Anker Soundcore Life A1 Review After 10 Months Use

The Anker Soundcore Life A1 are the cheapest earbuds with decent sound quality for under $50. You can get your hands on wireless charging, 3 preset EQmodes, 35 hours of battery life, and an IPX7 rating right out of the box. So, there are a lot of features that you get for a lower price tag.

Now, these are not the most outstanding earbuds, there’s some room for improvement in these. But I’ve been using Soundcore Life A1 TWS for over 10 months now, and there’s a lot that I’ve liked so far.

Specs of Anker Soundcore Life A1 TWS Earbuds

– IPX7 Waterproof rating
– 8 Hours Battery Timing
– Wireless Charging
– Mono Mode Listening
– On-Ear Control

Pros

  • Comfy to wear for long hours.
  • Decent bass
  • Affordable
  • Comes with multiple ear tips
  • IPX7 waterproof
  • Mono mode
  • Preset EQs
  • Blocks external noise

Cons

  • Ear seals become loose over time
  • Slippery charging case
  • Mic quality is average
  • Limited codecs
  • Sometimes they take longer to connect
  • No ANC

A few months back, I was looking for a decent pair of earbuds under $100. I scrolled through different blogs on the internet and ended up across the Soundcore Life A1 earbuds.

But I was confused to pick between the JBL Tune 110 and Soundcore Life A1 earbuds. Finally, I made up my mind to go with the Life A1 buds just because they looked more promising in terms of features.

I usually prefer earbuds that come with active noise cancellation (ANC), but after reading about Life A1’s that they block external noise, it fascinated me to give them a try.

Just to let you know, there’s no ANC on Soundcore Life A1 buds, however, these buds seal perfectly around your ear canals to prevent any noise from coming in.

How Was My Experience Using The Anker Soundcore Life A1 TWS Earbuds?

I've tested the Soundcore Life A1 for 10 months, here's what i've found

To be honest, these are the most reliable earbuds I’ve come across so far. First of all, they are budget-friendly, you can get these for less than $50 on Amazon or Walmart.

What I’ve liked most about these buds is the sound quality, punchy bass, and IPX7 rating. I would say that these are the buds you can take to the gym if you sweat a lot.

Whenever I hit the gym, there’s a lot of sweat around my ear canals during workout sessions. But I’ve never felt any sound distortion which usually occurs when water interacts with the internal components of the earbuds.

The Soundcore Life A1 buds are safe for long-hour workout sessions. These buds will survive rain or sweat falling upon them without any hassle. However, don’t forget to dry them before putting them back into the case.

Design

These buds are fully made of plastic, except for the driver’s part which is housed in a metallic covering. The glossy and jet-black colour does add some elegance to these buds.

Souncore Life A1 buds are mostly made up of hard plastic, but the shiny gloss finish makes them appealing inside your ear canal as you wear them.

soundcore Life A1 earbuds review

The Anker’s logo sits at the far outside with no lighting at all. However, there’s a small LED light on both buds that blinks once you take these buds out of the case.

As far as the design of the charging case is concerned, it’s also black with a little bit of shine to it. The case feels flimsy and easily slips out of your hands if it’s wet. But I think this isn’t a big thing to worry about at all.

design of charging case

The charging case comes with a magnetic lid, that keeps the earbuds protected once they are inside for charging.

The magnetic lid doesn’t stay intact if you drop the charging case on a hard surface. I accidentally dropped the case two or three times, and the earbuds dispersed on the floor in no time.

The charging case has three LED indicators on it that show the remaining battery percentage for charging earbuds. The remaining battery on the charging case is only shown once you put the earbuds inside the case.

Life A1 charging case LED lights

There’s a USB-C port at the back to charge this case. It takes an hour or so to fully charge it.

USB-c interface on the Souncore A1 charging case

I usually charge it via the USB port of my laptop. Just to mention, you can also charge the case by putting it at the top of a wireless charging mat.

I haven’t tried the wireless charging, but it works fine as reported by many users on different forums.

you can charge the case using USB-C cable

Buttons/Controls

Just like most Anker earbuds, the dedicated buttons on the left and right earbuds have different functions. For newbies, it’s a bit trickier to get used to with controls. But to make things simpler, I’ve included the diagram below.

Source: Anker

There’s a dedicated app from Soundcore to control the EQ presets (Soundcore Signature, Bass Booster, Acoustic) and other functions on your Life A1 earbuds. However, I’ve found connectivity issues with this app, it fails to connect with the device even after several attempts.

So, it’s better to memorize the actions mentioned in the above diagram to perform different actions. Another thing that I’ve noticed is that you don’t know which preset EQ mode you are at.

So the only way left is to listen to music and identify that based on your instinct. This is weird!

To answer the calls, all you need is to press the once on either bud, it’s that simple.

