Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: All-new budget buds fit for workout fans
Anker has numerous true wireless earbuds at different categories and price points, but until now the Soundcore Spirit X2 and Spirit Dot 2 were the brand’s only sporty options.
The all-new Soundcore Sport X10 comes with customizable sound, waterproof protection, and an innovative rotatable earhook design. These buds also carry features found on some of the best wireless earbuds, such as active noise cancellation (ANC) and wind noise reduction technology, but the lack of touch-sensitive controls, wireless charging, and some comfort issues with longer wear may concern workout fans looking for a budget gym partner.
To find out how the Soundcore Sport X10 compares to some of the best workout headphones, read on.
- 1 Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Price and availability
- 2 Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Design and comfort
- 3 Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Controls and digital assistant
- 4 Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Sound quality
- 5 Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Active noise cancellation
- 6 Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Special features and app
- 7 Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Battery life and charging case
- 8 Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Call quality and connectivity
- 9 Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Verdict
Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Price and availability
- Competitive price
- Available in three colors
Launched today (June 21), the Soundcore Sport X10 earbuds cost $79 and are available exclusively on Anker’s Soundcore website (opens in new tab). They come in three colors: black, oat white, and red. Bundled with the earbuds you get a charging case, USB-C charging cable, five sets of different sized eartips, and a user guide.
The Sport X10 faces noteworthy competition from well-received entries like the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 ($87) and Tribit MoveBuds H1 ($89), two models that package strong sound into a secure-fitting design. Those seeking something less expensive should consider the $30 JLab Go Air Sport for its big bass and intelligible connectivity, and don’t forget to check out our pick of the best wireless earbuds under $100.
For all of the latest wireless earbuds sales, bookmark our best headphones deals page.
Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Design and comfort
- Sleek and sturdy
- Hooks provide secure fit
- IPX7 sweat and waterproof rated
These buds share the same attractive body as Anker’s Liberty Pro series, but with a smaller frame, rotatable hooks, and zero touch controls. The latter is a tough compromise (more on that later). Still, there’s no denying the Sport X10’s robust build quality. Solid plastic makes up most of the design and it’s tough enough to withstand the abuse most hardcore exercisers put their buds through. IPX7 with SweatGuard technology also makes the Sport X10 sweatproof and waterproof in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes.
The charging case isn’t anything to brag about. It has a pairing button, USB-C charging port, and the same compact, pill-shaped design as many other competitors. There is one detail that makes this version better than the others, that being the LED on the front that doubles as a button to pop open the case. Construction is OK, though I felt the case could have benefited from stronger magnets and a less flimsy lid.
Let’s talk about those hooks. They’re flexible, gentle on the ear, and rotate up to 210 degrees. It takes a few tries to get the hang of Anker’s rotating system, but once mastered, the buds are easy to install and stow away in the case. I enjoyed a stable and secure fit during runs and lateral-heavy workouts. The tips kept slippage to a minimum by forming a tight seal around the canal.
Comfort was moderate during exercises. I wouldn’t recommend wearing the buds for casual listening since they progressively apply pressure on the concha; this becomes unpleasant after two hours of use. The physical controls also affect comfort. That leads us to…
Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Controls and digital assistant
- No touch controls or motion detection
- Pressing the buttons hurts your ears
The Sport X10’s button-only design is problematic in many ways. It limits command activation; not having touch controls or motion detection to enable auto-pause when removing the buds is disappointing. There is no triple-press function to expand the control scheme. And pressing the multifunctional button means pushing the buds further into your ears, which causes discomfort. Not to mention they’re stiff, tiny, and frustratingly difficult to locate.
But my biggest gripe is digital assistant support. The feature only works in mono mode, meaning you can only access it when using one earbud, and is activated by holding the button down for two seconds. Performing this action with both earbuds in will cycle through the listening modes. That’s bad programming, Anker. Siri and Google Assistant do perform well. Anker’s mics register commands and questions with precision, and both AI bots return results quickly.
Playback, call management, volume, and listening mode activation make up the Sport X10’s list of controls. These can be assigned to different input methods in the app.
Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Sound quality
- Impactful bass from the 10mm dynamic drivers
- Good level of audio customization
- No support for aptX, aptX HD or LDAC codecs
Anker Soundcore products are known for their bass-heavy delivery, especially those engineered with proprietary BassUp technology, like the Sport X10. These buds lean more towards the warm end of the audio spectrum, but they also reward you with adequate levels with mid and high notes. Altogether, this creates a lively soundstage that demonstrates decent frequency range.
The default EQ is called Soundcore Signature and is ideal for contemporary and upbeat music selections. You have the option to turn on BassUp for stronger low-end bass presence, but just know that this setting can overpower the soundstage on certain tracks.
Pulling up Jamiroquai’s “Shake It On” automatically placed me in workout mode. The pounding drum build-up knocked hard and got my adrenaline flowing, while the synths were reproduced surprisingly well with minor distortion. BassUp boosted the bass levels without compromising the low or midrange. Something else that caught my attention was how clear and striking the strings sounded over the bopping production.
Hip-hop favorites like Busta Rhymes’ “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” invigorated my legs to get through my 5K run. The monstrous drums banged with such ferocity. BassUp mode made them a little too aggressive for my liking.
