I received Soundcore Life 2 (active noise cancelling bluetooth headphones) as part of Anker surprise gift pack. This gift pack contains 3 more Anker products (3’ Anker Powerline+ microusb cable, 4’ Anker Nylon Audio cable, and Anker Powercore 5000 charger).
It is packaged in a nice red color gift box.
I will only discuss Soundcore Life 2 and will compare it with Soundcore Vortex and Soundcore Space NC.
Packaging: This comes in a nice Red color gift box. Very nice Anker. Only drawback is that you don’t get the actual packaging box of the Soundcore Life 2. You get the headphone and its hard case. Inside of the case are a microusb charging cable and a 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable (that has a multi-function button on it).
Fit and Feel:
Anker has 3 bluetooth over-ear headphones (Vortex, Space NC and Life 2). Among these 3, I find Life 2 to be most comfortable followed very closely by Space NC and then comes Vortex. Life 2 and Space NC can accomodate biggest heads while Vortex is on a little small side. Both Life 2 and Space NC folds flat while Vortex doesn’t (it just collapses for storage). That’s why Life 2 and Space NC have a flat storage box while Vortex storage box is like an american football.
Life 2 has a premium feel to it. The earcups are memory foam as per specs and are very comfortable even if you wear glasses (like myself).
Controls and Buttons:
While Space NC has a touch sensitive control pad to control volume/forward/reverse/skip etc, Life 2 has done away from touch pad for good reasons. Touch pads are extremely difficult to operate while wearing headphone when you cannot see what you are touching. In Life 2 the control buttons are divided between 2 sides. On the left side you will find the power button and Noise cancellation button. One the right side there are 3 buttons, a vol + and - and a play button. All 3 are multi-functional buttons. Vol buttons doubles as forward and back when you long press them. The third button is play/pause and when long pressed activates the bass-up feature. If this third button is only pressed for 1 sec, it activates Siri/ you can take/reject call as well.
When the headphones are turned ON, they always have NC activated by default. If you don’t need it just use NC button (long press) to deactivate.
All the buttons are extremely clicky and responsive. Among 3 headphones, Life 2 has the best quality button presses.
Sound and Call Quality:
Space NC suffered from poor bass response in normal mode (NC turned Off). By having the Bass-up feature, Anker has somewhat mitigated that issue. I like the sound quality of Life 2. Unfortunately, Vortex still wins in terms of sound quality. I believe there is a reason for that. Vortex is the only one among these 3 that supports aptX codec. When I use my mac I can see that by default Vortex connects and uses aptX codec while Space NC and Life 2 connects via SBC codec (I can force them to use AAC but not aptX since they lack the support for aptX). Space NC and Life 2 use about 256 kb/s bandwidth while Vortex can go to 384 kb/s. This is a huge difference when you are using bluetooth.
Call quality is great in all 3 (no complaints from callers).
Below is the Bluetooth chip features and supported profiles of Life 2.
Noise cancellation is good (I still have to use this in real world “airplane” “train” etc kind of environment). Bass-up feature is great. It really enhances the bass response (this was my major gripe with Space NC).
Physicals and Specs:
Input - 5 V, 0.5 A
Bluetooth Ver: 4.1
Range - 14 m / 45.92 ft
Impedance - 16 Ohm
Driver (full range) - 40mm x 2
Frequency Response - 16Hz to 20 kHz
Charging time - 3 hours
Playtime (Bluetooth with ANC On) - 30 hours
Playtime (Bluetooth with ANC Off) - 32 hours
Playtime (via audio cable ANC On) - 60 hours
Weight - 268 g / 9.5 oz
Overall this is a very good headphone for its active noise cancellation feature. Even for normal listening (without ANC) it is great!!!
I would love to have a physical sliding button for ANC On/Off so that by default ANC is not always On (this is a suggestion for Anker).
Some more pictures below for your viewing pleasure