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Reviewed on Oct 05, 2018 , Marc Henney, Yannick Khong

Anker SoundBuds Life
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
6.7
Mixed Usage
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:
6.7
Critical Listening
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:
6.8
Commute/Travel
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:
7.4
Sports/Fitness
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:
6.8
Office
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:
5.7
Home Theater
Score components:
5.6
Gaming
Score components:
Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Anker SoundBuds Life are average wireless in-ears for most use cases with a decent sound quality. They have an around-the-neck design and a decently comfortable and stable in-ear fit. They're also easy to use and have a long lasting battery life that should be suitable for most use cases. Unfortunately, though their build quality is decent, they do feel a bit cheap. They also do not have the best isolation performance so they won't be the ideal choice for noisy commutes.

Test Results
Design 7.2
Sound 6.5
Isolation 6.3
Microphone 6.6
Active Features 7.1
Connectivity 3.6
Pros
  • Good battery life.
  • Very low leakage.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Thin audio cables and bulky neckband.

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SoundBuds Life
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7.2

Design

Score components:
Anker SoundBuds Life Design Picture

The Anker SoundBuds Life have a decent around-the-neck design that will work for most. They look a lot more high-end than their price would suggest, however, upon closer inspection, you can see that their build quality is not great. They have a mostly plastic design and thin audio cables that are not as durable as similar headsets like the Jabra Elite 65e. On the upside, they're fairly portable and stable enough to run with, although the neckband is not as flexible as the Samsung U Flex and they lack stability fins to keep the buds in place once in your ears. However, they are very easy-to-use and have magnetic backplates on the earbuds to help with cable management.

Style
Anker SoundBuds Life Design Picture 2

The Anker SoundBuds Life have a decently stylish around-the-neck design that looks more high-end than their price would suggest. The in-earbuds have magnetic backs that stick together to make them more manageable when not in use and the neckband is a sleek two-tone design that's decently flexible. Unfortunately, while they look fairly high-end, they do not feel as premium. Upon closer inspection, you see that the casings on the tips of neckband look metal but are actually plastic. And the audio cables attached to the earbuds are thin and not as rubberized or as durable as the Bose QuietControl 30 or the Jabra Elite 65e. Overall, they are designed well enough for most but do not feel as sturdy or as premium as they look.

7.0 Comfort
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 Life Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.12 lbs
Clamping Force
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 SoundBuds Life are moderately comfortable in-ear headphones as long as you don't mind the around-the-neck design. The neckband is decently lightweight but not as flexible as that of similar headsets like the Samsung U Flex. This makes them a bit more noticeable around your neck, but on the upside, they come with 4 sets of tips which should allow you to find a decently comfortable fit.

7.4 Controls
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 Life Controls Picture
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Above-average
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
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 : No

The Anker SoundBuds Life have an efficient button layout and control scheme. They provide call/music, track-skipping, and volume controls. The buttons deliver good tactile feedback, although the volume buttons are a little stiff and hidden inside the neckband, which isn't as easy to use as the play/pause button, which has a much better layout and feedback.

9.2 Breathability
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 Life Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0.8 C

The Anker SoundBuds Life have a breathable in-ear design. They do not cause any significant temperature increase since they do not cover your ears. They trap a little bit of heat within the ear canal but it's negligible and should not make you sweat more than average. The neckband isn't factored in breathability since they will most likely go over an item of clothing.

6.9 Portability
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 Life Portability Picture
L : 7 "
W : 5.8 "
H : 1 "
Volume : 40 Cu. Inches
Stand required : N/A

These headphones are decently portable if you let them dangle around your neck. Unfortunately, the neckband of the SoundBuds life is not as flexible as that of Beats X or the Samsung U Flex, which means they won't fit as easily into some pockets. They are not the hardest headphones to carry around on your person, especially if you tuck the neckband under your shirt, but they are still a bit more of a hassle than straightforward wireless in-ears.

5.5 Case
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 Life Case Picture
Type : Pouch
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

These headphones do not come with a case or pouch.

7.0 Build Quality
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 Life Build Quality Picture

The Anker Soundbuds Life are decently well-built around the neck headphones with thin audio cables. The neckband's build quality is sturdy yet decently flexible and feels a lot more high-end than the rest of the design. It won't easily break under physical stress but unfortunately, the audio cables are a little thin and susceptible to wear and tear. They could snap if they get repeatedly hooked to an item of clothing if you often place the neckband under your outfit and they do just don't feel as durable as the thick cables on the Bose QuietControl 30 or the flat and rubberized cables of the Jabra Elite 65e.

