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Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Feb 21, 2020 at 08:18 am
Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless Picture
6.9
Mixed Usage
6.5
Neutral Sound
7.4
Commute/Travel
7.1
Sports/Fitness
7.0
Office
5.2
Wireless Gaming
6.9
Wired Gaming
6.9
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are an upgraded version of the very decent Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless, and pack a few moderate upgrades. While the older model had a large headband that made them feel loose for people with smaller heads, the Q20 are a bit smaller and should fit most people slightly better. They also have a moderately improved ANC feature which performs much better at blocking out speech, and are slightly better at isolating out the low rumble of bus or plane engines, though they still aren't very good in this regard. Their V-shaped sound profile is quite excited-sounding, making them a good choice for pop or rock music. Unfortunately, instead of having a nice hard case like the Life 2, the Q20 now come bundled with a simpler carrying pouch. On the upside, their battery is slightly improved, and now charges quite a bit quicker, which is nice.

Our Verdict

6.9 Mixed Usage

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are alright headphones for mixed usage. Their sound profile is fairly well-suited for a wide range of genres, but their ANC isn't the best for blocking out the engine rumble or buses or planes, though it does an excellent job at blocking out background speech. Their battery life is very good, and should last almost an entire work week. They're also quite comfortable, and you should be able to wear them for extended periods without feeling any fatigue.

Pros
  • Improved ANC performance over previous model.
  • Great battery life.
  • Comfortable design.
Cons
  • Sound profile isn't as balanced as previous version.
  • ANC is still lacking at blocking out engine rumbles.
6.5 Neutral Sound

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are mediocre headphones for neutral sound listening. While their mid-range is very well-balanced, their treble range has several peaks, and their bass-range is very over-emphasized. Fans of neutral and balanced sound profiles will likely find their V-shaped sound profile too excited and unnatural sounding.

7.4 Commute/Travel

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are decent headphones for commuting or travel. They're quite comfortable, and they come with a basic pouch to give them some light protection when you toss them into a bag. While their ANC should help block out your chatty seatmate on a plane, it won't help to block out the rumble of the engine. On the bright side, their long battery life should last even the longest of travel days, and they can be used passively if the battery does run dry.

7.1 Sports/Fitness

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are decent headphones for sports. Like most closed-back over-ear headphones, they'll likely cause your ears to heat up and sweat a bit more than usual, but they're decently stable and should be able to withstand a light jog or run without falling off. Their Bluetooth connectivity means you don't have to worry about a cable getting snagged and pulling the headphones off, which is good.

7.0 Office

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are decent headphones for using in the office. Their comfortable and lightweight design means you should be able to wear them for long periods without them causing fatigue or discomfort. Their ANC does an excellent job at blocking out chatty coworkers, and their battery should easily last you a few full work days.

5.2 Wireless Gaming

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 can only be used wirelessly over Bluetooth, meaning they aren't compatible with the PS4 or Xbox One. While you can connect them to a Bluetooth-compatible PC, their latency will likely be too high for competitive gaming.

6.9 Wired Gaming

While the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 can be used wired for gaming, their microphone won't work, so you'll only get audio through the headphones. This means they likely aren't a good choice for multiplayer games.

6.9 Phone Calls

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are acceptable headphones for phone calls. Their microphone performance is decent, though your voice will sound quite thin, and it will be hard for the person on the other end of the line to hear you in even moderately noisy environments.

  • 6.9 Mixed Usage
  • 6.5 Neutral Sound
  • 7.4 Commute/Travel
  • 7.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.0 Office
  • 5.2 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.9 Wired Gaming
  • 6.9 Phone Calls
  1. Update 8/24/2020: Validated our results.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 look practically identical to the Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless. They have the same straight-forward design that looks decent for a pair of budget-oriented headphones. The only noticeable difference between these and the older version is that the logo is now printed on the ear cup as opposed to being etched into the plastic. While our unit is all black, they're also available in silver.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.57 lbs
Clamping Force
0.9 lbs

The comfort of these headphones is good. While their ear cups have slightly less padding than the previous model, it's not noticeable while wearing them, and they feel just as comfortable. They're quite lightweight, and thankfully their headband is a bit smaller, so they'll likely now fit people with smaller heads, unlike the Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless.

