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New Soundcore flagship ANC earbuds beat AirPods to monitoring heart rate

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The new Soundcore Liberty 4 wireless ANC earbuds feature heart-rate tracking.
The new Soundcore Liberty 4 wireless ANC earbuds feature heart-rate tracking.
Photo: Soundcore by Anker

Soundcore rolled out its new flagship Liberty 4 wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC) on Friday with some upgrades.

And one of those upgrades might get under Apple’s skin a little bit. That would be heart rate monitoring via an in-ear sensor, which has so far failed to materialize in Apple’s AirPods line despite persistent rumors.

Iffy AirPods Pro 2 fit? Alternative ear tips can make all the difference.

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A poor AirPods Pro 2 fit is troubling, but it's not hard to fix with after-market ear tips.
A poor AirPods Pro 2 fit is troubling, but it's not hard to fix with after-market ear tips.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

No one wants to spend $250 on a set of outstanding wireless noise-cancelling earbuds — let’s say, second-generation AirPods Pro — only to find they don’t fit well, even with a choice of ear tip sizes.

But unfortunately, it can happen. It happened to me, actually. But once I explored after-market ear tips (the part that goes into your ear canal), I quickly solved the problem at minimal expense.

AirPods Pro 2: A must-have for Apple users and a solid choice for anyone [Review] ★★★★

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At a glance, they could be AirPods Pro, but they're AirPods Pro 2, with many internal upgrades.★★★★
At a glance, they could be AirPods Pro, but they're AirPods Pro 2, with many internal upgrades.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

Cupertino’s second-generation AirPods Pro, which went on sale Friday in stores, look almost exactly like the original model released in 2019. But they’re upgraded in every way that matters most, thanks mainly to the new H2 processor.

Apple may not have gone as far as it could have in some ways, but the new AirPods Pro are among the best earbuds on the market and a worthy upgrade for almost anyone. They’re particularly great for those who use lots of Apple gear and love how seamlessly their devices can work together.

Let’s take a look at, and a listen to, the second-gen AirPods Pro, aka AirPods Pro 2.

AirPods Pro 2 review roundup: Better in almost every way

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AirPods Pro 2 look pretty much the same as the original, but they're better in nearly every way.
AirPods Pro 2 look pretty much the same as the original, but they're better in nearly every way.
Photo: Apple

Reviews of Apple’s new AirPods Pro 2 wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC) are rolling in. The overwhelming consensus? The design is only slightly changed from the first-generation buds, but almost everything else is improved, with a few minor caveats.

They’re better than the original where it counts most: Higher sound quality, stronger ANC, more controls, longer battery life and an improved wireless charging case.

In short, given that the wildly popular AirPods Pro launched way back in 2019, it’s time for an upgrade for most people.

AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Is it worth upgrading?

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Apple said AirPods Pro 2 double the noise cancellation, among other enhancements.
Apple said AirPods Pro 2 double the noise cancellation, among other enhancements.
Photo: Apple

Should AirPods Pro owners upgrade to AirPods Pro 2?

The new set boasts a host of upgrades that could easily be worth it for many people — especially because the price hasn’t increased — and may even tempt owners of the relatively new and well-reviewed AirPods (3rd generation).

Affordable EarFun Air S earbuds feature good sound, questionable fit [Review] ★★★

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You can get a discount on these, lowering their already-reasonable $70 price.★★★
You can get a discount on these, lowering their already-reasonable $70 price.
Photo: EarFun

EarFun has been putting out affordable audio gear since 2018. It released its latest active noise cancelling (ANC) wireless earbuds, EarFun Air S, in June. The company recently sent me a pair to try out.

The name of the game here is value. Like some of the company’s other earbuds, Air S offers quality sound and features found in more expensive earbuds. But the product is not without a few drawbacks, which I’ll describe below.

Note that if you want to give these a try and buy on Amazon by September 12, you get a discount plus a coupon that bring the regular price of $69.99 down to $56.41, EarFun said.

New Edifier ANC earbuds offer solid sound at a good value [Review] ★★★

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Edifier's new W240TN wireless earbuds have a bit of an industrial look going.★★★
Edifier's new W240TN wireless earbuds have a bit of an industrial look to them.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

Noise-cancelling wireless earbuds that cost under $100 jostle in a competitive field. One company that consistently stands out from the crowd with high-quality goods that are a great value for what they cost is Edifier.

And the company, based in China, has done it again with the Edifier W240TN true wireless earbuds. They launch Thursday for a price of $79.99. Edifier sent me a pair to try out.

There really aren’t many reasons not to buy these if you want good earbuds for well under $100. But there are a couple of potential reasons, depending on your priorities.

Kim Kardashian’s Beats earbuds sold out quickly at Apple but are now on Amazon [Updated]

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The three neutral colors are designed to blend in like a proper fashion accessory.
The three neutral colors are designed to blend in like a proper fashion accessory.
Photo: Apple

Three new colors of Beats Fit Pro wireless earbuds — a collaboration between Beats and celebrity Kim Kardashian — went on sale at Apple online Tuesday and promptly sold out. But now you can get them on Amazon, too.

The three new “neutral” colors are designed to blend in more than most earphones. Following Tuesday’s launch at Apple.com/Kim, they went on sale Wednesday at select Apple Stores and resellers.

Beats Studio Buds get an atomic makeover

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The collaboration with artist Futura features his signature atomic symbol.
The collaboration with artist Futura features his signature atomic symbol.
Photo: Beats

Just about a week after collaborating with Twitch streamer Nickmercs, Apple subsidiary Beats is out with another special-edition release of Beats Studio Buds, this time with design firm Futura Laboratories.

This is the second Beats collaboration for the design firm’s founder, the graffiti artist Futura.

Should you grab a great deal on AirPods Pro or wait for the new ones?

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A great deal is a great deal, but the coming AirPods Pro 2 may feature sweet upgrades.
A great deal is a great deal, but the coming AirPods Pro 2 may feature sweet upgrades.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Some great sales prices have popped up lately for Apple’s flagship earbuds, AirPods Pro. That may relate to the fact that the highly anticipated next-gen version with new features is expected to launch before the end of the year. And sellers want to clear out stock.

So should you take the deal behind door No. 1, or wait for whatever’s coming with AirPods Pro 2 behind door No. 2? Let’s look at your options for Apple’s top active noise-cancelling (ANC) wireless earbuds.