As with their predecessors, the Libratone Air+ 2 deliver a convincing sound experience and useful functions when judged by their price. The 2nd generation of the Air+ is once again aimed at mobile users, athletes and users who are looking for true-wireless headphones for everyday use. The new edition of these Danish headphones also scores points for use in the office, thanks to good speech intelligibility and practical noise cancelling.
In their second generation, the Libratone Air+ again offer an attractive combination of sound quality, improved functionality and wearing comfort at an attractive price. Their range of use is quite universal and extends from mobile applications to sports and office use.
It’s been about two years since we confirmed Libratone Track Air+ true-wireless model’s consistently good performance (read our review). In the meantime, the Danish manufacturer has introduced the next generation. Here, we find out what the upgrade is capable of.
The pleasing appearance of the Libratone Track Air+, with impeccable workmanship and ergonomic shape, has remained. The low weight of the plastic design, available in black and white, also remains virtually identical at 5.5 grams per earpiece. For the rough and tumble of everyday life and use during sporting activities, these earphones come with an IP54 certification against dust, sweat and splashes of water.
Technically, Libratone relies on the latest Qualcomm chipset QCC5141 with Bluetooth 5.2. For the codecs, the manufacturer limits itself to SBC, aptX and AAC.
The battery life is up to six hours, depending on the volume and function, and the compact, lightweight charging case provides another three complete charges. The result is a practical 24-hour runtime, which is sufficient for typical everyday use and long journeys. The earphones are held in position magnetically in the charging case. The charging process takes place via a USB-C interface and is indicated via LED. Inductive charging is also possible, for example via the optional Libratone Coil.
First of all, I want to highlight the excellent wearing comfort of the Libratone Air+ 2. According to the manufacturer, the fit was developed based on scans of human ears. And indeed, with the correct silicone fittings supplied, the earphones fit comfortably and securely in the ear for a long time. They already offer pleasant passive noise isolation in both directions. Speaking of fitting pieces: A fit test can be carried out using an integrated sensor in the free, easy to use Libratone app (iOS, Android). Incidentally, the app all manages all Bluetooth-capable Libratone products.
The touch-sensitive surfaces on the outside of the new Air+ can be configured on each side via the app. The usual functions are available for selection: Music control via the newly added volume control, handling phone calls, calling up a voice assistant as well as noise-cancelling and transparency modes. This works reliably and is quite comfortable, even if the multiple clicks inevitably transmit noise to the eardrums. Presumably, for fear of operating errors, single clicks on the touch surfaces are not possible. Due to the reduced options, this means limited operability, which results in the deduction of a point (firmware version 146). The user could have simply been given the choice through configurability …
The ability to connect this version of the Air+ with up to three devices and switch between them – which would be practical in the office, for example – was useful. Switching can also be done via the touch surfaces.
The earpieces can also be used individually if required. In addition, music playback can be automatically paused and resumed when the earpieces are removed and replaced.
The Bluetooth connection was stable in our test, with fast pairing and a range that worked over several rooms – I had problems with the previous model here. The app also includes a pre-set equaliser with a selectable automatic setting. You can choose between neutral, bass or treble settings, all of which sound quite good. There is also the aforementioned automatic function, which is supposed to ensure a constantly good result in mobile mode. Unfortunately, the manufacturer does not provide more detailed information on this.
Noise cancelling with the Libratone Air+ 2
The noise cancelling is both switchable and adjustable. In its maximum setting, it is surprisingly effective (up to 30 dB reduction, according to Libratone), and as expected is especially effective at low frequencies, but without a diving bell effect. Voices are muted passably, while transient-rich keyboard rattling breaks through the barrier. The circuitry in the new Air+ is not completely free of noise, but it certainly delivers practical usability and an improved quiet space that not only intensifies music enjoyment but also allows you to focus on your work. The comfort mode, which variably adjusts the intensity according to the environment, is also useful. Finally, there is a practical transparency mode that, at the touch of a button, uses the microphones to pass outside noise to the earphones, improving the perception of the environment and allowing conversations to take place.
Sound-wise, the dynamic 5.3 mm diameter drivers of the new Libratone Air+ 2 impressed us with their good tuning and powerful level. The test was carried out with the equaliser at the neutral position with an iPhone 8.
For 200 euros, you shouldn’t expect audiophile miracles, but you should expect a thoroughly practical performance. In this case, it’s not completely neutral but provides listening pleasure. I would describe these headphones as punchy and balanced, with a slight bass emphasis, which is definitely an advantage for mobile use. The bass range reaches down to the lowest registers and is also tonally comprehensible there. The reproduction is equally rich and tight.
The midrange delivers a pleasant warmth, especially excelling with good detail resolution and exemplary speech intelligibility, such as on Nick Cave’s “Galleon Ship”. Acoustic instruments sound just as good as rock productions with distorted guitars. Thus, the new solo work by Mark Tremonti (“Marching in Time”) gets to the ear with a lot of depth. You can definitely hear the differences between different mixes, which are sometimes flatter, sometimes more compact or more modern and wide. In good electronic productions, I also noticed a nice multi-layered quality. The highs are not necessarily shimmering, but offer the necessary openness so that numerous subtleties and “speed” are conveyed. I didn’t detect any harshness.
As far as stereo imaging is concerned, the Air+ deliver a pleasingly wide panorama with comprehensible localisation of sound sources and associated movements (J.M. Jarre: “Equinoxe Infinity”). Even spatial effects were reproduced, for example with voices (Whitney Houston: “Exhale”) or to emphasise increases in tension in mixes (John Starling: “Cold Hard Business”). On the other hand, real spatial depth was something these headphones could not quite master, but this is true for almost all competitors in this price range. Finally, the Air+ also performed well in dynamics, for example in the quiet range of classical compositions. This is where the additional signal-to-noise ratio of the noise reduction becomes noticeable.
Phone call quality
The quality of phone calls was good thanks to two microphones that are automatically selected depending on the ambient noise level. According to the manufacturer, in addition to the alignment of the microphones, special filtering is also used for better speech intelligibility.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Sound pressure level (SPL)@1mW, 1kHz: 105 dB
- Weight without cableeach 5,5 g, incl. case: 41 g
What's in the box
- Earplugs in 3 sizes (S, M, L)
- USB-C charging cable
- Charging case
- Available in black and white
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX
- BT version: 5.2