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Anker Soundcore Life Q35 case

Anker Soundcore Life Q35 review

A competent pair of budget-friendly noise canceling headphones with a bassy sound.
By

Published onJune 6, 2023

7.2
Anker Soundcore Life Q35
The bottom line
The Anker Soundcore Life Q35 get you where you want to go without standing out from the crowd. Not the most premium headset, the Life Q35 will be worthwhile for someone looking for incredible battery life, travel features, and immense customization without breaking the bank.

Anker Soundcore Life Q35

The Anker Soundcore Life Q35 get you where you want to go without standing out from the crowd. Not the most premium headset, the Life Q35 will be worthwhile for someone looking for incredible battery life, travel features, and immense customization without breaking the bank.
Product release date
February 21, 2021
Price
$129.99
Dimensions
19.5 x 18 x 7.8 cm
Weight
272g
Model Number
A3027
Waterproof
What we like
Bluetooth 5.0; SBC, AAC, LDAC, and wired playback
Multi-device pairing
Battery life
Fast charging
Auto play/pause
What we don't like
Default sound is very bass-heavy
Strong clamping force with minimal padding
Noise canceling is mediocre at best
7.2
SoundGuys Rating
7.6
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Isolation / Attenuation
3.8
7.1
7.0
Active Noise Cancelling
6.8
7.3
7.0
Durability / Build Quality
6.0
7.3
7.0
Value
7.7
8.3
8.0
Design
7.0
7.5
8.0
Connectivity
9.0
8.4
8.0
Microphone
6.6
6.9
7.0
Portability
7.6
7.2
7.0
Battery Life
9.9
9.0
9.0
Feature
7.9
7.8
8.0
Comfort
7.0
7.2
7.0

Anker has made a name for itself in various affordable consumer electronics markets. Under the Soundcore name, the company is now attempting a coup in the audio industry with premium features at a fraction of the cost of the competition. The Anker Soundcore Life Q35 are the company’s latest flagship over-ear headphones, and they pack as many features as possible into a sub-$200 headphone.

Let’s see if the quality holds up to the competition or if your money is better spent elsewhere.

Editor’s note: this Anker Soundcore Life Q35 review was updated on June 6, 2023, to expand the Alternatives section. We also ensured all information is current and matches our style guide.

About this review: We tested the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 over one week. SoundGuys purchased the unit for this review.

World travelers will appreciate the long battery life, noise cancelation, and included airplane adapter that all come with the Q35. These headphones will serve more than globetrotters: remote workers can benefit from multi-device pairing and decent microphone for conference calls.

What is it like to use the Anker Soundcore Life Q35?

Anker Soundcore Life Q35 adjustable headband
The adjustable headband and rotating ear cups allow for a custom fit.

Anker prioritizes function over form with the Anker Soundcore Life Q35, focusing on travel and portability. These headphones swivel and fold into the included hardshell protective case, which also stores a pouch for the USB-C charging cable, 3.5mm cord, and an airplane adapter.

Built from a plastic construction, the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 aren’t rated for any level of sweat- or water-proofing. While they don’t feel like they’ll fall apart anytime soon, they’re not nearly as sturdy as ones with some level of metal construction. Don’t expect these to last forever if you are tossing them around your backpack every day.

Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Case
If you’re looking forward to being able to travel again soon, you may want to consider the Anker Q35 as your headphone travel companion.

The memory foam ear pads aren’t as thick as other headphones we’ve tested, and combined with a strong clamping force, they can make wearing the Life Q35 uncomfortable over time. The ear pads don’t breathe particularly well, resulting in warm ears even in an office setting. You won’t want to wear them too long on a hot summer day.

One of the most useful features of the headset is the auto-play/pause function, which detects whether or not the headphones are being worn. This feature has appeared on premium headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM4, but it’s rare at this price.

Is the Soundcore app any good?

The Soundcore app offers a premium experience that elevates the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 above many other Bluetooth headphones in this price range. Upon downloading it, you’ll get a prompt to update to version 1.20, which improves LDAC performance, EQ, call quality, and smart-wearing detection. An app that pushes firmware updates like this one is critical for performance improvements and device longevity.

The Soundcore app features an equalizer within the device settings, which lets you set a custom EQ profile or select from several presets. The app also comes with a free music streaming service courtesy of Lüm, with many playlists to test out headphone settings. There’s even a sleep mode that can play ambient nature sounds for a set period.

