The Anker Soundcore Spirit X are good sports headphones, versatile enough for most use cases. They have an above-average build quality that feels a lot more high-end than their price would suggest. They also have a decent sound with a lot bass, a comfortable and stable in-ear fit for the gym, and a better control scheme than the similarly designed Anker Soundbuds Curve. Unfortunately, like the Curve, they won't be the best choice for loud, noisy environments, watching movies or gaming.
The Anker Soundcore Spirit X have a slightly improved design over the Anker SoundBuds Curve. The in-line remote and control scheme is a lot better with more spaced out and clicky buttons. The earbuds also look sleeker than the Curve, feel dense and durable, and are a bit more comfortable than typical in-ears. They also have an ear-hook design with additional stability fins, to make them more stable for working out and running. Unfortunately, the tips do tend to slide out of your ears from time to time, especially during more strenuous exercises which can get a bit annoying. They also have fairly thin cables that do not feel as durable as some of the other wireless in-ear/earbuds we've tested like the Bose SoundSport Wireless.
The Anker Spirit X have a decent-looking, sporty aesthetic that looks and feels more premium than their price range would suggest. They have thick and flexible ear-hooks, and a more polished earbud design than the Anker Curve. They also have a better in-line remote. Unfortunately, like the Curve, they also have thin cables that do not seem as durable as some of the more expensive wireless sports headphones we've tested like the Fitbit flyer. This somewhat cheapens their design, and they also do not come in as many color schemes as most sport-oriented headphones. On the upside, their understated look will work for most.
The Anker Spirit X, like the Curve, are quite comfortable for in-ear headphones. The tips do not enter the ear canal as deeply as most in-ears, which makes them more comfortable and removes a bit of the soreness and pain some listeners experience during long listening sessions with in-ear headphones. Unfortunately, since they do not enter the ear canal as deeply, they tend to slide out of your ears sometimes and may need to be adjusted somewhat often, which may get a bit annoying. It's not a big issue, but it's more common when doing physical activity. Overall though, these headphones will be comfortable enough for most listeners.
The Anker Soundcore Spirit X have a slightly better control scheme than the Anker Curve. The buttons are more responsive with clicky feedback and they're better spaced out on the in-line remote. They also have a simple 3 button setup with no additional features. It's an easy-to-use and efficient control scheme that provides all the essential functions; call/music, track skipping, and volume controls.
The Anker Soundcore Spirit X, like most in-ear headphones, are very breathable. They have an ear-hook design which does have more points of contact with your ear than typical in-ear models. However, the temperature difference is negligible and won't make you sweat more than you have to during more intense physical exercises since they do not cover your outer ear like over-ear and on-ear designs.
The Anker Soundcore Spirit X are easy to carry around on your person and come with a good compact case. Like most wireless in-ear headphones, they're portable, lightweight and you can fold them to fit into your pocket, bag, or purse. They're slightly larger than straightforward, wired in-ear designs (since they have ear-hooks), but they're still very portable and come with a decent case.
These headphones come with a decent hard case that will protect them from minor impacts, scratches, and falls. However, the case shell is not as hard as some of the other hard cases we've tested but on the upside, it's compact and can fit into a pocket.
The Anker SoundBuds Spirit X have the same build quality as the Anker Curve. They have a slightly more polished earbud design and a better in-line remote but thin and non-replaceable cables. The earbuds and ear-hooks are fairly dense and relatively sturdy, making them better built than most sports-oriented headphones in their price range like the Senso ActivBuds S-250 or the Mee Audio X6 Plus. They're also more water resistant, but we have yet to implement a reliable and comparable test for water resistance without permanently damaging some headphones.
The Soundcore Spirit X have a stable ear-hook design that's great for sports. They also have a couple of stability fins included in the box that helps with the fit, which makes even more stable. However, the earbuds do slip out of your ear canal from time to time especially during more intense activity. They won't fall from your ears but the change in the seal when they move around alters their sound, which is not ideal when running or working out.
The Anker SoundCore Spirit X is a decent sounding pair of closed-back in-ear headphones. They have a deep, powerful and consistent bass, a clear and neutral mid-range, and an even and well-balanced treble. However, their bass is slightly overpowering, which may be welcomed by the fans of bass-heavy genres, and their mid-range lacks a bit of emphasis on vocals and lead instruments. On the upside, they have a great imaging performance, but like most other in-ears, they don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage. Compared to the SoundBuds Curve, the Spirit X have an improved bass with less muddiness, but their sound rating is basically the same because the L/R drivers of our test unit were slightly mismatched.
