In November of last year I bought a set of wireless earbuds for my commute and quickly fell in love with them—so much so that I gave up almost entirely on wired headphones. The Anker Soundcore Life P2’s I bought were inexpensive and did 90% of what AirPods do at 1/4 the price tag. The only gripe I had with them was that using them to make calls was useless—they cancelled noise but didn’t allow me to hear myself talking, so I had the strange impression that I was shouting with my hands over my ears. Jen says I talk loud on the phone on a normal day, so this wasn’t an optimal solution. But 10 days of solid use between charges, dependable connectivity with my phone, and quality sound reproduction made up for that, and I was extremely happy with them.
A week ago I took Hazel for her morning walk and Jen came out to join me after we’d crossed the street. I took my earbuds out and stuffed them in my pocket so we could talk—but one must not have made it, because I returned home without it. Disappointed, I started looking at replacements, and I was sorely tempted by a new set of AirPods—especially the Pros, which feature Transparency Mode and make phone calls sound amazing. But realizing I hadn’t owned the Ankers for more than a year (I could have sworn it was longer) before one went missing, and given how much I use them, I weighed the cost of losing a $200 AirPod vs. a $70 Anker and went with the cheaper option. This time I got a pair of Soundcore Liberty Airs, which are supposed to be better for making calls, feature touchpads instead of physical buttons, and have a larger set of control options. They’re currently charging in the other room, and I can’t wait to try them out.