In the past year or so, Anker has gone strong into the true wireless earphones game. It has released the Liberty Lite ($70), the Liberty ($99) and the Liberty+ ($150), all of which have different features but share the same design and sound qualities. Now the company is switching form factors so that its new headphones — the Soundcore Liberty Air ($80) — look far more similar to Apple AirPods. And they’re half the price.
The Liberty Air won’t blow you away with features, but that’s not what they’re designed to do. They’re meant to be affordable, and compared to AirPods they definitely are. The Liberty Air come with a charging case that’s a similar size and shape to the pocketable AirPods housing and charges with a micro-USB cable. It packs Bluetooth 5.0 (and a simple pairing process), which may be the next best thing to Apple’s W1 Bluetooth chip. And the Liberty Air come with several silicone eartip options, which not only help with fit — AirPods don’t fit in everybody’s ears — but also makes these true wireless earbuds water- and sweat-resistant (IPX5), which AirPods are not. Lastly, each of the earbuds packs a graphene-coated driver and a mic, so you should be able to take and hear calls clearly.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air obviously aren’t AirPods, and the biggest drawbacks, from what I can tell, have to do with the charging case, which doesn’t charge via Lightning cable and it doesn’t magnetically snap together when you close it. There’s also no W1 chip, so pairing with all your Apple devices probably won’t be as seamless. But if you’re looking for a cheap alternative to AirPods that aren’t made by a sketchy company that you found on Amazon (like these), Anker’s are poised to be it. Also, they come in black, which AirPods definitely do not.
The Liberty Air are available in two colors, black or white, and you can get them now on Amazon for $79.