Anker announced its latest wave of wireless earbuds yesterday, and the products indicate that Anker is expanding its focus beyond the usual sound quality upgrades. The company announced three pairs in all: the Soundcore Liberty 4, Soundcore Sleep A10, and Soundcore VR P10 earbuds.
The new Liberty 4 earbuds do offer better sound; they’re Anker’s first “stick”-style buds to include dual drivers in each earbud. But they can also read your heart rate for fitness and wellness purposes. This functionality has been rumored for Apple’s AirPods lineup but has yet to materialize.
Things didn’t end there. Anker also introduced its first-ever set of sleep earbuds, which are clearly meant to challenge Bose’s $249 Sleepbuds II and other products in this relatively small category. According to the company, the $179.99 Soundcore Sleep A10 earbuds can block out “up to” 35 dB of noise that might otherwise distract you at bedtime. They use “an adaptive noise masking algorithm to track and automatically adjust the audio volume to ensure your surroundings don’t disturb you.”
Anker includes ear wings and “twin-seal” ear tips for creating a secure seal, and the A10s are significantly smaller than buds designed for music and everyday listening. So they’re not going to stack up to our favorite earbuds in audio fidelity but should be adequate for their intended purpose. Anker claims the small footprint makes these suitable for side sleepers.
The drivers in the Sleep A10 earbuds are optimized for low-frequency sounds to enhance white noise and other soothing sleep tracks. You can access those audio tracks from the Soundcore mobile app, but you can also use these like regular earbuds for music, audiobooks, or whatever content you want. So Anker is providing more flexibility than Bose in that sense since the Sleepbuds II limit you to preset, relaxing audio selections.
Anker’s app includes sleep tracking data, though I can’t speak to how accurate or useful that information will be. Screenshots show that you’ll be able to see your total sleep time and also a breakdown of how long you spent in light and deep sleep stages. This information is contained in the Soundcore app and, unfortunately, doesn’t sync with health apps from Apple or Google. The Sleep A10 earbuds can last for up to 10 hours of continuous playback, and the case adds another 40 hours.
In addition to the Liberty 4s and Sleep A10 earbuds, Anker also announced the VR P10 earbuds, which are squarely targeted at gaming and use with VR headsets. The VR P10s can play audio over Bluetooth, of course, but they also come with a USB-C dongle that transmits “lag-free” audio over a 2.4Ghz wireless connection using the LC3 codec.
Presumably, that dongle will be able to plug into VR headsets like the Oculus Quest 2. “We have an early access of the VR P10 available now at Best Buy,” said Anker’s Adam Weismann during last night’s press event. “But in the coming weeks, we have some really exciting news, so stay tuned.” The VR P10s have a very sci-fi case with a purple LED on the front, and you can carry the USB-C dongle right in the case itself.
Having already established its Liberty and Liberty Pro earbuds as a strong value year after year, Anker seems poised to take the Soundcore brand into new territory with these more niche products. You can already order the Sleep A10 earbuds, though the VR P10 buds aren’t yet available for preorder. Stay tuned for our reviews in the coming weeks.
Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge