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Lifewire / Jason Schneider
Solid sound quality
Full-featured, including wireless charging
Premium build quality
Not the best design
Pricey for an off-brand
Bulky charging case
The impressive Soundcore Liberty Pro 2 brings excellent sound quality down to a reasonable price, but they aren’t without their shortcomings.
When it comes to tradeoffs, the Soundcore Liberty Pro 2 might just be the perfect option for true wireless earbuds. That isn’t a claim made lightly—the true wireless category is as crowded and competitive as they come. Soundcore is normally a brand reserved for the low-to-mid section of the market, and the price of the Liberty Pros puts them right alongside other average-priced models.
However, the feature set makes these earphones seem much more premium. The top-notch battery life ensures these earphones won’t die easily; the formidable water resistance and the unique design, fit, and finish will scratch that gadget itch; and the sound quality, while perhaps oversold on the marketing materials, is very impressive for the price point. Here’s how the earphones fared during my week’s worth of everyday testing.
The appearance of a pair of earphones has become a marquee consideration for most brands in the space. Apple has held fast to its white, stem-based design, while brands like Sony and Bose try to strike new ground with oval shapes that hide in your ear or float just outside. Because a product like this is so small, but needs to contain lots of tech (Bluetooth receivers, rechargeable batteries, microphones, and of course the speaker driver), how a brand chooses to design the casing of the earbud can become an important consideration for a consumer—especially if you’re planning on wearing these around every day.
The Soundcore Liberty Pro 2 earbuds aren’t trying to give you the smallest footprint around as each earbud actually features two separate speakers (more on that in the sound quality section). As such, these earbuds are definitely on the big side of the market, but still come in smaller than offerings from Sony and Bose. That’s because Soundcore has used a lot of real estate inside the eartip part, and have gone with an oblong oval for the back side of the chassis.
The two-tone gray color scheme is right in line with the rest of the market, but the flat, rounded battery case that looks kind of like a pill box is not like anything I’ve seen on the market. One personal opinion: the Soundcore logo (with an accented “d” on top of it) looks sort of odd, and because the wordmark is so large on the battery case, it actually detracts from what would otherwise be a really sleek package. The Pros earn passing marks here, otherwise.
I’m always surprised with how many people will just accept a sub-par fit for their earbuds. The way a pair of earphones feels in your ears is so important, because if you can’t wear them for very long or, perhaps worse, if the earbuds fall out of your ears, you can’t enjoy any other feature on the earphones.
Soundcore has taken this concept to heart by providing more than a dozen extra tips, wings, and sizes to choose from in the package. Once you’ve found the right eartips and wings for you, the fit ends up feeling much more customized than many other earbuds. That’s because Soundcore is giving you two points of contact for a solid fit—the eartips fill out your ear canal nicely for good sound isolation and the soft, looped wing just barely hooks the inside of your outer ear to ensure that if the eartip does come loose, it won’t fall out as easily.
I tend to like an eartip that doesn’t sit quite as snugly as these. The Bose SoundSport Free’s pinched, cone-like tips allow for better airflow in my case, so I do find the Liberty Pro 2s a little too tight. But if you don’t mind that, then these will likely check the comfort box well for you. The weight is a lot lighter than I was expecting considering the dual-driver build (the whole package, is just over 3 ounces including the battery case), which rounds out the comfort level nicely.
The case with the Liberty Pros gives you plenty of quality for the price point—the soft-touch plastic won’t scratch as easily as a gloss finish and the soft-sliding lid rivals even the AirPods’ satisfying lid snap.
The tactile experience with a pair of true wireless earbuds is one of the hardest things to put into words, yet has become one of the most important factors when being satisfied with your purchase. The battery case that comes with the Liberty Pro 2 gives you plenty of quality for the price point—the soft-touch plastic won’t scratch as easily as a gloss finish and the soft-sliding lid rivals even the AirPods’ satisfying lid snap. The silicone tips and wings are very soft, and the soft-touch plastic of the case extends onto the earbuds themselves. The whole thing feels premium, which is definitely a nice-to-have for any pair of true wireless earbuds.
In terms of durability, I’m a little concerned about the lifespan of these earbuds. The sliding lid of the case, while nifty, does feel like it is susceptible to dirt scraping and perhaps even failure after a ton of repetitions of opening and closing it. The ultra-soft earwings are super comfortable and are definitely made of high-quality rubber, but on the flip side of that, I’m concerned that down the road they’ll start to wear thin and break. I obviously haven’t spent months or even multiple weeks with these earphones, so it’s hard to say for sure, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Soundcore has included IPX4 water resistance here, which isn’t the most secure I’ve seen on earphones at this price point, but will certainly take sweat and light rain during workouts.
The setup of these earphones was about as seamless as you’d expect. After unboxing, pulling an earbud out of the case puts them into pairing mode. One minor gripe is that the audio cues where the voice tells you whether the earphones are paired or not happens a little too quickly when you remove the buds from the case. It’s nice that there is a cue in plain English, but if it happens too quickly, before I’m able to get the earbud in my ear, then I can’t hear it and it defeats the purpose.
As expected for a premium-focused pair of earbuds, the Liberty Pros use Bluetooth 5.0 for plenty of range and stability of connection, and you get all the Bluetooth codecs you could want here from SBC and AAC all the way up to aptX support.
In general, these earphones tended to succumb to “other device” Bluetooth interference much less than some others that I’ve tried. Granted, I’ve been working from home a lot lately, and therefore am not around a lot of other earphones. But even with several of my Bluetooth devices connected at once, the Liberty Pro 2 was rock solid.
