Anker Soundcore Space One review: a bargain Beats alternative with ANC

Punching above their weight

Anker Soundcore Space One
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

Anker continues its reign of offering plenty of oomph for less in the audio world. While the Anker Soundcore Space One might not offer the strongest audio quality overall, in this price range, they're hard to beat. Looking good, sounding reasonable and offering some key features for less, they're hard to say no to.

Pros

  • +

    Good ANC

  • +

    Great battery life

  • +

    Affordable

Cons

  • -

    Wear detection issues

  • -

    Feel a little cheap

  • -

    You'll need to make some EQ tweaks

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Anker Soundcore Space One review: Two-minute review

Anker is that name you seek out when your budget is a little tighter than ideal but you still want something good quality with a few neat features. The Anker Soundcore Space One reflect that ethos perfectly. While they don't offer sound as meaty as the best headphones, they're clearly punching above their weight at just $100/£100. 

A quick glance instantly shows you that the Anker Soundcore Space One are trying to be like Beats. They have a very similar build and they're about the same kind of weight. Outside of people like us, most people wouldn't immediately notice the difference visually. Available in a few different colors, that attitude is even more obvious. While these are more on a par with the best cheap headphones, the Anker Soundcore Space One still offer some key features.

There's powerful ANC with easy to use options via the Soundcore app. Up to 40 hours of listening time is possible here with ANC enabled while a massive 55 hours can be achieved with it switched off. In our time, that proved accurate too. A quick five-minute charge gives back four hours working out a pretty useful backup.

The 40mm dynamic drivers aren't great out of the box but spend some time with the HearID function via the app and you'll soon get the Anker Soundcore Space One sounding just how you want them to. As is often the way with cheaper headphones, bass is the highlight here but sound on the whole is crisp and clear. 

LDA support is available for Android phones while there's Hi-Res audio certification for both wired and wireless use. All the key boxes are ticked here. The only main one that the Anker Soundcore Space One falters on is wear detection. 

During our time testing, it was very patchy. Sometimes it would work and other times, you'd realise too late that you'd missed a half a song to interact with the world. With a strong transparency mode, this is less relevant when talking to people but if you're pausing while relaxing at home, it's a bit of an irritant to not be able to rely on it.

Still, we'll let that one go a little bit as we eye up the price of the Anker Soundcore Space One and enjoy other options like Multi-point that you may not get elsewhere at this price. Overall, the Anker Soundcore Space One are a bit of a bargain. The kind of headphones to make you question spending hundreds on more premium brands, Anker's got things ticking along nicely here.

Anker Soundcore Space One review review: Price and release date

Anker Soundcore Space One

(Image credit: Future)
  • Released August 2023
  • $99 / £99

The Anker Soundcore Space One are shrewdly priced at $99 / £99. Currently available in the US, UK, and Europe, they're available direct from Soundcore as well as from third-party retailers. 

Colors wise, you have three options – black, blue, and a white that's more like cream. One of their nearest rivals is the Sony WH-CH520 at $59 / £50. There's no ANC though. 

For ANC, consider the JBL Tune 750BTNC at $99/£99. Battery life is way lower at 15 hours with ANC on and they're showing their age with Bluetooth 4.2 support, but they sound great. 

Anker Soundcore Space One review: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Drivers40mm
Active noise cancellationYes
Battery life40 hours (ANC on) or 55 hours with ANC switched off
Weight260g
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3, AUX, USB-C
Frequency rangeN/A
WaterproofingN/A
Other featuresWear detection, adjustable EQ, Soundcore companion app

Anker Soundcore Space One review: Features

Anker Soundcore Space One

(Image credit: Future)
  • ANC is good for the price
  • Hi-res audio support
  • Multi-point pairing 

The Anker Soundcore Space One is a veritable checklist of everything you'd likely need or want from headphones. There's Hi-res audio support along with LDAC for Android users -- something you don't always see in this price range. 

Alongside that, there's the Soundcore companion app that isn't overwhelming nor too basic. You'll need to dive in for a few minutes to set up HearID to get the most from these cans' audio but it's worth it. It's like an eye test for your ears with you simply choosing the option that sounds best for you before a new EQ is devised for your needs. 