I only use the dedicated control to turn on/off these earbuds. Keep pressing the button for 3 to 5 seconds to turn them on or off. You can also switch to mono mode by simply taking one earbud out of the case. Pressing the button two times in mono mode will let you answer calls or play/pause a song.

mono mode experience

Here’s another problem, sometimes it’s hard to turn these earbuds off even if you press the buttons. So, the only way around is to disconnect them from the device first.

Resting the earbuds on the charging pins would automatically turn them off. But in rare cases, the buds stay awake until you turn them off manually by pressing the button.

Calls & Multimedia

I haven’t found any delays in the audio quality while listening to calls or music with Life A1 buds. You won’t notice any lags in the audio even if you watch videos on YouTube or the Netflix app.

But wearing these buds and playing fast-paced games would result in a minor lag. So, if you are planning to play games, then I would suggest buying some better earbuds that offer improved latency when it comes to gaming.

If gaming is your taste, then why not have a look at some of these Tozo earbuds?

Connectivity

connectivity

As far as the connectivity is concerned, I have found minor connectivity issues when you connect these to laptop or desktop PCs with Bluetooth enabled. However, connecting these with Apple or any other smartphone was super easy.

I live in a 45m2 apartment and these buds stay connected in every corner. The Bluetooth 5.0 technology helps you to create a stable connection up to 10 meters.

Overall, I haven’t found any connectivity issues, but sometimes these buds struggle to establish a secure connection with laptops or desktop PCs. I hope this is fixed by Anker through software updates in the future.

Furthermore, the Soundcore Life A1 is only limited to using AAC and SBC Bluetooth codecs, which means there would be minor audio latency issues while playing games or watching videos with these buds.

However, for a lower price tag, it’s hard to find upper-level codecs like AptX or LDAC that offer superior low-latency performance.

But even with AAC and SBC codecs, there is not much of a difference in performance if you are using an advanced phone or device.

Battery Life

battery life A1 Anker

As I’ve said earlier, Anker has mentioned a battery life of 35 Hours. But in reality, it could be less than these numbers. Generally, the battery life depends on how you use your earbuds.

On Average, the battery life on Souncore Life A1 lasts for 8 hours on constant use and 90% volume.

You can fuel your earbuds 3 times with the help of a charging case.

Ear Tips & Noise Reduction

ear tips with A1 earbuds

So, there’s no active noise cancellation found on these earbuds. However, the different ear tips and seals that come within the package result in passive noise isolation.

There are three different-sized seals to choose from. I’ve used the large and medium-sized seals that perfectly sit into my ear canals to block external noise or frequencies above 1KHz.

ear seal

As these earbuds have a punchy base, you don’t hear what’s happening outside. But as you switch to soft music or phone calls, you can easily hear the nearby sounds which is justified by the absence of ANC.

However, they still manage to filter out some higher-frequency noise. I also wear these and try to sleep to keep out the traffic noise at night.

Sound Quality of Anker Soundcore Life A1

The performance of these earbuds is limited to “Bass” only, at least this is what I’ve found so far. If you are a person who likes punch bass all around, then these are the earbuds to get away with.

As mentioned earlier, there are 3 preset EQ settings to choose from. The Soundcore Signature and Acoustic presets are the ones where you feel the difference between the highs, mids, and lows.

Listening to Hendersin’s song Lonely Road on Soundcore Life A1 earbuds feels different as compared to other earbuds. Although this isn’t a “bassy song”, on Life A1 earbuds there is still some bass that envelops the mid and low tones of the song.

Microphone Performance

To be honest, I’m not impressed with the microphone performance of the Soundcore Life A1 buds. Though there are two mics to capture your voice, both struggle to pick up mid and low-frequency sounds.

Also, if you try to talk with someone on a call in mono mode with one side of your head resting on the pillow, the other person won’t hear you well. What I mean to say is that there shouldn’t be any obstruction between the mics to pick up your voice.

There are reports that Souncore Life A1 cuts out speech if there’s a lot of wind or noise around. I haven’t noticed this till now, but the weaker mic performance ending up in such scenarios is common on low-budget earbuds.

Soundcore Life A1 Microphone Demo Test Recording

Who Should Buy Anker Soundcore Life A1 Earbuds?

The Soundcore Life A1 earbuds come with a strong bass, so these are highly recommended for listeners who like bass while working out. These are IPX7-rated, so you don’t have to worry about water getting inside these buds.

Moreover, these earbuds offer decent features for someone low on budget looking for quality products. These buds offer the right value for the price they come at.

You won’t be distracted while listening to your favourite bassy songs in a busy area. I won’t say that these earbuds are made for hardcore audiophiles, but they manage to keep up with the expectations of budget users who prefer decent sound quality.

Maybe for a price as low as $50, these complaints don’t make any sense at all. Anker has cut down on the price, but at the same time, they have taken away some features.

There’s no ANC on these buds and the mic quality is average. Also, you will experience minor issues connecting these to the PC for the first time or after you take them out of the charging case. But rarely happens and isn’t a big deal.

If you are not confident buying Soundcore Life A1 earbuds, then try going with Anker Soundcore Space A40 earbuds that come with ANC and improved microphone performance.

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