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Anker SoundBuds Slim review: A wireless headphone bargain that's hard to beat

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The Good The SoundBuds Slim are inexpensive but don't look or feel cheap; they fit and work reliably well with sound decent enough for their price; a carrying pouch is included and the buds adhere to each other magnetically.

The Bad Bass is a little bloated (loose) and the treble has a touch of harshness, particularly at higher volumes; other online-only companies are selling virtually identical products.

The Bottom Line The SoundBuds Slim Bluetooth earphones are hard to beat for the price, especially if you're not a stickler for sound quality.

7.9 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Sound 7
  • Value 9

Anker has made a name for itself by selling a host of budget mobile phone accessories that are relatively inexpensive but manage to avoid looking cheap. The same can be said for the SoundBuds Slim, an in-ear Bluetooth sports headphone that can be had for less than $30 (£20; AU$70) online.

Let me preface the design discussion by saying that this headphone may very well have come out of the same Chinese factory that makes very similar-looking wireless earphones for other online-only brands like TaoTronics, so it's hard to call these truly original or special.   

What you get in the box.

Sarah Tew/CNET

That caveat aside, the SoundBuds Slim earphones do have a simple elegance to them and seem sturdily built with metal housings and a fairly thick cord. They're also sweat resistant and come with a basic carrying pouch for storage. Battery life is rated at 7 hours at moderate volume levels, which is fairly decent for this type of headphone.

The most important thing for me was that they fit well and worked reliably with minimal Bluetooth hiccups. They come with four different-sized silicone eartips and three different-sized sports hooks to help lock the bud in place. The larger tips and hooks allowed me to get a secure, tight seal, which is crucial to maximizing sound quality.

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