TWS true wireless earphones - under $100
FIVE STARS - The Soundcore Space A40 has terrific Active Noise Cancelling, great battery life, and comes with multipoint connectivity. It's even comfortable enough to sleep on your side with.
Soundcore Space A40 specs and features:
Bluetooth 5.2 with AAC and LDAC codec
IPX4 waterproof rating (splash proof)
5 - 8 - 10 hours listening on a single charge (LDAC mode/ ANC on/ ANC off)
Charging case can charge earpieces fully 5 times
Comes with 5 sets of ear tips, USB-C cable, English manual
Below this Soundcore Space A40 review, you will find comparisons of the Soundcore Space A40 vs Earfun Air S, 1more Evo, 1more ComfoBuds Pro, Nothing Ear 1, Soundcore Life A3i, Soundcore Life P3, and Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro.
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Design, comfort and battery life
Rejoice, lovers of stemless earbuds. After the recently released Soundcore Mini Pro and Soundcore's own Life A3i, the Soundcore Space A40 is another fully featured wireless earphone without stems. The Space A40 earbuds are nicely compact and are comfortable to wear for hours, thanks to their almost old-fashioned, drip-like oval shape. They're snug in (medium-sized) ears thanks to the bump down the ear canal, but don't feel like they fill up the ears.
It's even possible to sleep sideways with them. The IPX4 waterproof rating isn't stellar, but it does protect the earbuds against light rain and water splashes.
More impressively, the earbuds provide up to 8 hours of listening time with ANC on, stretching up to 10 hours with the function turned off. Running empty? Not a problem - as the case has insanely quick charging. Put the earbuds in for 10 minutes, and you get another 4 hours of listening time. These are everyday, nights sleeps AND holiday proof specs - very impressive.
The charging case is powerful in more aspects. It can recharge the earbuds five times fully before needing new power itself, after which it can be recharged via USB-C or wirelessly. In line with all Soundcore products, the finish is marvellous. Also available in black and blue, the white case looks clean, feels polished and has a sturdy build, with a soft-closing lid. The white panel on the front houses three hidden LED-lights to indicate the charging status and remaining battery, and the case is compact enough to easily slide into any jeans pocket.
The earbuds themselves look a little less robust with shiny plastics used on the inside and outside, yet the silver metallic touch panels do a great job of preventing a cheap look.
Controls and connectivity
The main feature of the the Soundcore Space A40 is its multipoint connection, meaning you can connect the earbuds to two devices, like your phone and your laptop. It's a rare and sublime feature to have under $100, and works well especially for calls. If you listen to music on your laptop and receive a phone call, it will switch directly to your phone. Watch a video on your phone and enter a video call on your laptop? It will switch just as easily.
It doesn't switch as easily when calls aren't involved. You need to pause your music or video first to switch to a video or music on your other device. Not a big issue, but the Earfun Air S' instant switching is even more convenient. This is great as well, however. You don't need a separate headphone for your laptop anymore.
Like other Soundcores, overall connectivity is stellar. The Bluetooth connection remains stable up to 10 meters away from your device, and you can always switch between using one or two buds. Music doesn't automatically pause when you take an earbud out, however.
The touch panels respond very well to your input and are easy to locate blindly. The controls are adjustable via the app, but as you ‘only’ have a single-tap, double-tap and hold-control option on either side, it's not possible to get all the controls on the earbuds - you may have to sacrifice the returning a track option to activate the gaming mode, for instance. Overall though, usability of the Space A40 is fantastic.
Calls, movies and Games
Unfortunately, the Space A40 doesn't offer fantastic call quality on top of the multipoint connectivity, preventing it from making it an ideal workspace solution like the Earfun Air S.
The call quality in both phone and video calls is good in quiet areas. Your voice has lots of volume and sounds naturally full. Unfortunately, things change with constant noise around you. Whether it's accelerating vehicles or office things like door slams and moving chairs: the sound effects itself are almost entirely left out of the call, but they also drag your voice along with them. You can sound too dampened and even inaudible on moments of continuous noise.
