Recently, I’ve been embarking on long journeys in noisy cars, vans, planes and trains and wanted to find some noise cancelling headphones that would cut out some of the racket without breaking the bank.
An extensive search online uncovered the Anker Soundcore Life Q20, a pair of active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones that retail for around £40 – £50 – way below the price of the big names like Bose and Sony.
The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones – to give them their full name – had picked up fantastic reviews online, so I was looking forward to see if they lived up to the hype.
After unpacking the headphones (no, I don’t do those tedious ‘unboxing’ videos) I was pleasantly surprised by the build quality and overall feel, with soft ear pads that covered the ear completely.
The ‘cans’ (as we say in the trade) are reasonably small and light, and I found them comfortable to wear for long periods. Best of all, of the battery life is incredible – over 30 hours with noise cancelling – and if the thing runs flat, just pop in the cable and it works as a wired headset.
Of course, none of this matters if the sound is rubbish, but I was blown away by the sonic quality of the Ankers, with the headphones providing a well rounded sound with a deep powerful bass with no harshness or tininess.
Bass fiends may be tempted by the ‘more bass’ feature, but it turned everything into a bassy, boomy mush so I turned it off and kept it turned off. Besides, there’s already plenty of bass present on the regular setting.
The active noise cancelling was far better than I was expecting for a pair of headphones under fifty quid with the headphones effectively filtering out background noise, letting me concentrate on the music. I’m sure that the high end Bose and Sony ones would do a better job, but these are absolutely fine for the job.
Battery life was exemplary too, with the phones still going after 30 hours (with ANC). Anker claim a whopping 60 hours payback with the noise cancelling turned off, and reviews elsewhere suggest that is achievable.
Wrapping up the feature set, the Soundcores come with a micro-USB port, volume controls, play/stop/answer call button and ANC on/off button. I’m not a fan of the bright green, attention-grabbing light that comes on to indicate that ANC is activated, but a bit of black tape fixed that.
Priced at under £50 (and often for sake around £40), these headphones are astonishing value. They sound great, the build quality is solid, they’re comfortable to wear the noise cancelling does a good job and have a superb battery life. Thoroughly recommended.
The verdict on the forums
I recommended the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 headphones on our sister forum, and several people went on to buy them as a result.
Here’s some of the comments:
C: Just been wandering around with them on. Can barely hear traffic, but can hear the sound of wheels on the road. Which is kind of a good thing I guess. Not long wondered into a cafe and when I took them off I was surprised at just how much noise they had cancelled out, pretty much all of it. So yeah, for £50 this are not bad, not bad at all. At £37 deal of the day price, they are a steal!
M: Very pleased with mine. Great for cancelling out phone call wankers on the bus or screaming children when out shopping. Still can’t believe the quality for the price.
N: Bought a pair of these today after reading this thread, love them
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