Soundcore Life Q20 in the test: ANC bargains

The power bank manufacturer Anker also wants to make their ears ring with the sub-brand Soundcore. Whether this succeeds with the ANC headphones Life Q20, reveals the test.

Active Noise Canceling (ANC) headphones isolate the user from the outside world. In the office, train or plane you can concentrate on your music or videos. However, both in terms of ANC quality and the price range, there is a broad field that we illuminate with our theme world.

The following articles have already appeared on the subject of ANC headphones:

The Life Q20 is a headphone in the classic look: thick ear cushions sit on the bulky drivers and are held by a lightly padded headband. The bar is infinitely adjustable in size. The hinges on the earphones can also be bent and swiveled, the 268 g light Life Q20 sits relatively comfortably on different head sizes, in addition, the headphones can be folded.

On the inside of the earpieces, the letters L and R stand out, so that you do not put the headphones in the wrong direction. On the left handset are the power button – which is also used for the Bluetooth pairing – as well as the button for noise suppression. Also here Anker meant it with the eye-catching marking a little too well. Also: What good is it, if printed on a button in large font NC, the headset is just sitting on the button. The white font does not look discreet, but torpedoes a little the unobtrusive look. On the right side are volume control, the start and stop button, a microUSB port for charging and a jack input for wired operation.

The design is classic and unobtrusive.

At first glance, the design is a round thing, on closer inspection, however, quickly becomes clear, processing and material from the predicant Excellent are very far away. The plastic looks cheap, both in the hand, the headphones feels like cheap toys: Everything is slacking, the buttons to be operated well by the size wiggle when touched and crack loud and clear when pressed. The upholstery is extremely soft and feels more like a down jacket from the discounter. Also, the upholstery at the headband, the appearance is better than the effect. The headset is not uncomfortable, but you do not want to wear it on your head for several hours, especially as it will get quite warm in the ears at some point. With all the shortcomings one must not forget one thing: With an EIA of less than 60 euros, the headphones are a price warrant that the quality of the Life Q20 does not surprise with high-end models, which can cost many times, not surprised – and makes the alleged weaknesses forgivable.

In the box are still a thin transport bag, a micro USB charging cable and an audio cable with 3.5 mm jack included.

The headphones fold up.

In terms of material and workmanship, Anker may have smelt, but the sound was neatly padded – at least on paper: the product description states that the Life Q20 masters highres audio. That would be a hammer in this price range. Unfortunately, the music is transmitted only with the codecs SMB and AAC, Highres sounds different. The exaggeration would not have been necessary, because the headphone does its job quite well even without aptX.

The sound quality is surprisingly high for the low price.

Let's just start our soundcore playlist with a classic. The album mezzanine Massive Attack was completely remastered for his 20th birthday. With the Life Q20 on the head is of it Teardop not much to hear. The song is powerless, the beat has no steam. Although the classic is presented very transparently, but the energy of the song is not over – as if a sports car drive with the handbrake on. Too bad, because the song deserves a big stage and no acoustic flip book.

There is also a lack of transparency Pin it down not by Madison Cunningham. The blues guitar comes clearly from the right, the singers come pointedly out of the center, the rest of the instruments surround the soundscape. Nevertheless, no closeness wants to arise, one is only there, instead of in the middle. A feeling through low confirmed by The Slow Show: The voice of Rob Goodwin sounds as if the sound file has been fine-tuned. Weak highs, bland middles and a powerless bass make for an acoustic arbitrariness.

And on the dancefloor? Nuutri by Smoke is one of those tracks that gets carried away with his fat beats. Actually. The Soundcore is honest, but the piece does not really get going. On the contrary: The high synth sounds in the background sound too shrill and annoying in the long run, in the middle it seems spongy without corners and edges. The bass is there, yes, but as if you do not want to disturb the neighbors while practicing. Overall, the sound is best described on average – and that's a compliment in this case. Because we had already tested significantly more expensive headphones that did not necessarily sound better.

The plastic looks cheap, but makes a sufficiently stable impression.

And this price range, it is also rather unusual to equip the headphones with a noise canceling. It only knows two operating states: on and off. If ANC is activated, especially in the traffic, deeper buzzing sounds are filtered out, which makes the outside noise less dominant. This becomes especially clear when buses and trucks pass by. But in principle it was already: The traffic noise itself is indeed a little mitigated, but remains well audible in the ear. Of course we did not expect the headphones to compete with our previous test winners Bose NC 700 (review) and Sony WH-1000XM3 (review) – but a little more would have been in there. Those who put fingers in their ears shield themselves better than with the Life Q20.

Anker is familiar with batteries: Up to 30 hours are according to the manufacturer with the ANC on. If the noise activation is disabled, it should even be up to 60 hours. When the battery is empty, five minutes of power are enough to listen to music for up to four hours. Although these values ​​were not fully achieved in practice, the Life Q20's battery lasted longer than the competition.

The headphones are comfortable thanks to the polish.

The RRP of the Soundcore Q20 was originally at just under 90 euros, meanwhile it has been sung to under 60 euros. Overall, the headphones offer a very good performance at this price.

Actually, the Soundcore Life Q20 has to be rated twice. Compared with other ANC headphones in the test environment, the headset is more likely to be in the lower league, comparable at most to the clam of Fresh 'n Rebel (review). The sound quality is average, the processing and choice of materials also. Visually, the headphones are absolutely fine, the design is simple – unfortunately it feels very cheap in the hand and on the head. An ANC function is present, with the Bose NC 700 (test report) this would just be enough for the weakest stage. The battery lasts forever, you only want to wear the headphones actually only briefly – the ears and the cheap foam warm pretty quickly.

But Anker has a key asset in his sleeve: the price. For less than 60 euros you have to search for a long time until you find a comparable headphones. Audiophile connoisseurs are sure to avoid the Life Q20. Occasional listeners, for whom a moment's rest is more important than perfect sound, can listen to it more carefully.

And even if the shielding effect is not the best on the market, it diminishes the noise in the office and environment at least to a bearable level. The closed design also ensures a bit of peace. The note corresponds to the two angles: Even if really good sound sounds different – for us the Soundcore Life Q20 of the battery-professional anchor is a real headphone bargain.


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