7.5 Stability
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 Life Stability Picture

The around-the-neck design of these headphones makes them considerably stable. They won't fall from your neck if you run or jog with them but depending on how well the in-ear design fits you, the earbuds may get a little loose during strenuous exercise. Also, if the neckband is placed under your outfit, the audio cables can get hooked or tangled and pull the earbuds out of your ears.

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

These headphones come with a USB charging cable.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
6.5

Sound

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 Life Frequency Response

The Anker SoundBuds Life Wireless is an average 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 decently-balanced treble. However, their bass is slightly overpowering, which may be pleasing to the fans of heavy bass, and their mid-range lacks a bit of emphasis on vocals and lead instruments. Overall, their response resembles the classic V-shaped or smiley face sound profile, which may not sound neutral and accurate, but will sound exciting.

8.1 Bass
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 Life Bass
Std. Err.
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
:
2.75 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
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
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
:
4.03 dB
Mid-Bass
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
:
2.08 dB
High-Bass
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
:
2.91 dB

The bass is very good. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent. Low-bass, responsible for the thump and rumble in bass-heavy music and sound effects is hyped by 4dB. 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.

7.8 Mid
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 Life Mid
Std. Err.
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
:
3.0 dB
Low-Mid
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
:
-1.65 dB
Mid-Mid
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
:
-4.29 dB
High-Mid
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
:
-1.68 dB

The Anker SoundBuds Life have a good mid-range performance. The overall response is quite even and flat but recessed by about 4dB centered around 800Hz. This nudges the vocals and lead instruments towards the back of the mix, by giving bass and treble a bit more emphasis.

6.2 Treble
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 Life Treble
Std. Err.
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
:
4.92 dB
Low-Treble
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
:
2.41 dB
Mid-Treble
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
:
-0.03 dB
High-Treble
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
:
-7.12 dB

The treble is average-at-best. Low-treble is even overemphasized by 2dB and with a tilt favoring higher frequencies. This brings a bit of excess brightness to the vocals and leads. Mid-treble is also quite even, but with a tilt favoring lower frequencies. This means that the sibilances (S and T sounds) on these headphones may sound a little bit soft and underemphasized, which will be mostly noticeable on vocals and cymbals.

Raw Frequency Response
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:
9.6 Frequency Response Consistency
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 Life Consistency L Anker SoundBuds Life Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
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
:
0.08 dB

The frequency response consistency of the Anker SoundBuds Life 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.

9.1 Imaging
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 Life Group Delay Anker SoundBuds Life Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
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
:
0.18
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
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
:
0.82
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
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
:
0.76
Weighted Phase Mismatch
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
:
1.29

The imaging performance is excellent. The weighted group delay is at 0.18, 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.

1.6 Soundstage
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.)
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.)
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
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
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
:
4.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
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
:
2.3
Correlated Crosstalk
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 the Anker SoundBuds Life 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.

7.9 Total Harmonic Distortion
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 Life Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
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
:
0.951
Weighted THD @ 100
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
:
1.44

The harmonic distortion performance is very good. In the bass range, they show very little THD, even under heavy loads, which is great. The THD in the mid and treble ranges, however, is rather elevated and could sound a bit harsh and impure especially around 2KHz.

6.3

Isolation

Score components:

The Anker SoundBuds life Pro have subpar noise isolation performance. They prevent some high-frequency noise from seeping into your audio but do not fit in the ear canal as snugly as some the other in-ear headphones. Although this makes slightly more comfortable than average it also means that they don't isolate as well in loud environments. They won't be the best option for loud noisy conditions but on the upside, they barely leak, so you can mask some of the ambient noise by playing your audio at higher volumes and not worry about distracting the people around you.

5.4 Noise Isolation
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 Life Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
What it is: The simulated noise isolation of the headphones, demonstrating how much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording. For headphones with ANC (active noise cancellation), the playback simulates the isolation with ANC enabled.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
:
Overall Attenuation
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
:
-13.99 dB
Bass
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
:
-2.42 dB
Mid
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
:
-15.16 dB
Treble
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
:
-25.7 dB
Self-Noise
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
:
21.52 dB

The Anker SoundBuds Life have a sub-par isolation performance. In the bass range, where the rumble of bus and airplane engines sit, they achieve about 2dB of isolation, which is inadequate. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they isolate by 15dB, which is good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds, they isolate by about 26dB, which is above-average.

