A little bit ago, we brought you word of some rather exciting-sounding new earbuds from Anker. I’ve become a big fan of their over-ear ANC headphones (both the Q20 and the Q30), but I’ve had mixed success with how well ANC works in earbuds. So, of course we got a sample in, and I spent some time with it over the past few weeks to get a feel for the earbuds.

Rather than burying the lede, I’ll just put it out there right up front – the ANC on the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is really quite good. I was astonished, frankly, by how well it worked. I was sitting next to my furnace when I first popped them in, and away went the noise, just like with it’s larger over-ear brethren. And that’s even before you start tuning the earbuds.

With the app on your smartphone, you can adjust what sort of noise cancelling the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is doing, just like on the Q30s. But you can also get into some interesting EQ adjustments. You can go through their preset profiles, tweak it yourself, or do what I did. That is, rely on their “hearing test” mode. With that, you’ll want to be in a quieter space, as it cycles through each earbud at various frequencies (and volumes). At each step, you state whether or not you can hear it (just like the hearing test at the doctor) – once you can’t hear it, you get one more tone at that level, and if you still can’t, it’s on to the next one. The app then takes those results and determines an EQ setting that makes the most sense for your hearing. For me, it worked a charm.

While I use the over-ear headphones for most of my work day, earbuds have their place primarily in my morning jogs, and to a lesser extent for quick phonecalls when I’m out and about. In terms of running with the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, I’ve no complaints. A lot will depend on the tip selection you make, but they stayed in my ears quite well, and there wasn’t much noise from them moving/bouncing around. A little, sure, but it wasn’t that bad. I also like that you can have the ANC in a mode that let’s you hear some of what is going on around you, which is key for things like, say, wandering around outside when traffic is nearby.

In terms of having the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro with you and available for calls, the slide-top charging case is relatively compact, and simple to slip into a pocket or a bag (say, like a Peak Designs sling), so it’s always there with you. They power up quickly (and, if you like, you can use just one earbud instead of the pair) and connect to the phone, and away you go. And, if you need to talk to someone? Just pull out an earbud – it can tell it’s been removed, and pauses what you were listening to. A handy trick, no fumbling to remember which side to touch for the pause.

In short, I came away really, really impressed with the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro. With earbuds, you’re dealing with smaller drivers, so sound quality generally falls into the “it is what is is” category. Here, though, Anker has done some really nice things. They’ve done what they can with the driver size, but it’s really the inclusion of customizing the EQ to your hearing capacity, as well as some really, REALLY good active noise cancellation (which can be tuned as well) that sets these earbuds apart from others I’ve tried out.

In short, these are the only ANC-equipped earbuds that I’ve tested that I’d actually recommend to anyone. Now, fair is fair, and I am used to how the Anker audio stuff works and the like, but the ANC on these is unlike anything else I’ve tried in a package this small. Yes, for ultimate comfort and multi-day battery, over ear is the way to go. That said, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro are light and comfortable for calls, and with 6-hour life on the earbuds and another 3 charge cycles worth in the case, you can keep going for awhile.

All of this goodness packed into something so small, you know there’s a tradeoff, right? Here, it’s the price. If you’re used to bargain-basement bluetooth earbud prices, the $129.99 pricetag make stop you in your tracks. For what you have here, though, just in terms of capability and function, I do really feel you get what you’re paying for.

Oh, and one other note – if you REALLY want to have quiet in your ears, you can easily have the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro on (with ANC) and slide the over-ear Q30s on top of them for double the sound isolation, if you like. I mean, I didn’t notice a huge difference, but it’s there for you if you need it. And if you don’t really want or need ANC on-the-go, then some of the $40 – $50 offerings from Anker would fit the bill, I imagine. For the best small audio ANC package I’ve had in my ears, though, the LA2P is the way to go. soundcore.com

Details from Anker

  • PureNote Driver technology with 11mm drivers for accurate sound and clarity at all frequencies.
  • Multi-mode ANC with Transport, Indoor and Outdoor settings for customizable usage levels
  • Two transparency modes enhance the environment including voices without removing earbuds.
  • 7-hour battery in earbuds with ANC off / 6-hour battery with ANC on
  • Qi wireless charging case with 26 hour battery with ANC off / 21 hour battery with ANC on as well as USB-C charging.
  • Anker Fast Charging technology – 10 minutes charging earbuds = 2 hours of playtime
  • Premium call quality using 6-mic uplink noise reduction helps optimize voices and minimize background noise.
  • Customizable user touch controls to set preferences for play/pause, track advance, volume, etc. ®​
  • Voice-assistant compatibility with Siri​ at launch and other popular voice-assistants in the future.
  • Nine sets of silicone ear tips, ranging from XXXS to XL and L+ in ensure a proper fit.
  • Bluetooth version – 5.0
  • Waterproof rating – IPX4
  • Available in Four Colors: Onyx Black, Titanium White, Sapphire Blue, and Crystal Pink
  • Earbud size // Case size – 1.47” x 0.87” x 0.91” // 2.44” x 2.35” x 1.18”
  • Earbud weight / Case weight – 0.37 oz // 1.78 oz
  • MSRP: $129.99 / £129.99 / €129.99 / $169.99 (CAD)

By Patrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.

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