The price of true wireless earphones is no longer indicative of the features on offer as even headsets under Rs. 4,000 offer premium features such as active noise cancellation and app support. The more you pay now, the better certain things such as audio quality, ANC performance, battery life, and connectivity features become. This has therefore had a significant impact on products in the mid-range price segment, as they tend to offer a better balance between performance and value for money.
The Anker Soundcore Life Note 3 priced at Rs. 6,999 promises just that, as Anker hopes to set itself apart from the competition in the affordable and premium price segments. With most of the key features you can expect on a headset priced at under Rs. 7,000 today, as well as a promise of good performance, is the Anker Soundcore Life Note 3 worth the price? Find out in this review.
Good looks, comfortable fit on the Anker Soundcore Life Note 3
As is the case with many brands, the Soundcore line has a ‘signature’ look of sorts, and the Life Note 3 is easily identifiable as a product from the series. The earphones are currently available in just black, with a glossy and metallic-looking finish for its plastic earpieces. The design is a lot like that of the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, but the earpieces of the Life Note 3 are visibly larger, and the charging case is a bit more traditional in the way it looks and works.
The earpieces have a single, small Soundcore logo near the top of the stem, an in-canal fit with good passive noise isolation, and charging contact points on the inner sides of the stems. There are no wear-detection sensors to automatically play or pause music when the earpieces are worn or taken off, which is a bit of a disappointment at this price point.
I did, however, find the fit comfortable for long listening sessions, and the box includes a total of five pairs of silicone ear tips and a charging cable. The earpieces are IPX5 rated for water resistance, and should therefore be able to handle sweat and light splashes of water, making them suitable for use while working out or outdoors. The top portion of the earpieces are touch-sensitive for controls, which are customisable.
The charging case of the Anker Soundcore Life Note 3 is quite interesting to look at, with a unique design and texture made up of curved lines running across the entire case. The Soundcore logo is on the lid of the case, the battery and status indicator lights are at the front, and the USB Type-C port for charging is at the back. Although the status lights are on the inside of the lid right below the discreet pairing button, you can usefully see them through the gaps cut out in the lid even when it’s closed. The estimated battery level of the case is displayed via three lights.
Touch controls on the Anker Soundcore Life Note 3 worked well for me, and customisation is possible through the app, which was a helpful touch. That said, the single-tap gesture was very easy to accidentally invoke, and double-taps were sometimes registered as a single tap because of the small and unmarked touch area on each earpiece. Fortunately, you can deactivate the single-tap gesture, but this will reduce the number of different functions you can control directly from the headset.
It’s possible to use the Soundcore app (available for iOS and Android) to control playback, volume,and cycle through the ANC and hear-through modes. You can invoke the default voice assistant on your smartphone through the touch controls via single-tap, double-tap, or touch-and-hold gestures. ANC can also be set to one of three profiles – transport, indoor, or outdoor – which will set up the noise cancellation to work better in those specific environments.
You can also activate the low-latency Gaming Mode, switch between ANC and hear-through modes, customise the equaliser, set a sleep soundtrack, and update the firmware through the app. The battery levels for the earpieces can be monitored through the app, but not the charging case. There is also a feature to find the earpieces in case they are misplaced by playing a loud sound, but it wasn’t loud enough to be heard further than about a foot away, and therefore wasn’t of much use.
The Anker Soundcore Life Note 3 has 11mm dynamic drivers, and Bluetooth 5 for connectivity, with support for the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. The earphones have three microphones on each earpiece. There is no wireless charging on the Soundcore Life Note 3, which is a bit disappointing given that options such as the Nothing Ear 1 offer this feature at around the same price.
Battery life on the Anker Soundcore Life Note 3 is very good for the price and specifications, with the earpieces running for five hours per charge with ANC on and at moderate volume levels. The charging case added four full charges to the earpieces, for a total run time of around 25 hours per charge cycle. Charging isn’t particularly quick, with a claimed time of three hours to fully charge the earpieces and case.
Decent sound, very good active noise cancellation on the Anker Soundcore Life Note 3
The Anker Soundcore Life Note 3 sits in a price segment which is, in my opinion, largely neglected by most brands. The headset doesn’t stand out in any specific way from the competition, but promises to make up for this with good sound quality and ANC performance. Indeed, this was my experience with this true wireless headset; sound and active noise cancellation performance were very good for the price.
Support for the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs meant that sound quality was the same regardless of source device, and I used the earphones primarily with my iPhone 13 (Review) for this review, for music, audiobooks, and calls. The sonic signature can be termed as safe and geared for popular music genres, but that didn’t really hold back the earphones from providing an enjoyable and fun sound that suited all kinds of listening preferences.
Starting with Feel The Vibe by Axwell, I found that the Soundcore Life Note 3 sounded optimal at around the 70 percent volume mark. The sonic signature is geared for electronic dance music and the bass was deep and refined beyond what can typically be expected from affordable, bass-centric true wireless earphones. The fast beats of this house track were the centrepiece of the earphones’ performance, sounding precise and tight without eating too much into the mid-range or highs.
That said, the lows were dominant on the Soundcore Life Note 3, and captured my attention far more effectively than vocals or the highs. This tended to influence how many of the tracks sounded, and the Life Note 3 very distinctly added flavour to the tracks. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the earphones made for an enjoyable and detailed listening experience nonetheless, albeit noticeably different from competing options such as the Lypertek Tevi and Nothing Ear 1.
All things considered, the Anker Soundcore Life Note 3 does offer up plenty of detail in the sound, and an engaging soundstage. Listening to Answers by Astropilot, the faint details and nuances in this progressive lounge track were beautiful and easy to follow, including the sounds of nature delicately woven into the background to set the mood. While the mids and highs were clean and distinct at the beginning of the track, the eventual introduction of the synthesised bass and beat expectedly took over my attention mid way through the track, but this didn’t affect the spaciousness and quality of the soundstage.
Active noise cancellation on the Anker Soundcore Life Note 3 is among the best you can find in its price range, and even exceeds what you get on some more expensive options. The feature is impressive because of the customisability of the ANC, which although not unusual in the true wireless space, is definitely rare to see on earphones priced at under Rs. 7,000. The earphones made a noteworthy difference in reducing noise in all environments, making listening a lot easier and focused.
The Soundcore Life Note 3 has three ANC profiles and setting it to the correct profile did make noticeable differences in ANC performance. The indoor mode seemed to do a better job with mid-frequency sounds such as voices, and the transport and outdoor modes better focused on low-frequency sounds such as vehicle engines.
Connectivity on the Soundcore Life Note 3 was decent, with the earphones working stably at distances of up to 4m between the earpieces and paired smartphone. Call quality was just about acceptable for short calls indoors, but less pleasant for longer conversations and when outdoors due to the ordinary microphone performance. The hear-through mode sounded a bit artificial and amplified, and I preferred to just take the earphones off for conversations.
The mid-range segment for true wireless earphones is, in my opinion, fairly neglected by brands, and Soundcore has done well to establish itself in this price range. The Soundcore Life Note 3 is a good pair of true wireless earphones that offers plenty for the price, including good sound, very good active noise cancellation, and a comfortable fit. This is a value-for-money product that is definitely worth considering if you have a budget of around Rs. 7,000.
There are some small drawbacks, including the lack of wear-detection sensors and wireless charging, and ordinary performance on phone calls. However, on the whole, the Anker Soundcore Life Note 3 offers enough for the price, although you can also consider options such as the Nothing Ear 1, which looks a bit better and also has wireless charging.