This is not the first Anker product I own (3in1 reader, battery bank). So far my experience with the brand has been very good, this is my first look on an audio device. I have bought ANKER SoundBuds Sport as a gift for Xmas but plans changed and I’ve ended up with the Sportbuds to review instead.
This is my first experience with the buds that are linked via cable, that rests on your back. I was curious how will they stack against the totally wireless Syllable buds and my trusty LG Tone sporting a neckband design.
The overall quality of the headset is good. The connecting cable feels strong, plastic buds are nice in touch, and all the buttons can be found easily even when wearing winter cycling gloves. The ANKER SoundBuds Sport offer a power and volume buttons which double as call and media controls.
So far so good.
In the box, you will find three extra rubber pads, a carrying pouch, and a charging cable. While I would like to be spoiled again with a charging case, these are budget headphones. The shape of the headphones makes it easy to recognize the left one from the right one even at night.
I have tested the headset for a week, including my standard activities.
Three km later, the ANKER SoundBuds Sport still were in place. Due to weight and fit, I don’t expect the headset to come out anytime even while sprinting. The warm-up was also possible as, unlike the LG Tone headphones, Anker stayed in place during sit-ups. The buttons are fairly easy to find and operate even during the run, with the skip (double press) being the most challenging one to perform. Hats are not ideal with these unless you are ok with your ears being exposed. It’s ok I live in England, not Norway.
ANKER SoundBuds Sport are very comfortable to wear, and while most of the time the neck cable didn’t bother me too much and there was enough slack to move my head around, it is possible to trap it in-between the clothes and limit your movement. The shape of the buds will force you to adjust the straps on the helmet, and full face helmet is not an option.
With that said headset isolates ok and provides enough kick to suppress the urban environment. The specific shape of the buds can create the wind noise when traveling at higher speeds. The button operation was easy, even when wearing winter cycling gloves.
Unless you are a fan of sleeping on your back, these won’t be your friends. You are not going to lose it in the bedsheets, but sleeping on the side will cause you a discomfort. With that said the buttons are placed out of the way and you won’t press it accidentally.
My first impression was OK. There is very little in terms of bass. The high tones take the most of the sound spectrum and while it creates the clean sound profile, buds are unable to create a rich listening experience. Playing around with the EQ has improved the sound quality a little at the cost of the max volume. I wish there would be more ‘oomph’ in them especially when they are advertised as sport option. The beat is what makes me want to move quicker!
The music profile sounds clear, but for some reason, interactions with the Google Assistant were lacking. The sound quality is very low. Voice of the assistant feels like played through a very bad speaker. I’m not sure why especially that both the Syllable and LG Tone do not suffer from this issue.
Functionality of ANKER SoundBuds Sport
ANKER SoundBuds Sport headphones come with a full Bluetooth set of controls. You can skip the tracks, start a playback, control the volume or answer a conversation. This is something I appreciate. Double tap will trigger an assistant, and you will be able to use a voice control.
The left bud has a LED indicator, and additional feedback is provided through a nice set of sounds.
The call handling is sufficient to have a conversation, with the caller coming through clear on both channels. My voice was also good for the duration of the call, and the caller had no issues understanding me. Sadly the internet calls tell something different. Skype echo call while sounded ok, the quality of the voice recording I have left was rather terrible. An experience much aligned with other BT headset I have tested so far.
Anker Sportbuds offer 8h on a single charge (subject to volume levels.). I can confirm that this was true in my tests and I only needed to charge it up once during my usual working week.
(30 min run, 2h cycling 4h nap 2h train ride) The low battery warning is played about 5 min before headset dies. I take the issue with that. While this is not a problem if your buds last 2h, with an 8h playing time, I’d like to hear the warning much earlier.
The charge completes within an hour from a laptop’s USB port.
At £13.99 these are very hard to beat on the price. While ANKER SoundBuds Sport are far from perfect the attractive price, good brand reputation, and great controls could be a tempting solution for someone who wants fewer wires during even the longest workouts. The battery life is a definite highlight. I didn’t have any connectivity issues during the normal use of the headset – streaming music from the LG Urbane and my trusty Nexus 6P. For now, the LG Tone will remain the headset of choice for me, but I can see myself keeping these as a backup for when I run out of charge. If you never had a Bluetooth headset and you don’t care much for voice assistant sound quality, you could be happy with ANKER SoundBuds Sport.