The SoundBuds Curve are part of Ankers ever expanding and evolving audio range. Aimed at the top end of their ‘workout’ orientated earbuds, you get super battery life and richer sounds compared to the entry level SoundBud Slims.
The SoundBuds Curve borrow design features from both the SoundBud Slims and SoundBuds NB10, in that they have a wrap around form to help keep the earbuds secure during some of your most challenging workouts, while keeping the inline controls separate from the earbuds themselves. Catering for all ears you have several sizes of ear tips (XS, S, M, L & XL), wing tips (S, M, L) and as is becoming popular with most BT headset offerings, a single set of memory form tips (M).
Like the SoundBud Slim’s, the controls are on a inline remote stemming from the right earbud and share the same functions including microphone for clear handsfree calls;
Play/Pause/Answer/End Call - 1sec hold will activate Siri or Google Assistant
Vol Up - increase volume. Hold to skip to next track
Vol Down - decrease volume. Hold to skip to previous track
SoundBuds also come with a handy carry case inc carabiner clip, to keep your extra ear tips and headset protected when not in use. Unlike a number of Anker headset’s these do not have magnetic earbuds for storage around your neck, so the case is your best option when not in use.
The SoundBuds Curve come packing 10mm drivers with aptX technology for near CD quality audio. Testing with several genres showed the Curve’s to have a much deeper and fuller sound with prominent bass that doesn’t drown out the lows, with the mids and highs remaining crisp and clear. Also noted that for a number of tracks, hiss was reduced during playback compared to both the Slim’s and NB10’s. Despite the 10mm drivers the loudness is not that drastically different from the Slim’s, with sounds appearing much louder due to close fit and improved seal which reduces ambient noises around you (something to take into account if running outdoors).
Comfort and Use
Having previously used the SoundBuds Sport which came with optional around the ear clips made of plastic, I was a bit weary with the ‘fully around the ear’ design. They are however very comfortable to wear thanks to the soft and flexible TPU construction and less than 1oz (23g) weight. Despite coming with a large / medium ear and wing tip setup, after testing several combinations I found the medium and and small to provide a excellent fit while not feeling too intrusive in the ear. Like the NB10’s the headset held it’s own during a HIIT workout and thanks to the IPX water resistance case and internal hydrophobic nano-coating, sweat was no threat.
The SoundBuds Curve come part charged at around 70% and can be fully charged from flat in around 90 minutes using the included micro USB cable and a suitable power source, such as your computer USB, phone charger and/or PowerBank. On average you get around 12.5 hours of playback on a single charge depending on the audio format and playback volume. Using a combination of ALAC and acc tracks I averaged just over 12 hours playback a time through three charge and use cycles. You can also get an hour playback from a quick 10 minute charge, handy should you be gym bound but forgot to charge them the night before.
Despite having reservations due to the wrap around ear pieces, which previous use of the SoundBuds Sport had left a bad taste, I found the SoundBuds Curve to be very comfortable to wear and they delivered excellent audio and battery life throughout testing. My only criticism is the current price point which when measured against the Slims, NB10 and a few other’s in the Anker lineup seems a bit high, no doubt due to the introduction of aptX and the 12hr battery life, which is double that of Anker’s other ‘workout’ suitable offerings.
*Tested with iPhone 7 and iMac
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