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Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC Truly Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Mar 08, 2021 at 09:01 am
Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC Truly Wireless Picture
6.7
Neutral Sound
7.7
Commute/Travel
8.2
Sports/Fitness
7.1
Office
5.7
Wireless Gaming
5.5
Wired Gaming
6.8
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Noise Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC Truly Wireless are noise cancelling truly wireless in-ears. They feature a broad range of customizability via their companion app, including a three-mode ANC system as well as a graphic EQ and 20 EQ presets to let you fine-tune their sound profile. They block out a good amount of background noise, have a comfortable, stable fit, and provide almost 11 hours of playback time on a single charge. Unfortunately, their integrated mic delivers sub-par recording quality, and their Bluetooth latency on some devices is quite high.

Our Verdict

6.7 Neutral Sound

The Anker Life A2 NC are an alright choice for neutral sound. They have a V-shaped sound profile that emphasizes the thump and rumble of EDM and hip-hop music but without completely muddying or cluttering vocals or lead instruments. You can also adjust your listening experience in detail via an in-app graphic EQ or EQ presets. Unfortunately, they have a small, closed-off soundstage, though that's normal for in-ear headphones.

Pros
  • Companion app with many sound customization features.
Cons
  • Small soundstage.
7.7 Commute/Travel

The Anker Life A2 NC are good for commuting and traveling. They're remarkably easy to carry around, are well-built, and feel quite comfortable. Their near 11-hour continuous battery life should also be more than sufficient for long overnight trips, and their ANC system does a decent job of blocking out the low-rumble of bus and plane engines in its 'Transport' mode. Unfortunately, their control scheme doesn't support onboard volume adjustment out-of-the-box, and you lose access to other playback functions if you remap it using their companion app. They also exhibit noticeable audio latency on iOS and Android devices, which could be annoying if you like to watch videos on your way into the office or to class.

Pros
  • Compact, sturdy design.
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
  • Good noise isolation performance.
  • Long continuous battery life.
Cons
  • High Bluetooth latency.
  • Limted control scheme.
8.2 Sports/Fitness

The Anker Life A2 NC are a great option for sports and fitness. They're very compact, feel sturdy enough to deal with a couple of minor impacts, and are rated IPX5 for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Their lightweight construction and stability fins also help them do a great job of staying in place when you move your head around. Your ears shouldn't sweat more than usual while wearing them either. Unfortunately, their control scheme is quite limited overall, and you may need to pull your phone out to adjust them.

Pros
  • Compact, sturdy design.
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
  • Long continuous battery life.
Cons
  • Limted control scheme.
7.1 Office

The Anker Life A2 NC are alright for office use. They do a good job of blocking out background chatter even without their ANC feature enabled and leak very little audio, so nearby coworkers shouldn't be too annoyed if you like to listen to content at high volumes. They provide almost 11 hours of playback time on a single charge, which should be more than enough to last you throughout your day, though they don't have any power-saving features like an auto-off timer. They also don't support multi-device pairing, so you can't stream music off your phone while remaining connected to your computer.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
  • Low levels of audio leakage.
  • Good noise isolation performance.
  • Long continuous battery life.
Cons
  • High Bluetooth latency.
  • Sub-par microphone recording quality.
  • No multi-device pairing capability.
  • No power-saving features.
5.7 Wireless Gaming

The Anker Life A2 NC aren't suitable for wireless gaming. They can't connect to consoles, and their latency on Bluetooth-enabled PCs is likely to be too high for gaming.

5.5 Wired Gaming

The Anker Life A2 NC are wireless-only headphones and aren't suitable for this kind of use.

6.8 Phone Calls

The Anker Life A2 NC are a fair option for making phone calls. Their integrated mic makes your voice sound muffled and unnatural, but it does a good job of isolating speech from background noise, so people on the other end of the line should still understand you even if you're calling from a loud or crowded environment. Their ANC feature also helps in blocking out ambient chatter, so you can stay focused on what's being said on a call.

Pros
  • Good noise isolation performance.
  • Microphone delivers good noise handling capability.
Cons
  • Sub-par microphone recording quality.
  • No multi-device pairing capability.
  • 6.7 Neutral Sound
  • 7.7 Commute/Travel
  • 8.2 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.1 Office
  • 5.7 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.5 Wired Gaming
  • 6.8 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Jun 29, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  2. Updated Mar 08, 2021: Review published.
  3. Updated Mar 04, 2021: Early access published.

