Packed with features at an affordable price, these buds don’t disappoint – but it’s the lengthy battery life that really makes them worth your cash.
- Excellent battery life
- Decent sound
- Effective noise-cancelling
- No wear sensors
- Forgettable design
- Battery 50-hour battery life
- ANC Active noise-cancelling support
- Charging Wireless charging compatible
It wasn’t long ago that spending less than £100 on a pair of true wireless earphones would only get you the bare minimum. But things have changed a lot recently, and you can now pick up buds with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a pricier pair for under a ton.
That’s certainly a description that applies to Soundcore’s £90 Space A40, which have noise-cancelling, support hi-res audio , and work with an app that lets you tweak the sound profile to suit your individual ears.
So just how much of a bargain are these buds? Or is there a hidden catch?
- Plain looks
- IPX4 water resistance
- Wireless charging case
There’s only so much you can do to make a pair of true wireless earbuds stand out from the ever-expanding crowd, and if you took the logo off the Space A40 they’d blend in with all the other stemless options out there. They’re made of shiny black plastic (blue and white versions are also available), with silicone tips at one end and a dark grey touch sensitive surface at the other.
For many people, though, fit is more important than fashion – and the Space A40 sit neatly inside your ears without sticking out too much. You get five different sized pairs of tips in the box, so finding some that fit snugly shouldn’t be an issue, and I found them comfortable to wear for long periods, although they can be a little fiddly to get out of the case.
An IPX4 rating means they’re water resistant, so you won’t need to worry about getting caught out in the rain, but the lack of stabilising features mean they wouldn’t be my first choice for exercise.
The case itself is also made of smooth black plastic, which makes it a little slippery to handle, and while it’s not the smallest I’ve encountered it’s still perfectly pocketable. When you open it, three LED lights on the front indicate how much power is left inside. Charging is either via a USB-C port on the back, or you can just plonk it on any Qi-compatible charging mat.
- ANC and transparency mode
- Hi-res audio support
- Long battery life
The Soundcore Space A40 costs less than £100, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the feature list.
You get active noise-cancelling , hi-res audio support, wireless charging and multipoint Bluetooth. In fact, the only thing that’s conspicuous by its absence is the lack of wear sensors, so they don’t automatically pause whatever’s playing when you remove one from your ear.
They also work with Anker’s Soundcore app, which is simple but fairly powerful, allowing you to choose from the different noise-cancelling modes, check the battery left in each bud, tweak the EQ, or run Soundcore’s HearID process, which personalises the audio performance to your ears using a simple hearing test. You can also use it to update the firmware, which caused the review pair I had to stop working properly, although Anker told me this was a one-off and not a wider problem they had encountered.
Perhaps the most striking feature of these buds, though, is their battery life. 50 hours isn’t quite the longest out there – Lypertek’s Pureplay Z3 2.0 , for example, manage 80 in total – but it’s certainly up there. Of course, how long you actually get out of them depends on how you use them, but 10 hours in the buds themselves, they’re comfortably the longest-lasting in Anker’s in-ear range and will keep going long after many similarly priced rivals have conked out. I barely had to charge them during the review period.
The app also allows you to customise the controls, with multiple functions available for single and double taps, including playback and volume, plus a longer two-second press that’s better for toggling between noise-cancelling modes or summoning your phone’s voice assistant. As with a lot of touch sensitive controls, they take a little bit of getting used to and there’s a slight delay before they react, but once you’ve memorised what each one does they work pretty effectively. Single-tap commands are turned off by default and it’s probably worth leaving them like that because they’re a bit too easy to trigger by accident.
In terms of codec support, they’ll happily play SBC, AAC and are one of the few non-Sony products to have LDAC – a hi-res audio format that isn’t available if you use an iPhone, but is widely available on Android.
The noise-cancelling is effective against low-level supermarket jibber-jabber and suchlike, and it’ll certainly lessen the volume of passing traffic when walking down the street, but don’t expect it to cocoon you in a bubble of absolute silence.
It’s also worth mentioning how solid the Bluetooth connection is. A lot of cheaper headphones suffer from the occasional dropout, but these were flawless for the entire time I tested them for.
- Nicely balanced performance
- Detailed, lifelike sound
- Effective noise-cancelling
Even without using LDAC the sound quality of the Space A40 is impressive, with a nice balance across the full frequency range when using the default EQ settings.
The simple drums in Julia Jacklin’s Moviegoers sound clean and natural, the Twin Peaks-esque guitar line resonates nicely, and the Australian singer’s vocals are clear and lifelike. They have a decent sense of space too, with the strings in BADBADNOTGOOD’s In Your Eyes offering a nice wide soundstage. Switch to something more raucous and they don’t flinch, with the guitar riff to The Jesus Lizard’s Mouth Breather sounding exactly as abrasive as it’s supposed to, while the drums are suitably big and brash.
They’re not the bassiest buds going, but that’s not to say they lack low-end oomph. J Dilla’s Motor City 17 throbs nicely, Nas’s NY State of Mind bumps just as it should, and the prominent bass line in The Smile’s Skrting on the Surface is taut and authoritative without overpowering the brass parts or the complex guitar.
It wouldn’t be unfair to say these buds lack the outright musicality that divides the very best headphones from the rest, but those who’ve never spent more than £100 on a pair won’t notice and will be more than satisfied with how the A40 sound. They could easily pass for a pricier pair.
Should you buy it?
If you want good battery life: These buds last ages between charges, so they’re ideal if you’re prone to forgetting to plug them in.
If you want to stand out from the crowd: The design is never going to turn any heads. Nobody’s going to stop you in the street and ask you where you got them from.
The Space A40 are towards the top of Soundcore’s range of true wireless earphones, but at just £90 they’re still some of the cheapest noise-cancelling buds you can buy. Those looking for the very best in audio performance will be better served by spending a bit more money, but for most people these buds have all the key areas covered.
Their biggest challenge probably comes from the sheer amount of competition out there, but it’s hard to imagine anyone who picks up a pair being disappointed.
How we test
We test every set of headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy .
Tested for more than a week
Tested with real world use
You might like…
The Soundcore Space A40 supports Bluetooth multi-point pairing, which means it can be connected to two devices simultaneously. To do so, make it’s already connected to a device, press the touch pad on the left and right earbuds at the same time for 3 seconds. After hearing the pairing prompt tone, you can now pair with another device.
Trusted Reviews’ holds the fact that global warming is not a myth as a core value and will continuously endeavour to help protect our planet from harm in its business practices.
As part of this mission, whenever we review a product we send the company a series of questions to help us gauge and make transparent the impact the device has on the environment.
We currently haven’t received answers to the questions on this product, but will update this page the moment we do. You can see a detailed breakdown of the questions we ask and why in our sustainability info page .