The sound quality of the Liberty Pro 2 is nothing short of incredible. I’ll be honest—I’m hesitating to give these earphones rave reviews because Soundcore is leaning very heavily on wild marketing claims to sell the audiophile nature of these earbuds. The first red flag is the claim that “ten Grammy-winning producers recommend these earphones.” While this isn’t a particular issue in and of itself, there isnt much more information to support that claim, and usually brands that tout “producer-recommended sound” are doing so because the specs don’t match.
The sound quality of the Liberty Pro 2 is nothing short of incredible.
However, despite my hesitation, I can confirm that these earphones sound amazing, and that’s before you even factor in their budget-friendly price tag. That’s because of the “Astria Coaxial Acoustic Architecture”. That sort of bloated marketing speak is also something I don’t usually like to see in lieu of real specs. What that phrase means, however, is that Soundcore has put two separate speaker drivers (a standard 11m and a Knowles balanced armature driver), aligned on top of each other, inside each earbud. One driver is focused solely on the bass side of the spectrum, while the other driver takes care of mids and detail.
Soundcore has put two separate speaker drivers (a standard 11m and a Knowles balanced armature driver), aligned on top of each other, inside each earbud. One driver is focused solely on the bass side of the spectrum, while the other driver takes care of mids and detail.
This is the technology you normally see used for wired in-ear monitors (you know those earpieces you see musicians wear on stage). It’s interesting to see that Soundcore has enlisted this pro-technology in true wireless earbuds, because the compression inherent in Bluetooth connectivity usually negates a lot of fancy drivers on the headphone end. However, Soundcore has thought of this too, as they’ve included Qualcomm aptX drivers (allowing for more lossless transfer of Bluetooth audio) to help bolster the performance. All in all, it’s a very impressive package.
By the numbers alone, Soundcore has presented a pretty compelling package here on the battery front. The earbuds themselves are purported to provide about 8 hours of continuous playtime on a single charge, and that battery life extends to a whopping 32 hours when you factor in the battery case.
I wasn’t able to drain these earphones fully, but I can anecdotally say that those totals were trending correctly in my daily use. If you tend to listen to music more loudly, I’d imagine that the rich bass response of these earphones will drain the battery more, but average use should put your totals right in line with what’s advertised.
What’s truly remarkable here is that the recharging capabilities of the Liberty Pros are very premium. They charge up via USB-C, and Soundcore advertises that the case is compatible with “fast charging,” though they give no speed estimates. When I recharged the case right out of the box, it boosted back up to full within about 90 minutes,which is about average for earphones like this.
What I found most surprising is that the battery case itself supports Qi-enabled wireless charging—meaning you can just drop that case onto the same wireless charger you use for your phone and it should work. This is actually a high sought-after feature for true wireless earbuds, because even the best in the business (from Sony to Apple’s entry-level AirPods) leave this option out.
The wildcard on these earphones is the HearID feature that Soundcore has baked into the experience. Download the Soundcore app, connect the earphones, and then navigate to the HearID section of the app. From here it’ll prompt you to move to a quiet area and will play you a series of tones in each ear and ask you to touch the screen when you can and can’t hear those tones (not unlike a hearing test, actually).
By doing this, Soundcore can audibly map your ear canal and your hearing capacity and, theoretically EQ and optimize the sound to match your specific hearing. This is a great idea, in theory, and I tried my best to compare the out-of-the-box sound to the post-HearID sound. I think that going through the HearID step helped to round out the sound stage and made my music feel more natural and three-dimensional—but this is hard to be sure about without a clean A/B test. It could have just been a placebo effect.
The rest of the features are pretty expected—the app gives you some control over the connectivity of the earphones and it does allow you to manually equalize the sound of the earbuds to your specific taste. Additionally, there is a “four mic array” for phone calls that worked reasonably well the few times I used it during video calls. The on-board controls are top-mounted push buttons, which I actually prefer to touch controls as they are easier to confirm your presses and inputs.
There’s no denying that, for the feature set, these earphones provide great value for the average consumer. At $120 retail, the Liberty Pro 2 comes in decently cheaper than the base-level AirPods, and way under other pro models from Apple, Sony, Jabra, and the rest. There’s one issue with this, however.
All of those brands I just mentioned are marquee brands that have garnered respect, trust, and caché in the industry. If you can find a way to take the brand out of the equation, the Liberty Pro 2s are impressive on all fronts. But there is no way of getting around the fact that you are spending over $100 on a pair of earphones made by a company most known for battery banks and charging cables (Anker is the umbrella company that runs Soundcore).
Again, many people don’t care too much about brand name, and if that’s you, then these earphones are amazing. But if you want the status and the peace of mind that comes from buying a product from one of the top brands in audio tech, then you’ll be more at home with Apple or Sony.
It’s hard to pick a true competitor to the Liberty Pro 2 because they offer so many features that many brands have to pick and choose from. To my ears, the Liberty pros are more in line with Apple’s Airpods Pro (see on Apple) because they offer a similar sound spectrum, wireless charging, and a premium build quality. You’ll get noise cancellation and the premium look inherent with the AirPods family, but the dual-driver build interesting EQ capabilities of the Liberty Pro 2s make them sound just a little better, in my opinion.
A true hidden gem for the true wireless earbud market.
In short—don’t sleep on the Soundcore Liberty Pro 2. These earphones offer nearly every feature you could ever want in a pair of true wireless earphones (with the noted exception of noise cancellation), and they’ve done it while managing to keep the price at the bottom of the pro spectrum. The build quality is great, though it might have issues in the long-term, and you have to wrestle with the idea of purchasing an “off-brand” product. But otherwise, the bang for your buck here is truly incredible.