Anker Soundcore Life Q20 review: Bluetooth headset with ANC and Hi-Res Audio for only 60 Euro
By Fields Corrielus 2019-08-26 9502 0
The Soundcore Life Q20 is a strong announcement - until recently, Bluetooth headsets with ANC were a completely different house number in terms of price. Meanwhile you can get them for less than 100 Euro. It's clear, however, that Anker's device has to make some compromises somewhere if you compare it with other models such as the Jabra Elite 85h for almost 300 Euros or the Beyerdynamic LAGOON ANC TRAVELLER, which Caschy has already tested. Here are the technical data of the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 before I go into more detail.
Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Specs
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Audio driver: 2 x 40 mm
Frequency response: 16 Hz - 40 kHz
Range: 15 m
Interfaces: Bluetooth 5.0, Micro-USB (charging), 3.5mm jack
Running time: approx. 30 hours
Weight: approx. 263 g
dimensions: 19,5 x 18 x 7,8 cm
Scope of delivery: Soundcore Life Q20, micro USB cable, 3.5 mm AUX cable, travel bag, operating instructions
Features: Active Noise Cancelling, Hi-Res Audio, Adjustable Earpieces, Microphones (Phone Calls Possible)
Price: 59,90 Euro
So Anker gets down to business on paper, especially since the headphones can transmit not only via SBC, but also via AAC for improved audio quality. I received a warning during the connection, because there might be compatibility problems with AAC, but in the end everything went smoothly.
I will now first introduce you to the processing and features of the Anker Soundcore Life Q20, before I write something about the sound. Then I'll briefly discuss wearing comfort and battery life before offering you my personal conclusion.
Anker Soundcore Life Q20: apprence
The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 shows at first glance that it's not in a price range with the Jabra Elite 85h, Sony WH-XB900N or Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 - you can't realistically expect that. How can you tell? The enclosed bag, for example, is just a labberous bag and the ear cups are loose, so they have a lot of play instead of remaining firmly in one position, as with the Jabra Elite 85h, for example. All in all, the look is of course much more interchangeable and the adjustable earbuds only use a rather thin metal strap, behind which there is plastic again.
But these savings are understandable in view of the selling price. Especially since the upper side of the ear hook is made of artificial leather and the padding on the underside looks a bit thin, but is sufficient for wearing. The scope of delivery also includes a micro-USB charging cable, a cable for 3.5 mm audio and a user manual - so nothing sensational.
The buttons for noise reduction and the power button are located on the left auricle. On the right is the volume control and a button to stop or resume playback or to answer calls. Below this are the micro USB charging port and the port for a 3.5 mm jack.
What I personally like are the clearly visible markings for left and right in the ear cups and the flexibility. The ear cups are adjustable in angle, the earhooks in length. The Anker / Soundcore brands have been made relatively discreet by lettering on the sides. For the price everything fits here in my opinion.
Anker Soundcore Life Q20: sound quality
Anker is promoting the Soundcore Life Q20, just like the Bluetooth speaker Soundcore Motion+, which I also tested, with its BassUp feature. As the name suggests, it is designed to boost bass reproduction. Unlike the Motion+, however, there is no dedicated button to turn the function on or off. But you can't ignore the fact that there's a lot of bass in the game. At the moment I like to listen to the album "Goodnight Paradise" by Graveyard Club, which is also a good test run for the Anker Soundcore Life A20, because you mix 1980s beats and synths with modern pop and alternative rock.
Of course I also listened to other genres to get an impression. But the bass remains a bit too loud in my ears. That wouldn't be wild if the official soundcore app already supported the Life Q20. Because via the app you should have the possibility to adjust via equalizer. During my test period the Life Q20 were not officially integrated into the Soundcore app.
This leads me to a bug that is currently a very, very crude minus point for the Life Q20: Indoors, the ANC works really well - even at low music volumes, you notice the filtering of ambient noise. I'm really excited about what Anker has to offer for this low price. But unfortunately it has to be said that the noise suppression outside is useless in the current state as soon as there is wind - which is a quasi permanent condition for me on the North German coast.
Because there is a bug at the moment: When ANC is activated, the microphones pick up the wind noise and transmit it to the ear, like in a hearthrough mode. Of course, this is exactly the opposite of what you actually want to achieve. Other noise is still successfully filtered, but the draught / wind is suddenly audibly loud. I was able to replicate this error again and again even after switching the headphones on and off. So Anker would have to do it again and hopefully can help with a firmware update!
Otherwise, I think the sound of the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 is far better than what I would have expected from a Bluetooth headset for 60 Euro with ANC. I used the AAC codec to listen to music - if you have compatibility problems you can also switch to SBC. aptX don't offer the Life Q20, but according to Anker they should be prepared for Hi-Res audio. Except for the slightly too dominant bass and the slightly reduced treble, the Life Q20s sound very clear - even if you push their volume to the limit. But you can't turn this model up deafeningly loud anyway.
For example, my Jabra Elite Sport, still my favourite jogging model, achieves significantly higher volumes. There are no distortions with the Life Q20 and I also liked the differentiation very much. I listen to a lot of music with noise, which is always a good example of whether you can still hear individual guitar melodies from the Wall of Sound or whether everything merges into a pulp. Here the headphones score exceptionally well with crashing bands like Ringo Deathstarr.
So should Anker get the problem with the ANC under control and introduce the support of the Soundcore app so that you can adjust the sound balance a bit via equalizer, I would be completely thrilled at this price. At the moment, this is unfortunately something like that, especially because of the ANC bug.
Anker Soundcore Life Q20: battery life
I used the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 e.g. for shopping, walking around on the fjord and working in Kiel's Schrevenpark. The battery life of 30 hours is realistic and depends only a little bit on the volume and of course on whether you use noise cancelling or make regular phone calls. During phone calls, the sound quality on both sides was good in my test, but those who are often on the road in noisy environments have to make a few compromises, of course, as you can't get close to the crystal-clear quality and suppression of ambient noise of more expensive models. For most users, however, there shouldn't be any problems.
For example, the Life Q20's earcups already provide quite good attenuation. I really, really liked the wearing comfort. I was able to leave the earhooks at the smallest setting. Because the shells can be rotated and tilted, the headset fits snugly and should sit comfortably on almost any thick skull. Subjectively for me personally, the Life Q20 is even ahead of some more expensive models.
However, you get a little heat under the headphones, which can be quite noticeable in summer, depending on the length of your hair. I hardly noticed the weight of about 263 grams while wearing it. All in all, the Life Q20 make an excellent impression on me personally and I see ergonomics as perhaps the headset's greatest strength.
The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are affordable over-ear headphones with noise cancelling that offer good sound, excellent wearing comfort, good running time and solid workmanship for approx. 60 Euro. So I would like to recommend this model right away as a price/performance hit. Unfortunately, this is prevented by a bug in the noise suppression: This transmits wind noise, so that the ANC is unusable outside in its current condition. Should Anker go for it again, I think the headphones would be an absolute purchase tip.
As it looks at the moment, you get good headphones, but ANC is only useful indoors. Should Anker soon support the Life Q20 in the Soundcore app and fix the ANC bug, then the headset would be a real tip.
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