I currently own several variations of Anker’s SoundBud range, each of which get regular use depending on the task I am throwing at them such as hitting the gym or just relaxing in the garden. Anker have now expanded their SoundBud range further with the introduction of two neck-band style headsets, the sport oriented ‘Lite’ and professional aimed ‘Life’ models.
In the box
SoundBuds Life neckband
Micro USB charging cable
XS/S/M/L Earbud tips
Cloth storage pouch
Instruction manual and warranty card
Build and Features
- Magnetic earbuds with 10mm drivers (Lite model has 8mm)
- up to 20 hour playback on single charge, 90min recharge time
- IPX5 water resistance (that’s splash proof not submerging)
- Bluetooth v4.1
- Vibration (of neck-band) - Power on / off and to alert of incoming phone call
As with all Anker products, the build quality is second to none despite the mainly all plastic construction. The Life model weighs in at 2oz (57g) and despite not feeling extremely light when in the hand, once around your neck it’s quite easy to forget it’s there. Earbud fit is excellent and thanks to the lightness (3g per bud) it does not feel intrusive to the inner ear like the Slim or NB10 models. Using for hours at a time is a pleasure and if it wasn’t for the music you would be hard pressed to notice them in the ear. No ear hooks but the earbuds remain in position even with a harsh head shake.
Controls are easy to access with four buttons covering the following;
Power - On/Off and Bluetooth pairing
Play - Play/Pause, Siri/Voice Assistant (Hold), Answer/End call, Reject call (Hold button)
Volume Up / Forward track (Hold)
Volume Down / Back track (Hold)
Magnetic ear pieces hold well when storing, in the bag or around the neck. Also welcome is the ability to remove single earbud without it pulling out the other thanks to the neckband design, I.e current SoundBud range. Allowed for easy communication when needed without having to remove full headset, such as quick conversations or the usual hello / see ya later.
Gorgeously solid lush tones and power over various genres tested, clear vocals even under bass heavy sections of songs. Loudness is comparable to the SoundBud Slims making them suitable for most situations, such as in the garden, lounging in the house, computer use and for commuting where audio awareness of surroundings is not paramount. Solid bass compared to the Slims and in many ways the NB10 Sports but had a tendency to be a bit too heavy at higher volume in some genres (for me anyways).
Due to neck-band design, I wouldn’t be choosing these as your goto’s for the gym (unless your just doing weights). Movement such as light jogging will have these bouncing in no time off your collarbones, or rapping the back of your ears with up and down movements. With the introduction of the neck-band and the battery life of up to 20hrs these are more suited to daily commuting, computer/laptop use and long periods of travel.
If gym or above moderate motion is required for use, your best going with the SoundBud Slims or NB10 Sport.
Mic and Voice Calls
Mic responded very well to FaceTime calls on iMac and basic audio call on iPhone 6s in light to average background noise, with no complaints of not being able to hear me (though they might have been hoping for that ). Unfortunately on the close end both landline and mobile calls had some parasitic oscillation (garble sound, like listening to a low quality mp3 file on a decent audio system). Something to take into account if you are buying with the sole intention of using or for those with heavy audio call use.
- Note - When answering calls on iPhone, the 'play' button must be pressed on headset for the iPhone to automatically use the headset as it's talking/listening device. Pressing answer call direct on the phone bypasses the headset to use the iPhone directly. Don't have access to an Android device to confirm if behaviour is the same.
Despite having reservations when I first heard about possible neckband style EarBuds coming from Anker (which some could argue is a step backwards for BT headsets), I am in fact very impressed with the end product which has come to market. If your in the market for EarBuds with excellent audio quality, killer battery life and comfortable ‘forgot I’m wearing this’ fit for computer / music / commuting use, these would be an ideal purchase.
Rating - 4/5