Anker SoundBuds In-Ear Sport Earbuds
Anker SoundBuds In-Ear Sport Earbuds, Magnetic Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with 8-Hour Playtime and CVC 6.0 Noise Cancellation, IPX4 Sweatproof for Running, Workout, Gym – Sports Earphones with Mic
Offered by AnkerDirect-CA Price: CDN$ 39.99
Not your average Bluetooth Headset, expect clear, rich, and immersive audio
It totally amazes me what Anker has done with a sub $30 headset. How did they get premium audio not to mention the battery life this headset has and not have a $100 price tag on it?
I have some high-end headsets (think $300 B&O H5) and its extremely difficult to distinguish between those and this Anker headset. I like how immersive the experience is, how the subtle undertones are there while the bass is pounding and the mid to high end is there to round everything out.
How any audio product sounds is very much a personal thing, that’s why equalizers exist but there are basics that every individual will deal with in some way. Beyond the audio portion of any headset is the other half of why people will buy them, the fit, how comfortable are they to wear, how well do the gels fit to keep sound pressure inside the ear canal, and how easy are the controls to use. Anker has done a great job of making the overall usability of this headset something that’s easy to become comfortable with.
Right out of the box I liked the flat cable, these tend to tangle less. The ear buds are light weight, not overly large, and there is no control button on the opposite side of the gel so pushing them into your ears doesn’t activate any features. All of the buttons are side mounted and easy to use when you reach up.
I like that the battery and controls are in the ear buds, this puts the little weight there is in a place where they are physically held in place rather than on the cable which when using other headsets, I have found causes the buds to be pulled out as the cable mounted control box gets some momentum when running or turning around quickly. The slightly large ear bud body allows for a larger driver which means better frequency response as well.
So, to test them I paired them with a Blackberry PRIV running Android and a Lumia 650 Windows phone. Sometimes they have very much the same performance and other times the experience is very different. To test their response, I use a wide variety of music, everything from Brian Ferry Avalon to ZZ Top. I even throw in some classical and opera but no metal, I just don’t like it and its not needed to test headsets. The included tunes offer such a different spread from subtle to off the charts dynamic compilations that if a headset is weak in any portion of the audio spectrum it will show up. Like any headset, I expected the audio to be somewhat off and it was, in my experience this can be for a period of half an hour to three hours depending on the individual headset. Here it took about three hours and after that there was a huge difference so when I talk about how great they sound it’s after this break in period. The difference was significant so if you experience this don’t be disappointed, let the headset play and then listen to them a little later.
~Blackberry PRIV: Excellent. Full stop! For my ears the audio spectrum they cover is complete. I also crank up the bass when testing to ensure the drivers aren’t rattled and can still provide clear mid and high end audio. Straight pass.
~Lumia 650: For an inexpensive this phone/headset combination the audio is astounding. The audio player I have installed here doesn’t have an equalizer and doesn’t need one either with this headset. Straight pass.
~I am impressed! I found no lack of frequency response nor did the drivers ever rattle with the heavy bass I threw at them.
While switching between the two phones I was able to test the headsets ability to change from one to the other. It pulled this off without a hitch and no re-pairing was required, just the way it should be. Initial pairing is a breeze. Like most other recent Bluetooth items, push and hold the power button till the LED starts rapid flashing then search for ‘Anker SoundsBuds Sport’ and pair with your device.
I like that no matter what playlist I feel like listening to I get an experience that is consistently great. Well done clarity, rich, and immersive is about the best way to describe what you get. Whatever your style, this headset performs.
Ok so they sound great, on to how comfortable they are to wear and use:
~You get three options for in ear comfort. Use just the three different sized gels, add the gel ear clips, or over the ear extensions. I found the gel ear clips the most comfortable and they provided enough pressure to keep the ear bud firmly in my ear canal which means better bass response as they gel keep air pressure inside your ear canal.
~The buttons are spread out to both ear buds. The power/multi-function button (answer/hang up phone call and start/pause music) is located on the right bud and volume controls are located on the left. In both cases the buttons face forwards when wearing the headset and are easy to use with your forefinger. Also, the left bud houses the micro USB charging port mounted on the backside. The port does have a little rubber tab that you peel back to insert the standard micro USB charging cord.
~For comfort and ease of use, straight pass.
This is a headset too so it can be used on a phone call. To test this I enlisted my wife’s help. What I found was that the audio you hear from the headset is excellent however, the mic audio the person hears on the other end is very low. This was true for both of us. I believe this is directly related to where the mic is located, on the right-hand bud facing your cheek. Now it could be just this headset but this is what I found.
~Fit and finish is excellent, no rough edges or blemishes. Cable to ear bud connection is well done. The gels are seated deep on the barrels so no fear of them coming lose.
~The IPX 4 rating will keep them from being destroyed by a little sweat or the occasional water splashing on them but keep them out of the shower and pool.
I was able to get better than average usage of about 6 1/2 hours out of the first charge but this included a lot of playing around with Bluetooth connections plus the time it was on but not playing music. Like other Li-Ion batteries I expect that after a couple of full charges the play time will climb up. The first full charge took about 1:55.
One more important item. I look for how fast a seller replies to queries and I had the opportunity to contact them. The response was within 8 hours and the person replying to me was courteous and wanted to make sure I had all my questions answered. Excellent service. Straight pass.
I would have to make something up in order to provide any kind of negative review item so I have no reason to not give a 5-star rating.
~Three different sizes of ear bud gels, gel in ear clips, plus left and right over the ear clips
~Included USB charging cable
~Well done English user’s manual
~IPX 4 moisture rating
~Don’t become irritating after wearing for hours due to excellent fit
~Excellent product and service from the seller