Wireless Earbuds

Review: Anker Soundcore Space A40

You’ve probably heard of the renaissance in television that the streaming era sparked, which is now regrettably in decline. And though it might not offer us a new season of Better Call Saul, another golden era in audiovisual is still very much alive and well: the wireless earbud market.

Earbuds are developing at an amazing rate, with hearables breaking free of their prescription restrictions, 3D spatial audio, and personalized listening. And modern alternatives show that you may benefit from this brave new world on almost any budget, as Anker’s Soundcore Space A40 demonstrates.

Before a few years ago, it was impossible to find a set of noise-canceling headphones for less than $200. Together with excellent sound, extended battery life, and a ton of options to let you personalize your experience, the Space A40 offers it at half that cost. All of that is contained within a cozy and small design that appears more expensive than it is.

The A40 does omit some conveniences, like as auto-pause when you remove an earphone, and the controls can occasionally be finicky. The Space A40, however, are among the greatest deals in this era of portable listening because they deliver excellent performance in a surprisingly modest price.

Stylish and Slim

Anker SoundCore Space A40 Earbuds and Charging Case

Although if earbuds are getting smaller everywhere, the A40 stand out for their attractive design in addition to their tiny size. The Qi-ready, pill-shaped charging case is attractive and comfortable in your hands. It has a luxury appearance thanks to its matte finish, which is complemented by a metallic Anker logo on top and a trio of LEDs where the clamshell lid meets the base.

The glossy plastic terminals contain identical glossy earbuds within, and the touchpad controls have a more matte feel on the outside. The ergonomic design of the buds and, more importantly, their weight of just under 5 grams each side (for comparison, Apple’s AirPods Pro weigh 5.4 grams) fulfill the informal standard for buds that vanish from your ears after a short period of time.

The fit is comparatively steady, and the Space A40 perform precisely that. With only a slight readjustment here and there, I was able to perform all of my typical earbud-enhanced activities, from yard maintenance to hikes at my local park—five sizes of ear tips goes beyond most competitors. These did jiggle a little bit when I was jogging, and they had robust but non-dunkable IPX4 weatherproofing, so those seeking more stability and weatherproofing might want to consider upgrading to Jabra’s Elite 4 Active.

The huge battery of the buds is one way they mess up the grade curve. Up to 10 hours of playback are possible, and the case has four complete recharges for a total of 50 hours. Although I only got about 7 to 8 hours with noise canceling, that’s still close to 40 hours and outperforms more expensive flagships from Samsung, Google, and Apple.

Customize Anything

The Space A40 offered virtually endless customization options. Beginning with the fit, it also includes touchpads that can be reassigned through the Soundcore app. You hardly ever need to reach for your phone because they provide almost all control, from volume to voice assistants.

You’ll need to assign volume in the app (it’s off by default), and I find that occasionally when you’re attempting to perform a few quick single taps to ratchet up the jams, the double-tap for pause or song skip can be activated. Moreover, I don’t care for the hold command, which appears to take hours to switch between transparency and noise canceling mode even though it only takes a few seconds.

If you’re impatient like me, you can use the app’s transparency or noise canceling settings. The software also unlocks an almost embarrassing number of additional features, such as multipoint pairing so you can simultaneously pair the earbuds with two devices and a Game Mode to eliminate input lag. If you’re unfamiliar with the market, the abundance can be frightening. You’ll find a more straightforward structure in places like the AirPods menu.

One area where I advise experimentation is the sound characteristic, which is by default a little aggressive and snappy up high. Soundcore delivers a customized sound that will adjust the frequency curve to your ears, like an increasing number of manufacturers. You begin by taking a hearing test to determine the extent of the harm you have sustained during your time on Earth. It feels like an audiology test even though there should only be a few noises that you can’t hear. While there are several age categories, the fact that everyone over 40 is in the same one is unsettling.

After my test, I didn’t hear a significant difference in sound; in fact, I thought the default sounded more open overall, if more sizzly in the upper register. In the end, I used Soundcore’s vast multiband EQ’s Custom setting to carve out my own sound curve.

Whichever of the signature you select, performance is excellent value for the money, providing a great overall balance without relying excessively on thumping bass. With instruments thoughtfully positioned in the mix to allow you to take your time examining the many colors, the stereo image is really nice. I was constantly amazed by the Space A40’s propensity for unearthing instrumental textures once my ears become accustomed to its cooler sound signature. Examples include the dappled vocal lines in Nickel Creek’s Reason’s Why and the laser-sharp synths in the Chemical Brothers’ song Go.

There is a surprising lot of touch and detail here for the money, however instruments aren’t as distinct as in higher-quality headphones like Sony’s gorgeous WF-1000XM4. Nevertheless, that’s to be anticipated at around a third of the price. The Space A40 supports LDAC for Bluetooth high-resolution streaming, much as Sony.

Calling is surprisingly good. I didn’t have any significant issues with the calls I made, and the Wind Buffer functionality is assignable. Since they don’t have auto-pause or fancy features like 3D spatial audio, it’s difficult to think of a significant function that these earbuds lack. They offer a transparency setting as well, but I didn’t like for it. It lacks sophisticated features like adaptive sound to control incoming decibel levels and is quite bright, displaying only a small selection of ambient frequencies.

Sweet Silence

Anker SoundCore Space A40 Earbuds and Charging Case in white blue and black colors

The Space A40’s exceptionally strong noise cancellation, especially in the lower frequencies, may be its strongest point. The earphones’ ability to effectively block out city noise on my regular dog walks astonished me. They provide a nice blanket of silence that reassures you that this is much more than merely arm candy noise cancellation. Drone noises disappear, passing automobiles are reduced to gentle wooshes, and some music helps you relax.
Although you can customize the reduction and have it automatically ramp up or down based on the situation, I mainly simply left it on the strongest level. The Space A40 easily outperformed ultra-cheap alternatives like the Soundpeats T3 when pitted against rivals in my studio tests, even surpassing Jabra’s aged flagship, the Elite 85t, in the lower register.

In comparison to the Elite 85t, the A40 introduces more white noise at higher frequencies, making background noises like voice talk and keystrokes easier to detect. Although I wouldn’t expect them to at this price, they won’t even come close to next-generation noise canceling headphones like the Apple AirPods Pro (gen 2) or the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2. But, adding noise cancellation and a little background music to the already amazing passive noise isolation achieved without ANC effectively eliminates most ambient annoyances.


The Soundcore Space A40 headphones from Anker have performance, features, and a look that make them feel more luxurious than inexpensive models. If I were to use any earbuds as my default choice for all of my wireless earbud activities, it would be the deciding factor for me. The answer is a resounding yes with the Space A40. Here is a good place to start if you need a reliable set of noise-canceling earphones for less than $100.

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