8.0 Leakage
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 Life Leakage
Leakage Audio
What it is: The simulated sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
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
:
33.88 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 centered around 5KHz. The overall level of the leakage is not loud either. With the music at 100dB SPL, the music at 1 foot away averages at 39dB SPL and peaks at 62dB SPL, which is just above the noise floor of most offices.

6.6

Microphone

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
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
:
Yes
In-line
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
:
No
Boom
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
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 integrated microphone of the Anker SoundBuds Life Wireless has an average quality. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin, and muffled and lacking in detail. However, it will still be understandable. In noisy environments, it will be able to separate speech from background noise in moderately loud situations, but will struggle in louder places.

6.7 Recording Quality
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 Life Microphone Frequency Response
Recorded Speech
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
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
:
289.23 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
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
:
1.61 dB
HFE
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
:
3368.2 Hz
Weighted THD
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
:
7.188
Gain
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
:
36.22 dB

The microphone has an average recording quality. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 289Hz means speech recorded/transmitted with it will sound relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.4KHz results in speech that is muffled and lacking in detail. However, the response between the LFE and HFE points is flat and even.

6.5 Noise Handling
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 Life SpNR
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
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
:
17.19 dB

The microphone is average at noise-handling. In our SpNR test, the Anker SoundBuds Life achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 17dB, indicating they will do a decent job separating speech from ambient noise in moderately loud environments but will struggle to do so in louder situations.

7.1

Active Features

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 Life have a good battery life but no auto-off timer or customizable app. They lasted about 17 hours on average on a single charge and do not take long to charge fully at 1.2 hours. Unfortunately, they do not automatically switch off to conserve power when inactive and since they lack an app, they will not be as customizable as similarly designed neckband headphones like the Samsung Level U Pro.

7.9 Battery
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
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
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
:
17 hrs
Charge Time
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
:
1.2 hrs
Power Saving Feature
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.
:
Standby mode
Audio while charging
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
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 SoundBuds Life have a long lasting battery life of 17 hours that can easily last up to 24 hours depending on the volume at which you listen to your music and whether you take a few breaks here and there. This makes their battery performance suitable enough for most use cases, although they do not have many power saving features like an auto-off timer or audio while charging. Unfortunately, they will continue to drain battery life if they are connected to your phone, even when inactive but on the upside, they last fairly long in standby mode so they should have plenty of battery life for most.

0 App Support
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
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
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
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
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 an app for added customization options.

3.6

Connectivity

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
  • 33% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

The Anker SoundBuds Life are Bluetooth-only headphones with no low latency codecs, multi-point pairing or NFC. On the upside, they have a decent wireless range and they are fairly easy to use and pair to new devices. However, like most Bluetooth headphones, they won't be the best choice for watching a lot of video content or gaming on your phone since they have a bit too much latency.

6.0 Bluetooth
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:
  • 80% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • <1% PS4 Compatible
  • <1% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version : 4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources, and have full call and media support on both/all devices they are connected to.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example, switching from your phone to your home or work PC and still have call and media support on both devices.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
No
NFC
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
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
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

These headphones do not have NFC support or simultaneous multi-device pairing. On the upside, they are fairly easy to pair with new devices and keep up to 8 devices in memory so they automatically connect to the last synced devices as soon as you switch them on.

0 Wired
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
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
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
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
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
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

They have no wired option. If you want a good sounding wired in-ear, check the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear.

0 Base/Dock
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:
  • 5% Optical Input
  • 22% Line In
  • 5% 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 headphones 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 or portable.

8.3 Wireless Range
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
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
:
42 ft
Line of Sight Range
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
:
129 ft

The Anker Life have a good wireless range of 42 ft when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room. They also reached up to 129 ft in direct line of sight. This makes them suitable to pair to fixed sources like a TV or PC and should more than enough range if you keep your Bluetooth source/ phone on you.

4.7 Latency
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
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
:
140 ms
aptX Latency
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
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
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 Life, like most Bluetooth headphones, have a bit too much latency to be a suitable option for watching movies or gaming.