Elsewhere in the app, you can adjust the ANC. For the most part, leaving it on adaptive ANC is the best move. It adjusts fairly well based on your surroundings but there's also a custom option for times when you need to crank it up even further. Transparency mode can also be enabled here allowing you to easily converse with others without taking them off. Delve further and you can use Easy Chat options to allow you to lower the volume at the touch of the ear cup for when you need to speak to someone, or even use speak to enable so no input is needed from you.

The latter is in beta and much like wear detection, it's not to be relied on. In our time of reviewing it, the Anker Soundcore Space One has already been updated to improve wear detection but more work needs to be done.

Wobble aside and the Anker Soundcore Space One smashes it out the park with its ANC. At this price, you rarely get ANC that feels much better than passive noise isolation but these are special. Whack ANC on and you won't hear conversations nearby you. You'll hear traffic as you walk but it's still blocked out sufficiently so that it doesn't disrupt your listening experience. While the Anker Soundcore Space One may not be perfect, they're more than good enough for blocking out all the most irritating sounds that life brings with it.

  • Features score: 4/5

Anker Soundcore Space One review: Sound quality

Anker Soundcore Space One

(Image credit: Future)
  • Strong bass 
  • Hi-res support
  • Mostly crisp and clear

Dive into the Anker Soundcore Space One and expect the sound quality of a $350/£350 pair of cans and you'll be disappointed. When it comes to the finer touches like detailed mids and the right amount of treble, the Anker Soundcore Space One doesn't really hit the spot. It's fine but nothing special.

However, when it comes to a strong level of bass and a wide soundstage, you can't go wrong with these cans. Focusing on bass is a familiar concept for many budget headphones but when Daft Punk's Around the World kicked in on our 90s playlist, we were delighted at how thumping it felt and what a wide soundstage experience there was. 

For more vocal-heavy songs like John Legend's All of Me, you still get a crisp experience. Similarly, podcasts and other types of spoken word sound just fine and suitably clear.

If you're more of a nuanced music listener, the Anker Soundcore Space One won't hit the spot in quite the same way, but for cans to wear on your commute or walk, they're just right. 

There's always Hi-Res audio with LDAC support for Android users too if you want something a little richer.

One quick note – bear in mind that the sound quality is based on you spending the time setting up your HearID profile. Out of the box, the Soundcore Space One doesn't sound anywhere near as good so it makes a crucial difference. 

  • Sound quality score: 3.5/5

Anker Soundcore Space One review: Design

Anker Soundcore Space One

(Image credit: Future)
  • Look a lot like Beats
  • Comfy headband
  • Folding design 

Glancing at the Anker Soundcore Space One next to a pair of Beats and it's surprisingly hard to tell the difference. They're clearly influenced by them right down to the logo on each earcup looking similar. They're not quite as stylish with fewer curved edges but there's not much in it.

Crucially, the Anker Soundcore Space One are well-padded. The ear cups get a bit warm when it's hot but they keep your ears comfy for however long you use them for. Similarly, the headband feels great with no clamping force wrecking your day. Extending the headband makes a kind of crunch noise but it doesn't sound worrying and it's simple enough to find the right fit for you. 

Both ear cups fold in so you can easily store these headphones without them taking up any more room than they have to. A small travel pouch is included for a bit of extra protection but solely in your bag folded should keep them safe. 

  • Design score: 4/5

Anker Soundcore Space One review: Value

Anker Soundcore Space One

(Image credit: Future)
  • Very well-priced
  • Likely to be new leader
  • Always hope for more discounts 

The Anker Soundcore Space One are excellent value for what they offer. Better than the always tempting Sony WH-CH520 thanks to offering ANC, and far better than the ageing JBL Tune 750BTNC, there's not much out there at this price that could currently beat the Anker Soundcore Space One. 

To do so, you'd need to spend a lot more money to compete and that's hardly the point here, is it? 

The Anker Soundcore Space One's temperamental wear detection is an irritant but we're hopeful that future updates rectify it. You never know, that could be in time for a price cut too given Soundcore gear is often in sales.

  • Value score: 5/5

Should I buy the Anker Soundcore Space One?

