Android Central Verdict
The Soundpeats Air3 Pro will make your tunes sound good — probably better than you'd expect for their budget price. Plus, you can wear them for a while. You just have to accept a couple of trade-offs.
Very good sound quality
Good ANC performance
App support with EQ
App can get buggy
Finicky touch controls
So-so call quality
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More expensive wireless earbuds usually get the fanfare, but it's the affordable and mid-range pairs that tend to make things interesting. When the price is lower, yet you feel like getting real bang for your buck, it just feels like a win on more than one level.
This is exactly what Soundpeats set out to accomplish with the Air3 Pro, earbuds designed to deliver more than you bargained for. It's a worthy effort, and one that only becomes more valuable when they fit and sound right.
Soundpeats Air3 Pro: Price and availability
Soundpeats launched the Air3 Pro in June 2022, and are largely available through online channels in North America. More on the affordable side, they started out at $70, but you can often find them on sale for $60 or less, depending on the time or retailer. They only come in one black color.
Soundpeats Air3 Pro: What's good
It's the case with all earbuds, but how they fit can make or break a pair, regardless of what they cost. Soundpeats has learned some lessons over the years in getting that part right, and the Air3 Pro are yet another budget pair trying to do more with less. This isn't a brand that would win any awards for flashy or trendy design. It's all about functionality here.
In that sense, the Air3 Pro are pretty functional. With only three sizes of ear tips, you hope one of them will feel like the perfect fit with a tight seal. If not, you could try a pair of larger or smaller tips from another brand, as the anchors here are pretty standard.
For me, the large tips were perfect, providing a good base of passive isolation that would later serve the active noise cancelation (ANC) well. Neither all that big, nor particularly small, these earbuds strike a nice balance in size that should cater to a variety of ear sizes.
The rest comes down to how Soundpeats tuned these earbuds, but you can always change that through the Soundpeats app. From the jump without touching anything, it's obvious the Air3 Pro utilize a standard V-curve EQ that emphasizes the bass and treble, while subduing the mids. It's a crowd-pleasing mix that gets things off to a good start because you can enjoy various music genres with it, regardless of how the artist or producer intended it.
Soundpeats offers excellent codec support, including aptX Adaptive for those times when aptX HD or Low Latency come into play. It's the biggest reason why there is a Game Mode on top of it all.
Playing with the app is well worth it to unlock some of the untapped potential the Air3 Pro have out of the box. There are nine EQ presets to choose from, though I advise you also try your hand at adjusting the sliders yourself to see what you come up with. In fact, you may have to anyway, simply to "jog" the earbuds into sounding right. For whatever reason, the presets vastly reduced volume until I played around with the custom equalizer, which recalibrated everything.
Active noise canceling (ANC) was pretty much what I expected from earbuds in this range. Decent at blocking out low-frequency background noises, with higher-pitched ones squeaking through. The results aren't bad at all, and I came to appreciate how playback was never adversely affected by droning sounds from a train or bus.
Ambient mode is fine for what it is. You will hear your surroundings enough to stay safe in a bustling area, or when you need to hear something and talk to someone. If you prefer, you can also turn both ANC and Ambient off and go to the Normal mode, which is also one way to preserve some battery life.
Call quality is OK, though nothing to write home about. It reminded me a fair bit of how the Soundpeats Mini Pro were when talking to people. Calls were clear enough, especially in quieter confines, only for background noise to cause a lot of back and forth ensuring both sides heard each other. You can use either earbud in mono mode, despite no official support for such a feature. Just take one of the earbuds out of the case, and you're good to go.
Battery life is modest at best with ANC on. Soundpeats rates it at six hours, but five is more likely — less if you start cranking the volume. I loved how small the case is, and was impressed at how it squeezes in an extra three charges inside. No fast charging option here, unfortunately.
Soundpeats Air3 Pro: What's not good
Given their price, some missing pieces are acceptable. I can understand that wireless charging isn't an option, or that you can't get a quick fast charge. There's no multipoint to connect to two devices simultaneously, though I can't really knock a budget pair of earbuds on that when others triple the price don't always do it either.
While I like that Soundpeats finally added support for the Air3 Pro in its app, the whole thing still feels buggy and disjointed. I mentioned the weird volume dip earlier, but other odd kinks happen, like lag when moving the EQ sliders and the fact some functions don't always respond on the first tap. The app needs polish, plain and simple.
The touch controls on the earbuds themselves are a mixed bag. For one, it takes time to figure them out, and that's partly because the actual area you need to tap is fairly small. It was easy to toggle between ANC, Ambient, and Normal, whereas I got inconsistent performance with the other settings. The app doesn't offer any way to customize the controls, so you have to do your best with them.
Soundpeats Air3 Pro: Competition
The Soundpeats Air3 Pro wouldn't be out of place among the best cheap wireless earbuds. It's just that there are really good alternatives in the same price range. If you have smaller ears, the Soundpeats Mini Pro may be a better fit, though you don't get the same app support, such as it is.
The Anker Soundcore Life P3 are easily one of the best in this class, thanks to an excellent mix of sound quality, comfort, ANC, and app support. Also worth a good look are the Creative Outlier Pro for the same reasons, considering the great value they come with.
Soundpeats Air3 Pro: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if...
- You want good sound with ANC support.
- You want lightweight and comfy earbuds.
- You want an equalizer
- You're on a tighter budget.
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You want longer battery life.
- You want something more rugged.
- You want customizable controls.
The Soundpeats Air3 Pro aren't remarkable enough to stand out, especially in a crowded budget category, but they would be money well spent. They sound better than their price indicates, and assuming you find them as comfortable as I did, everything feels like a bonus. Solid ANC, plus a small case that's really easy to take with you, only adds to the value proposition.
If Soundpeats can figure out how to get its app running without pesky bugs, these earbuds only get better because of it. If you like the idea of having earbuds that resemble AirPods, to a degree, only with better sound and ANC, then spend less to get these.
The Soundpeats Air3 Pro come in cheap for your wallet, yet pack some essentials worth every dollar, like aptX Adaptive support, ANC, a dedicated app, and sound quality that may surprise your ears.
Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar. Often times, that will be with a pair of headphones or earbuds playing tunes. When he's not testing something, he's working on the next episode of his podcast, Tednologic.