As a lifelong integrator and tech nerd, I surround myself with HiFi and tech on a daily basis. I had the pleasure of listening to the crème de la crème of HiFi headphones. So when Soundcore sent me their $150 Space Q45 headphones, I approached them with an open mind, not knowing what to expect. How do a $150 pair of Bluetooth headphones compare to what I’m used to? .
Upon opening the package, I encountered an oval leather carrying case. While durable enough for general travel, it certainly wouldn’t protect the headphones from any blunt trauma. Inside the carrying case were the headphones themselves, folded up by their hinged ear cups. The case looks small at first glance, so adding the hinge for storage was pretty smart. I removed the headphones for inspection and my very first thought was that the build quality was not what I was used to. I put them on my head and was surprised at how light and comfortable they were. The foam hugged my ears comfortably and was a great insulator from outside noise, even when turned off. I stuck them on the charger and went for a few hours.
When I returned to the now fully charged headphones, I turned them on and they immediately went into pairing mode. I searched for available Bluetooth devices and discovered them easily. I then downloaded the Soundcore app and started snooping around. In the app, you can change your ambient sound between noise canceling, normal, and transparent, which activates the internal microphone so you can hear environmental noises. The app also lets you set a safe volume so you don’t damage hearing, which I don’t think is necessary as the headphones weren’t able to crank up as loud as I preferred. Nevertheless, it is an excellent safety measure that can protect young people’s hearing. You can also select “Sound Effects” which is a collection of different audio profiles to add and reduce bass and treble. Or you can enter a custom profile and adjust the equalizer yourself. The last thing in the app that was useful was a list of commands that instruct you on different headset button presses for different actions. The app was very simple and well designed. But also completely optional, the headset works just fine without it. The physical buttons protrude just enough for you to feel their placement and are easy to remember. Different buttons have different functions; double tap for this, hold for that. You can refer to the app for a reminder if you ever get confused.
My first test was with my phone using Tidal MQA as the source. The package has a Hi-Res advertisement right on the front, so were they really Hi-Res? I found the audio quality satisfactory, not bad, but not outstanding either. On par with a $200 pair of Beats by Dre. The “BassUp” audio profile created a muddled bass. In other listening modes, the high frequencies were slightly muddled and there was more emphasis on the mids and lows. The various ambient sound options all worked very well. Active noise cancellation was solid, blocking out most unwanted ambient noise. In the app you can adjust the level of ANC you want to use. The more ANC, the less low frequencies you will hear. But I never found it problematic, nor did I feel any uncomfortable pressure on my eardrums from the ANC. If I needed to hear environmental noises, I would just put them in transparency mode, and then I could carry on conversations with those around me. Normal mode turns them into a standard pair of headphones. The foam and closed-back design do a great job of blocking out external environmental noise.
My next test was with phone calls. Every call I made was perfectly audible and clear. My friends on the other end of the line told me it was like I was talking directly on the phone. The quality of the microphone therefore seems rather good. I have also used them for my virtual meetings with my laptop, again everything I heard was clear and to the point, and I had no complaints from anyone who attended the meeting with me. I could get up and walk away from my device and never heard a connection issue or even a hiccup. I could put my device down and walk around my whole house while listening to music or making a phone call. The Bluetooth 5.3 connection is fantastic, probably the best I’ve ever experienced.
I kept using them for a few hours a day for different purposes and every time I turned them on I heard a “high battery” announcement. I finally had to ask one of my children to help me drain the batteries. Every day she listened to them on the way to school, then for a few more hours when she came home. The battery life is absolutely amazing, and definitely a standout feature of these headphones. They advertise a 50 hour playtime on their packaging and it seemed pretty accurate.
Overall, I was very pleased with the performance of the Space Q45s. After long periods of listening, I experienced no discomfort from the headset, which I often experience with other headsets or gaming headsets. ANC was very good, Bluetooth and battery life were excellent. They were extremely light and comfortable, and I didn’t feel any discomfort after wearing them for several hours. The functionality was simple and I’m confident anyone can type them in and quickly memorize button presses. The app is a nice touch that also serves as a reminder for button presses.
My only real gripes would be the audio quality and switching between multiple Bluetooth devices. I found the switching to be a little clunky and any switching has to be done in your device. I would have liked to see a button on the helmet that could make the switch. But in all honesty, for $150, it’s fantastic value! Any minor complaints I have with these are completely outweighed by their price and all the other things they do so well. The Anker Space Q45 headphones are a great everyday driver for the average consumer who just wants something comfortable and reliable for listening to music and making phone calls. It would be a great gift for a student who needs headphones to help them focus and study. Everyone in my family had a ride with them, and I was the only one with any complaints. If you’re looking for a budget pair of Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancellation, you should definitely consider these.
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