7.1
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Decent
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Bass Effect + Voice Assistant

The controls of these headphones are decent. The control scheme is the exact same as the previous version, and they give you play/pause, call controls, track skipping, and volume controls. They also still have a dedicated ANC button, as well as the ability to trigger bass boost via the middle button. Overall, the controls are decently easy-to-use, and the physical buttons are clicky and provide good feedback, but unfortunately, there's no way of knowing which bass setting you're on.

6.1
Design
Portability
L 5.5 "
W 5.6 "
H 3.0 "
Volume 92 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are basically the same size as the previous version, so they aren't the easiest to carry around. Luckily, their ear cups swivel to lay flat, and they come with a basic carrying pouch.

5.5
Design
Case
Type Pouch
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 come with a very basic pouch that isn't nearly as good as the hard case that came with the previous version. The pouch has a cinch-tie to close it, and its material should be able to protect the headphones from some slight splashes, though it won't do much to protect them from drops or bumps.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of these headphones is decent. Like the SoundCore Life 2, they are mainly plastic but are reinforced by a thin metal sheet in the headband. The hinges are likely their weakest point, as they feel hollow and plasticky, but overall the headphones feel dense and solid enough that they should be able to survive a few accidental drops or bumps without sustaining too much damage.

7.0
Design
Stability

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are decently stable. Their clamping force is good, so they should likely stay in place during jogs or light runs, unless you have a very small head. Their slightly smaller design over the previous version means that they should feel slightly more stable for most people, though their over-ear design will still likely cause you to sweat more than usual.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Anker SoundCore Life Q20 headphones
  • 1/8" TRRS audio cable
  • Micro-USB charging cable
  • Carrying pouch
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
5.28 db
Treble Amount
-1.53 db

The V-shaped sound profile of the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 is quite excited-sounding. Their mid-range is well-balanced, but the over-emphasized bass-range will result in a lot of extra thump and kick. This will likely please fans of EDM or hip-hop, while their over-emphasized treble range will also be good for genres like pop and rock.

6.8
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.66 dB

The frequency response consistency of the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 is quite decent. They're actually a bit more accurate in the bass range than the previous version, so you should get a similar bass response every time you wear them. You may notice some inconsistencies with the treble range, so you may need to adjust them on your head slightly to get the same listening experience every time.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
4.5
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
7.69 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
8.89 dB
Mid-Bass
10.36 dB
High-Bass
5.42 dB

The bass accuracy of these headphones is poor. While the range is fairly even, without many large, sudden peaks or dips, the entire range is very over-emphasized. This will result in bass with a lot of thump and punch.

8.5
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.97 dB
Low-Mid
0.86 dB
Mid-Mid
0.94 dB
High-Mid
1.98 dB

The mid accuracy of these headphones is excellent. Almost the entire range is flat, with only a small bump in high-mids that will emphasize lead instruments and vocals. Overall, however, leads and vocals should sound quite well-balanced and present.

7.0
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.94 dB
Low-Treble
2.71 dB
Mid-Treble
2.94 dB
High-Treble
-7.27 dB

The treble accuracy of these headphones is decent. Almost the entire range is slightly over-emphasized which may cause some vocals and lead instruments to sound slightly harsh or piercing.

7.1
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.96 db
Dips
1.26 db

The peaks and dips performance of the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 is decent. The peak in mid-bass will make most bass frequencies sound full and thumpy, while the peaks in the mid and treble ranges may cause some leads and vocals to sound harsh and piercing.

8.4
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.3
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.63
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.03
Weighted Phase Mismatch
6.7

The imaging of the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 is great. The GD graph shows that their group delay is almost entirely beneath the audibility threshold, ensuring a tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers of our unit are also well-matched in all aspects, so objects such as footsteps and instruments should have accurate placement and localization. It's worth mentioning that these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently.

4.5
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.53 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
4.4 dB
PRTF Distance
7.4 dB
Openness
2.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.6

The passive soundstage of the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 is poor, though this is fairly standard for closed-back over-ear headphones. Overall, the sound produced from these headphones will sound small and will be perceived to be inside the listener's head.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App

These headphones have no virtual soundstage features.

