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Anker Soundcore Space Q45
August 25, 2022
Original: $149 USD
The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 is a new addition to Anker’s line of Soundcore Life headsets. With a strong focus on its active noise canceling (ANC) features, this new headset has many of the same features and similar build quality. Does it manage to break free of the product line’s middling reputation for build quality and sound quality?
We spent one week with the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 and found out everything you need to know before you blast off into space with it.
Editor’s note: this review was updated on October 19, 2023 to add the Sony WH-CH720N to alternatives, and to add updated charts.
The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 is generally best for commuters and workers, people looking for something with decent noise canceling at a reasonable price. It’s also a solid choice for users looking for headphones with a capable microphone for work or voice chat. They’re also not a bad pick if you need headphones for flights.
What’s it like to use the Anker Soundcore Space Q45?
The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 is primarily made out of plastic, featuring pleather ear cups that are comfortable but not as breathable as I typically like. Fortunately, the ear cups are reasonably adjustable and swivel to lay flat. The ear cups also fold up for easy storage in the provided case. You can throw the headset in a bag if you’re in a pinch, but the plastic doesn’t seem all too scratch-resistant.
A metal-reinforced headband is the strongest part of the headset, and it has some give to it to accommodate larger noggins. Cushioning on the band mitigates any hot spots that form on the top of the wearer’s head. Overall the Space Q45 is comfortable for a couple of hours at a time. As long as you don’t work up a sweat, this pair of headphones will serve you well on your commute or for a dedicated music listening session at a nice price.
We’ve heard reports of build quality issues with other Anker devices, but haven’t noticed any such problems in our testing. Plus, Anker offers an 18-month warranty on all of its headphones, so you can reach out to their customer service if an issue arises.
How do you control the Anker Soundcore Space Q45?
The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 features controls on the left and right ear cups, which are neatly divided between the two, depending on the function. Media and volume controls reside on the right ear cup, including a play/pause button and a volume rocker. On the left ear cup, you’ll feel the more general operational controls, namely a power button and a button for toggling between listening modes (ANC on, ANC off, and audio passthrough mode). You can hold down the volume up or volume down buttons for two seconds to play the next/previous song, respectively.
Should you use the Soundcore app for the Anker Soundcore Space Q45?
Although it feels like a cheaper experience than should be expected for this headset, the Soundcore app (iOS/Android) is a useful way to extend the functionality using a mobile device. It has controls for features like wind noise reduction, alternate Bluetooth codecs (depending on your phone’s support for them), as well as the ability to change other parts of the headset’s operation such as the prompt tone. It also includes a space for changing EQ presets provided by Anker, as well as using your own custom EQ preset. It’s certainly not essential to use the Anker Soundcore Space Q45, but it’s a good way to get the most out of it.
How does the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 connect?
The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 connects using Bluetooth, with a backup option to use a 3.5mm wired connection. The headset charges using a regular USB-C cable. For connectivity options, the headset is compatible with different Bluetooth codecs depending on your phone. The default one is AAC, but it also has support for SBC, as well as LDAC if you enable it through the Soundcore app (this requires the headset to turn itself off and on again).
How long does the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 battery last?
Anker advertises a battery life of 65 hours with ANC off, and 50 hours with ANC on. In our testing we found the headset to have 55 hours, 48 minutes of battery life, which exceeds these estimates. The headset also supports fast charging, meaning you’ll likely never find yourself in a situation where the Space Q45 is rendered unusable by an empty battery.
Yes, the Soundcore Space Q45 supports fast charging: just 5 minutes of charging yields 240 minutes (4 hours) of playback.
How well does the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 cancel noise?
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In general, the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 has fairly solid noise isolation. When you put on the headset it does a decent job of masking outside conversation or low-volume music. The headset also supports active noise canceling and a sound passthrough mode (aka “transparency mode”), all controlled by the left ear cup’s ANC button. The ANC is fairly solid, although it doesn’t compare as well to market-leading headsets like the Sony WH-1000XM5.
When I use the Soundcore Space Q45 wireless headphones on public transit, the ANC does an adequate job of blocking out the noise of the trains, as well as traffic while on the bus. This kind of real-world result requires you to get a good fit with the headphones; make sure there are no gaps between the padding and your skull.
How does the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 sound?
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The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 sound quality is probably the headset’s biggest issue. It’s not all terrible, most users will get used to the headset’s sound after a few minutes of use, but it doesn’t hold up next to other options on the market. The frequency response curve deviates noticeably from our headphone preference curve across all areas of the frequency spectrum. The sub-bass is slightly exaggerated, the midrange depressed slightly, and the higher frequencies are besieged by an undulating change in response that causes high-end elements in music to sound hissy, betraying the accuracy of the playback.
