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Apple has made hay in the audio market with its superior look, feel, and out-of-box experience. It seems Anker has paid attention. The company’s new Soundcore Space Q45 headphone delivers on every one of the shape-consciousness hooks the Cupertino giant’s become famous for.
They also sound great and deliver exceptionally effective active noise cancellation–if you care about such things. (That’s a joke folks!)
Expanding on the classy sells theme, top-tier headphones have a look and feel to them that tends to make you forget what a ridiculous sum you paid for them.
We know Anker is a less-for-more vendor, but the fact that its Soundcore Space Q45 noise-cancelling headphone costs only $150 still comes as a pleasant surprise. Apple, Bose, or Sony would have tacked a $250 to $350 price tag on them.
The Space Q45 arrive folded inside its carrying case alongside USB-A-to-USB-C charging and 3.5mm analog audio cables. The plastic insert orienting them is the only slightly non-classy element of the entire out-of-box experience–but it’s easily forgotten when you feel how lush this headphone feels.
The matte plastic portions are a lot smoother than what you’ll find on many headsets. The Space Q45 feels positively velvety; there are even smoother semi-glossy plastic rings surrounding the cup bases, where the controls reside.
There’s plenty of padding on both the brushed, black metal headband and on the ear cups. Even said padding has a lux feeling. All in all, the Space Q45 is quite the tactile experience.
What features do the Space Q45 have?
The Power and ANC controls are located on the left-hand ear cup, as is the USB-C charging port and the dual-function (power/Bluetooth) indicator LED. You’ll find the volume up/down and track-forward/back rocker, the play/pause button, and the 3.5mm analog jack on the right-hand cup.
Most of these are multi-function buttons, responding to long and short clicks to handle audio tracks and phone calls. Both ear cups sport microphones that support active noise cancellation and phone conversations. These buttons provide tactile feedback via solid clicks. They’re also raised above the surface just the right amount. Such things matter when it comes to delivering a classy, satisfying experience.
The Space 45 is outfitted with 40mm drivers and presents very low impedance–just 16 ohms–meaning this headphone is very easy to drive with just about any audio source. Anker says the headphone’s 750mAh battery will deliver up to 50 hours of listening time on a full charge with ANC enabled, and up to 65 hours with ANC turned off, depending on the codec in use. Four hours of play time are promised with just a 5-minute charge.
The Space Q45 features a Bluetooth 5.3 radio, with support for Sony’s lauded LDAC codec for pairing with high-resolution digital audio players. AAC and SBC support are on board, too, but there’s no support for any of Qualcomm’s aptX codecs.
How do the Space Q45 sound and feel?
The Space Q45 sound excellent–in the ballpark, if not quite at the level of the much more expensive planar magnetic types I’ve been testing recently. I was particularly impressed with the balance of the spectrum produced. There’s a lot of bass without it being overpowering, a healthy dose of sub-bass that’s almost as punchy as a planar magnetic’s, and more than enough top end for most listeners.
If I had to cast any shade, it might be that the midrange could be a tad punchier or better defined. But that’s a 90-percent-already-there thing that I wish I could tweak just a hair.
Anker has a mobile app, of course; however, it didn’t include support for the Space Q45 at the time of my review. Perhaps Anker will add that later, but since I don’t really see much need for EQ, who cares?
The sound I’m critiquing is with active noise cancellation turned off. With it turned on, I noted an ever-so-slight downtick in high-end frequency response. The sound was still very good, but I did notice the deficit when it occurred. When you’re on a plane or in any other noisy location, you probably won’t.
Speaking of active noise cancellation: The Space Q45’s active noise cancellation is among the most effective I’ve heard. I enabled it right next to a TV and the drop in volume was drastic. Normally, there’s quite a bit more ambient bleed. Good job, Anker.
What wasn’t fantastic, was the latency while watching television programs. Without aptX Low Latency on board, the lag between characters’ lips moving and soundtrack dialog arriving was the usual annoyance. Better TVs will automatically compensate to reduce that phenomenon, so I can’t say Space Q45 aren’t good for TV watching. But it would still be nice to have a low latency option.
I didn’t get close to exhausting the Space Q45’s battery during my review, but I did spend several hours and the female voice announcing status updates in my ears said the battery level was still high. If it gets me through a flight, that’s all I care about. Even if you happen to get stuck in an older plane that doesn’t offer USB charging, you should still be good with the Space Q45.
Comfort was excellent. The ear pads are firm, so my ears never touched the speaker grills (one of my common complaints), but not so firm they mashed the area surrounding my auricles. The tension on the headband was just right for me. Your experience will of course vary depending on the size of your head.
Space Q45: A great-sounding, classy headphone that costs less
Great sound, great comfort, great looks: Anker has gone lux and made the Soundcore Space Q45 one of the better headphone experiences out there. And it costs about $100 less than you might expect. That makes for an easy recommendation.
Jon Jacobi is a musician, former x86/6800 programmer, and long-time computer enthusiast. He writes reviews on TVs, SSDs, dash cams, remote access software, Bluetooth speakers, and sundry other consumer-tech hardware and software.