7.4
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.287
WHD @ 100
0.205

The weighted harmonic distortion of these headphones is decent. Audio should sound clear and pure at louder volumes, though at lower volumes there may be some minor artifacts. Overall, however, this likely won't be too noticeable.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 4.2
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Default
ANC
On
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when listening using these settings.

Isolation
7.8
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-20.77 dB
Bass
-12.68 dB
Mid
-20.67 dB
Treble
-29.76 dB

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 have a slightly improved ANC feature over the previous version. The ANC on these headphones does better against the low rumble of bus or plane engines, though they still don't do nearly as good in this range as some more expensive options, like the Anker SoundCore Space NC. On the bright side, these headphones do an excellent job at blocking out background speech, making them a good option for blocking out chatty coworkers in the office.

7.7
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
35.14 dB

The leakage performance of these headphones is very good. While they may leak a bit of sound at very loud volumes, it should sound very thin and likely shouldn't bother people around you.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 have an integrated microphone.

7.3
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
243.22 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.36 dB
HFE
7240.77 Hz
Weighted THD
0.803
Gain
-3.16 dB

The recording quality of the microphone is decent, and a fair improvement over the previous version. Like most Bluetooth headphones, your voice will sound quite thin, but overall your voice should be fairly clear and easy to understand. That said, if you're planning on using these headphones for office work, you could also consider the Logitech Zone Wired, which have a boom microphone that makes your voice sound even clearer and full-bodied, though it should be noted that the Logitech is wired-only.

6.6
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
18.03 dB

The noise handling of the integrated microphone is mediocre. While the person you're speaking to should have no problems hearing you in quiet environments, they won't be the best options for even moderately noisy situations.

Active Features
7.7
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
32.3 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
32.3 hrs
Charge Time
1.8 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port micro-USB

The battery performance of these headphones is very good. While they don't last as long as advertised, they still last slightly longer than the previous model, and charge in less time, which is excellent. Unfortunately, they lack any power-saving features, so their battery will drain if you forget to turn them off.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

These headphones don't have a dedicated companion app.

Connectivity
6.9
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
247 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
312 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
170 ms
Android Latency
186 ms

The regular PC latency of these headphones is quite high. Luckily, their latency is quite a bit lower on both iOS and Android, so you should be able to watch videos without too much of a noticeable delay, though they still may not be the best for gaming. If you want a pair of similarly-performing headphones that support aptX-LL for a lower-latency connection, check out the TREBLAB Z2 Wireless.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are Bluetooth-only headphones.

9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.1 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

While the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 use Bluetooth for a wireless connection, they can also be connected via a standard 1/8" TRS cable for passive playback, which is great. Unfortunately, the mic can't be used while wired.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

While the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 will work on PC via Bluetooth or while wired, you'll only be able to use them wired with the PS4 by plugging them into the controller. Unfortunately, the microphone won't work so you'll only get audio. Check out our recommendations for the best PS4 gaming headsets if you want something for gaming on a PS4 or PC.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 will only work with the Xbox One while plugged into the controller, though you'll only get audio and no microphone support. Check out our recommendations for the best Xbox One gaming headsets if you want something for gaming on an Xbox One.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 don't have a dock.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are the upgraded version of the Anker SoundCore Life 2. They're almost the exact same headphones, but are slightly smaller and have slightly improved ANC and battery life, as well as even more emphasized bass and treble ranges. They're a decent overall pair of budget headphones for the price, and have one of the better ANC features available at this price point. See our recommendations for the best headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones under $100, and the best wireless headphones.

Cowin E7 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are slightly better-mixed use headphones than the Cowin E7 Wireless. The Anker are quite a bit more comfortable, have better controls, feel better built, have a longer battery, and have much better ANC. On the other hand, the Cowin have a more balanced sound profile and lower overall latency.

Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are a slightly improved version of the Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless. The Q20 have improved ANC, which will do a better job at blocking out both background speech as well as the low engine rumble of planes or buses. The Q20 battery life is also improved slightly, though it doesn't quite reach the advertised 40 hours. People with small heads will find the Q20 more comfortable and stable than the previous version, as they're a bit smaller. On the other hand, the Life 2 have a more balanced sound profile and a much nicer, hard-carrying case.

