Reviewed on Mar 27, 2018 , Marc Henney, Yannick Khong

Anker SoundBuds Curve
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
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Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
6.8
Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
6.9
Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
7.0
Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
7.9
Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
6.9
Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
5.6
Home Theater
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Score components:
5.4
Gaming
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Score components:
Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Anker SoundBuds Curve are good sports headphones, with a long battery life and a decent sound. They're comfortable with a stable ear-hook design for exercising and working out. They're compact enough to fit into your pockets, and they're decently well built, although the audio cable is a little thinner than comparable wireless in-ears. Unfortunately, they do not block that much noise so they may not be the best headphones for loud, noisy environments and their sound may be a bit too bass-heavy for some.

See our recommendations for the best Earbuds.

Test Results
Design 7.5
Sound 6.8
Isolation 6.8
Microphone 5.9
Active Features 6.4
Connectivity 3.3
Pros
  • Stable and portable design.
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Very low leakage.
Cons
  • Mediocre-at-best noise isolation.
  • Slightly thin audio cable.

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7.5

Design

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Score components:
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Design Picture

The Anker SoundBuds Curve have a decent design that looks a lot more premium than their price would suggest. The earbuds feel dense, durable and are a bit more comfortable than typical in-ears. They also have an ear-hook design with additional stability fins that make them stable enough for the gym. Unfortunately, the tips tend to slide out of your ears from time to time, especially during more strenuous workouts. They also have fairly thin cables that do not feel as durable as some of the other wireless in-ear/earbuds we've tested like the Bose SoundSport Wireless. On the upside, they have a simple and straightforward control scheme and come with a decent case that's portable.

Style
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Design Picture 2

The Anker SoundBuds Curve have a surprisingly decent-looking, sporty aesthetic, considering their price range. They have thick and flexible ear-hooks, and the matte finish makes the earbuds feel a bit more premium than the similarly designed SoundPeats Q9A. The inline remote and the cable, however, feel a bit cheap. They also do not come in as many color schemes to match your tastes and preference but, their understated look will work for most.

7.5 Comfort
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What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.05 lbs
Clamping Force
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What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
0 lbs

The Anker Curve are quite comfortable for an in-ear design. The tips do not enter as deeply into the ear canal like most in-ear, which removes a bit of the soreness and pain some listeners experience during long listening sessions. Unfortunately, the rubber tips sometimes slide a bit in the ear canal, which can be slightly distracting and somewhat uncomfortable for some. On the upside, they come with 6 tip options to help you find the right fit so it shouldn't be much of an issue.

7.2 Controls
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What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Controls Picture
Ease of use : Above-average
Feedback : Above-average
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
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What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through : N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A

The Anker Curve have a simple 3 button layout with no additional features. It's an easy-to-use and efficient control scheme that provides all the essential functions; call/music, track skipping, and volume controls. However, the buttons are a bit small, and even if they're fairly easy to find on the in-line remote by touch, bigger buttons with a bit more feedback would have been preferred.

8.8 Breathability
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What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 1.2 C

The Curve are very breathable headphones. Like most in-ears, they do not cover the outer ear which remains relatively cool when exercising and working out. They do cover a bit more surface area than typical in-ears due to their ear-hook, earbud-like design but it's a negligible difference and won't make you sweat like on-ears or over-ears do.

8.7 Portability
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What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Portability Picture
L : 2.6 "
W : 2.1 "
H : 1 "
Volume : 5.4 Cu. Inches
Stand required : N/A

The Anker Curve are easy to carry around on your person. They're compact, lightweight and you can fold them to easily fit into a pocket, bag, or purse. They're slightly larger than straightforward, wired in-ear designs, but are still very portable and come with a decent case.

7.5 Case
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What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Case Picture
Type : Hard case
L : 3.2 "
W : 3.2 "
H : 1.4 "
Volume : 14 Cu. Inches

These headphones come with a decent hard case that will protect them from minor impacts, scratches, and falls. However, the case shell is not as hard as some of the other hard cases we've tested but on the upside, it's compact and can fit into a pocket.

