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Anker Soundcore Life Q30 headphones on a table.
Chase Bernath / SoundGuys

Anker Soundcore Life Q30 review

Who says you need to spend more than a hundred bucks to have a good time?
By
February 10, 2024
7.6
Anker Soundcore Life Q30
The bottom line
With good sound, active noise canceling, and battery life, these are some of the best-value headphones on the market. If you have a budget of $100, don't hesitate to buy the Anker Soundcore Life Q30.

Anker Soundcore Life Q30

With good sound, active noise canceling, and battery life, these are some of the best-value headphones on the market. If you have a budget of $100, don't hesitate to buy the Anker Soundcore Life Q30.
Release date

September 2020

Price

$79.99 USD

Dimensions

195 x 180 x 78 mm

Weight

260 g

Model Number

A3028

Waterproof
What we like
Price
Noise canceling
Battery life
What we don't like
No touch controls
No dust or water resistance
EQ presets not very effective
7.6
SoundGuys Rating
7.2
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Isolation / Attenuation
6.4
6.0
6.0
Active Noise Cancelling
7.5
8.5
9.0
Durability / Build Quality
6.0
7.0
7.0
Value
9.5
9.5
10.0
Design
7.0
7.7
8.0
Connectivity
7.5
7.0
7.0
Portability
7.0
6.0
6.0
Battery Life
9.9
10.0
10.0
Feature
8.0
8.0
8.0
Comfort
8.0
8.0
8.0
Overall Sound Quality (MDAQS)
7.3
6.5
7.0
Immersiveness (MDAQS)
9.5
5.0
5.0
Distortion (MDAQS)
3.8
4.0
4.0
Timbre (MDAQS)
8.9
7.0
7.0

We found the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 delivered great value in the noise canceling headphone market. Now, we’re taking a look at its even more affordable sibling, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30. Can this headset hold up as a daily driver at such a low price? Find out in our Anker Soundcore Life Q30 review.

Editor’s note: this is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.

About this Anker Soundcore Life Q30 review: We tested the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 over two weeks. The headphones ran firmware version 03.50, and the Soundcore app ran version 3.5.1. SoundGuys purchased the unit for this review.

Anyone looking for a versatile but affordable set of headphones should consider the Anker Soundcore Life Q30.

What’s it like to use the Anker Soundcore Life Q30?

A man places the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 headphones on his head.
Chase Bernath / SoundGuys
The Q30 is comfortable for long listening sessions.

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 deliver a solid all-around experience. The headphones come in a nice hardshell carrying case, a USB-C charging cable, and an analog audio cable for wired listening. A plastic design keeps the headphones lightweight, and I found them comfortable to wear for hours at a time. The overall feel of the headphones is similar to the Bose QuietComfort Headphones, which cost about four times as much.

With no IP rating for dust and water resistance, you shouldn’t take the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 on crazy outdoor adventures. The lack of sweat resistance also means you should be cautious using them at the gym.

How do you control the Anker Soundcore Life Q30?

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 has control buttons on the bottom of the ear cups. You can’t change what each button does, but they are clearly labeled with their primary functions, so I found it easy to learn how to use them.

The right ear cup has one fancy trick up its sleeve: when you hold the palm of your hand over the ear cup for one second, it enables transparency mode. This makes it easy to quickly talk to someone without removing the headphones.

Power buttonANC buttonMulti-function buttonVolume downVolume up
Single press
Power button
Power on/off
ANC button
Switch ANC mode
Multi-function button
Play/pause, answer/end call
Volume down
Volume down
Volume up
Volume up
Press and hold
Power button
3s: Power on/off
5s: Enter pairing mode
ANC button

Multi-function button
Activate voice assistant, reject call
Volume down
Previous track
Volume up
Next track
Double press
Power button
Pair to second device
ANC button

Multi-function button

Volume down

Volume up

Should you use the Soundcore app for the Anker Soundcore Life Q30?

You can use the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 just fine out of the box, though the Soundcore app unlocks additional customization features. Most importantly, the app has an equalizer to adjust the headphones’ sound. There are a bunch of EQ presets to choose from, or you can create your own custom EQ. You can also customize the noise canceling within the app, selecting between Transport, Indoor, or Outdoor modes. Each of these targets different frequencies of environmental noise.

Another feature in the app called Superior Sleep is pretty fun to play around with. It uses binaural recordings of various ambient noises such as rain, wind, fire crackling, etc. You can simultaneously play as many of these sounds as you want and adjust the mix to your liking.

