Thu. Feb 29th, 2024


Key Takeaways

  • Edifier’s NeoBuds Pro 2 are a solid evolution of their previous wireless earbuds, with new features like spatial audio and a comfortable fit.
  • The sound quality of the NeoBuds Pro 2 is impressive, thanks to their hybrid driver design and support for high-quality audio codecs.
  • The earbuds offer active noise cancellation that works well, but the microphone quality is not as good and the touch controls can be unreliable. However, the accompanying app provides additional control options.


Things move fast when it comes to wireless earbuds. Edifier’s NeoBuds Pro were released in 2021, but that is ages when it comes to technology. Now the company has released a sequel in the Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2, and like Apple’s latest AirPods Pro, it’s a solid evolution of an already-good product.

Like the originals, these are true wireless earbuds that feature active noise cancellation. Unlike the originals, these have a new trick up their sleeve in the form of spatial audio, a feature typically only found in higher-end earbuds. While this is a cool new feature, the earbuds aren’t any pricier than their predecessors.

Edifier doesn’t always hit its mark, but the company’s products have certainly impressed us before. Will the NeoBuds Pro 2 do the same?

edifier-neobuds-pro-2

Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2

$100 $130 Save $30

The Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2 are a rock-solid set of true wireless headphones that make a great budget AirPods Pro alternative, especially for Android users.

Brand
Edifier

Battery Life
Up to 22 hours

Noise Cancellation
ANC

Connectivity
A2DP, AVRCP, HFP

IP rating
IP54

Supported codecs
LDAC, LHDC, SBC, AAC

Charging
USB-C

Driver size
10mm + balanced armature

Price
$129.99

Color
Ivory, Black

Spatial Audio
Yes

Earbuds battery life
5.5 hours

Charging case battery life
16.5 hours

Pros

  • Hybrid driver design sounds great
  • Spatial audio is nice to have at this price
  • Solid noise cancellation
  • Comfortable with plenty of fit options
Cons

  • No wireless charging
  • Overly complicated ANC modes

Design and Fit: Comfortable With Plenty of Options

The Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2 buds next to the case
Sergio Rodriguez / How-To Geek

While it’s been a few years since the original NeoBuds Pro were released, the NeoBuds Pro 2 don’t look all that different. Like the originals, the overall design owes something to the Apple AirPods Pro, but the NeoBuds Pro 2 are more angular, using sharper edges in favor of the AirPods’ curves.

If you typically have trouble finding the proper fit with wireless earbuds, the NeoBuds Pro 2 may work better for you. Instead of the standard small, medium, and large ear tips included with most earbuds, you get a selection of five different tip sizes to choose from. Medium tips generally work well with my ears, and they worked just fine here, but if you have smaller or larger ears, the additional sizes will be useful.

During my time testing the NeoBuds 2, I found them quite comfortable. While the edges make them look like they may be difficult to wear, I quickly forgot they were in my ears on multiple occasions.

Great Sound and ANC With Mediocre Mics

Person holding an Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2 earbud
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

In a move similar to higher-end earbuds and in-ear monitors, the NeoBuds Pro 2 use a hybrid driver design. This means that in addition to the standard dynamic driver found in many more affordable earbuds, they also have a balanced armature driver as well. In this case, the dynamic driver handles the lows and lower midrange, while the balanced armature handles the higher frequencies.

This isn’t the only higher-end touch found in these decidedly mid-range earbuds. In addition to the usual SBC and AAC codecs, you get Sony’s LDAC codec as well as LHDC, which aims to deliver 192kHz / 24-bit audio over Bluetooth.

Listening to “Lucinda” by A Certain Ratio, I noticed that the percussive bass could have a little more low-end power, but this is more related to how the song is produced than an inherent weakness in the design. The dual-driver nature of the earbuds makes for a clearer-sounding high-end than I’d typically expect from headphones in this price range.

VCF’s “J05” clarifies that the lackluster bass in the previous track was a fluke. The kick drum that drives the song has plenty of low-end thump. Meanwhile, the balanced armature driver handles the higher frequencies like the hi-hat, while the warm-sounding synths are left to happily wobble away in the midrange.

