Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro Review: Studio detail, giant soundstage

anker soundcore liberty 2 pro earphones review earbuds 1

Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro

“Like taking a personal concert anywhere, the Liberty 2 Pro can punch with the best – and win.”
  • Incredible audio quality
  • Solid call quality
  • Good battery life
  • Wireless charging
  • Great noise isolation
  • Outstanding value
  • Bulky design
  • Fiddly, feature-lacking buttons
MSRP $149.99

I am going to break with our review tradition here and just come out and say it: The Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro are truly exceptional. If you were already considering these, you don’t have to read any further: Buy them.

But if you’re wondering why I am so enamored with these particular buds, I have a lot to say. They aren’t quite perfect in all aspects, but if sound quality is of foremost importance to you, and you crave detail, balance, and a tremendous soundstage, then you currently cannot get anything better than the Liberty 2 Pro — especially not in their $150 price range.

No, that’s not hyperbole.

A luxurious box

When I first pulled the Liberty 2 out of the shipping box, I let out an audible “wow.” The product box is the nicest I’ve encountered of any audio product on my giant stack. Its trifold style is covered in a kind of texture that feels like a high-end matte paper magazine. Stunning graphics of the company’s audio hardware design are emblazoned across the interior of the folding cover, and the two buds and the charging case are displayed behind a transparent plastic cover.

Beneath that paper and plastic tub you’ll find a very large stack of paper documents (based on the excessive paper also included with the Spirit X2, this might just be a Soundcore thing), a charging cable, six (!) additional silicon eartips, and two additional wings that help hold the buds in place when worn. The seven eartip sizes provided here is way beyond industry average and certainly helps with the comfort (more on that later).

Given how robust the box is and the plastic tubs found inside it, I can’t give Anker the nod when it comes to sustainability, but at least they seemingly went all-out with the first impression. I’ve seen worse environmentally friendly boxes that provided much less of an impact. This box is so nice I am inclined to keep it for as long as I have the buds.

Clunky, bulky design

The Liberty 2 Pro get nearly everything right outside of the design. Here, though, they stumble.

Lets start with the case: It feels much larger than it needs to be, and the buds don’t sit in it intuitively.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

That’s not to say I think the case is big, but it’s certainly one of the larger of the ones I have on hand. It’s larger than the Master and Dynamic MW07 only because the sides are rounded out so dramatically, but it is thankfully smaller than both the Sony WF-SP800N and the WF-1000XM3 which are both almost obtrusively large. It’s almost twice as big as the case for the Jabra Elite 75t. I don’t think I would have as big of an issue with the case if I didn’t think it was made larger for the sake of the design, not because it needed to be. There seems to be a lot of wasted space, and the bottom of the case (where the battery appears to be) is so thin and relatively light that I just have to think there was a better way to design it.

Though the lid slides back satisfyingly, the buds are set particularly deep in the case and sit in the cradle oddly. Most buds on the market snap into place either with the eartips (like the WF-1000XM3) or antennae (like the Airpods) facing down. The Liberty 2 Pro are designed to sit in their case on their side, which makes putting them in and taking them out a process that I have to actively think about to make sure I get it right. I’ve been using these for a couple of weeks now and each time I still have to fiddle with them.

Next, let’s talk about the buds themselves: They’re bulky.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

You don’t notice their girth when you’re wearing them, but they do stick out from your head to a considerable degree, and anyone around you is going to be acutely aware of the buds; they are impossible to ignore.

One final note: Though you can pause/play/skip, power on and off, and answer/hang up calls with the Liberty 2 Pro, the button to do so is extremely small and poorly located. It’s a tiny button on the top of the right earbud, and it’s set back. You certainly won’t accidentally hit this button, which I suppose is a nice benefit, but it’s much easier to handle controls on your phone or smartwatch.

That tiny button is not fun to use. Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

There is also no way to control volume on the buds themselves, which is another annoyance. But since I’m probably going to be using my phone to manage what song I’m listening to anyway due to the aforementioned fiddly buttons, I suppose it’s not that big of a deal.

Features and comfort

With the design out of the way, we can get to talking about the good stuff — and there is a lot of good stuff.

Though they do not have as long a battery life as their sports-focused brethren, the Spirit X2, the Liberty 2 Pro have a great 8 hours of battery life when looking at comparable earbuds with a performance focus. An additional three charges in the case brings the total listening time to 32 hours. They last at least as long as the Sony WH-1000XM3s, are better than the 19.5 hours you get from the Panasonic Technics TWS AZ70s, and are vastly superior to the woeful 14 hours of the Master and Dynamic MW07s. They don’t match the 13 hours of the Sony WF-SP800N or the 9.5 hours out of the RHA TrueConnect 2, but they do beat the Jabra Elite 75T, which only get about 7 hours in our testing.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

A scant 10 minutes of charging will net you 2 hours of listening as well. The charging case is also compatible with USB-C, as well as Qi wireless charging, which is great to see.

Soundcore has an excellent app that is compatible with the Liberty 2 Pros and lets you change the EQ from the default sound profile (which is honestly pretty great) to one of 10 suggested calibrations from professional music producers, your own custom EQ, or a personalized sound profile that is put together based on a listening test you can perform through the app.

