You must have heard the golden age of television, a renaissance brought about by the era of streaming, which is now sadly in decline. It may not bring us another Better call Saulbut there is another golden age that still glimmers very strongly in audio/video: the wireless headphone market.
From headphones breaking out of their prescribed chains, to 3D spatial audio and in-ear listening, in-ear headphones are taking off at an incredible rate. And new options like Anker’s Soundcore Space A40 prove you can take advantage of this brave new world on almost any budget.
A few years ago, you couldn’t find effective noise canceling headphones for less than $200. The Space A40 offers it for half the price, along with good sound, long battery life, and tons of extras to help you customize your experience. It’s all packaged in a handy and compact design that looks better than the price would suggest.
The A40 misses some amenities, like auto-pause when you pull the earpiece out, and the controls can be a bit inconsistent. But with great specs in a surprisingly affordable package, the Space A40 is one of the best deals in this golden age of portable listening.
Despite the fact that the headphones are compressed everywhere around them, the A40s stand out not only for their tiny size, but also for their beautiful appearance. The Qi tablet-shaped charging case looks stylish and feels good in the hand. Its matte finish, accentuated by the metal Anker logo on the top and three LEDs at the junction of the clamshell lid and base, gives the device a premium feel.
Inside, glossy plastic jacks house matching glossy in-ear headphones, while the touchpad’s exterior has a more matte finish. The earbuds are ergonomically shaped and, most importantly, at just under 5 grams on each side (for reference, Apple AirPods Pro weigh 5.4 grams) is the unofficial standard for headphones that seem to disappear from your ears after a few minutes. .
The Space A40 does just that, and the landing is relatively stable. The five earcup sizes are out of bounds for most competitors, and I was able to do all my normal earbud activities, from yard work to trips to the local park, with just a little adjustment here and there. I felt they push a little while running and their IPX4 water resistance is solid but can’t be flooded, so those looking for better stability and weather protection might consider upgrading to Jabra’s Elite 4 Active.
One place where the buds mess up the ratings curve is their massive battery. You get up to 10 hours of playback with four full recharges in the case, for a total of 50 hours. I got 7 to 8 hours of noise-canceling time, but that’s still around 40 hours, better than pricier flagships from Samsung, Google, and Apple.
Space A40 allows you to customize almost everything. This starts with customization and extends to touchpads that can be remapped via Sound Application. They offer almost comprehensive control, from volume to voice assistants, so you rarely need to reach for your phone.
You’ll need to assign a volume in the app (it’s off by default), and I’ve found that double tapping to pause or skip a song can sometimes work when you’re trying to do a few quick single taps to increase the amount of jamming. . I also don’t like the hold command, which seems to take hours to cycle between denoise and transparency modes (it’s only a couple of seconds, actually).