How do the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 connect?

A man presses a button on the Anker Soundcore Life Q30.
Chase Bernath / SoundGuys
The control layout is easy to learn.

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 use Bluetooth 5.0 to connect. There is also a 3.5mm aux input, so you can listen wired when needed. There’s no support for fancy Bluetooth codecs such as aptX or LDAC, but I had no connection problems using the AAC codec with my phone and laptop.

You can use NFC pairing to connect the headphones to your supported Android device by tapping the right ear cup. To pair with other devices, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure the headphones are powered off.
  2. Hold the headphones’ power button for 5 seconds until the LED flashes blue.
  3. Select “Soundcore Life Q30” from within the Bluetooth settings on your device.
  4. Press the power button twice to pair to a second device simultaneously.

How long does the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 battery last?

A hand holds the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 headphones.
Chase Bernath / SoundGuys
The USB-C charging port is located next to the power button.

In our battery test, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 lasted an impressive 46 hours and 35 minutes on a single charge, exceeding the 40 hours of playback time Anker specifies.

Yes, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 is capable of fast charging speeds. From empty, a 5-minute charge should provide 4 hours of listening time. Fully charging the headphones takes about 2 hours.

How well do the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 cancel noise?

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The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 does a good job of blocking out environmental noise. Passive isolation from the ear cups blocks out most high-frequency noise. With active noise canceling (ANC) enabled, there is also a significant reduction in low and mid-frequency noise. This means most environmental noise will sound about one-quarter as loud while wearing the headphones.

The transport mode is the most useful of the three available ANC modes since it blocks out frequencies that passive isolation alone struggles to attenuate. The indoor and outdoor modes provide weaker noise canceling.

On the flip side, transparency mode works well at amplifying your surroundings. I appreciate the quick trigger of transparency mode by holding a palm over the right ear cup, but I wish it would also pause the music playing so it’s easier to have a conversation.

How do the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 sound?

Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Scores (MDAQS)

The chart below shows how the sound of the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD acoustics.

A chart showing the MDAQS assessment of the Anker Soundcore Life Q30.
These are good scores for a budget headphone.

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 scored very well for both Timbre and Immersiveness. This means most people will likely enjoy how their music sounds on these headphones. The distortion score appears low but is about average for the Bluetooth headphones we’ve seen.

Timbre (MOS-T) represents how faithfully the earbuds reproduce the frequency spectrum and temporal resolution (timing information).

Distortion (MOS-D) represents non-linearities and added noise: higher scores mean cleaner reproduction.

Immersiveness (MOS-I) represents perceived source width and positioning: how well virtual sound sources are defined in three-dimensional space.

See here for an explanation of MDAQS, how it works, and how it was developed.

Reviewer’s notes

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 sound pretty good. Audiophiles aren’t going to like the way these sound, but then, this isn’t an audiophile product. Casual listeners will have fun listening to the Anker Soundcore Life Q30, and if you don’t like the default sound, you can easily adjust it with the companion app.

The Soundcore Life Q30 ear cups.
Chase Bernath / SoundGuys
The 40mm drivers of the Life Q30 deliver plentiful bass.

For a song like Gravity by SLANDER, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 provides some extra punch to the bass drop. Every hit of the distorted synth sounds feels as though it’s rattling around your brain with boosted bass and highs. This song also showcases the immersiveness of the Life Q30, with background vocals and percussion elements all around my head in the virtual soundstage.

On the other hand, the headphones show their weakness with the song I Fall Apart by Post Malone. In the first part of the song, there is a lack of detail on the keys and guitar. Then, when the deep sub-bass comes in at 0:57, it is overpowering compared to almost every other element of the track.

Objective Measurements

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Comparing its frequency response to our headphone preference curve, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 has an absurd amount of emphasis on low frequencies below 200Hz. It also has a narrow peaking boost in the high frequencies around 8kHz. This creates what you might describe as a more exciting sound, with booming bass and an emphasis on the “sizzle” of higher harmonics. Anker is not the only one making headphones with these characteristics, but it’s a little overdone in this case. It’s far from our ideal, but it is a fun sound many enjoy, particularly for high-energy genres such as EDM.

The Soundcore app includes over 20 EQ presets. Below, we’ve examined the two presets that we hoped would bring the frequency response of the headphones closer to our headphone preference curve. There are also plenty more to choose from, although none deviate drastically from the default.

