Current testing methodology is v1.2
September 8, 2020
September 8, 2020
Priced at around $80, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 is one of the most affordable noise-canceling headphones on the market today.
Released a little less than two years ago, let’s see if this hyped-up pair of headphones have withstood the test of time.
Anker Soundcore Life Q30
An excellent pair of budget-friendly ANC headphones.
The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 was released in November 2021.
The build quality of these headphones could be better but they’re fairly durable and comfortable. They also have great sound quality which makes them a decent option if you’re on a budget.
Having fantastic noise-canceling capabilities for under $100, the Life Q30 can easily compete with pricier options and more recent releases in the market today.
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Driver (Full Range): 2 × 40mm
- Frequency Response: 16Hz – 40kHz
- Bluetooth Range: 15m/49.21ft
- Battery capacity: 720mAh
- Playtime with ANC off: 60 hrs
- Playtime with ANC on: 40 hrs
- Charging time: 2 hours
- Audio code format: SBC, AAC
What’s in the Box?
- Anker Soundcore Life Q30 headphones
- USB-A to USB-C charging cable
- 3.5mm audio cable
- Carrying case
Stuff I like
- Great sound quality
- Excellent ANC with three modes
- Long battery life
- Comfortable fit
Stuff I like less
- Build quality could be better
- Looks bulky when worn
A Little Bit of Background
Last month, I went on a long international trip that spanned more than 10 hours cramped in an economy seat at our local airline.
The experience wasn’t exactly pleasant, and while the flight’s onboard library of movies and music was expansive, the provided headphones didn’t do much to mute out the engine sounds or the crying baby next to me.
Thankfully, I had prepared for this by downloading movies on my tablet and bringing along my trusty old Bose QC35ii headphones with superb noise cancellation.
Unfortunately, I had to leave the headphones’ case behind due to a lack of space in my tech bag. Horrible mistake.
The already-aged piece of tech was mangled by all the items in my bag, with tears forming in the headband and the earcups. Also affected were the hinges which aren’t as durable as they used to be.
That’s when I decided that these babies are now relegated to home use, so it was time to look for a cheap pair of headphones with noise cancellation.
My requirements were simple: firstly, they had to meet my standards for audio quality.
That might be a tough ask since I’ve listened to so many pairs of headphones, IEMs, and other devices in the past. But I was willing to manage my expectations given that it’s wireless and due to my budget.
Speaking of that, it had to be relatively cheap. I shouldn’t be too afraid of losing it, damaging it, or throwing it in with my other stuff. Replacement parts should come easily on the usual e-commerce platforms.
Up next is the presence of Active Noise Cancellation. Even if it’s bad, just having that feature is already a huge help.
The last is that the headphones have to be comfortable enough to be worn for hours – whether that’s on a long-haul flight, or during a coffee shop study session
With that, the search began. It didn’t take long before I found countless YouTube videos labeling the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 as shockingly impressive for the price, even declaring it the best “affordable” wireless headphone.
Sure, these videos were two years old by now, but I doubt that the space has advanced enough to render these obsolete.
And I was right. Sure, successors to the Q30 came in the form of the Q35 and Q45, but the improvements didn’t really discredit what the former could do. Especially not because the price
of the first models had dropped significantly.
So without a second thought, I made the buy.
With the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Headphones in my possession for about a month, I can give a fair assessment if they’re truly the best cheap noise-canceling headphones
Put these headphones in your hands and you can immediately tell that they’re not a high-end device.
The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 is mostly constructed of a toy-like plastic material that feels like a cheaper product. The buttons also aren’t much better off.
Surprisingly, when I shook and stretched them, these cans didn’t exhibit any signs of breakage. There weren’t any terrifying squeaks and it didn’t feel like the Q30s were going to snap in half.
I didn’t push the band to lay flat since it was a purchase made with my hard-earned money, but I’d imagine that scenarios requiring a headphone to bend to that extent are infrequent.
I’d also like to remark that the leatherette portions are soft to the touch. One pinch and I could
tell that these were going to be more supportive than my last relationship. So… are they?
Fit & Comfort
I’ll get straight to it: I have a sensitive head. Ill-fitting devices tend to cause me migraines after a bit of use, so being selective with my peripherals is a necessity – not a choice.
Thankfully, the padding I mentioned earlier does a lot to serve its wearer. Never did I feel any
discomfort on the points of contact on my head, even after hours of usage.
The Anker Soundcore Life Q30’s plastic construction also keeps the weight down, so my neck and head weren’t having a gym day.
Since these are closed-back headphones, it’s expected but I’ll mention it anyway that your ears get a bit warm after some use. Thankfully there’s enough space between the drivers and the wearer’s ears so there’s no additional friction when moving around.
Another thing to note is the fit tightness or lack thereof. Another huge part of the long-lasting comfort here lies in the fact that it doesn’t really clamp your head. Or it doesn’t feel like it.
It’s absolutely perfect for sitting down or light walks. However, it may feel unstable when used at the gym or during vigorous activities.
It’s time for the moment of truth, what a lot of mainstream tech enthusiasts were hyping up: the sound.
I kept reminding myself that the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 was only below $100 to manage my personal expectations before trying them out, but there’s no doubt that I was hoping for the hype to be warranted.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that they were.
The Life Q30, in its default setting, carries a sound signature that’ll appeal to a lot of casual listeners.
It’s undoubtedly warm, but not bass-heavy enough to be offensive to those who care a bit more about sound.
This is surely one of the strong points of the Anker Soundcore Life Q30.
The bass packs a solid punch but it doesn’t get nearly as bloaty as other devices out there – although fans of a technical, balanced sound should look elsewhere.
As a result, rap and EDM tracks shine here. Thankfully, this thumping doesn’t work against it in other genres.
Equally as impressive are the mids.
Despite the powerful bass characteristics, the vocals aren’t overshadowed in any way. It’s well-balanced for the price point and I had no complaints whatsoever.
The audio presentation here is bright, but the sibilance is manageable and doesn’t hurt the ears. It’s definitely an inoffensive experience that doesn’t get tiring even after a few hours of listening.
Active Noise Cancellation
Meanwhile, ANC on the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 is also impressive.
Sure, it’s still not as good as what you get in substantially more expensive options like the WH-1000XM5 and the Bose QC45, but when you realize that the price points are so far apart, it’s almost a joke to compare.
Reviewing these in a bubble, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 still provides breathtaking ANC.
It shuts out a significant amount of white noise from ventilation systems, ambient noise, and other activities around you.
The ANC comes in three settings: Off, Transparency Mode, and ANC On.
The ANC can then be adjusted for varying levels of strength depending on the situation within the app: Transport, Indoor, or Outdoor.
Most surprising here is that when the 40-hour rated battery conks out, you can still listen using a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 does make a solid case to be considered the best cheap headphones with noise cancelation.
It fares reasonably well in all aspects – establishing itself as a well-balanced all-rounder.
Although the sound appeals to a mainstream audience, it’s not particularly offensive and it’s even passable to actual audio enthusiasts. That’s especially when you consider that it costs a fraction of what you would pay for top-shelf ANC headphone options today.
Considering all that, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 is still a stellar option in 2023.
As someone who is very passionate about all things tech, Nath loves breaking concepts down into simple terms for even beginners to understand. In his free time, he travels, indulges in his automotive hobbies, or simply looks for new jams to listen to.
This post was last updated on 2023-12-03 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.