The bass is great. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent. Low-bass, responsible for the thump and rumble in bass-heavy genres like EDM, Hip-hop and film scores, is overemphasized by more than 5dB. This results in quite a bit of thump and rumble, which fans of bass may like. Mid-bass is also hyped, but only by 3dB. High-bass, responsible for warmth is over our neutral target by less than 1dB, which is an improvement over the SoundBuds Curve. Overall, the bass is thumpy and heavy without sounding muddy and cluttered.
The Anker SoundCore Spirit X have an excellent mid-range performance. The overall response is quite even and flat but recessed by about 2dB. This nudges the vocals and lead instruments towards the back of the mix, by giving bass and treble a bit more emphasis.
The treble performance is good. Low-treble is even and within 0.65dB of our target. Mid-treble is also quite well-balanced, but a little uneven between 8Khz and 10KHz. This could make some of the sibilance (S and T sounds) slightly lacking, and some other sibilances a tad too sharp. Overall though, their treble response is quite well-balanced, which is important for a good reproduction of vocals, leads, and cymbals.
The frequency response consistency is excellent. If the user can 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.
The imaging performance is excellent. The weighted group delay is at 0.17, 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.
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.
The harmonic distortion performance of the Spirit X is mediocre. The amount of THD produced in the bass range is very low, which is great. Additionally, the THD at 100dB SPL is lower in the bass range compared to the 90dB SPL. This could be due to the increase flexibility of the driver under heavier loads. The amount of harmonic distortion in the mid and treble ranges though, is a bit elevated, which could make the sound a bit impure.
The Anker SoundCore Spirit X have mediocre isolation. In the bass range they have almost no noticeable isolation, so the rumbles of a bus or airplane engines will easily seep into your audio. On the upside, they do decently well with higher frequency noise, and they have very good leakage performance, so you can mask some of the ambient noise in your environment by playing your music a little louder without bothering the people around you in an office setting.
The Anker SoundCore Spirit X have a mediocre isolation performance. In the bass range, where the rumble of bus and airplane engines sit, they achieve about 2dB of isolation, which is barely noticeable. In the mid-range, important for cutting out speech, they isolate by more than 14dB, which is above-average. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds, they isolate by about 24dB, which is also above-average.
The leakage performance of the Spirit X is great. Like most other closed-back in-ear, these headphones don't leak in the bass and mid-ranges. The significant portion of their leakage is in the treble range and between 4KHz and 7KHz, which is quite a narrow range. The overall level of the leakage is not loud either. With the music 100dB SPL the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 34dB SPL and peaks at around 60dB SPL, which is just above the noise floor of an average office.
The Anker SoundCore Spirit X have mediocre microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin, and noticeably muffled and lacking in detail. However, it will still be understandable. In noisy environments, it will struggle to separate speech from background noise even in moderately loud situations, like a busy street.
The microphone has a mediocre recording quality. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 285Hz means speech recorded/transmitted with it will sound noticeably thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.1KHz is poor and results in speech that is muffled and lacking in detail. It also negatively affects the intelligibility of speech.
The in-line microphone of the Spirit X is mediocre at noise-handling. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 15dB, indicating they are best suited for quiet environments and will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in moderate and loud situations.
The Anker SoundCore Spirit X have mediocre active features. There is no companion app available for them, and the sound cannot be customized in any way unlike some of the other sports headphones we've tested like the Jaybird X3. The battery life is slightly shorter than the Soundbuds Curve, but should still last through a typical work day and can be recharged fairly quickly in case they run out.
Decent battery performance. The battery lasts about 12 hours, which should easily last a typical workday. They recharge relatively quickly, but they have no power saving feature so the battery will continue to drain even when they're not in use.
They do not support passive playback and cannot be used while charging.
The Anker Spirit X do not have any compatible companion app.
The Anker SoundCore Spirit X have poor connectivity. They don't support NFC and can't be paired to multiple devices simultaneously but do remember the last synced device. Unfortunately, they can only be used wirelessly, and aren't compatible with any game consoles. The wireless range is decent but slightly worse than the Anker Curve and like most Bluetooth headphones, the wireless latency is too high for watching a lot of video content or gaming.
