What makes this review an easy one, is the fact that the Q30 headphones are so much better than their predecessors in every way. These offer valuable features at a decent price, while upholding features that are particularly user-friendly like comfort and long battery life.
Probably one of the most common requests we receive at Stuff, is recommendations for affordable headphones that feature active noise cancellation (ANC). It’s almost like finding a penguin in the scorching South African dessert — it doesn’t happen often, but it can happen.
Enter the Soundcore Life Q30 headset. Our Life Q20 review makes it clear that we didn’t necessarily have high expectations this time around. But a few factors quickly made this pair of cans a real contender to be an African penguin.
They come in at R1,800 and are locally available (no import needed), feature ANC, Bluetooth 5.0, presets and customisation, physical onboard buttons, USB-C charging and even come with a nifty carry case. Anker’s really making a value proposition here — and it’s hard not to take ‘em up on it.
Who needs AirPods Max?
Jokes aside, though, it’s much easier to find quality audio tech in more expensive pairs of headphones like the absolutely wonderful Sony WH-1000XM4’s. Finding decent tech in cheap headphones? Now that’s the real challenge.
The Soundcore Life Q30 aren’t the best looking headphones, which is where premium sets have the advantage (more on this later). Let’s go over the tech these pack first though.
These are a pair of over-ear headphones. They’re capable of connecting to a total of two devices simultaneously using its Bluetooth 5.0 tech. It supports two of the most widely used audio codecs in the form of AAC and SBC. There’s even NFC functionality which allows you to connect your phone to ‘em by tapping it on the right earcup.
It’s also Hi-Res Audio certified, which means it can manage frequencies up to 40kHz. On the more disappointing side, it doesn’t support near-lossless codecs like aptX-HD — but what did you expect at this price, tho?
One of our favourite features: the set supports USB-C charging and even comes with a USB-C to USB-A charging cable, along with a 3.5mm audio cable. You’ll also get a hard-bodied carry case, which isn’t premium quality but it does the job. Again — what did you expect at this price, tho?
Battery life also surprised us. You could easily get up to 40 hours on a full charge with ANC active. Sans-ANC you can get up to 60 hours. We easily managed to use these for a week during office hours before it needs some juice. Which is impressive in itself.
And then it hit me
It can’t all be sunshine, rainbows and cheap active noise cancellation. This pair of headphones are priced so competitively for a reason, and we’re betting it comes down to the build.
We had similar gripes with the Q30’s predecessor — in that the build quality just doesn’t live up to what other headphones manage in the market. The Q30s feel quite flimsy in-hand, and that’s simply because they’re almost entirely made up of plastic. So while you won’t look particularly cool wearing ‘em, you’ll quickly fuggedaboutit while wearing them. They’re surprisingly very comfortable.
The oval earcups are made up of a particularly soft material, and the headband manages not to irritate the top of your head during long sessions. They weigh under 300g, which probably contributes to that last part.
For controls, the Q30s make use of physical buttons, which you probably love or hate, depending on your preference. On the left cup you’ll find the power button along with the “NC” button, which cycles through the three sound modes on offer: normal, transparency and noise-cancelling. You’ll know which one you’re on because the onboard voice will yell it into your ears.
On to the right side — here you’ll find three buttons used for playing and pausing audio, accepting, ending and rejecting phone calls, volume adjustment, track skipping and voice assistant activation. It’ll take a bit of getting used to — but being physical, you’ll quickly learn where to place your finger for each function.
Soundcore Life Q30 Verdict
What makes this review an easy one, is the fact that the Q30 headphones are so much better than their predecessors in every way. These offer valuable features at a decent price while upholding features that are particularly user-friendly like comfort and long battery life.
The Soundcore Life Q30 headphones are available from a variety of retailers from R1,800.