Anker has announced that it’s putting out a new pair of true wireless earbuds – called the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro – with active noise cancellation, custom-tuned sound and wireless charging for $129.99 (around £95, AU$170).
In terms of design, these true wireless earbuds have elongated stems similar to the original Apple AirPods that house six noise-cancelling microphones that Anker says helps keep your calls sounding clear, and come with a sliding charging case that uses USB-C to charge.
What's interesting is that, on paper, the earbuds have a lot of the same features as the Apple AirPods Pro – one of the best true wireless earbuds out there right now – but with a few new tricks exclusive to Anker, like HearID that tests your hearing and creates a custom sound profile for you.
Anker says the earbuds are good for seven hours of playback with active noise cancellation turned off, and six hours with ANC turned on, with another 21 hours of charge in the case. That’s slightly better than the AirPods Pro (which averages out to be around 4.5 hours per charge) but of course we’ve yet to put that number to the test ourselves.
The only big missing feature of the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is spatial audio support; the AirPods Pro supports Dolby Atmos while other Android-friendly buds like the Sony WF-1000XM3 support 360 Reality Audio. The Liberty Air 2 Pro currently supports neither.
Can anyone out-Apple the AirPods Pro?
While Apple certainly wasn’t the first company to develop true wireless earbuds, the AirPods were arguably responsible for helping to popularize the form factor.
The originals, released in 2017, offered a number of neat upgrades that we hadn’t seen on true wireless earbuds in the past, like quick pairing, before the AirPods Pro came along in 2019 and added active noise cancellation and hands-free Siri to the list of features.
The problem? Apple charges a premium price for its products, which has allowed competitors like Anker to come in and try to undercut the competition with marginally similar products at a lower price.
The earbuds are available starting today on Anker's website, and if the Anker Liberty Air 2 Pro can keep the premium feel of Apple’s true wireless earbuds while slashing the cost in half, they’ll make for a pretty compelling alternative.
- Looking for some new cans? Check out our guide to the best headphones in 2021