I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but here at AC, I've turned into the person that gets to test out all of the true wireless earbuds. Amazon is filled with true wireless buds at all sorts of prices, and I've become the go-to person that gets to use them to see if they're worth the light of day.
A lot of these earbuds target budget-conscious shoppers, often with prices that range from $100 at the high-end down to $50. However, if you do enough digging, you can find ones selling for even less.
One such pair of earbuds that does precisely that are the SoundPEATS TrueFree+. These will set you back a little over $30, and at first glance, you'd be right to be skeptical of just how much they can actually bring to the table. However, just like the similarly-priced Aukey EP-T21 I previously reviewed, the SoundPEATS TrueFree+ punch way above the small asking price and deliver an overall great experience that's easy to recommend.
Bottom line: The TrueFree+ from SoundPEATS are a perfect example of why you don't need to spend a lot of money to get good true wireless earbuds. For a fraction of what Apple and Samsung are charging, the TrueFree+ deliver legitimately great sound, a reliable wireless connection, and long-lasting battery life. You can spend more money for a more premium experience, but for most folks, these are perfectly adequate.
- Clear, well-balanced sound
- Very comfortable to wear
- Bluetooth 5.0 is reliable
- Total 35-hour battery life
- Incredible price
- Not water/sweat resistance
- Limited battery information for the charging case
- Micro-USB charging
SoundPEATS TrueFree+ What's awesome
I have a lot of positive things to say about the SoundPEATS TrueFree+, but let's start things off as I usually do and talk about the design/build quality.
Looking at the charging case for the TrueFree+, it checks all of the boxes. It's lightweight, has strong magnets that keep the earbuds securely in place, and the lid is easy to open while also offering a resounding snap when it's closed. I also really like the textured top that SoundPEATS added. It doesn't change anything about how you use the TrueFree+ in your day-to-day, but it's a subtle tweak that allows the case to stand out from the myriad of other true wireless buds in my desk.
The case is a bit larger compared to some of SoundPEATS' competitors, but it's still perfectly easy to throw in your main pocket or a backpack.
As for the actual earbuds, they also get the job done without any significant issues. They're small, come with multiple ear tip sizes so you can customize the fit based on the shape of your ear, and offer better passive noise canceling than the Aukey earbuds mentioned above.
On that note, the SoundPEATS TrueFree+ sound shockingly good.
Audio is crisp, clear, and packs a good amount of bass without going overboard. It's not as punchy as what you'll find with the TOZO T6, but I did find it to be better than the similarly-priced Aukey earbuds. The TrueFree+ can also get really loud, without too much distortion even at high levels. Even after I got a good enough feeling for how the TrueFree+ sound so I could write this review, I kept listening to them because I enjoy the audio that much.
People with better-trained ears might disagree with me about how good the TrueFree+ sound, and that's OK. Audio is such a subjective thing, but as far as my ears are concerned, this is a nicely-balanced listening experience that I'd happily recommend.
$30 earbuds should not sound this good.
Good sound quality doesn't mean much if battery life and Bluetooth performance are weak, and thankfully, these are two areas in which the TrueFree+ also excel.
The rating of 3.5 - 4 hours of continuous playback time with the earbuds isn't the best out there, but it should still be enough to get you through a workout session or short flight. Plus, when you factor in the charging case that allows for total use time of up to 35 hours, you end up being able to use the buds for long stretches of time without needing to plug in.
As for the wireless connection, the TrueFree+ rely on Bluetooth 5.0 to connect to your phone, tablet, or desktop. The pairing process with my Pixel 4 XL was as smooth as I could have asked for, and I'm able to leave my phone at one end of my 1200 sq ft apartment and walk around freely without any playback disruptions. There's also minimal audio delay when using the earbuds to watch videos, even without Qualcomm's aptX codec.
SoundPEATS TrueFree+ Where they can improve
You need to adjust your expectations when reviewing true wireless earbuds that are this cheap, but even taking price into consideration, there are some areas in which I think SoundPEATS can improve next time around.
First of all, and perhaps the most annoying, is the lack of an IP rating. This means the TrueFree+ are not protected against water or sweat in any way, making them a poor choice for workout earbuds. IP ratings can be expensive for companies to get, but considering that the $30 Aukey EP-T21 at least have an IPX4 rating, this is a noticeable omission on SoundPEATS' part.
The lack of water-resistance is the biggest downside of the TrueFree+.
I also have a couple of complaints with the charging case. While there are two LED lights on the front to indicate if the battery is low or to confirm that it's plugged in and charging, there's no way to see the case's current battery status on an ongoing basis. Most charging cases have a few LEDs to show you its charge whenever you put the earbuds back in, but that's not something offered here. It isn't a dealbreaker, but it does make it difficult to gauge the case's battery level before it's critically low.
My other complaint with the case, and you might have seen this one coming, is the fact that it uses Micro-USB to charge instead of USB-C. SoundPEATS is far from the only company using Micro-USB with its earbuds, but as we're now in 2020 and USB-C is becoming more and more commonplace, using a gadget that still relies on the outdated charging port is an unavoidable pain in the butt.
SoundPEATS TrueFree+ Give 'em a shot
As with any gadget, spending more money will typically get you a better, higher-end experience. This goes for phones, smartwatches, laptops, TVs, headphones/earbuds, you name it. Coming at a little over $30, the SoundPEATS TrueFree+ are obviously not the most premium true wireless earbud offering out there. What they are, however, are some of the best earbuds you'll find at this price.
When looking at all of the core building blocks of true wireless earbuds, the TrueFree+ have just about everything you could want. The earbuds are built well, sound great, the battery life is wonderfully long, and wireless performance is reliable. Not even considering the price, that's a recipe for great earbuds.
SoundPEATS does drop the ball a little bit with the unhelpful charging case LED and use of Micro-USB, but the most damning omission in my opinion is the lack of proper water/sweat resistance. I'd happily make these my new workout earbuds if that was present, but as is, I don't want to risk damaging them.
If you can look over the missing IP rating, however, it's hard to make an argument against what SoundPEATS has delivered. These are thoroughly great true wireless earbuds, with the ultra-low price making things that much better.
Don't spend a fortune
The TrueFree+ from SoundPEATS are a perfect example of why you don't need to spend a lot of money to get good true wireless earbuds. For a fraction of what Apple and Samsung are charging, the TrueFree+ deliver legitimately great sound, a reliable wireless connection, and long-lasting battery life. You can spend more money for a more premium experience, but for most folks, these are perfectly adequate.
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