Video playback is flawless on the Space A40, and this time around, Soundcore also offers a low-latency gaming mode. It does a great job of synchronizing sound effects with the action on your screen, and offers a decent amount localization of gunshots and action around you.
App Support of Soundcore Space A40
Along with Samsung, Soundcore provides its affordable wireless earbuds with outstanding app support, and the Space A40 is no exception. The free iPhone and Android app has a great deal of features:
Check battery status of both earbuds
Change the controls
Read the manual
Update the firmware
Switch between ANC on, Transparency mode, or ANC off
Regulate the ANC strength or choose Adaptive ANC (see ANC part)
Choose from 22 sound equalizer presets (see sound part)
Create and save your own 8-band sound equalizer
Do the HearID hearing test, which then boosts the frequencies you can't hear yourself - and combine the HearID test and your preferred or custom equalizer
(De)activate the touch tone
(De)activate Wind Noise Reduction (see ANC part)
(De)activate Gaming Mode
Do a fit test to see if you have the right ear tips
See the Device List and (de)activate connected devices
Change the auto power off-time
There are so many convenient and even unmissable features from the app, that it gives it an added bonus over its many competitors. Especially since it doesn't drain battery in the background, comes with a widget to quickly switch ANC functions, doesn't require an account, and works very simply. Brilliant stuff.
ANC Noise cancelling of Soundcore Space A40
The Soundcore Space A40 comes with multiple options for Active Noise Cancelling, but these are just minor bonuses.
Active Noise Cancelling is among the strongest you can get around this price point and (thus) on wireless earbuds in general. It's activated as soon as you put the earbuds in, and immediately filters out most background noise.
Constant electronic and stating humming are gone instantly, and distant traffic or wind noise are nearly eliminated too. Higher outbursts, like the brakes of a train, can come through - but chances are you won't hear anything else of the same train. Nearby sound effects like keyboard clicks, chatter, or a radio playing are still a bit audible, but have the highest tones cut off and you only need to take out the earbuds again to notice how much noise was there around you to begin with.
This ANC strength is achieved without playing music (which can completely silence your surroundings) and the out-of-the-box ‘Manual ANC’ strong setting. You can manually set it to Medium or Low, or activate an Adaptive ANC setting, which scans how much noise it needs to block. When there's only soft background noise, it will revert to a lower setting to relieve your ears a bit more.
What gives it an advantage over the competitors, is how it handles wind noise. The Wind Noise Reduction setting in the app does a great job of reducing wind noise when you're walking or cycling with these buds with ANC on, while not giving in too much on the ANC strength.
The Transparency mode is a big step up to previous Soundcore models. It's a wonderfully usable function that passes through traffic and chatter on moments you need it. While other lighter sounds can also be quite loud - like a toilet flushing - it even makes you hear and locate cars around you while you're listening to music. Along with the Nothing Ear 1, this is one of the best implementations under $100 - a splendid job.
To remove wind noise completely, there's also an option to turn ANC off from the earbuds. Neat. Soundcore sticks to its beeps to confirm the switching between functions, which you have to get used to. To give you a head start: the darker single tone = ANC on, the double-tone = Transparency mode, the lighter single tone = ANC off.
When it comes to ANC and Transparency mode, this are the best wireless earbuds under $100.
Sound quality of Soundcore Space A40
The Soundcore Space A40 breaks with the brands tradition to put bass and treble front and center. It has a more serious approach to music - and whoah, it delivers.
Rather than bass and treble, the Space A40 puts the lower mid-tones in front. Drums and darker electronic tones, lower guitar chords and the left side of the piano are boosted - and then some. They can sound impressively detailed and textured - with plenty of room in between the different parts. Center-mids join the party, with guitars and piano play sounding less recessed than other Soundcore earphones. These (lower) mids can compete with vocals for the main role in music however.
Vocals are less pronounced than on earlier Soundcores, meaning they dominate the higher frequencies less than before. Darker male vocals benefit from the lower-mid emphasis, although they can compete with darker instruments now and then. Regular or ligher vocals, either male and female, sound both natural and full - and reach into the highs as easy as the lows.
