Affordably priced headphones can be quite dangerous as you can easily find yourself getting exactly what you paid for. Cheap headphones that can sound atrocious or eventually fall apart in your hands. However, once in a while you might come across something affordable, that proves to be a steal for what it can accomplish. Today, we get to cover an example of just that.
Anker is a company known for a large selection of electronics covering sound, charging and battery solutions, computer hubs and adapters, cables, and more. All of which, typically, fall within the affordable price range. What’s nice, is that their ratings seem to accomplish a little more than just affordable. This is how we felt about their Soundbuds Slim wireless Bluetooth headphones.
Currently falling under the price point of $30, these headphones offer a Bluetooth solution for those not looking to spend a lot of money, but still want to be able to enjoy their tunes without sacrifice. They feature a lightweight design that disappears once you begin listening to them. Outside of having the pressure in your ears of something being placed into them, you don’t really feel the headphones.
The outer casing features a smooth matte finish with chrome trim around the back of each bud, encircling the light gray Anker logo. The silicone tips and inner ear hooks are soft and comfortable and they come with four sizes of tips and three sizes of ear hooks to select from. They are easily interchangeable, and you want to get a nice tight (yet still comfortable) fit with each.
There are built-in magnets in the backs of each bud, so that they can attach to each other while hanging around your neck while you aren’t using them. This helps prevent them from falling off while you move around.
An in-line microphone and controller is located near the right bud. There are three buttons (which is common) located on the controller that allow you to interact with what you are listening to. The outside two buttons control the volume (single presses) as well as switching between tracks (long presses). The button in the middle between them, allows you to play or pause the track you’re listening to. It also allows you to answer incoming calls so that you do not have to take your phone out of your pocket. That same button also allows you to turn the headphones on and off, by pressing it down.
They sound pretty good for how much they will run you. Although they won’t compete with the likes of $99-$199 Sennheisers, Bose or Beats, they do offer a nice balanced range of sound that is comparable to most wired in-ear headphones that would run you around $20-$30. By balanced, I mean that neither the highs, mids or lows stand out from one another. The highs aren’t crisp, which places them into an average category, but not every listener is looking for audiophile sound (and if they were, they would be spending more than this).
We found that to get the best sound, you will need to opt for the largest tips that will fit in your ear without discomfort. Although, a little discomfort might be noticed as they create a little suction while in your ears, which feels a little odd when removing them. However, by going this route, you capture that balanced range I mentioned. If you choose not to, then you will still have your highs and mids, but will lose a bit of your low-end.
Range is a great feature on these headphones, as we were able to walk quite a ways from the connected device. At times, we got as far as over 30 feet away while still maintaining the connection. This means, you may be able to find yourself listening to your headphones while walking all around a small house without having to carry your device (ie, phone) with you. Note: We have more on this below, where we were able to get an even greater distance out of them.
Battery life is also pretty good as they promise up to 7 hours of listening on a single charge, while it only takes around 1.5 hours to recharge via USB (this of course can depend on what you have plugged them into, and how much output the port that is feeding them can accomplish). This keeps the headphones in an average to slightly above average range when it comes to today’s Bluetooth market.
They are also rated IPX4 for waterproof, which means they can take a light level of moisture that is equal to your sweat or a light rain. This means you shouldn’t try taking them for a swim (that probably won’t work out too well for you). Most headphones seem to be at least reaching for this level of rating or higher, to keep up with the ever-growing fitness-attentive market.
That being said, we put this to the test slightly, without fully submerging them in water. We came as close as possible, by taking them into a steam room that was heated with a dense layer of moisture in the air (enough that you couldn’t see more than 1.5 to 2 feet in front of you). With music streaming to them from outside of the room, they endured 4 trips that lasted between 10 and 15 minutes, into the room. The buds were removed, re-inserted and played with all throughout the experience, including pressing various controls numerous times. At no point where they physically affected by the moisture, nor did streaming stop, and no shock or other discomfort was experienced by the user.
Another variable to point out, is that the source device (phone) that was streaming to them in the steam room test, was located over 50 feet away and through a wall. In other words, the phone was in a locker, in a locker room on the other side of the pool/spa/steam/sauna area of a gym (sadly, we do not have the luxury of a steam room here at the office).
Inside the box:
Inside the box, they come with a small felt pouch to store the headphones while not in use, as well as a short micro USB to USB cable for charging them with. The case is small enough to easily slide into just about any pocket, even those weird skinny jeans that some people claim to be a “good” look.
Last but not least, we have a giveaway for you! If you want your chance as winning a pair of Anker SoundBuds Slim headphones, make sure you are following us via the popular social media platforms (links can be found at the top of the page above the menus). We will be giving away three pairs of the headphones to three random lucky fans/followers. We will reach out to the selected users via the selected platform for each drawing with the further instructions and information. GOOD LUCK!
They aren’t mind-blowing audiophile headphones or anything, but they are affordable and they don’t sound bad (and, they look great). You will have to sacrifice just slightly to get a nice tight fit, so that you don’t lose the bass in what you are listening to, but once you get them going, you will hear why it counts. Especially for the price of around $25-$30, they work perfectly for someone looking for something simple, yet has enough range to enjoy just about anything they are listening to. If that wasn’t good enough, they perform extremely well around heavy moisture (just not submerged–to be safe), and work at a distance of up to around 50 feet in certain situations. This makes for a fine product within this price range.
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*Average price is based on the time this article was published
- Style: In-Ear
- Wireless: Bluetooth 4.1
- Battery Life: Up to 7 hours
- Waterproof: IPX4 for sweat, light rain and splash
- Weight: 0.48 ounces
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