I enjoyed terrific audio performance during recovery. Jazz classics like Lee Konitz’s “I Remember You” soothed my body with mellow-sounding horns and softly rhythmic double bass that remained steady throughout the recording. Chet Baker’s “If You Could See Me Now” extended this same courtesy, though the highs were heavily veiled. Cymbals sounded more distinctive on other orchestral tracks.
There is a customizable eight-band EQ to manually adjust frequencies, along with 20 different presets that complement different music genres. Most of these enhance the sonics in different ways. For instance, enabling Hip-Hop or R&B increases bass performance, whereas Treble Booster and Rock emphasize the midrange, and Piano bumps up the high end. All of these are useful, but I recommend sticking with Soundcore Signature to get a little of everything.
Several tracks were tested on Apple Music and Spotify. I was satisfied with the streaming quality over Bluetooth 5.2 via SBC (Google Pixel 6 Pro) and AAC (MacBook Pro). Higher bitrate codecs like aptX HD and LDAC are not supported.
Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Active noise cancellation
- Poor ANC performance and wind resistance
- Impressive transparency mode
I’ve heard some of Anker’s cheap wireless earbuds deliver decent ANC performance (check out the Soundcore Life P3 for example), but sadly the Sport X10’s noise cancellation is inferior. I’m not entirely surprised (although it was in beta form at the time of writing), but I did expect some kind of ambient sound neutralization from these buds.
Anker is direct about its ANC performance in the app, stating it can “eliminate voices and mid-frequency noise from coffee shops and other inside spaces.” Does it? Barely. I tested the feature in my house and could hear people conversing several feet away. My ears also picked up lots of vocal traffic when walking into a Starbucks and grocery stores, for example.
Low and mid-frequency noises were discernible at a high level. Baby cries and sirens sounded loud, while engine rumble and the tumbling sounds from my laundry room made their way onto the soundscape.
There is a Wind Noise Reduction feature that uses the Sport X10’s six mics and noise-cancellation technology to minimize whisking effects. However, it’s mostly reserved for voice and video calls. It did little to reduce wind interference when listening to music.
Transparency Mode is the one highlight in this category. The mics captured a lot of incidental sounds to increase my awareness of surroundings. Conversations came through clearly, as well as other noises like construction work, water splashing near the boardwalk, and vehicles coming up the block.
Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Special features and app
- Easy to navigate Soundcore app
- Breathe feature is effective for pre- and post-workouts
- No Find My Buds mode
The Anker Soundcore app is one of the more underrated companion apps out there. It boasts several features, many of which were already discussed, including ANC/Transparency Mode, Equalizer, Wind Noise Reduction, and control customization. What else is there to play with?
Anker introduces a feature called Breathe, which has a series of exercises to help runners focus on their breathing. Warm Up is designed for use before workouts, Relaxation is for post workouts, and Decompression helps to relax you before going to sleep. There’s also a custom mode that can be used at any time of the day to reduce daily stress. The feature is serviceable for anyone who relies on deep-breathing activities to relieve body tension.
Rounding out the app are battery level indicators for the buds, a quick start guide, and firmware updates. I would have liked to see a Find My Buds mode and ear tip fit test, something we’re seeing more of on newer releases.
Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Battery life and charging case
- Standard playtimes and quick charging
- No wireless charging
Anker rates battery life at 6 hours with ANC on and 8 hours with ANC off. This is accurate if you’re listening to music at 50% volume, though raising it or enabling other features can decrease playtimes by an hour. I was happy with the 3.5 days of moderate use (2 hours daily) these buds provided.
The Sport X10 has longer playtimes than category favorites like the AirPods Pro (4.5 to 5 hours) and Beats Fit Pro (6 to 7 hours). At the same time, other sporty ANC models like the JLab Epic Air Sport ANC (11 to 15 hours) and Jabra Elite 7 Active (7 to 9 hours) gets you more juice.
The charging case holds up to 32 hours, an amount that surpasses all Apple/Beats charging cases. A 10-minute charge gets you 2 hours of use. Wireless charging is not supported.
Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Call quality and connectivity
- Voice and video calls sound clear
- No Google Fast Pair Multipoint technology
The Sport X10 is a respectable calling headset. Background interference causes cutout, and there is some slight muffle when speaking in quiet settings, but callers on the opposite end will make out everything you say. My wife was surprised to hear how audible my voice was when chatting on the front porch, especially when cars and wind came into the equation.
Bluetooth 5.2 operated well. Range extended up to 70 feet in open spaces before stuttering. Connections held up strong during calls and streaming sessions. Pairing to Android and iOS devices was instantaneous, though occasional hiccups occurred when attempting to use the buds with my MacBook Pro; sometimes they would pair and not play anything.
Google Fast Pair and multipoint technology (pair to two devices simultaneously) do not come part of the package.
Anker Soundcore Sport X10 review: Verdict
The Anker Soundcore Sport X10 don’t push the envelope for sporty wireless earbuds, but it flirts with some great ideas (e.g., rotatable earhooks, wind resistance mode) and delivers enticing sound at an attractive price.
One can forgive Anker for the underwhelming ANC, especially since it feels more like a throw-in feature. At least you get quality ambient listening, which is clutch for runners. The same can’t be said about the level of comfort during longer workout routines or listening sessions, and the awkward control buttons. Nevertheless, you can’t beat the amount of personalization the Sport X10 offers, and are a worthy consideration for fitness fans on a budget.
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