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Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Review True Wireless Hybrid ANC Earbuds

Monday, January 18, 2021

The Soundcore Liberty Series has improved a lot over the last few years from the Liberty Air humble beginnings! The Soundcore Liberty timeline spans across five series, namely Liberty Air, Liberty 2, Liberty 2 Pro, Liberty Air 2 and Liberty Air 2 Pro, which is the latest addition and, the first Liberty Series earbuds to integrate Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) functionality.
The Liberty Air 2 Pro retain the same aesthetically pleasing stem design (3.5cm long) as the Liberty Air 2 but, instead of a squarish design, the Liberty Air 2 Pro has a large pod-like body, housing an 11mm driver. This is the same size driver found inside the Liberty 2 Pro earbuds, which also integrate a Knowles balanced armature driver. By contrast, the Liberty Air 2 earbuds use a small 5mm driver.
On 50% volume, the Liberty Air 2 Pro can deliver 7 hours playtime with ANC off, 6 hours with ANC on and 6.5 hours on Transparency Mode. Active noise cancellation works well at cutting down 80% of noise and, you can even tweak the ANC level from the Soundcore app, giving you the same ANC functionality as the Soundcore Life Q30, which also uses a hybrid ANC design. Transparency mode also works well by letting ambient sound inside the earbud without unnaturally amplifying the external sound.
Underpinning the Liberty Air 2 Pro battery performance is also a faster charging speed. From a quick recharge (15 minutes), the Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds can deliver 3 hours of playtime; whereas the Liberty Air 2 and Liberty 2 Pro can only manage 1.2 hours and 2 hours respectively from a quick recharge. The Liberty Air 2 Pro charging time is 1 hour.
Unlike previous Liberty Series earbuds, which use a Qualcomm chip, the Liberty Air 2 Pro does not use Qualcomm; hence no aptX support. Instead, the Liberty Air 2 Pro uses a Bestechnics chip (BES2300YP), which is the same chip used in the Google Pixel buds and the TWS NB2 earbuds. The Liberty Air 2 Pro BES chipset supports SBC and AAC, as well as Bluetooth 5.0. 
While BES bluetooth chips are relatively unknown compared to Qualcomm and Apple's W1 chip, the performance (in terms of wireless range, stability and streaming) is just as good with instantaneous re-connection when switching between mono and stereo listening. Latency-wise, there is a little more lag (on android) than with the Liberty 2 Pro, which support aptX.
The Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds cannot be paired independently with separate devices and do not support multipoint pairing, unlike the Liberty 2 Pro, which supports both multipoint connection and independent use. Neither the Liberty Air 2 nor the Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds support multipoint pairing, although the Liberty Air 2 does support independent use.
The Liberty Air 2 Pro charging case is also radically different to the Liberty Air 2, which has an upright style charging case; whereas the Liberty Air 2 Pro has the same pebble-shaped, bathtub style charging case as the Liberty 2 Pro, which makes removing the earbuds easier. The charging case opens flat horizontally, in a similar way to a sliding sunroof of a car. The Liberty Air 2 Pro sliding mechanism works just as smoothly and can be easily operated with a few fingers of one hand and without slipping, thanks to the rubbery coat across the charging case. The Liberty Air 2 Pro charging case uses a similar friction hinge mechanism, which allows you to leave the lid open ajar . This is particularly useful after a sweaty session to allow the earbuds to air dry safely inside the charging case without having the charging case lid open all the way.
The Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds have a similar runtime to the Liberty Air 2 and Liberty 2 Pro with the exception of the charging case. The Liberty Air 2 Pro charging case holds slightly less battery than the Liberty Air 2 and significantly less than the Liberty 2 Pro charging case, which is interesting since the Liberty Air 2 Pro and Liberty 2 Pro have the same 500 mAh battery capacity. Visually, the Liberty Air 2 Pro and Liberty 2 Pro charging cases are virtually the same, aside from the slicker Soundcore logo metallic chrome etching on the Liberty Air 2 Pro charging case and the rubber cap on the Liberty 2 Pro charging case. 
The Liberty Air 2 Pro charging case doesn't have a rubber cap, which is always useful to prevent pocket lint ingress. The charging case takes 2 hours to re-charge via USB-C cable and 2.5 hours via a 10W qi-certified wireless charging pad. There is a status led on the earbuds but, it does not blink during audio playback. The Liberty Air 2 Pro have a similar low IPX4 rating as the Liberty 2 Pro. The Liberty Air 2 Pro also integrates two extra microphones for calls, bringing the total to a whopping six noise cancelling microphones, which do a good job of naturally amplifying your voice over the background noise without distorting.
The Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds also feature touch sensitive controls, each having a double tap function and a hold function for controlling a total of four functions. Volume is not supported by default but, it can be enabled from the Soundcore app, although at the expense of another function. There is also automatic play/pause, which can be enabled or disabled via the app. 
Auto play/pause works well, activating when the earbud is removed from the ears and without triggering when tilting the head at an angle. There is no voice prompt when toggling between ANC modes. Thanks to app support, the Liberty Air 2 Pro "bassy"sound signature can be altered to your liking by selecting one of the presets or by manually tweaking the sound via the 8-band equalizer 
At 52 grams (charging case) and 6 grams (earbuds), the Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds and charging case are heavier than the Liberty Air 2 but lighter than the Liberty 2 Pro. The Liberty Air 2 Pro charging case has a squarish design, measuring 6cm long and 6cm wide. The height of the charging case is 2.5cm high.
The Liberty Air 2 Pro come with nine pairs of bowl shaped silicone eartips of various sizes, including XXXS ear tips for really small ear canals. Thanks to the generous assortment of sizes and the thinness of the silicone, the Liberty Air 2 Pro are guaranteed to fit comfortably inside the ear canal and stay in, thanks to the rubbery coating. The fit is secure, although not as secure in the ear as the Liberty 2 Pro, which integrates wingtips. The ear tips come nicely organized inside a plastic retainer, although the retainer cannot be removed like you can with the Liberty Pro 2 ear tip organizer. An unbranded charging cable is also included. You can buy the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro from amazon. Check out the review of the new Soundcore Life P3 hybrid ANC earbuds

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