In the box

Anker SoundBuds Life In the box Picture

  • Anker SoundBuds Life headphones
  • USB cable
  • Earbud Tips (x4)
  • carrying pouch
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

Anker SoundBuds Life Compare Picture

The Anker SoundBuds Life are a decent option for most use cases. They have a simple around the neck design that's comfortable, stable and easy to use. They also have a long-lasting 17-hour battery life that should be suitable for most use cases. Unfortunately, they do not isolate as well as other wireless in-ears and their build quality, though decent, feels a little cheaper than it looks especially when compared to some of the models below.

Sony WI-C400

The Anker SoundBuds Life are better around-the-neck in-ears than the Sony WI-C400. The Ankers have a much better sound quality and a more premium and durable design despite their thin cables. The Ankers also have a much better battery and latency perfromance when compared to the Sonys, but on the other hand, the Sonys are more lightweight and have slightly better cable management. The Sony also support NFC which makes pairing with mobile phones a lot easier.

Samsung U Flex

The Samsung U Flex are a slightly better around-the-neck headphones than the Anker SoundBuds Life. The samsung  have a flexible neckband that will easily fit into your pckets. They also have a better balanced sound, a more durable design and  lot more customization options but only on when connected to Samsung devices. On the other hand, the Ankers offer a sligtly better value for your money. They aso have a better battery life that should last you long enough for most activities and use cases.

Jabra Elite 25e

The Jabra Elite 25e have about the same performance as the Anker SoundBuds Life. The Elite 25e are a bit more comfortable than the Ankers thanks to their earbud like fit and slightly more lightweight neckband. The Elite 25e also have a slightlly better control scheme with a dedicated mic button. On the other hand, the Ankers have an in-ear fit thatès decently comfortable and more stable than the the Jabras. They also have a more premium look and feel and an IPX5 rating which makes them the slightly better option for sports but their build quality is about the same overall. The Ankers also sound slightly better altough not by much.

Mpow Jaws

The Anker SoundBuds Life are a better neckband headset than the Mpow jaws. The Ankers have a much better build quality that looks and feels more premium altough their cables are still pretty thin and fragile. The Ankers also have a much better-balanced sound and a longer lasting battery life. On the other hand the Mpow Jaws are cheaper and have slightly better cable management. They also iosolate better in noisy conditions and their in-ear fit is a bit more comfortable to wear for long listening sessions than the Ankers altough not by  much.

Conclusion

6.7Mixed Usage
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:
Decent for mixed-usage. The Anker SoundBuds Life are easy to use, and above-average comfortable. They're stable enough for jogging, have a long lasting battery life and an average sound quality sufficiently balanced for most users. Unfortunately, they won't be the best option for gaming and watching movies since they are Bluetooth-only headphones with no way to reduce latency. They also won't be the best sounding headphones for more critical listeners.
6.7Critical Listening
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 good and extend bass, a decent mid-range but a mediocre treble range that's a bit harsh and slightly lacking in detail. The bass somewhat overshadows the instruments and vocals in the mids although not by much. However, this does give them a slightly boomy sound that is emphasized by the slightly lacking treble range. Also, like most closed-back in-ears, they do not have the best soundstage so they will not be the ideal option for more critical listeners.
6.8Commute/Travel
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 lightweight, easy to carry around and have a good control scheme. However, they do not block as much noise as some of the other in-ears we've tested so they won't be the best option for noisy commutes or flights.
7.4Sports/Fitness
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 Life have an around-the-neck design that's stable enough for running or jogging. They're also lightweight, portable, wireless and have an IPX5 rating. However, the in-ear tips do slide a bit in the ear canal during more strenuous activities, and the bulky neckband can sometimes pull the earbuds out of your ears, which won be ideal for more intense sports.
6.8Office
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:
Above-average for office use. They don't block a lot of noise, but thanks to their incredibly low leakage, you can mask some of the office chatter by playing your audio at high volumes and not disturb others.
5.7Home Theater
Score components:
Below-average for home theater use. They're decently comfortable and have a good wireless range. However, they have a bit too much latency for watching a lot of video content, and they have no other connection option but Bluetooth.
5.6Gaming
Score components:
Below-average for gaming. They have a bit too much latency to be suitable for gaming. They also have no customization options, and although their mic is fairly decent, they are Bluetooth-only headphones that will not be compatible with your consoles.

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