Audio Features: A Spatial Surprise

The Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2 buds next to the case
Sergio Rodriguez / How-To Geek

Spatial audio is the major differentiator from many other similarly priced earbuds, and while it isn’t as effective as Apple’s attempt, it gets impressively close considering the price difference. The effect worked best for me, as with the AirPods Pro, for watching videos. That said, there is a slight lag in tracking with the NeoBuds Pro 2 that wasn’t present in the AirPods Pro.

Active noise cancellation (ANC) has become a must-have feature in earbuds, but it’s tricky to get right. That said, the ANC in the NeoBuds Pro 2 was impressive, nearly canceling the low rumble of my furnace—something many earbuds struggle to do. While it wasn’t as impressive in the higher frequencies, it was still more effective than plenty of other similarly priced ‘buds I’ve tried.

Edifier boasts about its beam-forming microphone, and it’s okay at blocking out background noise, but I noticed a large difference in its pickup in a quiet room compared to outside. Even though it was a relatively quiet day, the quality of the outdoor recording had noticeable artifacts.

Software and Controls: More Than Just the Basics

Person holding the Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2 case
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

Both earbuds feature a capacitive touch surface for tapping a finger to control the earbuds. I never got either earbud to work reliably, and it seems like I’m not the only one with this sort of problem. This is apparent because one of the features in the Edifier Connect App, available for Android and iPhone, lets you adjust the sensitivity, or at least is supposed to.

Dive into the app, and you’ll find a “Tap Sensitivity” setting, which is supposed to affect how the taps register. No matter what I did with this setting, I never managed to get the earbuds’ controls to feel suitably responsive. Fortunately, many of the features are easy to control in the app anyway.

You’ll find the basic features like the ability to swap between ANC and Ambient (transparent) modes, though Edifier gets almost unnecessarily granular with the ANC settings. You can choose from Low, Medium, and High noise-canceling, as well as Ambient Sound and Wind Reduction modes.

Likewise, you can also switch between Music, Game, and Spatial Audio modes within the app. There are also some novel features like the ability to change the color of the light on the charging case.

Battery Life: Keep the Case Handy

Person holding the Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2 case, showing the USB-C port
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek

True wireless earbuds have reached a point where we expect around six hours of battery life on a single charge. The NeoBuds Pro 2 offer up to 5.5 hours, but only if you’re willing to give up ANC. On the other hand, if you prefer to keep noise-canceling turned on, you only get up to four hours of playtime on a single charge.

The charging case will charge the earbuds three more times, giving you a total of up to 16 hours with ANC, or 22 hours without. When it comes time to charge the case, you’ll need to use the included USB-C cable, as this is the only way to charge the case—there is no wireless charging here. Fortunately, these do support fast charging, getting you two more hours of listening time for just a 15-minute charge.

Price and Availability

Unlike the AirPods Pro, you get two color choices for the Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2: ivory and black. Regardless of your choice of color, the retail price is $129.99, meaning they’re significantly cheaper than the Apple AirPods Pro or the Sony WF-1000XM5.

Should You Buy the Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2?

The sound signature of the Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2 doesn’t quite match the Apple AirPods Pro, but how close it manages to get is impressive considering the roughly $120 price difference. When it comes to the other features, the earbuds don’t quite match the ANC, Transparency mode, or spatial audio found in the competition. No wireless charging is the biggest miss here.

While these don’t fit quite as well into the Apple ecosystem as any AirPods, they do integrate quite well with an Android device. This isn’t just down to integration either, as if you’re using an Android phone you get access to better codecs, specifically LDAC, which is not supported on Apple devices.

If you like the idea of AirPods, but you’re primarily an Android user, the Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2 provide many of the benefits at a much lower price. There are better options out there, but certainly not for this price.

edifier-neobuds-pro-2

Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2

$100 $130 Save $30

The Edifier NeoBuds Pro 2 are a rock-solid set of true wireless headphones that make a great budget AirPods Pro alternative, especially for Android users.

Brand
Edifier

Battery Life
Up to 22 hours

Noise Cancellation
ANC

Connectivity
A2DP, AVRCP, HFP

IP rating
IP54

Supported codecs
LDAC, LHDC, SBC, AAC

Charging
USB-C

Driver size
10mm + balanced armature

Price
$129.99

Color
Ivory, Black

Spatial Audio
Yes

Earbuds battery life
5.5 hours

Charging case battery life
16.5 hours



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By John P.

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