6.5 Build Quality
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What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Build Quality Picture

The Anker SoundBuds Curve have a decent build quality but thin audio cables. The earbuds and ear-hooks are fairly dense and relatively sturdy, making them better built than some cheaper sports-oriented like the Mee Audio X6 Plus. They feel better built and more premium than the similarly designed Q9A, but the audio cable is thinner and less durable.

8.0 Stability
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What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Stability Picture

These headphones have a stable ear-hook design that's great for sports. They won't easily fall off your ears even during intense workout sessions. They also have a couple of stability fins included in the box that helps with the fit, which makes even more stable. However, the earbuds will slip out of your ear canal from time. They won't fall but the change in the seal when they move around slightly changes the audio which may be an issue for some.

Cable
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Cable Picture
Detachable : No
Length : N/A
Connection : N/A

The Curve come with a micro-USB charging cable.

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Headshots 1
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6.8

Sound

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What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Frequency Response

The Anker SoundBuds Curve is a decent sounding pair of closed-back in-ear headphones. They have a deep, powerful and consistent bass, a clear and neutral mid-range, and an even and well-balanced treble. However, their bass is slightly overpowering, which may be welcomed by the fans of bass-heavy genres, and their mid-range lacks a bit of emphasis on vocals and lead instruments. On the upside, they have a great imaging performance, but like most other in-ears, they don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage.

7.5 Bass
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What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Bass
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.64 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
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What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
5.74 dB
Mid-Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.96 dB
High-Bass
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.73 dB

The bass is quite good. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent. Low-bass, responsible for the thump and rumble in bass-heavy genres like EDM, Hip-hop and film scores, is overemphasized by more than 5dB. This results in quite a bit of thump and rumble, which fans of bass may like. Mid-bass and high-bass are also hyped, but only by 3dB. Overall, the bass is thumpy and heavy without sounding too muddy and cluttered.

8.4 Mid
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What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Mid
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.15 dB
Low-Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.96 dB
Mid-Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-2.6 dB
High-Mid
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-2.17 dB

The SoundBuds Curve have an excellent mid-range performance. The overall response is quite even and flat but recessed by about 2dB. This nudges the vocals and lead instruments towards the back of the mix, by giving bass and treble a bit more emphasis.

7.8 Treble
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What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Treble
Std. Err.
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What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.68 dB
Low-Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.74 dB
Mid-Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.37 dB
High-Treble
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What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-7.94 dB

The treble is good. Low-treble is even and within 0.75dB of our target. Mid-treble is also quite well-balanced, but a little uneven between 8Khz and 10KHz. This could make some of the sibilance (S and T sounds) slightly lacking, and some other sibilances a tad too sharp. Overall though, their treble response is quite well-balanced, which is important for a good reproduction of vocals, leads, and cymbals.

Raw Frequency Response
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What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
Score components:
9.2 Frequency Response Consistency
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What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Consistency L Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
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What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.16 dB

The frequency response consistency of the Anker SoundBuds Curve is excellent. If the user is able to achieve a proper fit and an air-tight seal using the assortment of tips that come with the headphones then they should be able to get consistent bass and treble delivery every time they use the headphones.

8.9 Imaging
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What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Group Delay Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
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What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.2
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
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What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.18
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
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What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.93
Weighted Phase Mismatch
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What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
1.35

The imaging performance is excellent. The weighted group delay is at 0.2, which is very low. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (instruments, voice, footsteps), in the stereo image.

1.5 Soundstage
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What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
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What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
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What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
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What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
N/A
Openness
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What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
4.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
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What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
1.8
Correlated Crosstalk
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What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

The soundstage is poor. This is because creating an out-of-head and speaker-like soundstage is largely dependent on activating the resonances of the pinna (outer ear). The design of in-ears and earbuds is in such a way that fully bypasses the pinna and doesn't interact with it. Also, because these headphones have a closed-back enclosure, their soundstage won't be perceived to be as open as that of open-back earbuds like the Apple AirPods, Google Pixel Buds, or the Bose SoundSport Free.

8.1 Total Harmonic Distortion
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What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
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What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.061
Weighted THD @ 100
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What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.703

The harmonic distortion performance is very good. In the bass range, they show very little THD, even under heavy loads. This suggests that the Curve could take a few dB of EQ boost in the bass range before distorting. The THD in the mid-range, however, is rather elevated and could sound a bit harsh and fatiguing around 1KHz.