Check Price

Black Soundcore Life A2 NC
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC have a somewhat premium look. They have a similar shape and design to the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless, but with a few differences. Their monochrome color scheme features a bit of extra flashiness in the form of a chrome-finish ring that encircles their brand logo, but they do protrude slightly from your ears.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.3 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The Anker Life A2 NC are comfortable headphones. They have a couple of different ear tip and stability wing sizes to help you find a suitable fit. They don't enter your ear too deeply, and using their touch-sensitive control scheme doesn't force them any further into your ears. However, their shallower fit does mean that they stick out further than some other truly wireless in-ears.

6.0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Decent
Feedback Decent
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls No

The Anker Life A2 NC's control scheme is mediocre. You can tap the left bud twice to skip media forward or to answer an incoming call. A double-tap on the right bud pauses and plays music. Holding either bud for two seconds switches between noise cancelling and ambient sound modes. Their companion app also allows you to remap some of their controls, though you can't access all of their functions at the same time. It can take some time to get used to their control scheme, and finding the touch-sensitive surface on the buds isn't especially intuitive at first. Thankfully, they do provide some form of feedback with audible chimes that go off when switching between ANC and ambient modes, though you won't hear anything when pausing or playing music or skipping tracks out-of-the-box. Thankfully, you can enable audio cues for control inputs via their companion app.

9.2
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 0.8 ยฐC

The Anker Life A2 NC are exceptionally breathable. They trap very little heat in your ears, and you shouldn't sweat more than usual while wearing them.

9.3
Design
Portability
L 1.5" (3.8 cm)
W 1.2" (3.0 cm)
H 1.1" (2.8 cm)
Volume 2.10 inยณ (34.41 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required No

The Anker Life A2 NC are exceptionally portable. The buds themselves are small enough to be carried around in a pocket or a pouch, and their charging case is notably flatter and more compact than that of the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless.

7.5
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 2.9" (7.4 cm)
W 2.3" (5.8 cm)
H 1.1" (2.8 cm)
Volume 7.30 inยณ (119.63 cmยณ)

The Anker Life A2 NC have a good carrying case. It's made of reasonably sturdy-feeling plastic with a silicone cover for its USB-C charging port. There's also a trio of LED lights positioned on a glossy-finish strip on the edges of the case that provide a rough estimate of the remaining battery.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Anker Life A2 NC are well-built. The buds and case are made of dense plastic that feels like it should endure a couple of drops and bumps. The buds themselves are rated IPX5 for water resistance, though we don't currently test for that. There are no obvious weak points in their construction except for their silicone ear tips and stability fins, which feel like they could tear easily.

8.0
Design
Stability

The Anker Life A2 NC are very stable. Once you achieve a consistent fit with the included selection of ear tips and stability fins, they shouldn't fall out of your ears, even with vigorous head motions.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC headphones
  • 5x ear tips
  • 3x stability fins
  • Charging case
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Quick start guide

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
5.53 dB
Treble Amount
0.76 dB

The Anker Life A2 NC have a V-shaped sound profile. Their exaggerated bass response provides extra thump and rumble to genres like EDM and hip-hop, but their slightly overemphasized treble range should ensure that the upper harmonics of vocals and lead instruments, as well as sibilants, aren't totally overwhelmed. Still, if you aren't a fan of their default sound profile, their companion app features 20 EQ presets to choose from as well as a graphic EQ.

8.9
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.23 dB

The Anker Life A2 NC offer excellent frequency response consistency. Once you achieve a proper fit with the included ear tips and stability fins, you should get a consistent audio reproduction every time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
6.5
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.65 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
5.63 dB
Mid-Bass
7.51 dB
High-Bass
5.14 dB

The Anker Life A2 NC have passable bass accuracy. It's overemphasized across the range, which adds extra rumble, punch, and boom to some mixes, though vocals and lead instruments aren't overly muddied or cluttered.

7.9
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.82 dB
Low-Mid
0.47 dB
Mid-Mid
-3.81 dB
High-Mid
-1.47 dB

The Anker Life A2 NC have good mid accuracy. Vocals and lead instruments should sound full-bodied and clear. However, some listeners may perceive them as being pushed to the back of the mix as a consequence of their recessed mid-mid range.

8.0
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.99 dB
Mid-Treble
4.58 dB
Low-Treble
-0.33 dB
High-Treble
0.94 dB

These in-ears have good treble accuracy. The range is quite well-balanced for the most part, yielding clear and present vocals and lead instruments. A slight rise in the mid-treble range can cause sibilants to sound piercing.

7.5
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.51 dB
Dips
1.59 dB

The Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC have good peaks and dips performance. A bump in the bass range adds extra boominess, while a dip in the mid-mids pushes vocals and lead instruments to the back of the mix. Another dip in the low-treble range can veil their upper harmonics, while a rise in the mid-treble gives sibilants, like S and T sounds, a somewhat piercing quality.

9.1
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.22
Weighted Phase Mismatch
1.13
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.43
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.16

The Anker Life A2 NC deliver remarkable stereo imaging performance. Their weighted group delay falls entirely beneath the audibility threshold, resulting in a tight bass and transparent treble. The L/R drivers are also well-matched in regards to phase, amplitude, and frequency response. This means that objects like voices and footsteps are accurately placed within the stereo image. That said, it's worth noting that these results are only valid for our test unit, and your experience may vary.

1.2
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
2.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.2

The Anker Life A2 NC have a terrible passive soundstage. Creating an out-of-head, speaker-like soundstage is reliant on interaction with the outer ear, which in-ears like these bypass. Their closed-back enclosure also contributes to creating a compact soundstage that causes sound to be perceived as coming from the inside of your head.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No
7.7
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.154
WHD @ 100
0.174

These headphones have good weighted harmonic distortion performance. Some minor distortion is present in the mid-range at high-listening volumes, but this shouldn't be too noticeable for most listeners. The rest of the range falls within acceptable limits, resulting in clean and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
02.20
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Soundcore Signature
ANC
Transport
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test the Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC. Our results are only valid in this configuration.

Isolation
7.5
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-18.64 dB
Bass
-15.98 dB
Mid
-16.56 dB
Treble
-23.34 dB

These in-ears have good noise isolation performance. Their ANC function can be adjusted through their companion app, but with the feature set to 'Transport' mode, they do a decent job of filtering out the low rumble of bus and plane engines. Their ANC feature does little to improve on their passive isolation capability when it comes to mid and treble-range ambient noise, like background chatter or the hum of an AC unit, though their performance in this respect is good overall.

These headphones also offer three other kinds of ANC, but we don't currently test them. 'Outdoor' mode is advertised to help cut down traffic and wind noise, while 'Indoor' mode is more focused on reducing mid and treble-range noise.

8.1
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
32.88 dB

The Anker Life A2 NC have great audio leakage performance. Escaping audio is concentrated mostly in the treble range and consequently sounds pretty thin, but it shouldn't be too noticeable unless you're in an especially quiet environment.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
5.9
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
119.87 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
5.27 dB
HFE
3,000.72 Hz
Weighted THD
2.128
Gain
-3.17 dB

The mic has sub-par recording quality. Your voice should sound fairly full-bodied, but also somewhat unnatural and muffled.

7.5
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
23.92 dB
Noise Gate
Always On
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
7.5
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
7.5
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The integrated has good noise handling capability. People on the other end of the line should still be able to understand you, even if you call from a noisy environment, like a subway car.

Active Features
7.1
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
10.9 hrs
Additional Charges
4.0
Total Battery Life
54.5 hrs
Charge Time
0.9 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

The Anker Life A2 NC have decent battery performance. Their near 11-hour single-charge battery life comfortably exceeds the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless' approximately three and a half hour battery life. They also last longer than their advertised claim of seven hours, though it's worth mentioning that real-world battery life can vary drastically depending on usage patterns. Their case supplies roughly four additional charges, and you can use one bud while the other charges in its cradle, though you do lose access to some onboard controls in this configuration. Unfortunately, they aren't equipped with any power-saving measures like a standby mode or auto-off timer to conserve power when not in use.

8.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Anker Soundcore
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
Graphic + Presets
ANC Control
Adjustable
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping Yes
Surround Support
No

The Anker Life A2 NC are compatible with the Anker Soundcore companion app. It features a graphic EQ and 20 different presets to let you adjust their sound profile. You can also swap between three different ANC presets, enable audio cues for various controls, or remap their control scheme. The app lets you check each of the buds' charge status.