Lows, mids, and highs
By far the biggest issue with the sound on the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 is its very uneven high-end response. This can clearly be heard on songs like Brainstorm by the Arctic Monkeys, where the cymbals on the drums in particular sound notably incorrect compared to what I’m used to. On the other hand, the vocals in that same song suit the frequency response fairly well. Additionally, the mid scoop around 200 Hz to 500 Hz noticeably impacts some songs, such as Machine Gun by Noisia where a lot of the synth tones are lacking the punch I’d expect. The slight bump in the sub-bass doesn’t really transfer over to a perceptible benefit in bass-heavy genres such as house music, although the song Edge by REZZ did sound notably better than some songs of more traditional genres due to its focus on low bass.
Can you use the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 for phone calls?
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The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 microphone system is surprisingly good, although it doesn’t stand out under ideal conditions. Instead, the dual microphone array shines under sub-optimal conditions. It effectively rejects background noise, particularly on city streets and in windy environments. Few $150 wireless headphones can reject unpredictable background noise, as heard in our simulated office environment, as this one from Soundcore. You can hardly hear the keyboard clicks, and the speaker remains audible throughout the clip.
This is a great ANC headphone pick for work, especially if you spend much of your days in conference calls. Don’t just take our word for it. Listen to our demonstrations, and let us know your thoughts by voting on the poll below!
Anker Soundcore Space Q45 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
Anker Soundcore Space Q45 microphone demo (Office conditions):
Anker Soundcore Space Q45 microphone demo (Street conditions):
Anker Soundcore Space Q45 microphone demo (Windy conditions):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the Anker Soundcore Space Q45?
Overall the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 is a solid headset. It’s nice to use, the controls are well laid out and easy to command, and it feels comfortable to wear for a fair amount of time. The biggest issue is that the sound quality simply doesn’t match other headsets on the market (but you can EQ it). By default, your favorite songs will sound slightly off on this headset if you’re used to something of higher quality. If you can look past that, however, this headset is generally a good choice. Perhaps you’re looking to listen to podcasts more than music, or you need this headset for air travel and can appreciate its focus on noise canceling. As long as you know this headset’s flaws, it’s a fine pair of wireless ANC headphones.
If the Soundcore Space Q45 doesn’t scratch your itch and you want something more compact, we recommend the Anker Soundcore Space A40. It’s another low-cost, high-value product from Soundcore with good noise canceling. Plus, it costs just $79 at Amazon, and the bass response is much more consistent than the Space Q45.
What should you get instead of the Anker Soundcore Space Q45?
The ANC headphones market is oversaturated, leaving you with plenty of options to consider before buying the Q45 from Soundcore. Those who want something similar should look into the Anker Soundcore Life Q35. The older Q35 headset has very similar ANC to the Space Q45 and costs $99 at Amazon. You can often get the Life Q35 on promotion too, which brings the price down to around $100. But, the Q35 design looks a bit dated next to the Q45, so keep reading if you want something more modern.
For a similar price ($799 at Amazon) the Sony WH-CH720N are another interesting proposition. These are comfortable, if a bit plasticky, with dedicated buttons and a comprehensive app. You get the same codec selection as the Anker headphones and a great battery life.
For those willing to spend more for style points, we recommend the Jabra Elite 85h. This set of noise canceling headphones has a water-repellant nano-coating that protects its internals from sweat, making it a viable set of workout headphones. Unfortunately, this costs quite a bit more at $249 (currently $190.99 at Best Buy), but it’s a few years old, so patient listeners can wait for a deal to pop up. What are you paying for when you get the Elite 85h? Well, you get a very comfortable design with spacious, plush ear pads and nearly invisible button controls. It folds up like the Sony WH-1000XM4 and is easier to transport than the Q45.
Of course, you could go cheaper than the Space Q45 with the Monoprice BT-600ANC, our favorite pair of noise canceling headphones under $100. The anonymous design means you won’t get any comments on your headset, but even if you did, you wouldn’t be able to hear them; the ANC is just that good. You also get the AAC and aptX HD high-quality Bluetooth codecs to choose from, and when the battery dies, just grab the 3.5mm cable to continue rocking. It’s not perfect: you don’t get a mobile app and the sound quality is odd and bass-heavy, but you can always download a third-party EQ app to change it.
Frequently asked questions about the Soundcore Space Q45
Yes, the Space Q45 noise canceling works in wired mode. You need to ensure the 3.5mm cable is plugged in, and then press and hold the noise canceling button.
Unfortunately, you cannot use the headset while it’s charging, but since the 5 minutes of fast charging gets you 4 hours of playback, it shouldn’t be much of an issue.
Yes, the Space Q45 from Soundcore works with your phone’s native smart assistant. All you have to do is double-press the play/pause button, and then you can voice your command.