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burh4n

[REVIEW] Anker SoundBuds Curve

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Here's the quick and dirty: long battery life, reasonable quality, inexpensive. If you're looking for a decent all around set of bluetooth headphones for under $30 USD, you won't be disappointed with the Anker SoundBud Curve.

 

https://www.anker.com/store/soundbuds-curve/A3263011

 

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I picked these up almost a year and a half ago during an Amazon sale. They were $20 USD and I had been interested in getting a set of bluetooth headphones for work. I used to work in construction and liked listening to audiobooks and/or podcasts while working, but while using corded headphones I always would get caught on something when leaning over; which would end up ripping the earbuds right out. So I figured at $20, these would be a reasonable gamble.  My first day using these earbuds was exceptional, no getting snagged, reasonable audio (although I mostly listen with only one earbud since it's unsafe in a construction environment), and the battery lasted me straight thru the work day, 10.5 hours.

 

Hardware

The earbuds are comfortable with a soft rubberized over the ear loop and various sized ear tips. There is a connecting wire between the earbuds, which for me is ideal but I understand could be a deal breaker for others. Just below the right earbud is a microphone, with play/pause and volume +/- buttons; this is also where the microUSB jack is for charging. The play/pause button also functions as the on/off toggle via press and hold for about 5 seconds. The charging port has an attached port cover to prevent water and dust from damaging the pins. Anker includes a small zippered carrying case that can clip to a loop on a backpack or even belt loop and a very short microUSB cable for charging (but no wall charger). 

 

Audio

Anker claims the standard frequency response range of 20 - 20k Hz, which I'd say is probably not quite there on the lower end, but deliver a surprising amount of bass for 10mm drivers. That being said, the bass sounds a bit boomy to me on some of the heavier audio I tested with (the Glitch Mob), but not so much that it was a bother. The high-end range was decent, but it felt like the drivers gave out a little early on cymbal crashes. The ear tips I use seem to offer some environmental audio isolation, not perfect but a welcome surprise. I found that at a bearable amplitude I could drown out sounds around me in a somewhat noisey setting, such as a coffee shop or cafeteria. Listening to spoken dialogue from podcasts or audiobooks was very dependant on the recording quality, but in general sounded very flat (which I appreciate since I've heard some dialogue get quite boomy). I ran thru a battery of different genres of music and couldn't find anything that I felt wasn't reasonable for the price of these earbuds. Call quality is also notably good for the price. You'll have no issues hearing the person on the other end, and they will have no issue hearing you as the microphone does a very good job of picking up your speech. On Android, these headphones will activate the Google Assistant if you speak the wake word (and have configured detection over bluetooth). I'm not sure if Siri works, but at the very least you can use the 2 second press and hold on the play/pause button to activate your assistant of choice. Finally movies are enjoyable to listen to but don't expect a surround sound like experience. There's decent left to right panning of audio effects, but no discernible front to back effects. Dialogue is crisp, and explosions have a great deep sound, you'll just be missing the impact that comes with a full in room sound system (but that can be said for any set of headphones). 

 

Connection and battery

On Android, these headphones connect very quickly. I have an LG V20 and Samsung Galaxy S8, both of which will connect within 1-2 seconds at most. They auto connect to whatever the last device used was, so if you switch between devices, you'll need to either disconnect once it autoconnects or you'll need to switch off bluetooth to that device. Once connected, on both of my phones there is a notification icon displayed showing the battery level of the headphones. There is no percentage level, just a battery icon that will be filled in when full and only an outline when nearly depleted. It's certainly helpful when trying to gauge how much listening time you have left, but it would be nice if there was a way to see the exact amount remaining in time or percentage; but I'm glad to have anything at all. Speaking of battery, Anker claims 12.5 hours of music listening and about 14 hours of talk time. I can say that this is very close if not exactly the time I get out of a full charge. After a year and a half, I'd say I'm probably now closer to 10-11 hours on a full charge, but for as much as I've use these headphones I can't complain. I have not tested the duration of talk time, but I think that my mixed use of the headphones for listening and talking has given me easily 12-13 hours of use when they were new. Finally, charging these headphones is fantastic as it will take only 90 minutes to reach a full charge if using a 1A or higher charger. I can't count how many times I forgot to put my headphones on charge the night before and had to charge them in the morning before work, and because of the short charge time was able to have a full charge before heading off to work for the day. Lastly, there is an audible tone when the battery is about to die (I can't remember how long it gives), it will ring a handful of times before the battery is fully drained so you'll still be able to listen for a while.

 

For those of you on iOS, you can expect the same short connection time, battery icon, and battery life. I personally did not test them on an iPhone, but I got a pair for my girlfriend and she has been using them nonstop with here iPhone SE and loves them.

 

Other notes

On Android the volume controls are interesting...could be my phone but I thought it would be worth bringing up. It seems that if the screen is on, the volume buttons on the headphones will actually adjust the phone media volume; however if the screen is off the volume of the headphones appears to operate independently of the phone. This wasn't a deal breaker for me, but it was odd to have the volume control flip flop. Anker claims that these earbuds are water resistant but I wouldn't test that more than a heavy rain. Range indoors worked quite well, I can leave my phone on the first floor (somewhere central) and walk around nearly anywhere in my house without dropping audio. I don't have exact measurements, but I'd roughly guess that it was a radius of 12-15 feet thru walls and floor. My girlfriend uses the headphones while running, and she finds the microphone and controls housing annoying since it's heavier and bounces more, but this might be subjective. I suggest using the carrying case, as I've found that the ear tips are prone to falling off if I put the earbuds in my pockets. Finally, Amazon has four options for colors: black, blue, red, green; with black being the cheapest (at the time of this writing) for $25 USD and $30 for the others so you can choose whichever suits you best.

 

Final thoughts

I use these headphones every day and will continue to do so until they die or I lose them. I bought my girlfriend a pair since she always used wired headphones and loves listening to music. We both use them for phone conversations since I travel a lot for work, and I enjoy using them for conference calls as well. They're a great value in my opinion and if you're looking to get an inexpensive set of bluetooth headphones that will last all day on a full charge, I don't think you can go wrong with the SoundBuds Curve from Anker.

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I have found Anker's products to be very reliable and good quality for their price range. 

 

The products I own from them so far are :

Bluetooth Speaker (works VERY well, though a bit heavy on the bass),

Type-C wires - Nice braided cable, 0 kinks and have been working without needing to pull out the second one in over 2 years. 

Micro USB wires - These are actually meh compared to their Type-C, I sometimes have to put the wire in a certain direction, 1 out of 2 had this issue. 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 12/3/2018 at 10:15 PM, DVA said:

I have found Anker's products to be very reliable and good quality for their price range. 

 

The products I own from them so far are :

Bluetooth Speaker (works VERY well, though a bit heavy on the bass),

Type-C wires - Nice braided cable, 0 kinks and have been working without needing to pull out the second one in over 2 years. 

Micro USB wires - These are actually meh compared to their Type-C, I sometimes have to put the wire in a certain direction, 1 out of 2 had this issue. 

 

You know, after you mentioned it I realized that I kinda feel the same way about Anker. I didn't realize but I also have a few other of their products, including USB-C cables and a 10k mAh battery pack. Thanks for the props btw

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