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Reviewed on Jun 12, 2018

Anker SoundBuds Sport Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.5
Mixed Usage
6.0
Critical Listening
7.1
Commute/Travel
7.7
Sports/Fitness
6.7
Office
5.4
TV
5.2
Gaming
Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Anker SoundBuds Sport are good headphones for running and working and provide enough isolation to be a decent option for commuting. They're portable and will easily fit into your pocket and their build quality is decent for their price range. Unfortunately, they have a poor sound quality, which could be a deal breaker for some.

Test Results
Design 7.2
Sound 5.7
Isolation 8.4
Microphone 5.6
Active Features 5.3
Connectivity 3.5
Pros
  • Good passive noise isolation.
  • Stable fit.
  • Minimal leakage.
Cons
  • Poor, uneven audio reproduction.
  • In-ear fit is uncomfortable for some.
  1. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  2. Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  3. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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7.2

Design

The Anker SoundBuds Sport are decent-looking sports headphones that offer an incredibly stable fit. They're wireless and don't slip out of your ears even while running and jumping, which makes them ideal to use in a gym. However, the in-ear fit could get uncomfortable for some and their audio control scheme is cramped and slightly frustrating to use.

Style

The Anker SoundBuds Sport are decent-looking in-ear headphones but don't stick out of the ordinary. They have an all-black color scheme that's accentuated by the dark gray earbud and stability tips. They also have magnetized backplates that connect the two earbuds for storage or transport.

6.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.03 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0 lbs

The Anker SoundBuds have a typical in-ear fit that may not be comfortable for everyone. They offer a variety of tips to improve comfort and a better fit, but if the in-ear design causes you discomfort, then these headphones will most likely do the same.

6.6 Controls
Ease of use : Mediocre
Feedback : Subpar
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : No

The button layout and functionality are average at best. These headphones offer call/music, track-skipping, and volume controls but the corresponding buttons have dual functionality and are cramped on the earbuds. They also feel a little flat and don't have good tactile feedback, which is disappointing.

9.0 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 1 C

The Anker SoundBuds Sport are very breathable headphones. They do not cover the ears, so they won't make you sweat more than usual. The stability wings cause a slightly higher temperature difference since they have more points of contact with the notch of your ear than typical in-ear designs but it's not a very noticeable difference and shouldn't change much to your work out routine.

8.8 Portability
L : 4.33 "
W : 0.98 "
H : 1.18 "
Volume : 4.96 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

These headphones are incredibly portable. The in-ear buds are not much larger than typical in-ear buds for a wireless design. They also fold up into a very compact format. They can be easily stored and carried in a pocket, purse or bag.

6.0 Case
Type : Pouch
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

The Anker SoundBuds Sport come with a soft, fabric, squeeze-to-open pouch. It doesn't deliver that much protection but can easily fit into a pocket.

6.5 Build Quality

The build quality is decent. The earbuds are sufficiently dense and lightweight to not get damaged by a couple falls. The linking audio cable is also rubberized. They're well-built in-ear headphones, but the exposed audio cable could get damaged through regular wear and tear, and could be a little thicker. Also, the earbuds will crack under moderate-to-heavy physical stress because of their mostly plastic build.

8.0 Stability

The Anker SoundBuds Sport are designed to be used during sports and physical activity. They successfully maintain their position even while running or jumping and are ideal for use at the gym. They also offer a few stability tips that help improve their in-ear fit, and the wireless design ensures that they will rarely get hooked on something and be pulled out of your ears.

Cable
Detachable : No
Length : N/A
Connection : N/A

They come with a USB charging cable.

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5.7

Sound

The Anker SoundBuds Sport are a sub-par sounding pair of closed-back in-ear headphones. They have a sub-par, overpowering and muddy bass, an average yet cluttered mid-range, but a good treble. Overall, their sound profile is overly bass-heavy, boomy and cluttered, which makes vocals sound too thick and muddy. Also, like almost all closed-back headphones, they lack an open and spacious soundstage.

4.2 Bass
Std. Err.
:
8.24 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
44.26 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-10.88 dB
Mid-Bass
:
5.4 dB
High-Bass
:
9.49 dB

The bass of the Anker SoundBuds Sport is sub-par. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 44Hz, and low-bass is underemphasized by almost 11dB. This indicates a lack of thump and rumble in the reproduction. Conversely, mid-bass, responsible for body and punch, and high-bass, responsible for warmth, are over our neutral target by 5dB and 9dB respectively. This results in a bass that lacks thump, but is excessively heavy and muddy sounding.

6.8 Mid
Std. Err.
:
4.24 dB
Low-Mid
:
6.91 dB
Mid-Mid
:
0.38 dB
High-Mid
:
-0.51 dB

The Anker SoundBuds Sport have an average mid-range response. Low-mid shows about 7dB of overemphasis, which is actually the continuation of the high-bass bump. This significantly thickens the vocals and gives a cluttered quality to the overall mix. However, mid-mid and high-mid, occupied by the upper harmonics of vocals and lead instruments, are flat and well-balanced.

