The SoundPEATS Air3 come in the typical AirPods design, offer contemporary technology such as Bluetooth 5.2 and aptX Adaptive Codec with a dynamic bitrate and a gaming mode with reduced latency. This comes at a reasonable price with decent sound as well as good remote functionality, which is, however, far too sensitive.
What’s in the box?
The SoundPEATS Air3 are delivered in a small box containing the headphones in a very compact charging case and a USB-A to USB-C cable as well as instructions. Pairing is completed as soon as the charging case is opened, and the range of the Bluetooth 5.2 connection in the office was a good eight metres through walls; in the open air with a clear view, 20 metres was possible. Single operation is also possible, but multipoint is not supported.
This part can be skipped by iOS users, as this operating system does not support codecs from Qualcomm.
Compared to the usual aptX codec, which supports a bandwidth of 384kbps, aptX Adaptive delivers between 284kbps and 420kbps as needed, which means a more stable and interference-resistant signal and – if things go well – less compression. An even better bandwidth is then delivered by aptX HD with 576 kBit/s.
In addition, aptX-Adaptive promises reduced latency of up to 80 milliseconds compared to 160-250 milliseconds in normal operation. The aptX Low Latency Codec achieves 40 milliseconds and thus halves the runtime. Conclusion: aptX Adaptive offers a good compromise out of all the other codec variations from Qualcomm.
Just like their structural counterparts, the SoundPEATS Air3 are hung in the ear without silicone tips, where they then have a comfortably loose and airy fit. However, this does not prevent ambient noise from mingling with what you’re listening to. For me, the Air3 fit a little too loosely, and so require constant pressing, which can trigger the remote actions with annoying regularity, so be warned if you have particularly large ears. Otherwise, the Air3s offer an unobtrusive, pressure-free feel for all-day wear, and they can even be used in the rain, as they are IPX5 waterproof.
Runtime and charging case
Five hours of runtime are promised, which in reality was more like 4.5 hours in our test. With time in the nicely compact and rounded charging case, the net usage time can be extended to over 17 hours. The case has to be connected to the 22-centimetre cable to charge. There is no wireless option via charging mat.
Sound of the SoundPEATS Air3
Sound-wise, the SoundPEATS Air3 can definitely deliver, considering their price range. The bass is full-bodied, and the mids and trebles hold up well; although the trebles lack clarity, the mids remain fuzzy, and the overall sound becomes muddy the louder the Air3s are turned up. The 14.2 mm drivers feel most at home at low to medium volumes, where they can draw well and sound quite balanced with a noticeable bass foundation. The stage seems wide enough, but deeper sound layers are difficult to explore. For this reason, the Air3s are not really suitable for fine detailed or precise listening. But for everyday podcasts and a bit of background music from a chart playlist, they’ll do just fine.
The sensitive touch surfaces on the backs of these headphones offer full control over the player, which can thus remain in your pocket. Volume, play/stop, skip forward and back, digital assistant and game mode are distributed over one, two, three and long taps. The automatic interruption and resumption of the programme as soon as an in-ear is removed from the ear or replaced also works well. Unfortunately, the input surfaces have far too much sensitivity, triggering some kind of action with almost every touch of these in-ears. Especially when I pressed down – which was often necessary for me – the music either stopped, got louder or got quieter and quieter. Every now and then, even the game mode reported activation.
As already described above, the switchable game mode allows for a significant reduction in latency, which, in addition to more accurate gaming, of course also ensures and really provides better lip-sync to moving images. However, this mode increases the number of dropouts in the audio channel, which did not occur often in standard mode.
Making telephone calls with the Air3
Four microphones are built into the Air3, two of which are aligned towards the mouth at the end of the bars. Overall, the voice was well intelligible in quiet environments, although it seemed a little lacking in treble at the expense of naturalness. A loud environment is quite effectively cut out by the electronics, although this intervention is also noticeable in a very blurred voice, with a few pops creeping in now and then.
The SoundPEAT Air3 are well-made, deliver a solid sound in the low to medium volume range and can also be used effectively for video conferencing. All this is provided you have the right ears for this type of headphones, which do not come with any fitting pieces. The Air3 don’t really come up trumps in any category, yet for the manageable purchase price of 50 euros, they offer a successful package of runtime and sound for the price-conscious everyday user for whom big brands are not so important.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Weight without cable4 g each, incl. case 33 g
- Cable length22 cm
What's in the box
- USB-C charging cable
- Charging case
- Available in black and white
- BT codecs: SBC, aptX, aptX Adaptive
- BT version: 5.2
- BT profiles: HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP