It's rare to find in-ears at this price point with an IPX7 rating, a six-hour-plus battery, and this level of sound reproduction. There are a couple of sticking points, with regards to the fit and the physical controls, but they're worth overlooking in this case.
Anker’s kit tends to be hit and miss for Stuff. Either it works, and does so well, or it’s just dismal. So our initial few minutes with the Anker Soundcore Life P2 wireless in-ear buds didn’t bode well for this review.
But, like Lloyd Christmas, they managed to (almost) totally redeem themselves by the end of the review. Here’s how that happened.
Before we get to that point, though, it’s worth going through what we’re looking at here. The Soundcore Life P2s are in-ear buds in the style made popular by Apple’s AirPods. That is, there’s a speaker section covered by a squishy tip that jams into your ear canal, while long stems allow for fine adjustment. There are a few points to note here, though.
The cast is, as these things go, gigantic. If you’re pocketing the Life P2s, you’ll wind up packing quite the bulge in your pants. No, not like that. The case, even with the buds inside, remains lightweight. It’s like a sumo wrestler who somehow also does ballet.
Charging is taken care of via USB-C at the back of the case, a welcome addition, and syncing and controls live on the buds themselves. There are physical buttons on both left and right, but they take a substantial amount of force to activate. This leads to the feeling that you’re trying to drill the buds into your skull every time you try and pause Ningen Isu’s Heartless Scat.
The hero’s journey
Our first try setting up the Anker Soundcore Life P2 buds… didn’t go well at all. That might be because we were trying to pair them with an M1 Apple MacBook Air, which refused to detect or play through one bud at a time. A frustrating 30 minutes later, we got over ourselves and just connected them to a smartphone. At which point, we grudgingly fell in love with them.
The fit for these buds isn’t perfect. In fact, they’re a little too enthusiastic when it comes to gripping the inside of your ears, which left us with that peculiar sensation you get when there’s water stuck in your ears. This feeling stabilised after a few minutes, which is when the Life P2s started to show off. See, these sub-R1,500 buds sound far better than they have any right to.
Oh, they won’t trouble Sony’s excellent WF-1000XM4 buds — they’re not quite that good. But the audio quality is way out of proportion with what you’re paying for these in-ears. They won’t do much to improve shoddy tunes but if you’re rocking some solid tunes, you’ll drown in the reproduction. They seem to have a particular affinity for Finnish melodic death metal but will do the job across the genre spectrum, up to and including sea shanties.
When you consider that call quality is at the very least competent and the seldom-seen-at-this-price IPX7 rating (which confers the ability to swim in water up to one metre in depth for up to 30 minutes), Anker’s Soundcore Life P2 in-ears are a solid buy for anyone who wants Apple in-ears but lacks Apple money.
Anker Soundcore Life P2 Verdict
If you’re looking for in-ears on a serious budget and your main categories are great audio and a lengthy battery, then the Anker Soundcore Life P2s will get the job done from R1,000, though you’re more likely to encounter them at their R1,300 RRP. If you’re finicky about having items lodged deep in your ear canals or really don’t like the idea of physical buttons that require you to force the drivers into your eardrums to get a response, you might want to look elsewhere… but the sound really does outclass the price you’re paying for a set of these.