As with most software, Anker collects data through the Soundcore app. The Soundcore privacy policy may be worth a read, especially concerning voice data collection and third-party integrations.

How do the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 connect?

Anker Soundcore Life Q35 ports
A 3.5mm headphone jack is present for wired listening when needed.

The Life Q35 use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for SBC, AAC, and LDAC, Sony’s lossless Bluetooth codec that is theoretically capable of up to 990kbps, along with 24-bit/96kHz Hi-Res playback. In our testing, however, this is not the case for LDAC. Any device running Android 8.0 or later supports LDAC, though you can manually switch to SBC or AAC in your Android phone’s developer settings.

It is quick and easy to pair the headphones to multiple devices, although audio can only be played from one source at a time. Anker included NFC pairing inside the headphone, so all it takes is a single tap to pair to Android phones.

For assistance with the pairing process, download the Soundcore app on the device you are trying to pair to. The Anker Soundcore Life Q35 automatically enter pairing mode when you power them on. Simply find the headphones in your Bluetooth settings.

After connecting to the first device, double press the power button on the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 to manually re-enter pairing mode, then look for the headset in your Bluetooth device settings.

How long does the battery last on the Anker Soundcore Life Q35?

Anker Soundcore Life Q35 resting against metal
The Life Q35 can easily make it through a full week without needing to be charged.

The battery life on these headphones is exceptional. Anker claims the battery lasts 40 hours per charge, but in our battery test with music playback peaking at 75dB(SPL) and ANC on, the headphones lasted 52 hours, 21 minutes. The headphones also support fast charging, which Anker says can achieve a 4-hour charge in only 5 minutes. In our testing, after only 5 minutes of charging the headphones were up to 20%, enough to power through a full day of regular use.

How well does the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 cancel noise?

Anker Soundcore Life Q35 ANC Chart
The solid pink line shows passive noise isolation, while the dotted line shows attenuation with active noise cancelation turned on.

With a bevy of noise canceling modes and features, the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 can adapt to nearly any environment. A single button on the back of the left ear cup switches between passive isolation, active noise cancelation (ANC), and transparency modes. Without ANC turned on, the tight seal with the clamping force of the headphones blocks out most high-frequency sounds above 1kHz.

Turning on ANC attenuates most ambient sounds below 1kHz reducing them to one-half or one-quarter loudness. This is adequate performance for over-ear noise canceling headphones, but it doesn’t quite compete with top performers in the category, such as the Monoprice BT-600ANC.

The Anker Soundcore Life Q35 is one of the most functional and utilitarian headphones you can find in the budget over-ear headphone category

Within the Soundcore app, there is an option to select between transport, indoor, and outdoor active noise cancelation modes. Each mode has a different amount of noise cancelation at different frequencies, based on what Anker feels is important for a given setting. The “outdoor” mode has the strongest active noise cancelation, and most listeners will prefer this.

The transparency mode works great for hearing surroundings. The tap-to-talk feature quickly activates transparency mode for a conversation by simply holding the right ear cup for one second.

How does the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 sound?

Chart depicting the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 frequency response relative to the SoundGuys Target Curve
These are some bassy headphones.

Sound quality on the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 headphones is what you would expect from an affordable consumer headset. Out of the box, there is a strong boost in low-end frequencies below 150Hz that bass-heads will appreciate.

Throughout “Peaches” by Justin Bieber, the kick drum and bassline are present in the Life Q35 headphones. However, this strong bass emphasis means that vocals and backing synth instruments are hard to discern and don’t come through quite as clearly as they would on studio headphones.

For the best sound quality and frequency response, you should plug the Q35 into your smartphone.

Since there is an option for a custom EQ setting within the Soundcore app, it is possible to create a much more accurate sound from the Life Q35 with some tweaking. Or you can go wild and crank the bass even more, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Anker Soundcore Life Q35 wireless frequency chart compares wired and LDAC frequency responses against the SoundGuys Consumer Curve V2.
The pink line represents the SoundGuys house curve. The cyan line represents the Q35 headphones over a wired connection. The yellow dashed line represents the LDAC Bluetooth connection.

The mode that the headphones are in has a direct impact on the overall audio reproduction. As you can see in the wired playback chart above, the bass is less emphasized and more accurate when the headphones are wired compared to the Bluetooth LDAC connection. Similarly, turning on noise cancelation affected the sound and minimally decreased the bass output compared to playback with ANC off.