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SectionNotesScore
FeaturesNot perfect but certainly packed with the essentials, these cans offer more than most.4/5
Sound qualitySlightly less bass and a bit more detail would be ideal but you still get a crisp experience.3.5/5
DesignLooking almost as sleek as Beats yet very comfy is a winning combo.4/5
Value Oozing with value in nearly every way, these are a delight.5/5

Buy them if...

You want a bargain
Fantastic value, the Anker Soundcore Space One may not be perfect but the compromises involved at this price still make them an easy recommendation to make.

You regularly forget to recharge
Strong battery life across the board and speedy fast charging means these are ideal if you regularly forget to charge up your tech.

You prefer bass heavy music
Potent bass is the name of the game here with the Soundcore Space One excelling at thumping bass.

Don't buy them if...

You want more nuance to your music
Bass is great but trebles and mids are more mediocre. We don't want to quibble too much at this price, but it could be a dealbreaker for you.

You want ultimate style
A little chunky but still stylish, the Soundcore Space One can't quite compete with the likes of Beats in terms of looks but it's close.

You need wear detection
The wear detection on these cans isn't up to scratch yet. We're hopeful that'll change but for now, if you forget to turn the music off, you'll be disappointed.

Anker Soundcore Space One review: Also consider

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Anker Soundcore Space One
Anker Soundcore Space OneSony WH-CH520JBL Tune 750BTNC
Price $99 / £99$60 / £60 $130 / £120
Drivers40mm30mm40mm
Active noise cancellationYesNoYes
Quoted battery life40 hours (ANC on) or 55 hours with ANC switched offUp to 50 hoursUp to 15 hours with ANC on, up to 22 hours with it switched off.
Weight260g137g220g
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3, AUX, USB-CBluetooth 5.2, USB-CBluetooth 4.2, microUSB
Frequency rangeN/A20Hz–20kHzN/A
WaterproofingN/AN/AN/A
Other featuresWear detection, adjustable EQ, Soundcore companion appSony headphones app support, DSEE upscalingVoice assistant support, multi-point
Image

Sony WH-CH520
With very well balanced sound, the Sony WH-CH520 may sound a little better but they lack ANC and even noise isolation is pretty weak here.

How I tested the Anker Soundcore Space One

Anker Soundcore Space One

(Image credit: Future)
  • Tested for two weeks
  • Compared against Beats Studio Pro, JBL 670NC, Sony WH-1000XM4
  • Listened to Apple Music and Spotify on an iPhone 14 Pro,and a MacBook Pro

I tested the Anker Soundcore Space One against the Beats Studio Pro, JBL 670NC, Sony WH-1000XM4. I used them in the home office, in my living room while others were busy doing things, and walking around my local area during busy and quiet times. 

I used the Anker Soundcore Space One just how I would use my regular pair of headphones – for everything! That meant using them on my morning walk alongside busy and noisy traffic, as well as quieter walks in more rural areas where I got to test transparency mode (and ANC) against sociable dog walkers saying hello. 

Besides those active times, I also used the Anker Soundcore Space One as my main headset when taking work calls, watching Twitch streams, YouTube videos, and even some cheeky lunchtime gaming on my MacBook Pro. 

When listening to music, I focused on different genres including classical, jazz, the latest hits, and my favorite 90s playlist. This was across both Apple Music and Spotify. I also listened to podcasts on Spotify. 

I've been testing and reviewing audio products for over 10 years now. If I placed all the headphones and earphones I've reviewed in one room, there wouldn't be much space for me. I'm a big fan of music and always having something to keep my ears distracted from environmental sounds like my neighbour's never-ending DIY projects. 

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed: August 2023
Jennifer Allen
Contributor

Jennifer is a roving tech freelancer with over 10 years experience. Having graduated from Swansea University with a degree in Media and Communication Studies, and later with a diploma from Staffordshire University with a post graduate diploma in Computer Games Design, she's written for a huge number of publications, including T3, FitandWell, Top Ten Reviews, Eurogamer, NME and many more. 

Her main areas of interest are all things B2B, smart technology, wearables, speakers, headphones, and anything gaming related, and you'll find her writing everything from product reviews to buying guides and hunting down the latest coupon codes to save you money. In her spare time, she enjoys the cinema, walking, and attempting to train her pet guinea pigs. She is yet to succeed.