It's easy to see what Soundcore wanted with this new, more balanced, less trebly sound. Upper-mids and highs are cut off before they can become sharp, resulting in a less fatiguing and bright sound than the Soundcore Life P3 and Soundcore Life A3i, not to mention the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro. Both female vocals and higher-pitched male vocals are less prominent and crisp, but also less metallic. They're fuller.
When it comes to higher instruments, brighter piano play, violins, and trumpets have a thick rather than vivid performance, and piercing and splashy cymbals and claps are a thing of the past. Thank goodness!
The bass has changed too. The mid-bass delivers strong but non-overpowering thumps, way less excessive, deep, and articulated than on the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro, and less punchy than on the Life A3i. Yet, there’s still a solid amount of mid-bass, with plenty of pumping power to make some dance and techno genres thrive. The darkest bass area - the sub-bass - is more controlled than before. It doesn’t rumble even remotely as loosely as on the Liberty 3 Pro, but things are tighter in the lows, while still providing enough depth. The A40 may service bass lovers enough, but this is not primarily a bass-focused earphone like previous Soundcores.
With the app support including various equalizers and the clever HearID-function that lifts frequencies your ears don’t pick up so easily, the sound is of course highly adjustable. There are EQ’s like Bass Booster to further inject a bit of bass in songs, or the Acoustic EQ that helps vocals and treble become more crisp. But those feel like changes to the previous, echo-induced slightly weird basis, and don't really increase sound quality . The LDAC-codec support for Android phones does improve the sound. Once activated, the earbuds battery life halves and you'll lose the the option to connect to two devices at the same time, but it makes music fuller, increases separation between vocals and instruments and puts its seemingly more around you - a recommended setting.
The Soundcore Space A40 sounds thicker and more serious than its predecessors: these are Soundcore's most balanced wireless earbuds, and they're a pleasure to listen to.
Soundcore Space A40 comparisons
Soundcore Space A40 vs 1more ComfoBuds Pro: What is the best ANC earphone under $100?
The 1more ComfoBuds Pro has been Scarbir.com's top recommendation for affordable ANC earbuds for about a year now, but the Soundcore Space A40 noise cancelling is just as strong… AND more capable of reducing and blocking wind noise. The A40's Transparency mode works better when playing music up to loud levels, and its battery life is 3 hours longer than the 1more. The Soundcore feels more comfortable to wear, has more extensive app support with more sound options, and lets you connect to two devices instead of one.
The 1more has a brighter sound, with more vibrant higher vocals and more forward upper-mids, a more airy treble. The Space has a thicker sound with more recessed vocals. Less engaging, but also less fatiguing. If multipoint is important, go for the Soundcore, if call quality is important, the ComfoBuds Pro still is a better option as it keeps your voice clearer with noise around you.
Soundcore Space A40 vs Nothing Ear 1
The Nothing Ear 1 has around the same ANC performance as the Soundcore Space A40, including the reduction of wind noise. Nothing's Transparency mode is more natural than Soundcore's, but Space A40's option puts through traffic noise when you're playing music even louder. Call quality on both models is comparable, and thanks to the More Treble equalizer that saves the Nothing Ear 1, both these earbuds sound engaging, thick, with enough but not overpowering treble. The Soundcore cuts it off earlier; the Ear 1 sounds more slightly more energetic in the highs. In other aspects, the Soundcore feels like an improved product. It has more than twice the battery life, actually good audio-video synchronization, more extended app support, and even throws on multipoint connection. It's a better deal.
Soundcore Space A40 vs Liberty 3 Pro: Which is better?
The Active Noise Cancelling strength on the Soundcore Space A40 is comparable to its more expensive sibling, the much-praised Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro. The cheaper newcomer has a more natural and more usable Transparency mode, letting you locate traffic easier when listening to music. The Space A40 has around 2 hours longer battery life, while the Liberty 3 Pro is better for phone and video calls: your voice sounds clearer and louder, also when there's noise around you.
The biggest difference is in the sound. The Liberty 3 Pro has much more extended treble; more prominent and forward higher vocals and instruments. It's airier and more energetic on top, but also brighter and more metallic. L3P's mid-bass is much stronger, while the sub-bass rumbles much easier and looser. It's a more involving sound than the Space A40 provides, but also more fatiguing.
Soundcore Space A40 vs 1more Evo: Which ANC multipoint earbuds are better?
At around $160, the 1more Evo is a more expensive combination of multipoint connectivity, ANC and LDAC codec support, which only works when you turn the multipoint connection off. There are more similarities: both have good call clarity that starts to suffer in challenging conditions - the reason why both earbuds receive 4.5 instead of 5 stars overall. The Soundcore Space A40 has slimmer ear tips and feels more comfortable to wear than the 1more, and its battery life is noticeably stronger - 8 vs 5,5 hours with ANC on. Active Noise Cancelling itself is even stronger on the Evo, but it shows more pink noise to counter it. Transparency is more effective in the Soundcore.
When it comes to sound quality, the 1more Evo has more forward, vibrant vocals and bumps upper-mids more - although the app equalizers let you make vocals more laidback if you so desire. The EQ's make the Evo sound more versatile; even after tweaking the sound, the Space A40 sounds more closed-in and more lower- and center-mid focused - more balanced as well. Once again, the Evo sounds more engaging, the Soundcore less fatiguing.
1more Evo review ($160)
Soundcore Space A40 vs Soundcore Life A3i
Want to drop the multipoint connection and save yourself around $40? Soundcore has another great earphone on its shelves. The Soundcore Life A3i or Life Dot 3i has actual buttons, a higher IPX5 waterproof rating and slightly better call clarity in noisy circumstances. Battery life is only an hour shorter with ANC on (7 vs 8 hours), and the Life A3i also enjoys terrific app support with control and equalization options. That said, both the ANC and Transparency mode on the Space A40 are stronger. In the sound department, the Life A3i has stronger mid-bass, deeper sub-bass, and more open treble. Higher singers are more prominent and sparkly, and the sound is more upfront than the more mid-centric, more natural, yet sometimes also more cave-like Space A40. The cheaper model may not have the most faithful representation of music; the Life A3i is more entertaining and uplifting than the Space A40.
Soundcore Space A40 vs Soundcore Life P3
The wildly popular and older Soundcore Life P3 clearly shows which route Soundcore has taken in the sound department. This older model in the same price range has a stronger, more thumping and looser rumbling mid-bass and fiercer sub-bass, with more forward treble, pushing higher vocals more into the spotlight and presenting clearer, crisper and more metallic, harsh highs. The Space A40 may not pack the same energy, but it does sound more straightforward and balanced. ANC on both models is comparable, whereas the Space A40 takes it up a notch with a more effective Transparency mode, multipoint connection and even two hours more listening time with ANC on - 8 vs 6 hours. Call quality isn't the biggest strength of both.
Soundcore Life P3 review ($80)
Soundcore Space A40 vs Earfun Air S: What's the better multipoint earphone?
The Earfun Air S is another pair of wireless earphones under $100 to combine Active Noise Cancelling with multipoint connectivity. The Soundcore Space A40 has noticeably stronger ANC, as the Earfun lets through lows and mid-tones easier. Soundcore's Transparency mode is also more capable. Earfuns multipoint connection switches even easier between devices - always immediately switching your last device you pressed play on. The Air S is better at handling phone and video calls as well, putting through your voice clearer and more stable when there's noise around you. The Soundcore has better battery life; the Earfun more extensive controls. Surprisingly, the Earfun has a more pumping bass than the Soundcore - it provides stronger thumps, deeper sub-bass, and more separation between basslines. The Soundcore has a cleaner, more controlled bass. Air S extends treble further and gives an airier and more vivid, but also more fatiguing sound than the more (lower-)mid focused Space.
Earfun Air S review ($70)
The Soundcore Space A40 has some of the best Active Noise Cancelling under $100, very usable battery life, and multipoint connectivity. It sounds great, and most of all, being able to sleep with them is a super power.
Five stars - Excellent
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