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Anker Soundcore Space One review: Stellar value

Our Rating :
£89.99 from
Price when reviewed : £90
inc VAT

Some minor issues keep the Anker Soundcore Space One from being truly out of this world, but they’re lightyears ahead of most competitors


  • Comfortable and stylish design
  • Impactful, customisable audio
  • Decent ANC for the price


  • Ear cushions can get quite hot
  • Standard profile is bass-heavy
  • No hard-shell case

Given their name, you’d be forgiven for expecting the Anker Soundcore Space One to follow in the footsteps of their Soundcore Motion X600 and Soundcore Liberty 4 stablemates by showcasing the brand’s spatial audio technology. Surprisingly, that’s not the case, but it’s hard to be too upset when what is here is so well-designed and effectively implemented. 

The Soundcore Space One are about as stylish a pair of over-ear headphones as you can get for under £100, and they offer an impressive number of features for the money. That combination puts them in contention for a place on our list of the best budget noise-cancelling headphones but are they the complete package? Read on to find out.

Anker Soundcore Space One review: What do you get for the money?

The Soundcore Space One aren’t the first of the brand’s headphones to use the Space name – the Space Q45 headphones and the Space A40 earbuds launched the line last year – but the “One” suffix certainly implies a fresh start. Even still, the Space One keep pricing in line with their predecessors, retailing for just £90. This puts them up against some of our favourite cheap noise-cancelling headphones, including Anker’s own Soundcore Life Q30 and the 1MORE SonoFlow.

The Space One operate over Bluetooth 5.3, and offer multipoint functionality, allowing you to remain connected with up to two devices at the same time. On the codec front, there’s support for SBC and AAC, along with LDAC for high-resolution streaming.

You can switch over to LDAC in the Soundcore companion app, where you’ll also find options to toggle and calibrate the wear detection, cycle through the ANC modes and tweak the audio. The latter can be achieved by using the eight-band graphic equaliser or picking from the fourteen different presets, with options for adjusting bass and treble levels alongside tunings for specific genres, including Rock, Jazz and Hip-Hop.

According to Anker, battery life clocks in at up to 55 hours with ANC off and around 40 hours with it switched on. Those numbers are a little shy of the Life Q30, but still decent for such affordable headphones. Once the battery is out of juice, just five minutes on charge will provide four hours of listening time, which is handy if you’re in need of a quick top-up.

Battery life may be superior on the Life Q30, but one area in which they really fell down was aesthetics. Anker has clearly listened to the criticisms, because the Space One are some of the best-looking budget headphones I’ve used. The build is still primarily plastic – available in black, blue or the Latte Cream colour reviewed here – but the two-tone effect keeps it from looking drab, and it’s paired with some wonderfully soft PU leather on the earcups and headband.

At 265g, the Space One are around average weight for budget over-ear headphones, and they’re both comfortable to wear and convenient to take with you on the go. There’s no protective case included, but the cups collapse in towards into the headband and you do get a silky carrying pouch, so they’re easy enough to slip into a bag.

The right earcup is home to a volume rocker and play/pause button, while the power button, ANC toggle, USB-C port and 3.5mm port are on the left. Inside the left cup, there’s also a wear detection sensor, which worked effectively during testing, consistently playing and pausing with a delay of less than two seconds.

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Anker Soundcore Space One review: What did we like about them?

So we’ve established that the Soundcore Space One look terrific and are packed with features, but how do they sound? For the most part, the Space One sound as good as they look, and the few areas in which I found the balance to be slightly off were easily remedied, thanks to a wealth of audio customisation options.

The earcups house 40mm dynamic drivers and put out impactful, if slightly warm, audio. Something with a hefty bassline, such as Quad City DJ’s’ Space Jam, sounded quite unbalanced upon first listening, with the rapping portions playing overshadowed by the thumping bass. The Bass Reducer EQ profile helped redress the balance somewhat, but the HearID Sound feature, which creates you a personalised EQ, was a far more effective fix.

HearID starts with a hearing test, playing various pitches to see which you’re able to hear, before presenting you with pairs of audio tracks and asking you to select which of the pair sounds better to you. It then uses your answers to create a personalised audio profile, which can be tinkered with to your heart’s content, or combined with your favourite genre EQ to make it even more specialised to your tastes.

With my personalised audio profile set up, I found the balance in the mix much more palatable. There was still plenty of muscle in the lower frequencies, but they didn’t shoulder in front of the mids so much. Blank Space by I Prevail goes heavy on the drums and bass but there was enough space in the suitably wide soundstage for the higher guitar notes and vocals to make their presence known.

Higher frequencies were handled well on the whole, too. Once again listening with my HearID profile, I booted up Sam Ryder’s Eurovision anthem SPACE MAN and was met with bright, energetic trebles that maintained clarity right up into their peaks. There could have been a little more verticality to the presentation for the trebles to truly glide in the stratosphere, but for budget headphones, the sound quality was very impressive.

Before we even get into the ANC side of things, it’s worth highlighting how effective the ear cups are at passively blocking sound. With music playing at half volume, I found a good chunk of the outside world struggled to interrupt my listening. Flicking ANC on, and things got even better. There are five strengths of noise cancellation to choose from, as well as an adaptive mode that responds to your surroundings.

While the adaptive mode reacted well to changing noise in my environment and cut a decent proportion of ambient sound out, I found that it was never quite as effective as just selecting the strongest manual setting. With the latter engaged, most of the rumble from a busy road bled away, leaving only a minor hiss of traffic coming through when the music lulled.

The five-strength transparency mode also fared well during testing. On the highest level, I found that I was able to hear people talking around me, so long as my volume was under the 50% mark. As the Space One put out decent volume to begin with, I never found myself listening much higher than 60%, so this was an acceptable trade-off.

Anker Soundcore Space One review: What could be improved?

Looking back at our review of the Life Q30, overly bassy standard tunings seems to be a common theme among Soundcore’s budget headphones. As with the Q30, the extra weight in the low-end isn’t too big a problem, as the accessible EQ options make it very simple to rectify, but it would be appreciated if you didn’t have to tinker with the tuning from the offset.

Battery life is also inferior to that of the Life Q30, which is disappointing given the Space One are £10 more expensive. 55 hours with ANC disabled is still pretty good, and only five hours shy of the Q30, but there’s a challenger that puts both to shame: 1More’s SonoFlow. Also retailing for £90, they get you more bang for your buck than either of the Anker options, lasting for around 50 hours with ANC on, and a staggering 70 hours with it switched off.

Something else that the SonoFlow offer that the Space One lack is a hard-shelled protective case. This will be a dealbreaker for some, while others will be perfectly happy with the carrying pouch. I can personally live with the pouch as it is, but a more durable case would be a nice addition if there’s to be a Space Two.

Finally – and this is a problem that the Space One share with the SonoFlow, as well as most other budget headphones – the faux leather earcups can get rather warm after a while, so you’ll probably want to avoid extended listening sessions during the summer months.

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Anker Soundcore Space One review: Should you buy them?

Considering their affordable price, the Soundcore Space One get very little wrong. The design is attractive and very comfortable (barring some overheating in the summer months), the noise cancellation is effective enough for most scenarios and battery life is ample, albeit not as good as the Life Q30 or SonoFlow.

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to tinker with the default sound profile in order to enjoy your music to the fullest, but it’s impossible not to be impressed by the level of customisation on offer. If you can put up with their minor issues, you’ll struggle to find better over-ear ANC headphones under £100. They’re great value for money and their performance exceeds expectations.

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