Anker SoundCore Life Q20 Headphones Review
The over-the-ear design of the SoundCore Life Q20 resembles a similar design as the Bose QuietComfort line of headphones, although at a slighter larger size.
The Life Q20 headphones are mostly plastic, but there is a metal sheet in the headband that neither makes the headphones too tight or too loose on my head. The headband also has some extra cushioning so they rest comfortably on the top of my head.
The ear-cups are soft and I’ve found them comfortable when wearing them for extended periods of time. However, like many headphones in this style, there is little “breathability” for your ears and can result in the “ear sweats” over time.
If you’ve been following the Soundcore brand, you may notices the the Life Q20 closely resembles the Life 2. So what’s new?
The Soundcore Life Q20 now uses 4 microphones (compared to 2 microphones on the Life 2) for the Active Noise Cancellation system. On each ear cup, there is now a microphone on both the inside and the outside to help the system “hear” what the listener can hear and what the listener can’t hear to further improve the Active Noise Cancellation system’s effectiveness.
As is typical with Soundcore’s products, the sound quality on the Soundcore Life Q20 headphones is excellent. Bass is strong and mids and highs come through well.
Those who like extra bass can enable the “BassUP” feature by double-pressing the Play button on the right ear cup. However, I found the BassUP feature a little too muddy and overpowers the mids and highs. Even though I like bass, I’m actually happy with the performance when the BassUP feature is off.
One issue I’ve noticed with Active Noise Cancellation enabled is the fluctuation of volume on some songs. It does not seem to occur when Active Noise Cancellation is off, so I’m assuming it is part of the headphone’s system for canceling outside noises. The volume fluctuations are not huge, but I have noticed this on more than one occasion.
Bluetooth range was also impressive, as I was able to walk around my house with my iPhone in a different room and I didn’t notice any blips until I got about 50 feet away indoors.
Compared to the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II
The Soundcore Life Q20 is a contender against the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II. When comparing the Bose QC 35 vs the SoundCore Life Q20, keep the following in mind:
- The noise cancellation on the Soundcore Life Q20 is not quite as effective as the Bose QC 35 II. While the Life Q20 can filter out general “humms” (such as the sound of an airplane or the sound of an air conditioning unit), it’s not as effective against people talking, babies crying or doors slamming.
- The size of the Soundcore Life Q20s is slightly larger than the Bose QC 35.
- Voice prompts: When powering on the headphones, a voice announces the current battery level. The voice also tells you the status of the Active Noise Cancellation system and BassUP settings as you change them. This is a nice change from many of Soundcore’s other products that typically use beeps and sounds that you need to decipher.
- Active Noise Cancellation turns off with power: Some headphones require that the Active Noise Cancellation feature be turned off separate from the power, which has resulted in me forgetting to turn it off and draining the battery. I like that the Active Noise Cancellation automatically turns off with the power.
The Soundcore Life Q20s last up to 60 hours in “normal” mode and up to 30 hours with the Active Noise Cancellation feature turned on. The Life Q20s can be used with a wired AUX connection while off with no battery charge required. The headphones use a Micro USB port for recharging (sorry, no USB-C).
While the Soundcore Life Q20s don't quite have the sound quality or active noise cancellation capabilities of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, they are still sound great and provide adequate noise cancellation for travel.
- Great sound quality
- Up to 60 hours of battery life
- Improved Active Noise Cancellation
- BassUP effect can sound muddy
- ANC results in volume fluctuations on some songs