Not too long ago, we reviewed the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79 TWS earbuds, and it turns out they scored decently high. We also received the company’s over the ear SoundSurge 85 ANC headphones that come with up to 40 hours of playback, 40mm drivers, Bluetooth 5.0, and more. Please continue to read our full review below.
|Model||TaoTronics SoundSurge 85|
|Bluetooth Profile||A2DP v1.3.1, AVRCP v1.6, HFP v1.7 CVC8.0|
|Microphone||CVC 8.0 Noise-Cancelling Microphone|
|Audio Codec||aptX, SBC, AAC|
|Stand-By Time||300 hours|
|Charging Time||45 minutes|
|Playtime||BT or ANC 40 hours, BT+ANC 20 hours|
What’s in the box
- SoundSurge 85
- 3.5mm audio cable
- USB Type-C cable
- Carrying ouch
Most over/on-ear headphones keep the same aesthetics over the years. It’s one of those “what ain’t broke, don’t fix” kind of situations, and I’m ok with that. The TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 ANC headphones take on the same design that most other headphones take. Big ear cups and a cushioned band that rest on your head.
On the outside of the SoundSurge 85, the TaoTronics logo is printed on the plastic plates. Moving up from there is the headband that rests on your head. With a pleather wrap, it does offer some comfortability when it comes to using them. The ear cups can fold and twist at the axis for easy carrying when you’re out and about.
On the inner portion of the SoundSurge 85, the ear cups have soft memory foam built in that does reduce some pressure for long playtime. Inside the ear cups are pretty decently sized L/R indicating which ear they go on.
The right side of the headset has three buttons, volume up (+), power, and volume down (-). To the right of that is an LED indicator letting you know the headset has been powered on or ready to pair; below all that is a Type-C charging port. As far as the left side goes, all you have is the ANC (active noise cancellation) switch with an LED light that will let you know when it’s on or off. There’s also a 3.5mm port for use with the auxiliary cable included in the box.
Ease of Use
When it comes to using the headset, there are two different options you can choose from—either Bluetooth or by 3.5mm jack. If you do plan on using them via Bluetooth, open the Bluetooth settings on your device. Hold the power button down on the headset for about 3 seconds for it to start pairing mode and look for SoundSurge 85 in the available devices list.
As for using the 3.5mm jack, plug the straight end into the headset, and the 90-degree end into the device you’ll be using. Doing this works with or without turning on the power. You can still use ANC with the headset power off, but it will drain battery life.
Primary functions are easy to understand when it comes to changing the volume or songs. Press once on either the volume up (+) or volume down (-) to adjust the volume. Those same buttons will also skip to the next song or repeat the last song played when long pressed. The power button also has a “recent call” function that will call the last person you dialed when double pressed.
As we all know, we’re here to understand how the headset sounds. I’ve reviewed a lot of over the ear headphones in the past, but I’ve come to enjoy TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 during my review period.
Let me start by saying that ANC turned on is good. Obviously, with ANC, it cancels out just about everything around you, and the SoundSurge 85 did just that. Unfortunately, the drawback to ANC being on causes the sound to be lower but did raise the bass to compensate for that. I did have to end up turning up the sound to hear music or voices better, but that’s also expected and is in line with other ANC headphones I’ve used. For those that were around me while I was using the SoundSurge 85. I couldn’t hear anything that was going on. That includes people talking or if something is playing on the TV.
As for what it’s like with ANC turned off, I can tell you I used this option more since music specifically sounded much better. Mids and highs were balanced while the lows give a bit of a boost that anyone should notice. A small but not annoying drawback is that you can hear outside noises around you.
Between wired and wireless, I didn’t notice any difference in latency thanks to Bluetooth 5.0. While using both listening options, I also didn’t see any sound difference that you might expect from other headphones.
Overall, the sound quality is satisfactory. Just keep in mind, like other headsets, you may have to turn up the volume a bit when you are using ANC.
I don’t understand why on or over-ear headphones have a calling option, but they do. That said, incoming and outgoing calls were acceptable. I could hear people on the other end, and they could listen to me despite some background noise depending on the environment.
TaoTronics claims you can get up to 40 hours of playback while using Bluetooth by itself or the 3.5mm cable with ANC turned on. They also state you can get up to 20 hours with Bluetooth and ANC used at the same time.
While using the headset with either the included cable (with and without ANC) or via only Bluetooth, I never got the chance to hit that 40-hour mark. That’s not saying the battery died well before that time frame. It’s saying trying to get to 40 hours is possible but time-consuming. I don’t doubt anyone that tried wouldn’t hit that mark or a few hours before it.
On the other hand, using Bluetooth and ANC at the same time, I was able to get around 20 hours over the time I used them. To be specific, approximately 17-18 hours. That included me listening to music while working on things or watching some videos while chilling on the couch or bed. Always keep in mind that your battery experience may vary depending on the type of music you’re listening to, your volume, and usage.
Getting to the charging portion, the headset charges via USB Type-C and takes up to 45 minutes to completely charge. However, if you’re in a rush and need a quick charge, you can let it sit for 5 minutes and get up to 2 hours of playback.
If you are interested in getting the TaoTronics SoundSurge 85, you’re able to purchase them from Amazon for US$49.99. Considering what you’re getting out of these headphones, that price is pretty reasonable.
TaoTronics does an excellent job with the build quality, sound quality, and battery life of their SoundSurge 85 headphones. Considering the price is below US$50, it’s hard not to recommend these to anyone who might be looking for a new headset.