8.0 Treble
Std. Err.
:
3.45 dB
Low-Treble
:
-2.57 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-1.22 dB
High-Treble
:
0.04 dB

The Anker SoundBuds Sport have a very good treble performance. The overall response is even and decently balanced. But, low-treble shows more than 2.5dB of underemphasis, which has a subtle negative effect on the detail and articulation of vocals and lead instruments. The narrow 5dB around 8KHz, could make these headphones a tad sharp on sibilances (S and T sounds), which will be especially noticeable on vocals and cymbals.

10 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.0 dB

The frequency response consistency 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. However, if a proper seal is not achieve with these in-ears, then the user will experience a drop in bass. It should be noted that this headphone wasn't measured five times, in order to reduce the wear and tear on our dummy head.

9.0 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.58
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.08
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
0.95
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
0.93

The imaging performance is excellent. The weighted group delay is at 0.58, which is average. The GD graph also shows a dramatic rise in group delay around 25Hz, but since the Anker doesn't produce much bass in the region, this won't be very audible. 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.

1.0 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
1.9
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
1.1
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.01 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.

7.8 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
1.119
Weighted THD @ 100
:
1.392

The Anker SoundBuds Sport have a good harmonic distortion performance. In the bass range, they show little THD, even under heavy loads. However, the right driver consistently shows more THD than the left driver. This indicates poor driver-matching and manufacturing tolerance, but most likely won't have audible effects. However, the peaks in THD at 1KHz and 4KHz may add a bit of harshness to the sound of those frequencies.

8.4

Isolation

The Anker SoundBuds Sport isolate listeners surprisingly well. They do not have any active cancellation yet they block a lot of ambient noise with the seal of their in-ear fit. They fare well in loud environments and can handle the level of ambient noise of a regular commute or a gym. They also barely leak any sound and won't disturb the people around you even at high volumes.

8.1 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-24.96 dB
Bass
:
-8.4 dB
Mid
:
-20.31 dB
Treble
:
-47.1 dB
Self-Noise
:
7.99 dB

The Anker SoundBuds Sport have very good isolation. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sits, they isolate by about 8dB, which is average. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they achieved more than 20dB of isolation, which is very good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they reduce outside noise by more than 47dB, which is excellent.

9.0 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
27.4 dB

The leakage performance of the SoundBuds Sport is great. The significant portion of the leakage is concentrated in a narrow range around 2KHz, resulting in a leakage that sound sharp and thin. The overall level of the leakage is very quiet too. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away, averages at 28dB and peaks at 47dB SPL. This is noticeably lower than the noise floor of most offices.

5.6

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
No
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The Anker SoundBuds Sport have a sub-par integrated microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound noticeably thin and muffled. In noisy situations, it will struggle to fully separate speech from background noise even in moderately loud environments, like a busy street.

5.2 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
500.69 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
3.23 dB
HFE
:
3179.16 Hz
Weighted THD
:
14.869
Gain
:
38.63 dB

The microphone has a mediocre recording quality. LFE (low-frequency extension) of 501Hz indicates a recorded/transmitted speech that sounds noticeably thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) is at 3.2KHz resulting in a speech that sounds muffled and lacks detail. The response between the LFE and HFE points is also rather uneven.

5.9 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
9.7 dB

The noise handling of the integrated microphone is sub-par. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of about 10dB. This suggests that the Anker SoundBuds Sport are best suited for use in quiet environments, as they will struggle to fully separate speech from ambient noise even in moderately loud places.

5.3

Active Features

The Anker SoundBuds Sports have a poor battery life but and no power saving features but they charge relatively quickly. They only last about 3.5 hours on a single charge, which is nowhere near the 13 hours of the SoundBuds Curve. They also lack a good app which makes them less customizable than some of the other wireless in-ears we've tested like the Jaybird Freedom

5.9 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
3.5 hrs
Charge Time
:
0.7 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
No
Audio while charging
:
Yes
Passive Playback
:
No

The Anker SoundBuds Sport have a below average battery life. They only have last about 3 hours when playing audio continuously. However, on the upside, they charge pretty fast and can also continue streaming audio when plugged into to a power outlet which could be practical if you're at your desk at the office. Unfortunately, the short battery life and lack of power saving features makes the overall battery performance subpar.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

These headphones have no compatible app.

3.5

Connectivity

The Anker SoundBuds Sport are Bluetooth-only headphones with no audio cable or base/dock. They have an average-at-best 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
Bluetooth Version
:
4.0
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
No

These headphones do not have multi-device pairing or NFC support. On the upside, their hold-to-pair procedure is not difficult to use.

