier oval-shaped 2 pro. In addition, the new air 2 pros have a more striking two-tone finish.
They get rid of the glossy texture from the air 2 to have an all-matte finish, which I think looks a bit nicer and provides a better grip in my ears. The new materials and slick aesthetic give these a premium-looking finish.
Comfort and seal
I am a big fan of this new design. One of the best aspects of the liberty air 2 is that they are comfortable, which is maintained for the new pro model.
I usually find this more extended stem design more comfortable than designs like the liberty 2 pro, which tend to feel heavier and bulkier in the ear. I have worn the new air 2 pro for hours on end and barely noticed them in my ears.
So, in terms of comfort, these have been excellent. The seal formed is relatively gentle. It doesn’t feel intrusive or cause the aching as many other earbuds tend to over time. As a result, passive noise isolation is pretty good but not exceptional.
These still let some of the outside noise passively, but the fit does come down to your particular ear shape, and which size of ear tips you choose to use these stays in my ears correctly during the day.
If I needed to, I probably could run with them without them falling out. Both of the air series earbuds are better suited to this than the larger 2 pro. But without any wingtips to keep them securely in place, I still wouldn’t trust these to use for workouts.
If you do want to, though, the earbuds come with an ipx4 water resistance rating, which should protect them from light rain and accidental splashes.
This meets what I would call the minimum standard for good true wireless earbuds and should protect them from everyday use though the rating isn’t relatively as high as the regular air 2.
The control scheme is similar to the air 2 with just a single touchpad at the top of each earbud, whereas the air 2 pros use a physical button, the sensitivity is balanced nicely.
You only need to tap lightly, and the contact area is pretty forgiving, so as long as you are near the top of the earbud, you will trigger them just like the other earbuds.
You can use either earbud independently merely by placing one earbud back in the case, like the other earbuds. But, again, the controls can be customized in the Soundcore app.
You can set individual commands for each earbud, including changing volume, and strangely trigger your phone voice assistant. Unfortunately, there’s no option for a single tap gesture like there is on the air 2.
The advantage of this is that you minimize accidental touches. Still, this feature was added to the air 2. App later after their release, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this added to the air 2 pro.
However, I suspect the real reason this wasn’t added is that the single tap is often reserved for play/pause, but the new pro model gains a wearing detection feature auto pausing. Thus, playing your music as you take an earbud out and put it back in your ears is handy.
Though it reasonably features light, the Soundcore app is one of the better companion apps for earbuds. The interface is just immaculate and straightforward to use, especially when you have multiple Soundcore products initial setup with all of these earbuds is very easy.
They automatically enter pairing mode when you first take them out of the case and auto-reconnect to the last paired device each time you use them from the earbuds homepage in the app.
You can access settings for the wear detection touch-tone and update the earbud’s firmware. We have seen that the page on the right gives you access to the control settings, but the page on the left is home to the equalizer.
Hearid 2.0 / EQ
The new generation of hearid you may have heard me talk about here id before. It’s the feature that tests your hearing in each ear and optimizes your equalizer accordingly to deliver a personalized listening experience.
I have never had much use for these features in the past since my hearing is relatively fair. As a result, I usually end up with just a flat unadjusted eq, but I can certainly see its potential.
The feature is a bit more advanced for the new pro earbuds; speaking of that eq. The full range of Soundcores equalizers makes their return giving quick access to specific audio styles more important.
The multiple custom eq feature returns two and is as good as the default signature eq sounds. However, I prefer to tweak the audio myself to suit my personal listening preference moving back to the main page.
You can keep track of the earbud’s battery levels. The earbuds are packing a healthy 7 hours of playback per charge with a total of 26 hours with the charging case.
This is roughly the same as the Air 2 but a bit less than the Air 2 pro battery life. However, both are pretty good compared to the rest of the market, like the other two earbuds.
Both USB-C and wireless charging can charge the case, and these also offer a fast charge feature though it is a bit slower than the others. However, I was pretty pleased with the charging and battery performance.
New features noise cancellation or transparency mode were the two features. I most wanted to see added to Soundcore earbuds, which come with multiple modes to suit different environments, including the transparency mode.
Let’s in your environment’s sounds for spatial awareness, but you can set this to vocal, which should filter out noises except for voices. I have seen modes like this before from companies like Sony and Jabra.
I have never found them to work as intended, and the performance is much the same here. So I’d stick with the full transparency mode. Noise cancellation has four modes starting with transport, which is the most powerful and most useful mode.
This is described as focusing on low-end frequencies, but I found this mode generally blocked the most noise indoor mode. This is because it focuses on mid-range frequencies such as those found in an office or a cafe, while the outdoor mode is a less robust but more comprehensive bandwidth setting to block out street noise.
The custom mode is confusing since there’s no clear indicator of how this changes the effect. You have to listen out for what you think is best, but I typically only use the default transport mode for the best development. But sadly I found both the noise-canceling and transparency modes to be quiet.
Underwhelming changes between each mode have only a subtle effect on your listening, and I found neither of the two new modes to be especially powerful. For example, it’s usually quite hard to tell the difference between the modes transparency mode barely amplifies.
The sound of your environment and noise-canceling only block out a little bit more sound than the earbuds. Already does passively noise canceling work better than transparency? If you listen carefully, you can hear the effect.
It’s blocking out some of the outside noise, but I said the level at which it does. This is very subtle and far from the noticeable and powerful ANC, you find in sony wf-1000xm3 or apple AirPods pro changing.
The ambient sound mode seems to affect the audio quality too. The noise-canceling and especially the vocal transparency modes give the audio a much warmer and bassy tone.
