The Soundcore Space Q45 in a nutshell
The Soundcore Space Q45 is the new flagship Bluetooth headset from Anker. The Space range, formerly called Life, offers headphones with ANC at a very competitive price/quality ratio. The Soundcore Life Q35 tested by NextPit last year had really convinced the editors.
The Soundcore Space Q45 is available since August 25, 2022 at a price of $150 on the official store of the manufacturer and Amazon.
Design and ergonomics
The Soundcore Space Q45 presents some notable visual changes compared to the previous model. And although we are on a full plastic design, the look of the headset remains quite premium and elegant.
The earpieces are slightly larger which allows them to encompass the ears. The left earpiece hosts the power, pairing and ANC/transparency button while the right one hosts the playback and call control buttons. Unlike last year's model, the Soundcore Space Q45 does not have a touch surface.
The headphones are made almost entirely of plastic. But the matte black coating is very clean with a nice tone-on-tone detail finish. The arms of the headband are hidden, we lose a little the mechanical look that I like very much but we move to a more discreet style or "seemless" where nothing breaks the curve of the design.
The cushions of the headband and the earpieces are very comfortable and well padded. But leatherette is not a very breathable material and sweat can accumulate. The headset weighs 295 g, which is not exactly light, but I didn't feel any discomfort during my short listening session.
Overall, I have some reservations about the overuse of plastic. But at $150, you have to expect some concessions. And personally, I prefer them to be made on visual elements rather than technical ones. Especially since the headset seems to be solid, especially in terms of its rotating and folding hinges. The last negative point: the absence of a wearable sensor, although very practical.
The Soundcore Space Q45 features 40mm drivers with a bandwidth of 20-40,000Hz, Bluetooth 5.3 and support for AAC, SBS LDAC codecs but strangely not aptX.
The only support of the codec LDAC of Sony allows the Soundcore Space Q45 to stand out from its competitors from Bose and Sennheiser. On the other hand, the lack of support for aptX is a shame since this codec is more widespread on Android smartphones. But Anker must have wanted to save money by not paying a fee to Qualcomm.
In terms of audio quality, I obviously can't give a definitive opinion given my very short session of use in far from optimal conditions.
In any case the headset is quite low, generous in the bass. But its bandwidth also goes up very high (40 kHz against 20 kHz in general on other headphones), so we can have a lot of amplitude in the high mids and highs. The headphones offer a BassUp function to boost the bass, but you can really do without it, especially since the audio rendering loses clarity. Voices are also very clear and clean.
In any case, the frequency range covered by the headphones gives you enough freedom to tweak the equalizer in the application and adjust the sound profile to your taste. A companion application that, by the way, has a very nice interface and seems very complete.
Active noise reduction
The Soundcore Space Q45 offers an adaptive active noise reduction (ANC) feature as well as a transparency mode, both of which rely on the use of four built-in microphones.
I obviously can't compare the effectiveness of Anker's ANC to that of Sony, Bose or Sennheiser from memory alone. But I was really surprised by the quality of the noise reduction. You don't feel like you're wearing 150 dollar headphones.
Specifically, I was at the Anker booth in a large hall at IFA. Hordes of nerds and sales people were walking around me. Music was blaring from the speakers in the room. With Adaptive ANC enabled, almost all structure-borne noise (which results from contact with a surface) and low-frequency noise was properly cancelled.
Even the voices of the press representatives talking around me were well attenuated when they are usually more difficult to handle. Only a few shouts and other laughs occasionally slipped through the cracks. The only hitch was that when I juggled between ANC, normal and transparency modes, I noticed noticeable changes in the audio signature, especially in the bass.
I'll end this section with a special mention for the Soundcore companion application. I found the interface very nice and ergonomic. The range of features was also very rich. For example, you can limit your listening volume to a certain decibel level to protect your eardrums. The application can then tell you if you listen to your music too loud or not.
You can of course reassign certain controls to the buttons, choose from 5 levels of ANC/transparency or opt for the adaptive ANC and create presets of equalization. The equalizer is also very complete with eight adjustment notches placed from one end of the frequency range to the other.
The Soundcore Space Q45 is supposed to be able to last almost 50 hours with ANC activated and up to 65 hours without. On paper, these are great numbers that I obviously couldn't verify during my hands-on.
According to the manufacturer, 5 minutes of charging (via USB-C) will provide up to 4 hours of listening. It takes an average of 2 hours to fully recharge the headset.
Anker says that if you use the LDAC codec, the autonomy is significantly reduced. We pass to 37 hours with the ANC activated and 45 hours without. But in any case, the headset should easily last two days of normal use without any problem.
Conclusion: My first impressions
The Soundcore Space Q45 has an excellent price/performance ratio on paper. A handhold, it is worth what it is worth. But the few minutes I spent with the headphones on my head were at least enough to convince me of the effectiveness of its active noise reduction.
I need more time with the headphones to get a good enough opinion on the audio quality. And I'm still a bit skeptical about the durability of the design and the risk of plastic wear over time. But one thing is for sure, Anker is giving you a lot more than your money's worth.
A headset like this could very easily cost more than $300 at any other manufacturer. I would like to sincerely apologize to the person who had to mop up the 15 liters of sweat I covered the helmet with after using it!