I personally like to do a custom EQ based on my own preferences but trying out my favorite songs with different calibrations from the industry pros was interesting, even fun. The personalized profile through the app felt kind of gimmicky, and the profile it built for me wasn’t my favorite. I applaud the effort, but I’ll stick with custom EQ.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

Unfortunately, the Liberty 2 Pro do not have any kind of sensor to detect when a bud is removed from your ears, so you’ll have to manually pause music.

The buds support a host of codecs including aptX, which is great to see.

Soundcore is making a solid case for active noise-canceling tech not being necessary in earbuds based on how excellent these are with noise isolation. When worn and playing music even at a low volume, sound is so well isolated, I could swear they had noise canceling. Though they are not going to be the best to wear on an airplane with no music playing, they do a great job without ANC.

That noise isolation means the buds are pretty snug in your ear, and if you’re particularly sensitive to pressure in your ear canal, I could see these creating some fatigue. Personally, I like the fit. I use the smallest eartips and fins and they stay in my ears very well. I was able to wear them for hours without issue.

Soundcore is making a solid case for active noise-canceling tech not being necessary in earbuds.

They aren’t the most comfortable earbuds I’ve tested, but they offer a very good balance of comfortable and secure. I have a heck of a time keeping the Sony WF-1000XM3s in my ears, and the very comfortable Master and Dynamic MW07s do a very poor job isolating. The Liberty 2 Pro are the Goldilocks of this situation for me: They’re just right.

Incredible soundstage

I cannot believe I’m saying this, but the Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro have a wider, richer overall soundstage than any other earbud I’ve tested in 2020. They can match the raw bass power from the Jabra Elite 75T, and have a deeper and more robust projection of that bass. Compared to our usual standard, the Sony WF-1000XM3, the Liberty 2 Pro have a bigger sound and more powerful bass without losing any of the detail. The XM3s sound great, but they lack in detail. The Liberty 2 Pro manages to be both robust and detailed, which is surprising and impressive.

That’s right, I think they sound better than an earbud that costs nearly twice as much.

The Liberty 2 Pro are the closest thing to over-ear professional studio monitors that I’ve experienced in an earbud.

While I have to really stop and listen carefully in order to pick out the background detail of Katy Perry’s Daisies on both the Sony and the Jabra, it’s clear and obvious on the Liberty 2 Pro. In Hans Zimmer’s No Time for Caution, I feel like I’m sitting in the Imax theater, watching Interstellar for the first time again.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

When I listen to music through the Liberty 2 Pro, I feel like I am sitting dead center in my own personal theater with my favorite band playing just for me. Somehow, Anker Soundcore managed to give me all the details across lows, mids, and highs that I crave while also keeping the balance pristine. Even when I change the EQ to throw the bass as high as it will go, it never overwhelms any of the other levels. The detail is always still there.

The Liberty 2 Pro are the closest thing to over-ear professional studio monitors that I’ve experienced in an earbud. But while studio monitors tend to be more neutral in their projection in order to maintain balance and highlight detail, the Liberty 2 Pro manage to somehow give me that beautiful rich depth and warmth that is great for easy listening without having to sacrifice that balance and critical detail. I cannot get enough of the music these buds provide, the sound is that exceptional.

If sound quality is of foremost importance to you, the Liberty 2 Pro are going to be hard to beat.

For me, the Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro are the new standard.

Call quality

I am happy to report that call quality with the Liberty 2 Pro is very good for both parties. Not only can I hear the other side of the conversation very clearly, but they could hear me clearly as well. They aren’t the best for calls among all the earbuds we have tested – the Apple AirPods Pro are better – but they do a great job.

Anker Soundcore says they achieve the solid call quality through four microphones and uplink noise reduction and voice isolation. I am not familiar with their lingo or technology, but I can say it works very well, making these buds not only excellent for music but also for work.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

Our take

The Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro earphones may not be the prettiest buds on the market, and their charging case is a bit awkward, but they make up for all of that with the best audio quality you can expect out of true wireless earbuds. At $150, they not only rule their price segment, beating out the excellent Jabra Elite 75t and RHA TrueConnect 2, but go even further and punch far above their weight class against buds that can cost twice as much. If sound quality is of foremost importance to you, the Liberty 2 Pro are going to be hard to beat.

Is there a better alternative?

Honestly, if audio quality is what you care most about, no. For $150, we have not yet encountered a better-sounding pair of buds. However, sound isn’t everything. If you want to come close but get smaller and more comfortable buds with a tiny charging case, the Jabra Elite 75t are great. The RHA TrueConnect 2, Happy Plugs Air 1 ANC, and Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are all also in the $150 range and worth considering.

How long will they last?

Anker Soundcore offers an incredible 18-month warranty for their products, which is well above the norm. The build is solid, too. I expect these to last several years, easily.

Should you buy them?

Unequivocally yes. The Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro are outstanding earphones with the best high-quality, detailed soundstage we’ve encountered in true wireless buds. You want them.

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