Tech Facts

The best ANC headphones under 100 euros? | REVIEW

The best ANC headphones under 100 euros?  |  REVIEW

The Soundcore Life Q30 are over-ear headphones with an excellent price-performance ratio. In the test, the comfortable fit and light weight made a positive difference. Sound and ANC deliver good results, but cannot keep up with more expensive devices. For around 60 euros, however, you get a great overall package at a very low price.

Precise operation and long runtime

Anker advertises that the 40mm audio driver should provide an intense Hi-Res sound profile up to 40,000 Hz. In order to be able to do this, of course, you don’t just rely on Bluetooth and have therefore installed a 3.5 mm jack connection with Hi-Res certification. A corresponding audio cable is included, as is a USB-C to USB-A charging cable.

The headphones have a multi-device function, which means that two devices can be connected or used at the same time. Pairing works in the classic way via Bluetooth or NFC (with compatible smartphones).

On the right side is the comprehensive device control (volume, forwards / backwards, play / pause, telephony, voice assistant) and a touch-sensitive area. The latter can be used to activate NFC pairing or the transparency mode. On the left, on the other hand, are the power button and the ANC switcher. All operating elements are easy to operate and do not lead to incorrect entries. However, you have to get used to it at first.

The battery life is extremely gratifying. In my everyday test, it comes to almost 60 hours. With the ANC activated, this value is reduced to a still very enduring 28.5 hours. The Soundcore Life Q30 are fully charged after about 1:40 hours. The quick charge function provides almost four hours of runtime (without ANC) after 5 minutes of charging.

Great fit on the ears

First of all, the relatively low weight of only 261 grams is noticeable. This will please people who have not yet had much experience with wireless over-ear headphones. Of course, the plastic used is responsible for the considerable weight savings – nevertheless: the Life Q30 make a well-made and stable impression.

The design language is very similar to the predecessor Life Q20, but there are still some optimizations. The bracket is now equipped with a rounded and slightly thicker pad. The ear pads were also with them Life Q20 succeeded. The shells can be rotated and tilted and the bracket adjustment has a large range. There should be something for every head shape. For better transport, the mussels can be folded in and stowed in the travel case to save space.

Overall, they sit very comfortably and don’t start to squeeze even after being worn for a long time. Some might even argue that they are sitting too loosely – a valid argument as the seat can have a limited effect on the sound performance.

The processing is in no way inferior to more expensive models.

The processing is in no way inferior to more expensive models. (Image: Soundcore)

Bass-rich sound with mediocre ANC

And you actually notice that the loose fit in conjunction with the soft material ensures comparatively poor insulation. The outside noise is still quite present for over-ears. Active noise cancellation (ANC) provides a certain improvement. Several microphones pick up the ambient noise and the headphones counteract this with anti-sound waves.

The Soundcore Life Q30 have several ANC levels that are adapted to certain situations – travel, wind or office. The manufacturer app can be used to determine which modes can be activated using the ANC button. The outdoor mode is most likely to convince: on a busy city street or in a noisy train station building, it delivers useful results. However, the noise canceling does not come close to the performance of the market leaders Sony and Bose, but it does not have to be in this price segment.

The three ANC levels are adapted to different everyday situations.

The three ANC levels are adapted to different everyday situations. (Image: Soundcore)

When it comes to the sound, the more bass-related alignment is noticeable, but I lack the certain pressure in the bass. The draft is impressively good, but loses accuracy in very deep areas. The mids remain and are clear despite the dominant bass foundation. Voices sometimes sound thin, but they are relatively precise. For this price you get a surprisingly large soundstage; nevertheless, more volume or body would be good for the sound. The highs are also clear without having too much harshness. The stereo separation is sometimes a bit unbalanced.

What is rather disappointing: The sound changes when the ANC or transparency mode is activated. Above all, the strong bass regulates down. So it sounds a bit brighter overall. In some modes and certain songs, the high frequencies appear slightly sharper.

A nice add-on: you can make extensive sound adjustments using the manufacturer’s app.
There are 20 ready-made presets that either adapt the sound to suit you or are tailored to specific genres. You can also use the 8-band equalizer to create and save your own presets. All customizations are automatically transferred to the headphones and are then available there independently.

If you use the headphones with cables, the sound changes again. The stage becomes a little wider, which gives the sound volume. The fidgety stereo separation is also history and the highs sound slightly crisper. But still: You shouldn’t expect a miracle.

When making a call, you yourself are perceived as being quite bass-heavy and echoing. The interlocutor can still hear intensive background noise to a limited extent, but there are no disturbing noises. The conversation partner sounds okay, but sometimes a bit dull.

A lot of performance for very little money

The Soundcore Life Q30 is available for just under 64 euros on Amazon. On the Manufacturer shop you can currently save a few euros again (as of January 2021).

This puts them at the absolute lower price limit of over-ears with ANC – often three-digit amounts are set for the broad competition. It is therefore difficult to make direct comparisons of performance. Of course, Sony or Bose headphones offer more, but you also have to pay almost five times the price.

That’s why I’m currently giving the Soundcore Life Q30 the price-performance crown. Especially for people who do not have insane demands on their headphones, the over-ears offer a nice sound and practical noise-canceling for a small price.

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