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Hands-on: Anker’s new Space One Headphones begin shipping with drastically improved ANC

Hands-on: Anker’s new Space One Headphones begin shipping with drastically improved ANC

Last week, Anker first showed off its new Space One ANC Headphones. Today, the latest over-ear listening experience is finally available for purchase. I’ve been using a pair for the past few days and have walked away impressed by the Anker Space One headphones’ ANC performance.

Anker’s new Space One ANC headphones are now shipping

Marking the second addition to the Soundcore Space lineup, Anker is now launching the new One headphones. The brand launched its new subtheme just a year ago, and a new addition is hitting store shelves this week. But before I compare the original offering with the newer counterpart, let’s break down what’s made the cut on the new Space One headphones.

Anker kicks things off with a redesigned form factor. It’s still largely similar to last year’s Q45 appearance but makes some iterations that ensure you’re not going to confuse the two. The fact that the new cans come in one of three colors is a very easy visual cue to differentiate the two, but Anker does go a step further to refresh the look and feel of its newer headphones.

The appearance is just a bit more sleek than before, with more areas where the headphones can bend around your head and ears. They also easily fold up when not in use and are, all in all, a very lightweight and comfortable pair of headphones to use for extended listening sessions.

But then there’s the sound quality. If I had to put it into as few words as possible, it’d be that the new Anker Soundcore Space One are just alright. They aren’t terrible in the fidelity department but are hardly the best in the $100 price range. The soundstage is just not very full, which mostly means that the low, mid, and high ends are always fighting for real estate on the 40 mm drivers. Bass is mostly too low with a majority of the music I tested out, except when you’re playing house or techno tracks where the low end completely muddies the rest of the audio.

The vocals on most songs are at least very clear, which is great if you’re more of an acoustic fan. But otherwise, music playback is going to mean you’re getting just an alright experience.

While the sound quality is not going to make you shell out $100 for these headphones alone, the other features are what make the Anker Space One a big deal. At such a low price point, the inclusion of active noise cancellation is already pretty respectable. But the fact that it works as well as it does? Far, far better.

It’s the biggest selling point of these headphones, and Anker very much delivers on that. Even without playback, the Space One do a solid job at making sure AC fans, the rattle of subway cars, talking, and other ambient sounds don’t bother you. Unfortunately, Anker does not follow it up with a compelling transparency mode. The feature does make the cut, but it just doesn’t work all too well, which is a shame considering how good the ANC end of the equation is.

You’re also getting access to all of the other features in the Anker Soundcore app, which lets you tweak EQ settings and even tap into the customizable HearID tech that tailors the listening to your experience. For me, that feature made a huge difference in the sound quality department and turned these from below-average headphones to ones that are good enough to at least not ruin the recommendation.

As for how the new Anker Soundcore Space One headphones stack up to last year’s model, there are some differences in more than just the build with the Space Q45. Speaking to the form factor for a moment, though, the Space One set makes all the right changes with the tweaked build, resulting in a far more comfortable experience. The frame has more padding and also allows for more flexibility. Each of the cups is on an adjustable axle that allows them to lay more naturally over your ears, amongst other small adjustments. But there’s nothing here that makes or breaks the experience.

Anker Space Q45 on the left versus the Space One Headphones on the right

Features, on the other hand, are quite distinct. The older Space Q45 ultimately put all of its eggs in the sound quality basket, while the newer Space One look to double down on the ANC at the expense of some other features.

As I already mentioned, the Anker Soundcore Space One aren’t the best-sounding pair of headphones out there. Compared to the original model in the lineup, there’s less bass and a far less balanced soundstage. Vocals are more distinct than the 2022 release, but most times you’re going to prefer the Q45 to the One.

ANC is, by comparison, a completely different experience. It’s night and day comparing the two pairs of headphones, with the Space One delivering the quality you’d expect to see on a far more capable pair of cans – as I noted above. You might as well not even use the noise canceling tech on the original pair, while Anker’s latest make that the defining feature.

9to5Toys’ Take

From my experience with both of Anker’s most recent over-ear headphones, the new Soundcore Space One feel less like a replacement and more like an addition to the lineup. This new release isn’t meant to completely outmode the Q45 from last year. Instead, it offers a different feature set that prioritizes other parts of the listening experience.

To more directly answer which one is more worth your cash, it comes down to what you value more. If having the best sound quality for your dollar is a must, then the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 are the way to go. But if having ANC that actually makes travel more tolerable is at the top of your Wanted Feature list, then the newer Space One model might be more your speed.

Largely, though, you can’t go wrong with either pair of headphones. Each of Anker’s latest sets arrives at different price points, which makes the comparison a bit less straightforward.

Speaking specifically of that $100 MSRP, I still appreciate the whole experience offered by the Anker Soundcore Space One. They might not win any awards for just how crisp the audio is, but being backed by ANC, HearID, and all of the other features that make the cut do, in fact, make these worth the cash. Some might just rather spend a little extra to score the $150 Space Q45 pair, and anyone who wants better sound quality definitely should.

But if you’re looking for a solid pair of travel headphones that deliver reliable active noise cancellation, there’s going to be no beating the Anker Soundcore Space One at the $100 MSRP.

Buy the Anker Soundcore Space One at Amazon and Anker

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