TaoTronics TT-BH060 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are much better Bluetooth noise cancelling headphones than the TaoTronics TT-BH060 Wireless. While their noise cancelling isn't quite as good, the Anker sound much better-balanced. Our TaoTronics unit sounds dark and shows a significant mismatch in performance between their drivers. The Anker are much better-balanced, with a more excited sound signature. The TaoTronics do feel a bit better built and even come with a nice hard carrying case, but both models are equally comfortable.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless are better noise cancelling over-ears than the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable, they isolate significantly more noise, and they feel a lot better-built. They're also compatible with an excellent companion app which gives you access to tons of sound customization features. There's a premium price to pay for the Sony, though. The Anker are a lot more affordable and still perform decently overall, so they may provide better value for some users.

Mpow H10 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Mpow H10 Wireless and the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are both decent wireless ANC headphones. The Anker feel slightly better built and stable on the head and have a more bass-heavy sound profile. However, the Mpow are still slightly thumpy but better-balanced overall. The ANC performance of the Mpow is quite a bit better, especially for blocking out engine sounds, but the battery on the Anker will last almost 10 hours longer.

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC and the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are both decent wireless noise cancelling headphones, though the Anker provide better value if you prefer their sound profile. The Anker are more comfortable, easier-to-use, have a better microphone, isolate more noise, and have longer battery life. However, the Anker's V-shaped sound signature won't be for everyone. That said, while the Sennheiser are less bass-heavy, they can also sound quite harsh and dull.

Anker SoundCore Space NC Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless and the Anker SoundCore Space NC Wireless are both decent wireless over-ear headphones with ANC. The Life have a slightly better-balanced sound profile, a much longer battery that charges much quicker, and much lower latency on iOS. On the other hand, the Space have better ANC, feel better built, and have lower latency on Android.

Mixcder E9 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Mixcder E9 Wireless and the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are both decent wireless over-ear headphones with ANC. The Mixcder come with a much nicer carrying case, have a more consistent frequency response among different users, lower latency on Android or PC, and a much better-balanced sound profile. On the other hand, the Anker have better microphone performance, lower iOS latency, and a significantly longer battery.

Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone Bluetooth Headset
Unavailable
Amazon.com

The Mpow EM12 Wireless Earphone Bluetooth Headset and the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are very different products meant for different uses. The EM12 is a mono Bluetooth headset that looks like a single earbud from a pair of truly wireless in-ears and is designed to use while making phone calls. On the other hand, the Life Q20 are Bluetooth over-ear headphones designed primarily for listening to music. The Q20 also have a microphone built-in, which allows you to easily take phone calls, and the headphones themselves have ANC to give you peace and quiet while commuting or in the office. Overall, the Q20 are much more versatile and are a better choice for most uses.

TREBLAB Z2 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless and the TREBLAB Z2 Wireless both perform similarly overall. While the Anker have a much better ANC feature and last longer off a single charge, the TREBLAB have a better-balanced and less bass-heavy sound profile. The Anker are more comfortable and have a better microphone. On the other hand, the TREBLAB support features like multi-device pairing and aptX-LL, and have easier to use controls.

TaoTronics SoundLiberty 92 Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are better headphones than the TaoTronics SoundLibery 92 Truly Wireless. The Anker are more comfortable, and they have a more neutral though bass-heavy default sound profile. These over-ears also do a better job isolating background noise, and they leak less sound. Their over 32-hour continuous battery life surpasses the TaoTronics, and their microphone performs better, too. That said, the TaoTronics' earbud design and charging case makes them much more portable, so they're a better choice for sports and fitness.

Logitech Zone Wired
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are better office headphones than the Logitech Zone Wired. The Anker are wireless over-ears that are Bluetooth 5.0-compatible, giving them a substantial advantage in regards to overall versatility. They’re also marginally more portable and have an integrated microphone that delivers only slightly inferior recording quality, though it does a much worse job of isolating speech from ambient noise than the Logitech’s boom microphone. The Logitech also feel better-built and have a dedicated companion app to adjust their sound profile.

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Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless Price

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