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Anker SoundBuds Review
Price: $36 List | $25.99 at Amazon
Pros: Inexpensive, great for working out, comfortable
Cons: Average sound quality
Bottom line: Inexpensive wireless earbuds that can keep up with you wherever you go
Anker has been building a reputation for offering good electronics at bargain basement prices, and the SoundBuds epitomize that reputation. These earbuds lists for just $36 and often retail for even less, yet deliver decent sound and a comfortable fit inside a sleek and portable design. They even stayed in our ears throughout all of the running, biking, and weight lifting involved in our athletic performance testing. If you're on the fence about spending money on a pair of Bluetooth earbuds, forgo a couple of slices of avocado toast and get the SoundBuds, you won't be disappointed.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Anker SoundBuds don't sound quite as good as the high end Bluetooth earbuds available, but they perform just a well in every other capacity and cost just a fraction of the price. If you're looking for wireless freedom without the shackles of a big price tag, these are the earbuds for you.
Despite a mediocre sound quality score the Anker SoundBuds were still near the top of our overall scoresheet. Below we go through the individual tests we used to calculate that overall score, and how the SoundBuds performed in each.
Sound quality is the only real weak point of the Anker SoundBuds. In short, they sound acceptable but not great, and earned a 5 out of 10 in our sound quality testing.
All around the sound produced by the SoundBuds is average. The bass has enough depth to be heard, but isn't particularly punchy. The clarity is good enough to do justice to most of the highly compressed audio files we listen to today, but you might miss some of the nuance of those John Coltrane saxophone trills. This creates an overall sound that is full, but just doesn't have the same meat and heft of the higher scoring models. To be honest we doubt you'll notice these slight shortcomings in the middle of an intense workout, but the SoundBuds' listening experience may not hold up to the scrutiny of sitting fireside in a cashmere robe sipping fine brandy and listening to silky smooth jazz.
The phone call quality of the SoundBuds is also average. In Our testing phone calls came through with decent volume and clarity. The microphone created some static on the callee's end, but was still completely understandable.
The SoundBuds shared the top score of 8 out of 10 in our comfort testing.
The SoundBuds offer four different earpiece sizes and three different ear fin sizes. Everyone who tried these on was able to find a comfortable and secure fit. The earpieces are made of a very flexible rubber. Many people loved this as it created a good seal and thus blocked out ambient noise quite a bit. Others thought it somewhat created the feeling of having earplugs in which, while not uncomfortable, felt somewhat odd. If you don't like your ears being completely blocked by your earbuds, you may not like these.
With a secure fit and light cord that doesn't bounce around, the SoundBuds shared the top score of 8 out of 10 in our athletic performance testing.
The soft squishy ear pieces and well designed ear fins keep the SoundBuds stable and in your ears no matter the activity. Even doing long sets of jumping jacks we never felt like the SoundBuds were going to fall out. The over ear hooks of the Powerbeats provide more confidence that they won't fall out, but we think the SoundBuds are still comparable in terms of stability.
We would like to make one note about the SoundBuds athletic performance. The squishy earpieces create a tight fit that block out more sound than most models. This is great on a plane, but can be a little disconcerting if you're outside running. Just be cautious if you use these earbuds anywhere near traffic.
The SoundBuds' battery life was average in our testing, lasting a total of 6.5 hours. This might feel a bit limiting if you're in the middle of a multi-flight travel day, but is plenty of juice for the vast majority of situations.
The SoundBuds utilize small earpieces and a flexible, lightweight wire. This allows for easy storage in any pocket and the ability to wrap them up in your hand and make them essentially disappear. This resulted in them sharing the top score of 8 out of 10 in out portability testing.
At a list price of just $36, and a street price that is often even lower, the Anker SoundBuds are almost as inexpensive as a wired pair of earbuds. While the sound of these earbuds isn't incredible, it's adequate, and they deliver great performance otherwise. Therefore we feel these earbuds are an exceptional value.
The Anker SoundBuds provide decent sound and great all-around performance for a shoestring budget price. If you want wireless earbuds but don't want to spend much you can't go wrong with the Anker SoundBuds.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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