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Anker introduces 5 new Apple AirPods competitors

The company rolled out three new true-wireless models in its Soundcore Liberty line, including the new Liberty Air 2, as well as two sports models in its Spirit line.

anker-soundcore-libert-line-group

From left to right: Soundcore Liberty Pro 2, Soundcore Liberty Air 2, Soundcore Spirit X2 (with hooks), Soundcore Liberty 2, Soundcore Liberty Dot.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Anker is all-in on true-wireless earbuds. The company showed of five new models at an event in New York City, with prices ranging from $50 to $150 for a more premium model, the Liberty 2 Pro, which is being billed as offering audiophile-grade sound and looks a little like the Sony WF-1000XM3. Most of the new earphones will hit stores in October.

Anker's most popular true-wireless headphone to date has been its Liberty Air, which features a similar design to the AirPods but has a noise-isolating fit (its ear tips seal off your ear canal) and costs half the price. The new Liberty Air 2 ($100) has been upgraded with USB-C charging and wireless charging, better battery life and improved call quality, as well as a classier looking matte finish.

I got a chance to try early non-shipping units of both the Liberty 2 Pro and the Liberty Air 2 and liked their fit (I was able to get a secure fit with a tight seal) and was generally impressed with what I heard. The Liberty 2 Pro is supposed to compete with higher end models that cost over $200, and it definitely sounded better than the Liberty Air 2, which doesn't seem to sound noticeably better than the original Liberty Air.

Anker is touting the Liberty 2 Pro's new Astria Coaxial Acoustic Architecture driver technology that helps create more refined and open sound. At first listen, I didn't think the headphone sounded quite as good as the Sony WF-1000XM3, but the unit I was listening to wasn't final and will get some further sound tweaks before shipping. 

I'll take a deeper dive into all the new Anker Soundcore true wireless once I get my hands on final review samples but for now here are their key specs, according to Anker.

Liberty Air 2

  • Diamond Coated Drivers for accurate audio reproduction
  • HearID personalized sound profile
  • cVc 8.0 and four noise-canceling microphones for crystal-clear phone calls
  • Qi Wireless charging and USB-C charging
  • Support for aptX
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with Push and Go pairing technology
  • Up to 7 hours of playtime (45% increase from 2018 model)
  • 28 total hours of playtime with the case (40% increase from 2018 model)
  • IPX5 Waterproof rating
  • Price: $100
  • Availability: Early October at Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon.com and Soundcore.com

The Liberty 2 is $100 and doesn't sound quite as good as the Liberty 2 Pro.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Liberty 2

  • 10mm Diamond Coated Drivers for accurate audio reproduction
  • HearID personalized sound profile
  • cVc 8.0 and four noise-canceling microphones for crystal-clear phone calls
  • Support for aptX
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with Push and Go pairing technology
  • Up to 8 hours of playtime (32 total hours of playtime with the case)
  • GripFit Ear wing technology for secure fit
  • IPX5 Waterproof rating
  • Price: $100
  • Availability: Early October in Walmart, Amazon.com and Soundcore.com; early November at Best Buy

Liberty 2 Pro

  • Astria Coaxial Acoustic Architecture (ACAA)
  • Large 11mm dynamic driver combined with Knowles Balanced Armature
  • HearID personalized sound profile
  • cVc 8.0 and four noise-canceling microphones for crystal-clear phone calls
  • Support for aptX
  • Bluetooth 5.0 with Push and Go pairing technology
  • GripFit Ear wing technology for secure fit
  • Up to 8 hours of playtime (32 total hours of playtime with the case)
  • Qi wireless charging
  • IPX4 Waterproof rating
  • Price: $149.99
  • Availability: Preorder on Soundcore.com on Sept 26; available on October 8 on Amazon.com and Bestbuy.com

The sports-oriented Soundcore Spirit X2 costs $100.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Spirit X2

  • Earhook form-factor
  • 12mm composite drivers
  • Soundcore BassTurbo
  • Soundcore BassUp -- bass-boosting technology
  • Up to 9 hours of playtime (36 total hours of playtime with case)
  • USB-C charging
  • IP68 Waterproof rating with SweatGuard
  • Price: $100
  • Availability: Early October on Target.com; October 20 on Amazon.com and Soundcore.com
001-anker-soundcore-spirit-dot

The Spirit Dot.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Spirit Dot 2

  • 8mm Diamond Coated Composite Driver surrounded by elastic material for full and rich bass
  • Soundcore BassUp bass-boosting technology
  • AirWing cushion for secure fit
  • Up to 5.5 hours of play time (16 total hours of playtime from the case)
  • Fast charging while docked (USB-C charging)
  • IPX7 Waterproof rating with SweatGuard
  • One-step pairing with Push and Go
  • Price: $80
  • Availability: Mid-October on Amazon.com and Soundcore.com