Connectivity
7.0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
317.00 ft (96.62 m)
PC Latency (SBC)
222 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
188 ms
Android Latency
202 ms

The Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC have satisfactory Bluetooth connectivity. They support Bluetooth 5.0, but not NFC or multi-device pairing, so you can't stream music from your phone while remaining connected to your computer. Their latency on PCs is also likely too high for them to be suitable for gaming. They perform slightly better on mobile Android and iOS devices, though some latency is still noticeable while watching videos online. With that in mind, it's worth noting that apps and devices compensate for latency differently, so your real-world experience could vary.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection
No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

These in-ears are wireless-only. They come with a USB-A to USB-C cable for charging their case.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
No
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
No
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
No
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
No
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No
2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
USB-C

The Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC have a charging case that supplies roughly four additional charges. It features a trio of LED indicator lights to provide a rough estimate of its remaining battery life but has no inputs aside from its USB-C charging port. It can only be charged via a USB-C cable and doesn't support wireless charging.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Anker Life A2 NC are only available in one color scheme: 'Black', and you can see their label here.

Let us know if in the discussions if you come across another variant, so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Anker Life A2 NC are truly wireless in-ears with an active noise cancelling feature. They have a relatively long continuous battery life, an excited V-shaped sound profile, and a stable, comfortable fit. That said, their Bluetooth audio latency can be disruptive on some devices, and their control scheme is quite limited. If you're searching for alternatives, take a look at our recommendations of the best noise cancelling earbuds and in-ears, the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds, and the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $100.

Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless

The Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless and Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC Truly Wireless each have their own advantages, and one may suit you better than the other depending on your needs. The Dot 2 deliver audio more consistently, leak less audio, offer better mic recording quality, and have a case that supplies just under 100 hours of total playback time, along with an auto-off timer to conserve power. Despite not being fitted with an ANC system, they also block out more ambient noise. Meanwhile, the A2 NC are comfier, more stable in the ear, have a longer single charge battery life, and are compatible with a companion app that features a broad range of customization features.

Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC Truly Wireless or the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless. The Life A2 NC are more stable, and they have a longer continuous battery life. However, the Life P3 have better noise isolation and leakage performances. Also, their mic has a better recording quality.

Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless

The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless and  Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC Truly Wireless each have their own advantages, and you may prefer one over the other depending on your needs. The Liberty Air 2 deliver audio more consistently, block out more ambient noise despite lacking an ANC system, leak less audio, and have lower Bluetooth audio latency on some iOS and Android devices. Meanwhile, the Life A2 NC have a more comfortable, stable fit, noticeably better microphone noise handling capability, and much longer continuous battery life.

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless

The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless and  Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC Truly Wireless each have their own advantages, so one may suit you better than the other depending on your needs. The Life A2 NC have a more comfortable, stable fit, better microphone recording quality, and a significantly longer battery life. Conversely, the Liberty Air 2 Pro deliver audio more consistently, offer superior microphone noise handling capability, leak less audio, and block out more ambient noise.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro Truly Wireless

The Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC Truly Wireless are slightly better for mixed usage than the Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro Truly Wireless. The Life A2 NC are comfier, have a more intuitive control system, block out more ambient noise, and offer superior overall microphone performance. They also last longer on a single charge and have a case that supplies a longer total runtime. That said, the Liberty 2 Pro charge marginally faster and leak less audio.

EarFun Air Pro True Wireless

The EarFun Air Pro True Wireless are better than the Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC Truly Wireless for most purposes. The EarFun have a better noise isolation performance, their integrated mic has a significantly better recording quality, and they have a standby mode to conserve battery life. They also have a more neutral sound profile, which some may prefer. However, the Anker work with a companion app that gives you access to a graphic EQ and presets. They also have a much more stable fit.

Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are better than the Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC Truly Wireless. The Apple have a more intuitive control scheme, better build quality, a more effective ANC system, and a standby mode to conserve power. Meanwhile, the Anker have a companion app with a broader range of customization features, superior microphone noise handling capability, and a longer continuous and total battery life.

Amazon Echo Buds Truly Wireless

The Amazon Echo Buds Truly Wireless are slightly more versatile than the Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC Truly Wireless. The Amazon buds have more consistent audio reproduction, a more effective noise isolation performance, a standby mode to preserve power. They also leak less audio. However, the Anker have a comfier fit, a fuller-featured companion app, lower Bluetooth audio latency, significantly better battery life, and superior microphone performance.

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