Anker Space Q45 Review Rating
The Anker Space Q45 are an excellent pair of active noise cancelling headphones with a more refined sound than last years Soundcore Life Q35
Overall - 85%
- Sound profile is less bassy and little more natural
- Excellent ANC for the price
- Extensive controls and EQ
- Apart from the sound profile, little else has changed
Last year I reviewed the excellent Anker Soundcore Life Q35. They offered a phenomenal level of ANC performance when compared to premium-priced brands such as Bose or Sony. However, they didn't offer quite the same value for money as the Life Q30, which cost about half the price.
Several years ago, Anker also launched the Space NC, which appeared to receive middling reviews at the time, which is quite rare for Anker.
Anker has now appeared to merge the two product lines with the launch of the Soundcore Space Q45. Based on this launch, I would assume that there won't be a Soundcore Life Q40, but this is just speculation on my behalf.
- Over-ear headphones with ultra-strong noise cancelling & longest playtime for Every-day Carry (EDC)
- 3-Stage Adaptive ANC Blocks 98 % Outside Noise automatically with 5-Level Manual Selection for Ultimate Customisation. Q45 adapts to block out all frequencies as needed.
- Updated Earcup Design Improves Passive Noise Cancellation, helping to block outside noise
- Hi-Res wired and wireless certified compatibility ensures that users hear every detail while listening to music.
- 40mm double layer Metal ceramic diaphragm driver offers “pure bass” and crystal clear sound.
- All Week Playtime – 50 Hours (ANC) / 65 Hours (No ANC) + Quick Charge 5min = 4hr
- A.I.-Enhanced Calls with 2 mics help eliminate background noise, including wind noise
- 5 Levels of Transparency Mode including Ambient Aware Transparency Mode, which allows users to hear the outside while listening to music or podcasts
- Hearing protection mode protects users' hearing by limiting the volume to a safe volume.
- Multi-point compatibility
- Bluetooth 5.3
Soundcore Space Q45 vs Soundcore Life Q35
Both headphones have 40mm dynamic drivers and can-do hi-res audio with the Sony LDAC codec.
The Anker Space Q45 increases the battery life slightly. You get an additional 5 hours with ANC off and 10 hours with ANC on. They both have the same quick charge speed of 5 minutes, listen for 4 hours.
The Space Q45 uses Bluetooth 5.3 vs 5.0 on the Q35.
The Space Q45 does not have NFC pairing, unlike the Q35.
Set up and enable LDAC
Set up is the same as most headphones, just pair them as normal. You will then need the Soundcore app, which requires registration.
These are advertised as using LDAC, but by default, this is switched off. It uses more battery, and the higher bitrate can potentially have connectivity issues.
Within the Soundcore app, you need to go to the settings using the cog button in the upper right, then sound mode and select LDAC for the preferred audio quality. The Q35 comes with LDAC enabled out of the box, assuming your device supports it.
I had some issues with LDAC when reviewing the Life Q35, it would suffer occasional popping when you first connect. I assume this was while it established a stable bitrate. So far, I haven't experienced any issues with the Space Q45.
Space Q45 Soundcore App Settings vs Life Q35
There are quite a few in-app changes, I have been using a beta version of the app, which allowed me to pair the Q45. Therefore am not sure if these will be rolled out for the Q35, too.
Not a huge amount has changed, but you now have:
- Minor changes to the predefined EQ settings. Bass booster appears to be gone, and now the Soundcore Signature has a bass boost toggle.
- LDAC is not enabled by default.
- You now have a wind noise reduction toggle under the main settings.
- You now have 5 levels of ANC for custom noise cancelling as well as adaptive noise cancelling.
- Transparency mode now has more settings, similar to ANC.
- The superior sleep (ambient sounds) appears to have been removed.
I find that both the Space Q45 and Life Q35 are comfortable to weird. They both have thick ear pads that are quite soft (thicker than my Bose 700). Even though the ear pads look circular and don't look massive, they fit around my ears without pressing down on them.
The material is UPVC/pleather, so you may find you get hot ears after extended periods of time.
On paper, it looks like the driver hardware has remained the same with the Space Q45. However, it seems like Anker has tuned them differently. I found that the Life Q35 were very bass-forward with them out of the box sound profile. I didn't hate the sound, but it would muddy higher frequencies.
With the Space Q45, they sound much more tamed, and I think this makes them sound better for a wider range of music.
As I tend to prefer something more bassy, at first, I thought these might be a little too flat, and I was missing the fun, lively sound profile that the Life Q35 has.
Within the app, you have extensive EQ settings, either custom or predefined. The Soundcore signature profile now has a bass booster toggle, but even with this, I would say the bass is not quite as dominant on the Q45
The more I listened, the more I appreciated the changes made. For hip hop and electronica, you do still get plenty of bass, especially with the BassUp toggle on. It is pleasantly deep without overwhelming the mids and highs.
The other frequencies benefit from the new sound profile. Mids are richer and vocals clearer. Highs come through nicely, and I would say they roll off a bit in the upper highs. I can be quite sensitive to the sharpness of upper highs, and I found that I didn't suffer from the same level of fatigue with these as I do with other headphones.
Considering the price, the noise cancellation was superb with the Life Q35.
The noise cancelling settings have changed quite a bit with the Space Q45, and it is difficult to say if or how much the overall performance has improved.
With a loud fan switched on in the background, both headphones do a good job of eliminating the bulk of the low-end hum as well as most other environmental noise. However, the high end remains, but the overall sound and volume is much more tolerable than it was without the ANC on.
I also tested the ANC vs the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which sell for £260. They performed better, again, they removed all the low-end noise leaving some high-end hum. However, they were able to reduce the high-end noise much more than the Anker headphones.
Moving on to playing an aeroplane cabin white noise video on YouTube, the performance was excellent across all three headphones.
Subjectively, I'd say the Space Q45 are a touch better than the Life Q35. They reduce a bit more of the low end as well as some of the higher. The Bose 700, once again, outperformed both headphones, but I wouldn't say it was twice as good, whereas they are nearly twice the price.
The Space Q45 has better ANC control than the Life Q35. You can now select 5 levels of ANC vs the three different environments. I typically left them on at level 5, but dialling it down a bit can reduce that weird head feel you get from ANC headphones.
Anker claims that these will run for 50 hours with ANC on. I charged them when I first got them, and they are still going strong after about 20 hours of use.
For me, I am happy with the battery as long as a pair of ANC headphones can get me through a couple of long-haul flights without needing to charge them. These should do that several times over.
Price and Alternative Options
|soundcore by Anker Life Q35 Multi Mode Active Noise...||£114.33||Buy on Amazon|
|soundcore by Anker Life Q30 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling...||£79.99||Buy on Amazon|
The Anker Space Q45 should launch for £139.99 and will be available on Amazon and via Anker directly. This is £10 more than the launch price of the Q35 and £20 more than the current price on Amazon.
The older Anker Life Q30 are available for a bargain price of £60.
The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are £260, and they are better headphones all around but I don't feel like they are £120 better. The QuietComfort 45 are also the same price.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 are £231, and the new Sony WH-1000XM5 are £345.
The Anker Space Q45 are an excellent pair of active noise cancelling headphones.
I'd say they are an incremental upgrade to the Soundcore Life Q35 and the main difference you will find is how the sound has been tuned. These are a little less bassy and a bit more natural. However, some people prefer a more bass-forward sound.
I found that the LDAC codec seemed more stable with these headphones, and subjectively I would say the ANC is fractionally better.
Last update on 2023-03-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API