It’s hard to find high-quality noise-canceling headphones for under $100, but Anker’s Soundcore Life Q30s are a budget-friendly set that’s worth it. We called them a cheap choice in a recent guide to wireless noise-cancelling headphones at their regular price of $80, but today the Q30 is up to $60 as part of an Amazon “Deal of the Day” promotion.
This is technically $10 higher than the lowest price we’ve seen, but that cut lasted less than a day, and this price matches the best price we’ve seen outside of that sale. As this is a Deal of the Day promotion, the offer will likely only be available through Wednesday.
As for the headphones themselves, the Soundcore Life Q30s aren’t as effective at neutralizing outside noises as our top picks like Sony’s WH-1000XM4 or Apple’s AirPods Max, but that’s to be expected. For significantly less money, we found the Q30s effective enough when turning off low rumbles, such as airplane and train engines, and able to withstand at least some resistance to higher notes. They’re not world-famous, but they’re solid, which is more than we can say for most of the over-ear pairs we’ve used in this price range.
More than that, we found the Q30s lightweight on the head and comfortable to wear for extended listening, even if there could be a little more padding on the headband. They’re not the most premium-feeling headphones in the world, but they don’t come across as slim, and a handy carrying case for travel is included. There are physical controls on the earcups and you can use the headphones passively via an included cable (although you won’t be able to use their microphone in that situation). The integrated microphone isn’t anything special for phone calls, but it’s usable. Best of all, the Q30 headphones have massive battery life, lasting more than 40 hours of continuous running with active noise cancellation (ANC) on and music streaming at moderate volume in our tests. They also charge via USB-C.
By default, the Q30’s “V-shaped” sound signature isn’t for everyone. Anker prioritizes the high and (especially) low frequencies out of the box, giving the Q30 an excited sound and massive bass, but taking away the detail and clarity in the midrange. Some may enjoy this lively (if not special) accurate) profile, but if you don’t, an EQ tool in Anker’s companion app lets you choose from several other presets and tweak the audio profile to your liking.
Like many modern pairs, the Q30 headphones also have a “transparency” mode that puts ambient noise over the top of your music for those times when you want to be more aware of your surroundings but don’t want your playlist or podcast to be full. pause. However, its implementation is not as smooth as more expensive competitors, and it has a more negative effect on sound quality by comparison. But it works, and at least it’s there when you need it.
While the Q30s are our top pick for over-the-ear ANC headphones under $100, Anker has has released a Soundcore Life Q35 model since the launch of the Q30s. They’re largely the same as this pair, though, with the main additions being a slightly improved microphone and support for Sony’s LDAC Bluetooth codec for high-resolution audio. However, we think most people shouldn’t have to pay extra for these features. If you’re willing to pay more for a better set it might be worth considering the other picks in our ANC headphone guide, but if you were hoping to get a good pair on the cheap for the holidays, the Q30s are great value. for this deal price.
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