The SoundCore Spirit X support Bluetooth 5.0, but they don't have NFC support and must be paired manually. We did not test Bluetooth 5.0's dual audio feature.
These headphones have an interesting feature. When you start playing music immediately after pairing, the music fades in instead of immediately going to full volume.
These headphones can only be used wireless.
There is no compatible docking station or base for these bluetooth headphones. Unlike truly wireless headphones there is no charging case.
The wireless range is decent on the Anker SoundCore Spirit X. It is slightly worse than the Anker Curve. When approaching the outer limits of the range, the fade in feature makes these headphones almost unusable, as they keep fading in and out each time they lose the connection for a brief moment, so the overall volume is low.
Our testing is not currently able to take advantage of the new features of Bluetooth 5.0. If you have a compatible device (e.g. iPhone 8, 8+, X; Samsung Galaxy S8), your range might be better than what we tested.
The Anker Spirit X have very high latency and are unsuitable for watching videos. The latency is slightly worse than the Anker Curve. They also do not support the aptX codec.
The Anker Soundcore Spirit X are decently versatile wireless sports headphones and one of the best cheap earbuds we've tested. They have a stable and sweatproof ear-hook design with additional stability fins. They also have a long 12hr battery life and an above-average sound quality that packs a lot of bass. They're lightweight and portable and surprisingly well-designed for their budget price. They're one of the best wireless earbuds for running we've tested. Unfortunately, although they are stable, the earbuds tips do tend to slip out of your ear canals from time to time, which can be a bit annoying. They also have relatively thin cables that do not look as durable as the rest of the design, and they are not as customizable as some of the other headphones compared below. See our recommendations for the best wireless earbuds under $50.
The Anker SoundBuds Spirit X are better in-ears overall when compared to the 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 better control scheme and a much longer battery life that lasts more than twice as long as the SoundBuds Sports. On the other hand, the Sport are bit more portable and have better noise isolating in-ear fit so they're more suitable for noisy environments and commuting.
The Jaybird X2 are a better sports headphone and headset overall than the Anker SoundCore Spirit X. The X2 have a more isolating in-ear fit that's better for noisy environments and commuting. They also have a slightly more portable design since they do not have ear-hooks like the Ankers. The Ankers, on the other hand, are a bit more stable thanks to those ear hooks. They also have a longer battery life and a more comfortable in-ear fit than the Jaybird X2.
The Jaybird Freedom are slightly better and more customizable sports headphones than the Anker Soundcore Spirit X. They sound sharper out-of-the-box when compared to the Ankers but thanks to the Jaybird MySound App, you can EQ them to better match your listening preferences. They have a better wireless range and build quality, with a more durable cable and a more premium looking design. However, they are not as stable since they do not have the benefit of ear hooks and their battery life is significantly worse considering you have to use the bulky charging clip if you want to get more than 4 hours of continuous listening. Also, if you lose the charging clip, you won't be able to charge the headphones, which may be a deal breaker for some.
The Soundpeats Q9A are a decent alternative to the Anker Soundcore Spirit X with a similar performance for sports. However, they do not feel as well-built or as premium, and their sound quality is a bit less balanced and doesn't pack a deep thumping bass like the ankers which some may prefer especially at the gym. They're also not built as well and aren't as water resistant. The SoundPeats are slightly cheaper than the Ankers but also perform slightly worse in most categories and have a shorter battery life. So unless you're on a very tight budget, go for the Soundcore Spirit X instead.
The Anker Soundbuds Curve are decently versatile headphones that are best used for sports thanks to their stable, compact and wireless design. They have a longer battery life than the SpiritX, although their build quality does not look as good. Like the SpiritX, they have a moderately well-balanced sound, but a bit too much bass for more critical listeners and they do not block a lot of noise for an in-ear, so they may not be the best headphone for loud, noisy commutes. On the upside, they're easy to carry on you at all times and should be good enough for most use cases.
The Senso ActivBuds S-250 are a worse sounding sports headphone than the Soundcore SpiritX. They're about as stable as the Spirit X with a similar ear hook design but do not look and feel as premium as the Ankers for about the same price. The in-ear buds also are a bit worse at blocking ambient noise which means they won't be as good for commuting and loud noisy environments. Unfortunately, their poorly balanced sound quality will be a deal breaker for most listeners. Get the Spirit X or the SoundBuds Curve, they're a better option than the Senso for the same price.