Anker SoundBuds Lite Bluetooth Headphones Review


Aug 28, 2012
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Having owned a few pairs of bluetooth earbuds and currently using the BeatsX, I was curious when a got a chance to sample Anker's new SoundBuds Lite Bluetooth Headphones. I own a couple of battery packs from Anker as well as several cables and chargers, and the SoundCore Sport, so obviously I think they make top notch products. How does this set of wireless earbuds stack up vs. my experience with other wireless earbuds? I guess the answer depends on perspective. I have had other wireless earbuds, Jabras and Plantronics in the past as well as PowerBeats 3s. I liked all of them for different reasons. I lost the Plantronics to the pool, and the Jabras to Best Buy after returning 2 pairs that would not charge. So, I ended up getting the JBLs out of frustration. They did not impress sound wise but held up well in work outs, and I still use them by the pool on occasion. I got PowerBeats 3s for my birthday and ended up returning those twice due to bluetooth issues and not charging (I seem to have great luck with these things....). So, I went with the BeatsX, and so far so good.

I don't know if the BeatsX are a fair comparison to the Anker SoundBuds, but they are marketed pretty similarly and are similar in concept as far as the neckband goes so, I will use them in my comparison as well as the Everest 100 earbuds.

The Anker SoundBuds Lite are marketed as Neckband Earbuds with Tailored Hold and Rich Audio
featuring 8mm drivers that pump out high-fidelity, skip-free audio. Bluetooth 4.1 streams smoothly, up to 33ft from your device. SoundBuds Lite are engineered to offer unrivalled comfort and functionality. A lightweight neckband provides support, while multi-size EarTips and wingtips deliver a tailored fit. Magnetically clip together for simple storage. A full charge (1.5 hours) provides enough juice for 10 hours of audio, or 12 hours of talk time. Charge for 10 minutes, and get enough battery for an hour of music. (Note: Playtime varies according to volume and audio content.) . Hydrophobic IPX5 engineering ensures SoundBuds Lite perform in any environment. Listen in the rain, or push it at the gym in total confidence. In-line remote and microphone allow you to intuitively manage your music without having to touch your device. Skip tracks, manage volume, call hands-free and more. Now, do they do all Anker says they do, and how do they compare to the BeatsX and the Everest 100s?

The SoundBuds are pretty light and are comfortable to wear. I can't say the fit around the neck is exactly the same as the BeatsX, but its' not any better or worse. It's just different. The BeatsX neckband is lighter and thinner, so for everyday use, I'd say its better. For workouts... I'd say the Anker is better. The neckband is a little heavier but that also helps it stay put and not slide around or bounce as much. As far as the fit of the earbuds in the ear, I'd say they are pretty close. Anker provides 3 sets of tips and wings so that you can find a fit that works best. I can say the tips and wings hold in the ear just as good as the BeatsX, but the noise isolation isn't quite as good. Not bad, but not quite as good. The earbuds do have the magnetic clasp like the BeatsX do and I like that since if keeps them from sliding off as easy. Just like the BeatsX, the clasp does not turn off or put the earbuds into standby. I know that's a complaint about the BeatsX and some may not like it here either, but the Jabras I returned twice last year had that feature and I suspect failure in the clasp mechanism was the culprit.

Sound wise, the SoundBuds do a decent job. They are on par with the Everest 100s, but a couple of notches down vs. the BeatsX, especially in the bass dept. The BeatsX aren't bass bombs by any stretch, but they do sound better than the SoundBuds. Overall all I'd say the SoundBuds have a flat sound. They get pretty loud but just sound flat. So, if you are an audiophile, these aren't for you. But if want some tunes for your run or workout, they probably will fit the bill just fine.

The Bluetooth pairing was easy. Simply turn them on, press the play button for a few seconds and hit the button for the SoundCores in the iOS screen. Done. And, as you turn them on and off they will connect automatically. The advertised range is 33 feet, and I would say that holds true. It gets a little dodgy if that 33ft has any wall or corner. But they do a decent job of staying connected.

The controls are very intuitive and you should be able to use them without the instructions. Playback, pausing, skipping tracks, are all very easy. Taking calls is easy as well, and the sound for the calls is pretty good for a earbud solution.

The headphones come with storage pouch, which for those of you with Anker batteries, is a bigger version of the battery pouch. It works well enough. And, they also come with a short pig-tail micro-USB charging cable... 3 inches or so. Not a fan of the length, but I have other longer cords I can use. And, while I don't prefer to carry around another type of cable, which is why I love the Lightning port on the BeatsX, I realize Apple isn't going to allow it on non-Apple devices. Speaking of charging ports, this one is exposed like the port on the BeatsX. Not sure how that might affect things down the road, but so far, no issues.

As for battery life, so far they work as advertised. I actually have gotten 7 90 minute trips to the gym out of them before needing to charge. So, that's a little better than what Anker says. That also makes these earbuds a good travel companion on a long trip. They might outlast your phone.

Anker could stand to offer a variety of colors. The only option here is "Anker" blue and black. So, if blue isn't your hue, you are out of luck.

Lastly the SoundBuds are rated as IPX5 water resistant. So far so good, I have used them walking in a light rain, and through 7 pretty intense workouts and they seem to be just fine. Of course, time will tell how well they hold up, but thus far we are good to go. It will be interesting to see how these hold up vs. the BeatsX on this feature. The Beats are not rated as water-resistant but have held up very well. Neither were the Everest 100s, and they are still going strong after 18 months in the gym.

To wrap it up, if you are looking for a very affordable set of earbuds that you can work out with, get a comfortable fit and decent sound, as well as get long battery life from, these might just work for you. No, they aren't going to sound as good as $149 BeatsX, but the list price is $39.99, and usually you can find them around $30-33 on a special. That's not a bad price for a solid set of earbuds that are going to take a beating in workouts, running, etc. Add the 18 month Anker warranty, and it's even better.