It’s tough to find quality noise-canceling headphones for less than $100, but Anker’s Soundcore Life Q30s are a budget-friendly set that are worth your while. We named them a top inexpensive pick in a recent guide to wireless noise-canceling headphones at their normal going rate of $80, but today, the Q30 is down to $60 as part of an Amazon “Deal of the Day” promotion.
This is technically $10 higher than the lowest price we’ve seen, but that cut lasted less than a day, and this price matches the best price we’ve seen outside of that sale. Because this is a Deal of the Day promo, the offer will likely only be available through Wednesday.
As for the headphones themselves, the Soundcore Life Q30s aren’t as effective at neutralizing outside sounds as our top picks like Sony’s WH-1000XM4 or Apple’s AirPods Max, but that’s to be expected. For significantly less cash, we found the Q30s to be effective enough at tuning out low-end rumbles, like plane and train engines, and capable of providing at least some resistance to higher-pitched sounds as well. They’re not world-beating, but they’re solid, which is more than we can say for most over-ear pairs we’ve used in this price range.
More than that, we found the Q30s to be lightweight on the head and comfortable to wear for extended listening, even if there could be a bit more padding on the headband. They aren’t the most premium-feeling headphones in the world, but they don’t come off as flimsy, and a useful carrying case for travel is included. There are physical control buttons on the earcups, and you can use the headphones passively over an included cable (though you can’t use their microphone in that situation). The integrated mic isn’t anything special for phone calls, but it’s usable. Best of all, the Q30 headphones get tremendous battery life, lasting more than 40 continuous hours with active noise cancellation (ANC) on and music streaming at moderate volume in our testing. They also charge over USB-C.
By default, the Q30’s “V-shaped” sound signature won’t be for everyone. Anker prioritizes the high and (especially) low frequencies out of the box, which gives the Q30 an excited sound and massive bass but takes away from mid-range detail and clarity. Some may enjoy this lively (if not particularly accurate) profile, but if you don’t, an EQ tool in Anker’s companion app lets you choose from several other presets and adjust the audio profile to your liking.
Like many other modern pairs, the Q30 headphones also have a “transparency” mode that layers outside noise over the top of your music for those times when you want to be more aware of your surroundings but not pause your playlist or podcast completely. Its implementation isn’t as smooth as it is on pricier competitors, however, and it does have more of a negative effect on audio quality by comparison. But it works, and it’s at least there if you need it.
While the Q30s are our top pick for over-the-ear ANC headphones under $100, Anker has released a Soundcore Life Q35 model since the Q30s launched. They’re mostly the same as this pair, though, with the main addition being a slightly improved mic and support for Sony’s LDAC Bluetooth codec for high-res audio. We think most people don’t need to pay extra for those features, though. If you’re willing to pay more for a better set, it may be worth considering the other picks in our ANC headphone guide, but if you’ve been hoping to grab a good pair on the cheap for the holidays, the Q30s are a great value at this deal price.
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