Bass Reducer EQ Preset

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If you find the bass is overpowering, the Bass Reducer preset is a good place to start, though it hardly makes any difference, but it does help tame down the low end.

Flat EQ Preset

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We’d hoped the Flat EQ preset would help tone down the default sound’s low-frequency and high-frequency emphasis. Again it hardly makes any difference, but you may find this marginally more pleasant than the default sound.

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The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 has more bass emphasis with ANC on compared to when it is off. In a quiet environment, we recommend disabling ANC to see if you enjoy the sound more.

Can you use the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 for phone calls?

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 microphones work fine for taking calls on the go. In most situations, the person on the other end of the line should have no problem understanding what you are saying. Listen to our standardized demo below, and let us know what you think.

Anker Soundcore Life Q30 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

46 votes

Anker Soundcore Life Q30 microphone demo (Office conditions):

Anker Soundcore Life Q30 microphone demo (Street conditions):

Anker Soundcore Life Q30 microphone demo (Windy conditions):

Anker Soundcore Life Q30 microphone demo (Reverberant space):

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 microphones don’t do much to suppress background noise, but it is still easy to distinguish what the voices are saying in all of the simulated environments above.

Should you buy the Anker Soundcore Life Q30?

Anker Soundcore Life Q30 headphones on a table.
Chase Bernath / SoundGuys
The Life Q30 is a great all-around value buy.

At a retail price of only $79.99, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 is undoubtedly a deal. You get excellent battery life, solid active noise canceling, and sound customization using the Soundcore app.

This is a versatile headphone with the option of listening wired or wireless and including both ANC and transparency modes. This is probably your best option if you have $100 to spend and want a do-it-all headphone.

Anker Soundcore Life Q30Anker Soundcore Life Q30
Anker Soundcore Life Q30
Comfortable design • 40-hour battery life • EQ customization
A reliable and affordable headset with ANC
The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 gives you 40-hour battery life with ANC on, all for a low price.

How do the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 compare to the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 and Life Q20?

Anker Soundcore Life Q35 resting against metal
The Anker Soundcore Life Q35 shares a similar design to the Life Q30.

Regarding price, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 slots between the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 and Anker Soundcore Life Q35. All three headphones perform similarly, with minor differences between the different models. The only drawbacks with the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are that it doesn’t come with a hard case, doesn’t have Bluetooth multipoint, and uses micro-USB instead of USB-C to charge. On the other hand, the more expensive Anker Soundcore Life Q35 brings the high bit-rate LDAC Bluetooth codec, smart wearing detection, and an airplane adapter. You’ll have to decide which, if any, of those features are worth the upgrade.

What should you get instead of the Anker Soundcore Life Q30?

Top view of hands holding the SonoFlow headphones
The original 1MORE SonoFlow headphones offer wired mode, a carrying case, and “Hi-Res” audio.

Finding good Bluetooth headphones under $100 is like searching for a needle in a haystack. That said, you can find some good options if you’re willing to make a sacrifice or two.

The top competitor to the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 is the 1MORE SonoFlow $99.99 at Amazon. These headphones offer a comparable feature set at a similar price. You get Bluetooth 5.0, decent ANC, and a companion app with EQ. The main difference is that these headphones have a more neutral sound, focusing less on bass and high-frequencies. It’s a toss-up here; we say go with whichever headphones you can find at a better price.

If you’re okay with on-ear style headphones, you should take a look at the Jabra Elite 45h ($99 at Amazon). Those headphones are lightweight and portable but don’t have ANC. If you do want ANC, check out the JBL Tune 660NC ($79 at Amazon).

Frequently asked questions

Resetting your headphones is a great first step in troubleshooting any connection issues you are having. Long press the power and volume up buttons simultaneously for 5 seconds. The headphones have been reset once you see a pink light flash twice. Then, the blue light will appear, which means the headphones are ready to be paired to a device.

No, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 does not have a water resistance rating.

Since there’s no sweat or water resistance, you probably shouldn’t use the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 for working out.

You can use this headphone for gaming with a wired connection or over Bluetooth. It’s not explicitly designed for gaming, so you don’t get gaming features like a boom mic.

Yes, the headphones have a built-in microphone that you can use for gaming or taking phone calls.

Yep, you shouldn’t have a problem pairing these headphones to either an Android or iOS device.