If you need open-fit stuff so you can hear your environment, well, these earbuds aren’t terrible. We have the Soundpeats Air 3 with us today and they’re probably one of the best value cheap open-fit earbuds right now.
Let’s talk design first. The case is incredibly small and lightweight, like, it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve seen such a small case. This will slip into the small coin pocket of a pair of jeans, no problem at all. On the front, you get a charging LED that doubles up as a case battery indicator light, and a pairing button under that.
On the bottom, you get a USB-C charging port and that’s about it for the outside. Inside, you get the earbuds. It actually looks quite sleek. There’s a silver rounded triangle on the stem which doubles up as the touch control area, and it looks quite nice. Touch controls are also responsive, but we’ll talk more about it later. You get two mics on each earbud, indicated by the shiny mic covers on the bottom of the stem and there’s also in-ear detection, which is very nice. The auto play/pause kicks in quite quickly too, slightly under a second.
Like most other open-fit earbuds, the fit isn’t very secure. The left earbud, in particular, feels a little less snug than the right for me, but there’s no way to adjust this, just the nature of the beast.
As for the app, well, these are actually supported by the Soundpeats app! But it’s still kind of useless. Like, look. There’s an option to turn in-ear detection off, but when I turn it off and remove one earbud, it still auto pauses. And if I go to the home page and back to the settings page, it’s automatically turned on again. This was the same problem I met with the Soundpeats H1, and it’s just, well, frustrating to use such a half-baked app. Tapping on the custom equaliser button causes the app to crash as well, which is annoying. There’s an adaptive EQ option which makes you undergo a test where you choose whether you hear beeps or not, although it was a bit odd that when I could hear the beeps, the app actually made me try the same frequency range with a louder volume.
Anyway, the app isn’t particularly useful either, aside from setting the EQ. There’s no touch control customisation, so yeah.
Moving onto touch controls, you get volume control with single tap, left to lower and right to raise. Double tap on either side for play/pause, triple tap on the left for Game mode, which puts the earbuds into low latency mode and triple tap on the right to activate voice assistant. And finally, finally, Soundpeats listens. Long tap and hold on the right earbud to skip tracks forward and long tap and hold on the left to skip tracks backwards. I can’t state how much of a welcome change this is.
There’s Bluetooth 5.2 support on these, which is very nice, although they only support SBC, aptX and aptX Adaptive. That means that if you’re using an iPhone, these default to SBC.
Soundpeats claims five hours in the earbuds, although these get quite loud, so I actually got slightly over five hours listening to music at a lower volume, around 30%. There are another two and a half-ish charges in the case, for a total of 17 hours.
There’s actually an IPX5 rating on these, which is kind of surprising. Of course, don’t bring them swimming or whatever, and Soundpeats even goes as far as to recommend not using them in saunas or steam rooms, or while showering. They should hold up fine to a bit of sweat though.
As for microphone quality, it’s actually surprisingly good. My voice comes across as pretty full-bodied, and background noise gets removed quite effectively when I was outdoors.
Coming to sound quality, it’s surprisingly good for open-fit earbuds. One downside of this design is that you tend to start losing bass, but it’s still present and quite powerful here. The overall sound is still quite engaging.
Mids-wise, it’s quite warm and lush, although you do feel the treble starting to get a bit veiled when it comes to stuff like string instruments. It’s not as forward as I would like, although this is rectified if you listen at a slightly higher volume.
The soundstage is okay, not really as wide as I would like, but instrument imaging isn’t too bad. There’s an okay amount of separation and layering.
For US$50, it’s not too bad. I’m sure these will be on discount quite often though since that’s part of the company’s marketing efforts, and if you can find these at around $30 or so, I think it would be a very decent pick up if you like open-fit earbuds.