New Anker earbuds offer active noise-cancelling — for half the price of AirPods Pro

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro
(Image credit: Anker)

Anker’s latest earbuds could provide another alternative for those who want AirPods Pro features without paying an Apple premium. The Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, which are available immediately, offer adjustable active noise cancellation (ANC), a transparency mode and wireless charging — all for $130.

That’s close to half the price of the AirPods Pro, and the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro also promise to beat the them on battery life, with seven hours of ANC playback to the Apple buds’ 4.5 hours.

The true wireless headphones are the latest cut-price AirPods Pro rivals to appear at CES 2021, alongside the JBL Tour Pro Plus and the TCL MoveAudio S600. While this points towards the lasting popularity of Apple’s high-end buds and a desire among manufacturers to cut themselves in, the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro do appear to hold a number of advantages over the AirPods Pro, at least in terms of technical sophistication.

The ANC, for example, can be set to one of three different modes — Transport, Indoor and Outdoor — with each tailored towards blocking out particular frequencies, and you can even create a custom ANC to determine the effect’s intensity. Transparency mode also has separate “Fully transparent” and “Vocal” modes, the latter emphasising speech for clearer conversations.

Likewise there's a “HearID” feature, which uses the mobile app to tests how well you hear certain frequencies at varying volumes, and personalizes the sound output according to the results. You can also tweak the EQ manually, again via the app.

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro

(Image credit: Anker)

IPX4 waterproofing adds another feature that the AirPods Pro simply don’t have, while the charging case matches Apple’s design by supporting wireless charging.

Best of all is the price: $130 represents a $120 saving on the AirPods Pro if you buy them direct from Apple, and is still $110 cheaper than their best price on Amazon at the time of writing. The Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro don’t have an equivalent of Apple’s Spatial Audio surround sound, but that could be an easy sacrifice to make if the rest of these buds are up to standard.

On that note, we’ll be reviewing the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro very soon, so stay tuned for our verdict. We could well have a new addition to the best wireless earbuds list on our hands.

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.