6.8

Isolation

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Score components:

The Anker SoundBuds Curve only passively block ambient noise which won't be ideal for commuting and very noisy environments. The in-ear buds do not create the best seal within the ear canal, which allows some of your surrounding environment to seep into your audio, unlike some of the other in-ears we've tested. On the upside, since they barely leak you can mask some of the noise by playing your music at higher volumes without distracting those around you.

6.0 Noise Isolation
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What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Noise Isolation
Overall Attenuation
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What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-14.85 dB
Bass
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-2.69 dB
Mid
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-16.48 dB
Treble
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What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-26.82 dB
Self-Noise
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What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
18.18 dB

The Anker SoundBuds Curve have a mediocre isolation performance. In the bass range, where the rumble of bus and airplane engines sit, they achieve about 3dB of isolation, which is barely noticeable. In the mid-range, important for cutting out speech, they isolate by more than 16dB, which is good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds, they isolate by about 27dB, which is above-average.

8.5 Leakage
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What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
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What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
31.14 dB

The leakage performance is great. Like most other closed-back in-ear, these headphones don't leak in the bass and mid-ranges. The significant portion of their leakage is in the treble range and between 3KHz and 6KHz, which is quite a narrow range. The overall level of the leakage is not loud either. Peaking at around 57dB SPL at 1 foot away, which is about the same as the noise floor of most offices.

5.9

Microphone

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What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:
Integrated
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What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
No
In-line
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What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
Boom
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What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Detachable Boom
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What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
N/A

The in-line microphone has a sub-par quality. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound noticeably thin, and quite muffled and lacking in detail. However, it will still be understandable. In noisy environments, the Anker SoundBuds Curve will struggle to separate speech from background noise even in moderately loud situations, like a busy street.

5.7 Recording Quality
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What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Microphone Frequency Response
Recorded Speech
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What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
LFE
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What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
369.71 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
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What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
3.44 dB
HFE
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What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
2523.3 Hz
Weighted THD
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What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
1.666
Gain
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What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
41.56 dB

The SoundBuds Curve's microphone has a sub-par recording quality. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 369Hz means speech recorded/transmitted with it will sound noticeably thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 2.5KHz is poor and results in speech that is muffled and lacking in detail. It also negatively affects the intelligibility of speech.

6.1 Noise Handling
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What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
Anker SoundBuds Curve	 SpNR
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
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What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
13.07 dB

The in-line mic is mediocre at noise-handling. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 13dB, indicating they are best suited for quiet environments and will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in moderate and loud situations.

6.4

Active Features

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What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

The Anker SoundBuds Curve have a decently long battery life but poor power saving features and no app support for customization. They lasted up to 13 hours on a single charge, which should be enough for a day of moderate-to-heavy use. They also do not take too long to charge (1.7 hours). Unfortunately, the lack of an app makes them less customizable than some of the other wireless in-ears like the Jaybird X3. They also do not turn-off automatically when inactive as long as they're paired with your Bluetooth source which is a little disappointing.

7.1 Battery
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What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Battery Type
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What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
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What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
13 hrs
Charge Time
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What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
1.5 hrs
Power Saving Feature
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What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
No
Audio while charging
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What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when your relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
No
Passive Playback
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What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
No

The Anker Curve have a decent battery life of 13 hours and only took about 1.5 hours on average for a full charge. This makes them a decent option for the casual and heavy user, but unfortunately, they do not have a lot of power saving features to extend their battery life. They will stay paired to your device until the battery runs out or they are out of range so if you forget to switch them off the battery will continue to drain which is not ideal.

0 App Support
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What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
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What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
N/A
ANC control
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What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
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What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
N/A
Playback control
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What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

These headphones do not come with a compatible app for added customization options.

3.3

Connectivity

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What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:
  • 10% Bluetooth
  • 32% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

The SoundBuds Curve are Bluetooth-only headphones with no audio cable or base/dock. They have a decent wireless range but do not support simultaneous multi-device pairing or NFC.  On the upside, they have relatively low latency for a Bluetooth headset and even support aptX but still won't be the ideal headphones for gaming or watching movies. 