0 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
N/A
Analog Audio
:
N/A
USB Audio
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A

The Anker SoundBuds Sport 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
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A

These wireless in-ears 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.

6.8 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
27 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
59 ft

The Anker SoundBuds Sport have a mediocre-at-best wireless range. They won't be ideal if you have a big house or work in a large office with a lot of walls as their range is barely stable beyond 25ft. This is probably due to the very small size of the ear buds limiting the space available for a more powerful Bluetooth receiver.

5.4 Latency
Default Latency
:
123 ms
aptX Latency
:
120 ms
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

The Anker SoundBuds Sport have lower latency 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 Sport Headphones
  • Earbud tips (x2 sizes)
  • Stability tips (x2 sizes)
  • USB charging cable
  • Carrying pouch
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

The Anker SoundBuds Sport are average in-ear headphones that deliver a stable wireless fit that's great for sports. They don't easily fall out of the ears and maintain their position during physical activities. Their in-ear fit also blocks a surprising level of ambient noise, which makes them well-suited for the noise of an office, a gym or a regular commute.  Unfortunately, the in-ear fit can get uncomfortable, their control scheme is cramped, and their sound quality is poor and uneven, which may be a dealbreaker for some listeners, especially when compared to similarly priced models below. See also our recommendations for the best cheap earbuds, the best budget wireless headphones, and the best wireless earbuds under $50.

Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker Soundcore Spirit X are better in-ears overall when compared to the Anker SoundBuds Sport. The Spirit X have better sound quality, a more stable and durable design for sports, and they're a lot more sweatproof than the Anker Sports. The Spirit X also have a better control scheme and a much longer battery life that lasts more than twice as long as the SoundBuds Sport. On the other hand, the Sports are a bit more portable and have a better noise-isolating in-ear fit, so they're more suitable for noisy environments and commuting.

Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker SoundBuds Curve are a much better headset than the Anker SoundBuds Sport. The Curve have an ear-hook design that's a bit more stable for the gym and working out. The Curve also have a much better sound quality, a longer battery life, and a more comfortable fit that does not enter the ear canal as deeply as the Anker SoundBuds Sport. On the other hand, the more in-ear fit of the Sport makes them a bit more suitable for noisy environments. They're also a bit more compact than the Curve since they do not have ear hooks.

Samsung Level U Pro Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung Level U Pro are better in-ears than the Anker SoundBuds Sport. The Level U Pro sound better, have a more comfortable in-ear fit, and have a lot more customizable features. They also have a better wireless range and battery life. On the other hand, the Anker SoundBuds Sport have better isolation and will be more suitable to use in noisy environments. They also have a slightly default lower latency performance, although the level U Pro do have aptX-LL which will be better for watching movies if you have the right dongle.

SENSO ActivBuds S-250 Bluetooth Headphones
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker SoundBuds Sport are much better headphones than the SENSO ActivBuds S-250. The SENSO have a more stable ear-hook design and much longer battery life than the Ankers. They're also a bit more comfortable than the Ankers, but not by much. On the other hand, the Ankers have a better sound quality, even if they also sound dark and poorly balanced. They also isolate much better in noisy conditions, which makes them a bit more suitable for commute and travel. The Ankers are bit more portable, although they come with a pouch instead of a case like the ActivBuds.

6.5 Mixed Usage

The Anker SoundBuds Sport are decent everyday headphones. They're compact, wireless, and have good passive noise isolation. However, their sound quality is a bit uneven and maybe a deal breaker for some. They also have a short battery life and their in-ear fit is not as comfortable as that of the SoundBuds Curve.

6.0 Critical Listening

Mediocre-at-best for critical listening. They have a poorly balanced sound quality and an overpowering bass that drowns most of the instruments and vocal, making them sound muddy and boomy. They also have a closed back design that limits their soundstage so they won't be a great choice for more critical listeners. On the upside, the overemphasized bass could be ok when working out.

7.1 Commute/Travel

Above-average for commuting. They're compact, comfortable easy-to-carry around on your person. They also have great passive isolation which should be good enough to block the noise of most commutes especially if you're playing a little music.

7.7 Sports/Fitness

The Anker SoundSport are good headphones for sports use. They have a stable in-ear fit, and their passive isolation will block the ambient noise of a gym. They're wireless and small enough to carry around on your person wherever you go.

6.7 Office

Average for office use. The Anker SoundBuds Sport block a lot of noise and barely leak. However, they're not the most comfortable headphones to wear for long periods of time, they have a poor sound quality, and they're Bluetooth-only which may be a bit limiting for some.

5.4 TV

Below-average for home theater use. They have a bit too much latency even with aptX enabled, which is not ideal for watching videos they're also not as comfortable to wear for long listening sessions.

5.2 Gaming

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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