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Deal alert: These $40 noise-canceling headphones actually sound pretty good

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 headphones are now $40 at Amazon, $20 off their normal price.

- 01:21
Sarah Tew/CNET

I'm not a fan of cheap noise-canceling headphones. I've actually been struggling to put together a list of models for a best noise-canceling headphones roundup because there are so few that I'd recommend buying. But Anker's Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones are an exception. They're quite decent for their regular list price of $60. Now they're on sale on Amazon for $40 for the black version and $43 for the silver version. 

No, the Life Q20 doesn't sound as good as premium models such as the Sony WH-1000XM3, but it sounds pretty good, which is all you can ask for at this price. It's fairly well balanced with a reasonable amount of clarity and plump bass that's not bloated or muddy (there's a bass boost or BassUp mode if you want an extra helping of bass). It's also comfortable to wear, the noise-canceling is acceptably effective, it's solid as a headset for making calls and battery life is good at 40 hours.

Read: Best noise-canceling headphones of 2019 

Most importantly, it's simply better than most of the cheap noise-canceling headphones I've tried, some of which are OK but tend to have some shortcomings, usually in the sound quality department. I include brands such as TaoTronics, Cowin and Mpow in this group.

Again, don't expect the Anker to be as good as higher-end models -- the build quality isn't in the same league as premium headphones -- but if you're looking for a cheap noise-canceling headphone, this is definitely a good bargain at $40.

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