The Life Q35 from Soundcore are the company’s latest pair of active noise-cancelling headphones. The headphones feature 40mm drivers and support both the LDAC codec and Hi-Res Audio, which look to provide a high-quality listening experience.
Soundcore Life Q35
The Soundcore Life Q35 are available in a few different colour options. For this review, I’ve been trying the midnight blue colour of the headphones which I think looks great. The finish has a dark matte finish which, when in the light, gives off a bit more colour and saturation.
The headphones feature a plastic construction with a brushed metal headband which gives the design a premium touch and an extremely light weight, coming in at just 269 grams, this makes the headphones extremely comfortable to wear for long periods. In addition to the comfort provided by the weight, the headphones also feature extremely soft padding on the headband and ear cups, this not only ensures comfort but also means that if you wear glasses the padding on the ear cups will be able to easily sit around your glasses frames. The padding is finished with a leatherette material that matches the colour of the headphones.
The headphones clamping force is very comfortable, I don’t like headphones to have too much force as I don’t like headphones to be putting too much pressure on the side of my face. So, these headphones are perfect for me and their ergonomics and comfort will likely make them my first choice out of the headphones I already have. If you do want something with a bit more clamping force, the Urbanista Miami does offer that and may be worth looking at.
The headphones offer a good degree of adjustability, with tilt and swivel adjustments offered by the ear cups, allowing them to fit comfortably on your head as well as headband adjustment that clicks into place. The headband adjustment is a little loud, so you may be conscious of adjusting them in a quiet environment, but it’s not too much of a problem – more just an observation. The headphones are also able to fold up so they can be placed into their included carry case, so they are protected when not in use. The carrying case is a hard-shell case with a soft-touch material on the outside which feels extremely nice to the touch. The cables and accessories in the case sit in a bag, I think it would be nicer to have some netting in the carrying case to securely hold these cables and accessories more securely.
The headphones feature button controls on each ear cup, the left ear cup is home to the mode and power button with the right being home to the volume and track controls. To help differentiate the volume up and down button, Soundcore has put a little dot on the volume down button – which is a nice touch to improve the user experience. Interestingly, the headphones also feature a second way to quickly toggle between transparency mode, which could be handy during the office for conversations or to be aware of your surroundings, touching the side of the right ear up for 1 second will toggle on and off transparency mode.
The headphones feature a USB Type-C port for charging on the left ear cup and a 3.5mm headphone jack for connecting the headphones to a device with a cable on the right. Both cables are included in the box, as well as an aeroplane adapter.
Overall, I really like the design of the headphones. They not only look great but are also incredibly comfortable to wear thanks to their very light weight and very soft padding across the headband and ear cups.
I’ve been very impressed with how the Soundcore Life Q35 sound. The headphones are powered by 40mm drivers that deliver a warm and punchy listening experience. I’ve mainly been testing these headphones in their ANC mode with the default “Soundcore Signature” listening profile within the Soundcore app.
The headphones have a warmer and bass-focused sound signature which makes them great for listening to a range of musical genres, I mostly listen to electronic music and pop and I found these headphones great for that, however, the headphones also sound great for more acoustic style tracks from artists such as Adele and managed to avoid sibilant errors. The emphasis on bass and the low-end does not come at an expense to the mid and treble, at least in the ANC mode, vocals and instruments sound clear and there is a good amount of clarity to these areas of music and sound frequencies.
Stereo separation also sounds very good, providing an immersive listening experience for both music but also TV shows and movies, so that aeroplane adapter included within the box may come in handy. The headphones also offer a good amount of volume when listening, I typically had the headphones at around 50-55% volume which provided me with a comfortable listening volume.
It’s not all fine and dandy though, there is quite a staggering difference in the sound in ANC in comparison to transparency and normal listening modes. The main difference that I notice is that the bass and low end becomes a lot more “in your face”, which I don’t really like as I think it begins to overwhelm the mid and treble within tracks. In comparison to some headphones which sound worse when ANC is on, at least on these I like that they sound what I think to be best in their ANC mode. Of course, I would still much prefer it if the sound profile across all these modes sounded the same and was consistent.
However, if the sound isn’t right for you, this sound profile can be tweaked and customised so you can get the sound that you want out of the headphones, which I think is a great factor that gives these headphones an advantage in comparison to their direct competition and it does alleviate some of my concerns regarding the sound profile differences. I’ll cover the Soundcore app in a little more detail later on during the review.
The quality of the microphones on the Soundcore Life Q35 is good, for calls and voice memos the headphones make use of a 2-microphone array which also uses AI noise reduction to cut down on background noise. The noise reduction may be a bit aggressive as I could hear some clicking from the processing in one of my tests, but for making a phone call the microphones should be just fine.
The Soundcore Life Q35 are packed with a bunch of handy features that not only make the headphones sound better but also make them easier to use and provide a great user experience with the main feature being, of course, the active noise cancelling functionality which utilises microphones both outside and within the ear cups. The ANC works great, working great at cutting out background noise in a range of environments including machine noise and speaking, these are likely the most effective active noise-cancelling headphones I have reviewed to date on Richard Tech. The transparency mode also sounds clear and passes through ambient sound well.
This is a great point to elaborate on the Soundcore app, which allows further customisation of the ANC mode, allowing you to pick the setting that best matches yours so the ANC can be most effective. The app also allows you to customise the EQ and sound profile of the headphones which is great as it allows you to set the headphones to sound how you would like them to, there are several pre-sets within the app, but you can also set a custom EQ graph if you wish. The app also includes a sleep mode which can play ambient sounds from the headphones.
The headphones also include LDAC codec support, as well as Hi-Res Audio support for both wired and wireless connections, these two features combined, should provide a better sound quality and listening experience. The headphones also feature ear detection, so they will automatically play and pause when you put on and take off the headphones.
The Soundcore Life Q35 feature up to 40 hours of playtime with the ANC mode turned on which could be further extended by listening with ANC turned off if you wish. This battery life is good, and I found it to reflect an accurate expectation of how the headphones can perform in a real-world scenario.
When it comes to charging the headphones, this is done over USB Type-C. The headphones feature fast charging can provide an additional 4 hours of listening by charging the headphones for only 5 minutes, which is very handy if you need to top up on battery life.
Soundcore has done a fantastic job with the Life Q35 headphones, the ANC performance is great, and the design is extremely comfortable to wear for long listening sessions. I would like to see the sound profiles between the ANC, transparency and normal modes be more similar and I imagine this could be sorted in the future through a firmware update within the Soundcore app. Aside from that one hindrance, I really like these headphones and they will likely become my personal choice for regular use – I’d highly recommend them.
The Soundcore Life Q35 headphones are available to purchase on Amazon.
Soundcore Life Q35Soundcore Life Q35
- Comfortable design
- Great ANC performance
- Soundcore app support
- Sound changes between modes
- Microphone noise reduction has clicking noise
- Cables sit loose in carrying case