6.0 Bluetooth
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What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 79% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • 0% PS4 Compatible
  • 0% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version : 4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
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What it is: A Bluetooth profile that's allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example switching from your phone to your home or work PC.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
No
NFC
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What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
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What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your PS4.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
No
Xbox One Compatible
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What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your Xbox one.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
No

The Anker Curve do not have multi-device pairing or NFC support. On the upside, their hold-to-pair procedure is not difficult to use and not as frustrating as some Bluetooth headphones due to the decent feedback of the buttons on the in-line remote.

0 Wired
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What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
Score components:
  • 13% Analog
  • 9% USB
  • 26% PS4 Compatible
  • 26% Xbox One Compatible
  • 26% PC Compatible
Cable Tested : N/A
Analog
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What it is: A regular 1/8" TRS audio jack or a 1/4 or 1/16 TRS with a 1/8 TRS adapter.
When it matters: For all devices with a line out.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB
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What it is: A USB or USB adapter to connect to your devices for audio and microphone.
When it matters: A digital USB adapter usually offers a slight advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC, and amplifier module or software support and compatibility with PCs. However it may not be as compatible with consoles.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
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What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
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What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
PC Compatible
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What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A

The Anker SoundBuds Curve have no wired option. If you want a decent sounding, wired design with a universal in-line remote, then check out the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear.

0 Base/Dock
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What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a proprietary frequency range.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and Personal Computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Score components:
  • 4% Optical Input
  • 22% Line In
  • 4% Line Out
  • 22% USB Input
  • 4% RCA Input
  • 9% PS4 Compatible
  • 9% Xbox One Compatible
  • 9% PC Compatible
  • 2% Power Supply
  • 13% Dock Charging
Wireless Type
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What it is: The type of wireless connection used by the base station/dock to communicate with the headphones.
When it matters: For latency and range. For example Radio frequency has low latency but mediocre range when obstructed and proprietary docks have their own 2.x GHz or 5 GHz frequency which varies in performance.
:
N/A
Optical Input
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What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line In
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What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line Out
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What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB Input
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What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
N/A
RCA Input
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What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
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What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
Show Help
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
N/A
PC Compatible
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What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Power Supply
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What it is: The connector type of the power source.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
N/A
Dock Charging
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What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A

These in-ear buds do not have a dock. If you want a headphone that's versatile and has a dock, try the SteelSeries Arctis 7. However, it won't be as compact and easy-to-carry around on your person.

7.3 Wireless Range
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What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry.
Score components:
Obstructed Range
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What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
32 ft
Line of Sight Range
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What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
90 ft

The Curve have an average wireless range, even when the Bluetooth source was obstructed but they are not as far-reaching as some of the other wireless in-ears we've tested like the BeatsX. They should have enough range for most use cases, especially if you keep your phone on you, but they won't be ideal for very large office spaces and fixed Bluetooth sources like a PC or TV.

4.2 Latency
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What it is: How long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Default Latency
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What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
163 ms
aptX Latency
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What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
140 ms
aptX(LL) Latency
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What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

The Anker SoundBuds Curve have quite a bit of latency which is not ideal for watching movies and a lot of video content. It's less than most typical Bluetooth headphones especially when connected to an aptX device but it won't be suitable for gaming and movies.

In the box

Anker SoundBuds Curve	 In the box Picture

  • Anker SoundBuds Curve  Headphones
  • Earbud tips (x6)
  • Stability fins (x3)
  • USB charging cable
  • Carrying case
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

Anker SoundBuds Curve	 Compare Picture

The SoundBuds Curve are decently well-rounded in-ears for sports. They have a stable and sweatproof ear-hook design with additional stability fins and a decently well-balanced sound that packs a lot of bass. They're lightweight and portable and surprisingly well-designed for their low budget price. Unfortunately, although they are stable, the earbuds tips would sometimes slip out of your ears and the audio cable is quite thin and does not feel as durable as some of the competing wireless in-ear models below.

