Anker Soundcore Life 2 headphones review: “Fantastic sound and design don’t stop it falling short of the competition”

Buying a headset specifically for gaming can be a big commitment. They’re often expensive and hard to justify, especially when you can’t remove their microphone or they struggle with your Spotify playlist during the morning commute. Why spend hundreds of dollars on a one-trick pony? That’s where Anker Soundcore Life 2 bursts through the wall like the Kool-Aid Man. This jack-of-all-trades headset has mastered many of them: excellent audio quality comes packaged with a distinctly premium feel, while noise cancellation features and the ability to get a boost of bass only sweeten the deal. However, such fantastic sound and design don’t stop it falling short of the competition. Make no mistake: the Anker Soundcore Life 2 is a product designed for music first and foremost. As a result, you shouldn’t expect it to match the best gaming headsets.


Anker Soundcore Life 2 review

It’s obvious from the get-go that these are very well-made headphones; the Anker Soundcore Life 2 sports a padded headband and soft earpads that are far more comfortable (not to mention handsome) than the $70 price tag would suggest. In fact, that’s a theme for this headset in general – it gives an impression of prestige without the added expense. That quiet air of extravagance is heightened by a classy matte finish, sleek silver logos etched onto its sides, and a hard zip case for travel. It’s an attractive proposition, basically.


Anker Soundcore Life 2 review

Look closer and you’ll find that this sense of quality extends to the audio features. Packing surround sound, a ‘BassUp mode’, and noise cancellation, Life 2 helps shut out the world with the efficiency of an overzealous bouncer. While there is an aux cable with built-in mic, you can pair the device with your phone or PC via Bluetooth for a smooth wireless experience. Unfortunately, that same functionality (Bluetooth and the aux cable’s microphone) is not compatible with consoles. And this is where the Life 2 starts to unravel.


Soundcore Life 2 review

Don’t get me wrong. Acting as a gaming headset, the Anker Life 2 performs far better than you might expect. Much as they do for music, these headphones deliver crisp audio with good depth and clarity. Most of the time, anyway – although I found the vocal work to be tinny and muffled in Assassin’s Creed: Origins, games like Fallout 76, Destiny 2, and Anthem performed well during our tests. What’s more, the Life 2’s surround sound makes up for any shortcomings. Bullets whip and tear through the air with tangible, startling aggression. Yells and explosions from afar can be pinpointed accurately. You’ll also pick up on a dozen other sounds you’d otherwise miss on standard TV speakers. Add consistently good ambient noise and soundtracks and you’ve got a deeply immersive experience on your hands. 

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