A great pair of headphones needs to both sound great and be convenient. I’m a stickler for good audio quality in headphones, but a good pair can be hard to find, even if you spend a lot of money. However, they still have to work well with your lifestyle and devices, otherwise, you will hate using them.
This is especially true when searching for travel headphones. When you’re on the go, things like long battery life and comfort become super important.
That’s where the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones come in. These offer an unbeatable combination of sound and features at an even better price.
Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
The lightweight design, ridiculous battery life, dual pairing, and active noise cancelling of the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Headphones make them a perfect companion for travelers and digital nomads – or anyone for that matter in the world of 2021.
- Amazing sound that gets better with tuning
- Incredible battery life
- Price that is a 1/4th that of big name competition
- Excellent noise cancelling abilities
- Simultaneously connects to two devices at once
- USB-C charging
- Not quite premium feel
- Occasional sync issues when switching devices
I will admit fully that I am no expert in sound quality and I am not particularly qualified to asses this aspect of the headphones.
However, this category is always the most important to me. I love music and I want to be able to hear it as the musician and producer intended. If a pair of headphones don’t sound good, then they are not worth it, especially if it is priced on the higher end of the spectrum.
And man oh man do these not dissapoint in that regard! With factory settings, these headphones already sound better than most pairs in this price range.
You’ll get even better results by tuning the EQ in the Soundcore app. Bringing down the low-end allows the headphones to deliver a neutral, almost-monitor level of sound. That means there is enough clear bass, crisp mids, and treble for any kind of music or podcast you throw at them.
Simply put, after tuning these are the best, most natural sounding headphones I own. They even beat out my Audio Techinca ATH-M50, which are wired headphones with almost none of the features of these at almost double the price.
Don’t believe me? In that case, I recommend you check out the Oluv’s Gadgets YouTube channel. He is a much more qualified audiophile than I am and his review set up allows you to hear the character of the headphones yourself.
I use his recommend EQ tuning, which you can access via his Patreon for a few dollars. Thank’s Oluv!
These headphones have a claimed battery life of 40 hours and a quick-charge feature that jucies them up for 4 hours of listening in 5 minutes.
Testing these for myself, I was SHOCKED. I was not expecting to get close to the claimed 40 hours with standard mode, let alone in the scenario I tested with.
With indoor mode active noise cancellation, and pairing between my work PC and smartphone, I was able to get a whopping 38 hours of battery life across 5 days of mixed use.
That’s right. A whole workweek where I not just used them for music and podcasts, but constantly synced and paired with different devices, used active noise cancellation, and made Zoom calls. Simply incredible and a true selling point.
This is especially fantastic for travelers, as outlets are often scarce. With 38 hours of use, you could easily go a week between charges if you are not using them all day, as I did testing them while working from home.
As well, I was able to fully charge these from dead to full battery in about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
The active noise cancelling on these headphones is fantastic. I have tested them on busy streets, noisy home offices, and my kitchen with the oven overhead fan on max and the Roomba dilligently cleaning our floors. All scenarios where the noise cancelling did a much better job than some of the sound insulating earbuds I own.
I have not tested them so I cannot say for sure, but generally, reviewers online find that the Sony ANC headphones perform better in this regard…but for nearly 4x the price. Listening to some online comparisons, the Sony is certainly impressive, but the noise cancelling is not 4x better than the Anker!
Convenience and Syncing
These headphones are the first pair I have used that can sync to two devices at once via Bluetooth without requiring you to re-pair them in your devices Bluetooth settings.
That means that switching devices is as simple as pressing “play” on the device you would like to hear from.
While this is far less frustrating than re-paring each time you want to switch, this technology does have a few kinks.
Most commonly, I experience volume changes, especially when switching to a Windows PC. The volume is sometimes cranked to max by default on the PC when I switch.
As well, there are occasions where they wont sync to a second device at all. Usually, restarting the headphones fixes this.
As well, these charge via included USB-C, meaning you wont need to pack an extra wire to charge them, which is especially nice while trying to pack light on the go. It also has an auxilliary audio jack and included aux chord for added flexibility.
The built-in-microphone is certainly not class leading, but it is more than adequate for your basic Zoom calls.
The headphones fold down in several ways for easy storage in your bag. They come with a semi-hard carrying case for added protection.
Look, I don’t read too much into judgement on build quality based solely on how good something “feels”. Just because something feels quality and premium in your hands doesn’t mean it actually is!
These certainly feel nice to use. They have metal and leather accents, but overall are not as premium feeling as some more expensive competitors.
I’ve been using these headphones for nearly a month straight and they have held up quite well! There’s no fraying or deterioration in the leather of the ear cups and the buttons still feel as clicky as new.
A product’s durability is of upmost importance when it comes to travel gear. Something failing while on the go in a different country or in the wilderness can become a huge inconvenience. After about 6 weeks of continuous use, I did find a small crack in one of the joins near the headphone’s headband. These suffered some gentle drops during that time. A bit concerning in terms of long term durability for sure, but Anker backs up their product with an 18 month warranty. I expect to file a warranty claim soon and I will update this post with my experience.
They are more than comfortable for all day use. The sizing allows you to easily get a comfortable feel for the shape of your head. However, with any over-ear headphone, I have experienced some discomfort in terms of pressure on my ears from the ear cups.
So… Are These The Best Travel Headphones?
Simply put, I love products like these. Anytime that you can find a value-focused product from a competitive company like Anker, that beats the much more expensive competition is a huge win in my book. These are one of the easiest products I can recommend and nearly every sort of person, traveler or not, will get a lot of value from them.
If you would like to see some of my other recommended travel gear, take a look at last years gift guide!