Anker SoundBuds Sport

The Anker SoundBuds Sport are average in-ear headphones that deliver a stable wireless fit that's great for sports. They're about as stable as the Curve despite not having an ear-hook design, but the in-ear buds go a bit deeper into the ear canal. This also means that they're a bit more uncomfortable than the Curve, but on the upside, their in-ear fit blocks a lot more ambient noise. The Curve are the better headphone overall with a more balanced sound and they're very affordable. However, the SoundBuds Sport isolate a bit more and are more portable for commuting. 

SoundPeats Q9A

The Soundpeats Q9A are affordable sports headphones with a stable ear-hook design like the SoundBuds Curve. However, they do not feel as well-built or as premium, and their sound quality is a bit less balanced. They also struggle to isolate in noisy conditions but overall, they are decent headphones for most use cases. The SoundPeats are slightly cheaper than the Ankers but also perform slightly worse in all categories, they're also not as sweatproof. So unless you're on a very tight budget, go for the SoundBuds Curve instead.

Fitbit Flyer

The Fitbit Flyer are good sports headphones that have a fairly common wireless in-ear design. They feel a lot more premium and durable than the Anker SoundBuds Curve but do not benefit from the extra stability of the ear-hook design. On the upside, they come with a variety of tips and stability accessories, which make them stand out when compared to other wireless in-ears. They also isolate better than the Ankers in loud environments but have a much shorter battery life and a worse sound quality. They're also considerably more expensive. 

Jaybird X3

The Jaybird X3 are great sports headphones with a customizable sound and a good wireless range. They sound a bit sharper out-of-the-box when compared to the Anker Curve but thanks to the Jaybird MySound App, they're a lot more versatile. They're also better-built, more durable and feel more high-end than the Ankers but they're also considerably more expensive. If you like to tweak your headphones to sound just the way you like, then the Jaybird X3 are a great option, especially for sports. However, the battery life and budget price of the Anker SoundBuds Curve makes them a good alternative, especially if noise isolation is not the highest priority for you.

 

Conclusion

6.8Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
The Anker Soundbuds Curve are decently versatile headphones that are best used for sports thanks to their stable, compact and wireless design. They have a long battery life and a decent build quality, especially considering their price range. However, they do not feel as durable as some of the more expensive wireless in-ears we've tested. They have a moderately well-balanced sound, but a bit too much bass for more critical listeners and they do not block a lot of noise for an in-ear, so they may not be the best headphone for loud, noisy commutes. On the upside, they're easy to carry on you at all times and should be good enough for most use cases.
6.9Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Decent for critical listening. They have a fairly balanced sound with an almost flat mid-range and a good treble, so they don't sound as sharp as some of the other in-ears we've tested. Unfortunately, they pack a bit too much bass which overpowers the instruments and vocals in the mid-range, but fans of extra bass may find it pleasing. They also have small closed earbuds that cannot create an adequate soundstage. This means they won't be the best headphones for more critical listeners but should sound good enough for most, especially if you like a little bass.
7.0Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
Above-average for commuting. They're compact, comfortable easy-to-carry around on your person. Also, their low leakage performance can somewhat compensate for their poor noise isolation, by playing your music at higher volumes. However, they don't block much noise and shouldn't be your first choice for loud, noisy commutes.
7.9Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
Good for sports. The Anker SoundBuds Curve have a stable ear-hook design and also come with a couple of stability fins and multiple tip sizes to help you find a secure and comfortable fit. They're very breathable, easy-to-use and portable enough to have on your person at all times. However, the buds will slip out of your ears occasionally during more strenuous exercises depending on the quality of the fit and seal you can achieve with the provided tips.
6.9Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Average for office use. They will let a bit of the office chatter seep into your audio due to their poor isolation. However, they don't leak much and won't be audible to anyone around you. This means you can also mask some of the ambient noise by playing your music at higher volumes.
5.6Home Theater
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Score components:
Average for home theater use. The Anker Curve are comfortable but have fairly high latency which won't be ideal for watching movies. They also have no other connection option but Bluetooth so they won't be the ideal headphones for a home theater set up.
5.4Gaming
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Score components:
Below-average for gaming. They have a mediocre-at-best microphone, and a bit too much latency to be suitable for gaming. They also have no companion app so they won't be as customizable as most gaming headsets and their Bluetooth connection is not compatible with consoles.
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