It doesn’t spoil the listening experience, but it does change the audio, which is a shame. Unfortunately, the signature new feature of the liberty air 2 Pro is a bit underwhelming and doesn’t perform to the level I was hoping for.
It is perhaps a bit early to be concluding on performance, mainly since both Sony and apple have made software improvements to their noise-canceling earbuds.
So I am hopeful that Soundcore will follow suit and improve their earbuds over time, and of course, if they do, I will update you all. But certainly, as things stand, the liberty air 2 Pro falls quite a way behind the two market leaders for ANC.
Noise-canceling tech isn’t just used when listening to music. It affects the phone call performance too, which was much better. Also, the air 2 pro uses a six-mic setup instead of 4 from the previous model with the new mics needed to help with it.
Most earbuds perform well in quiet environments, but you try to use them in louder places like near passing traffic. The performance tends to drop all three earbuds use cvc8 noise-canceling and what stood out to me was how well they isolated my voice and minimized it.
The loud background noise during the call of the air 2 pro is evident, and the quietest of these sound core earbuds with the non-pro air 2. My voice was usually a bit louder and therefore easier to hear, but I think that the traffic noise is more audible.
The performance is very close but perhaps slightly better than the pro model. The liberty air 2 pro surprised me and performed the best out of all earbuds with the loudest and clearest voice. I usually find the long stone nearby to perform better.
These may have been improved with software updates since then, and finally, I thought I’d compare these to AirPods pro as well since these are often considered the gold standard for phone calls.
My voice is unequivocal with these, but they don’t block out as much of the loud background noise as any sound core earbuds do. So the noise-canceling text seems to work better for phone calls with the liberty earbuds.
However, since the AirPods are much better, it’s much easier to hear the caller since they’re doing a better job blocking out the sound for the person wearing them. So that’s something to consider, too, switching back to the liberty air 2 pro for comparison.
I’d say the mic performance is better than the AirPods pro when using them in larger environments. They are just not quite as transparent when using them indoors or in quiet places.
The earbuds are, of course, using Bluetooth 5, and as expected, the connection to my phone has been fantastic, offering both great range and a stable connection during playback.
The latency is also extremely low, perhaps slightly higher on android than on iOS. You can use these to watch videos without a visible delay with the audio. They support the sbc and aac codecs, but surprisingly there’s no support for aptx for android users.
This will be a disappointment since this is usually the optimal codec to be used. Strangely, this isn’t supported, especially since older soundcore earbuds, including the liberty 2 pro and the non-pro air 2, do have this.
The other disappointment is that we don’t have multi-point support, so you can’t connect to two devices simultaneously.
I know this feature is prevalent, and it is a shame that sound cores still haven’t introduced this. If you have the primary device, you’ll be using the earbuds. This shouldn’t be a problem for you.
Audio Quality: Airpods Pro vs Liberty 2 Pro vs Liberty Air 2 vs Liberty Air 2 Pro
We also need to talk about audio quality, which for the liberty air 2 pro is impressive. They are using soundcore new pure note technology tuned for accuracy and clarity. The step-up in quality from air 2 is massive.
The mid-range is well defined and allows you to identify individual instruments. This is complemented with detailed highs and most a full body to low end. In addition, you can hear how switching from six millimeters to these new 11-millimeter drivers has substantially improved the bass.
The air 2 sound signature has a brighter tone and even cranking up the custom eq. But, unfortunately, they still don’t have enough bass on the new pro model. The bass is punchy and much more profound, but it doesn’t muddy the audio.
This makes for a far richer and warmer tone resulting in a much more pleasing and immersive experience, especially with ANC turned on when comparing them to apple’s AirPods pro.
The liberty air 2 pro sound quality is better in every way they blow them out of the water. The highs sound clearer when it comes to bass, which is lacking in AirPods and AirPods pro. The audio is more engaging in general.
The audio quality doesn’t match up to the liberty 2 pro, which incidentally is one of the best-sounding earbuds. However, you can buy they’re given an edge thanks to their groundbreaking Austria architecture, a dynamic driver coaxially aligned with a balanced armature driver.
The low end is similar to these two earbuds, but the air 2 pro has impeccably crisp highs and a sense of sound stage that I don’t think the air 2 pro can match.
I found that the new air 2 pro doesn’t suffer from that static hissing sound mentioned in my liberty 2 pro review. Air 2 has this issue, and you can’t usually hear it when listening to music.
It is noticeable during quiet parts with podcasts and in between songs. So it’s good to see that the air 2 pro doesn’t have this problem.
Soundcore Pro series earbuds are their best sounding, and the step up in quality with the air 2 pro from the previous gen was quite surprising. So overall, I think the audio quality is perhaps the greatest strength of these earbuds.
So that’s everything for the liberty air 2 pro, which we’ll be launching at 129.99. So I think this puts them in a very competitive position.
When you look at the rest of the market, they massively undercut market leaders like Sennheiser, Sony, and apple and companies operating at the 150 marks like Samsung and Jabra.
Soundcore’s earbuds aren’t perfect, but I think this goes a long way in offsetting disappointments like a lack of aptx, multi-point, and mediocre and performance. In addition, the air 2 pros are incredibly comfortable.
They have a great battery life, phone call quality, and sound that is above and beyond what I expected. As a result, I would suggest them at this budget. However, in my opinion, the ANC feature is not worth the extra money over the air 2.
So this may be a good option if you want to save some money, but smaller features like wear detection and better sound quality make them worth it.
If you’re able to spend a bit more if audio quality is your number one priority, then you may want to consider the Liberty 2 pro instead, but I think the air 2 Pro is a better all-around earbud.