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TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 Review

Looking for ANC in an affordable pair of headphones? The TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 may be for you

Verdict

The TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 are a great pair of headphones at an attractive price. A compact design, active noise cancellation and 40 hours of playtime all for under £60 make these headphones worth a look.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable over-ear style
  • Long-lasting battery

Cons

  • Sound quality is unremarkable compared to more expensive options

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £58.99
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 40mm drivers and aptX codec
  • 40 hours' playtime
  • Fast-charging battery
  • Active noise cancellation

The SoundSurge 85 are a budget pair of headphones from audio brand TaoTronics. Priced at under £60, these cans offer some notable specs that are typical of far more expensive headphones.

Boasting a hefty battery life, a fast-charging experience as well as aptX Bluetooth support, the SoundSurge 85 are worth a look.

Related: Best headphones

TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 design – Simple and compact

The SoundSurge 85’s design is attractive in its simplicity. The headphones sport a matte black colouring with silver detailing on the ear cups. The ear cups cover the ears effectively to seal off external noises. The memory foam pads and headband provide a decent amount of cushioning, while the soft faux leather coating boosts the style of these budget cans.

The headphones feel about as compact and lightweight as is possible for a pair of over-ears, weighing in at just 220g. The SoundSurge 85 can be folded up and rotated to carry flat or bundled up for portability, which makes them easy to squeeze into your bag for trips or for day-to-day use. The soft drawstring carry bag offers protection against scratches and adds to the convenience of storing the headphones and charging cable together.

TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 features – Fitted out with active noise cancellation

Internally, the TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 headphones are kitted out with 40mm drivers and Qualcomm’s aptX codec for higher quality wireless sound, as well as the Bluetooth 5.0 for fast pairing and connectivity.

The headphones use the feedback version of active noise cancellation (ANC) to limit outside distractions. While the ANC does a decent job of cancelling out unwanted noises, it isn’t as well equipped as ANC that features on some of TaoTronics’ other headphones.

The hybrid ANC on the SoundSurge 46 headphones can deal with outside noise as the mic is able to pick up sounds from both inside and outside the ear cup before it hits the ear.

The feedback ANC that features on the SoundStage 85 is limited to blocking out sounds heard inside the ear cup, but it does a good job of dulling down voices and is more than satisfactory for the headphone’s price tag.

The headphones are also fitted with Qualcomm’s cVc 8.0 noise cancellation microphone, so you shouldn’t feel compelled to shout down your phone in noisy environments.

As far as battery life is concerned, the SoundSurge 85 headphones prove to be excellent. Playback can last for an impressive 40 hours with ANC switched off, or 25 with it on, making these headphones perfect for lengthy flights as well as commuting.

I tested out the charging speed myself and, true to TaoTronics’ claim, the battery was fully restored within 45 minutes. The headphones also feature turbo-charging, which offers two hours’ playtime when you only have five minutes  to spare before heading out the door.

TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 sound – Respectable performance for a cheap pair of headphones

The SoundSurge 85 headphones display respectable sound for a pair of budget headphones. The Who’s Baba O’Riley presents a vivid stereo image, with piano and drums feeling spacious and well defined. The song does lack a certain dynamism between the high and low frequencies, making the mid-range feel cloudy and causing the song to lack a certain punch in the chorus.

The SoundSurge 85s have no problem keeping up with the nimble bassline in the Talking Heads’ Burning Down The House. This song sounds best with noise cancellation switched on, minimising the clutter between instruments and presenting a fuller, more balanced sound.

It also succeeds in pulling the bass to the front and centre of the thumping tune. The headphones don’t falter when it comes to higher frequencies, either. The high notes that chime in during Childish Gambino’s 12.38 are full, lingering over the rumbling bass after they’re gone.

While these headphones might not appease a true audiophile, the sound is more than enough to satisfy a casual listener. At less than £60, this lightweight pair offers an audio quality beyond its price tag.

Should you buy the TaoTronics SoundSurge 85?

The TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 headphones offer an excellent listening experience for their price. While the sound quality might not be enough to wrangle a seasoned audiophile, it isn’t bad – and the ANC does a satisfactory job of blocking out traffic and voices.

The standout feature is probably the 40-hour battery, which, along with the lightweight and compact design, makes this pair of cans perfect for throwing into your bag before you hit the road. Even with ANC on, 25 hours is very respectable and the fast-charging feature means you’ll hardly need to foresee any dead batteries to get your headphones charged up in time to go out.

These headphones offer an enjoyable sound at a more affordable price than many of our best headphone picks. While there are pairs with more impressive audio and better ANC performance, the SoundSurge 85s are a good choice for anyone on the hunt for ANC without breaking open the piggy bank.

Trusted Score


Features

Type On Ear (Supra-aural)

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