Can you use the headset for phone calls?

Anker Soundcore Life Q35 microphone
Accepting calls with the Life Q35 headphones is as easy as a press of a button.

The microphone on the Life Q35 is more than good enough for taking calls on the go or having quick meetings. Anker states that the beamforming microphones on the Life Q35 use an AI algorithm to detect voice without unwanted noise. We didn’t run into any problems with the microphones while testing, though you can listen to the microphone test for yourself and let us know what you think.

Anker Soundcore Life Q35 microphone demo (Non-standardized):

How does the microphone sound to you?

5943 votes

Should you buy the Anker Soundcore Life Q35?

The Anker Soundcore Life Q35 are some of the most functional and utilitarian headphones in the budget over-ear headphone category. Multiple noise cancelation modes, full customization through the Soundcore app, and exceptional battery life make the headphone a great companion for nearly any lifestyle.

Anker Soundcore Life Q35 on desk
If you enjoy advanced features and customization, you’ll likely be satisfied with the Life Q35.

The headphone falls short in performance, with sound quality and noise cancelation that leaves a lot to be desired. Anker doesn’t have much experience in the premium headphone market, and it shows. The Life Q35 look, feel, and perform much more like the company’s other more affordable headphones than premium offerings from Sony or Bose.

If you plan on traveling a lot, or if long battery life is essential to you, by all means, pick up the Anker Soundcore Life Q35. Others should look around the competition or wait for a price drop before jumping on them.

Anker Soundcore Life Q35Anker Soundcore Life Q35
Anker Soundcore Life Q35
Multiple ANC modes • 52-hour battery life • Fast charging
MSRP: $109.99
A great companion for any lifestyle
The Soundcore Life Q35 plays for fifty-two hours on a single charge, and five-minute charging gives four additional hours. It offers plenty of customization options and travel features.

What’s the difference between the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 and Soundcore Life Q35?

With its plastic build, round ear pads, and Soundcore logos, the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 ($149 at Amazon) are a close relative of the Life Q35. The Q45 modestly improve upon the Life Q35 as they have better battery life (55 hours, 48 minutes), support for Bluetooth 5.3, and a slightly more modern design. Bluetooth 5.3 means the Space Q45 may support LE Audio and the LC3 Codec when the time comes.

The Q45 will provide a generally more pleasing sound right out of the box, but you can EQ either headset from the Soundcore app. You’ll probably want to do this to reduce the sub-bass bump on the Q45 anyway. Interestingly, the ANC is nearly identical between the Life Q35 and Space Q45 headphones. If ANC is your top priority, save some cash and go with the older Life Q35.

Reasons to get the Soundcore Space Q45 instead of the Life Q35: Bluetooth 5.3 and future support for the LC3 Codec, better battery life, and a solid microphone system that rejects background noise. Listeners who don’t care about that will otherwise be happy with the older Life Q35 headphones.

What are some alternatives to the Anker Soundcore Life Q35?

A hand holds the Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT shown from the side.
The ATH-M20xBT typically sell for about $70.

Anker’s other headphone models may provide better value for many people. Most prominent is the Life Q30 ($79.99 at Amazon), which bring a nearly identical design with Bluetooth and ANC.

The Monoprice BT-600ANC ($84.99 at Amazon) have Bluetooth 5, incredible active noise cancelation, and touch controls for less than the price of the Life Q35. The biggest drawback of the BT-600ANC is the lack of a companion app for firmware updates or EQ tweaking. That said, these cans have a more neutral sound out of the box compared to the Life Q35.

If you’re looking for the top sound quality in this price range the Sennheiser HD 350BT ($86 at Amazon) are also worth a look, although they don’t have active noise cancelation. For good sound quality and a reliable, sturdy build, we’ll point you toward the Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT ($79 at Amazon). You can check out all these models on our list of the best Bluetooth headphones under $100.

Frequently asked questions about the Anker Soundcore Life Q35

Yes, noise canceling works when listening over a wired connection, but it will drain the battery life of the headset.

If you are experiencing problems with your headphones, a great first troubleshooting step is to reset the headphones. Press and hold the power button as well as the volume up button at the same time for 5 seconds to reset the headphones. You can then re-pair the headphones with your device.

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