I’ve reviewed a few different SoundPEATS products over the past couple of years – from the wireless Q30 and Q29, on to the wired B30 – and all of them have been in-ear/earbud-style headphones. Over the past month or so, I’ve been using SoundPEATS’ A1 Pro (which are not in-ear headphones!!) as my primary set of headphones. The A1 Pro’s are an on-ear style headphone, which is a type of headphone that generally receives mixed reviews for various reasons (fit, comfort and sound quality/leakage to name a few).
- Bluetooth 4.1
- 33ft/10m connection range
- 40mm drivers
- Built-in microphone
- CVC6.0 Noise Cancelling
- 500mAh battery
- 25 hour battery life @ 60% volume
- 200 hour standby battery life
- 3 hour full charge time
- Physical on-headphone buttons
- Volume up
- Volume down
- Multi-function (play/pause, answer/reject, on/off)
- Lightweight – 175g/6oz
- Micro USB charger
- Carry bag included
Looking over the SoundPEATS A1 Pro, you’ll notice that there’s little that stands out. The A1 Pro’s have a super simplistic design, with only a single colour option available – black. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, personally, I like understated and non-garish products however sometimes (and for some people) it is nice to have a little choice. I would’ve expected at least black and white, but that’s not the case.
SoundPEATS have also kept the branding fairly minimalistic for the A1 Pro, with a glossy black logo on each earcup on top of the otherwise matte black, rubberised finish that coats the rest of the headphones. The headphones are constructed solely out of plastic, which in all honesty feels a little flimsy and cheap, however the benefit of this wholly plastic construction is the headphones are pretty lightweight. Coming in at only 175g (6oz), you’ll barely notice these things in your bag or even when they’re on your head. That being said, I wasn’t confident enough in the plastic housing to store these in my bag for fear of breaking them.
Each earcup sits on a slider, allowing for a degree of adjustability for differing head sizes. These sliders, however, also feel fairly cheap and I know for a fact that the mechanism will bend (if not break) under the slightest of pressure when extended. On the right earcup sits the 3 on-device buttons and the Micro USB charging port, which is covered by a rubber flap. These are pretty easy to use whilst the headphones are on your head, so no problems here as far as I’m concerned! I personally love having on-device controls.
When I first saw the figure of “25 hour battery life” on the spec sheet of the A1 Pro’s, I scoffed and didn’t believe it at all. How could something at this price point, that’s this light and this compact have such a decent battery life?
Well, it’s fair to say that I was pleasantly surprised when I was actively hitting 22-24 hours of non-continuous usage at around 70% volume. As with anything battery powered, external conditions are unfortunately a fairly significant factor when it comes to battery life, however, I have been fortunate enough to have had fairly stable in-door conditions in which to test these.
It’s worth noting that if you’re living in a colder environment and are planning to use these outside, I’ve seen a few posts by reviewers that have mentioned they’ve seen their battery life plummet by up to 40% in lower temperatures – likely due to the lightweight plastic design not offering up much thermal protection.
When it comes to recharging though, for some reason the charge times for the A1 Pro are fairly lengthy… 3 hours to be exact. No matter what type of charger I tried to use, I couldn’t get the headphones to charge quicker than this which seems crazy when you consider the fact that the battery inside of the headphones is only 550mAh. If you need them while charging though, SoundPEATS include a 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cable to allow for “infinite” listening.
Setting up/pairing the A1 Pro’s is a simplistic affair. The process follows suit with pretty much every other pair of Bluetooth headphones that exist today, so if you already have a pair of Bluetooth headphones you’ll be more than comfortable with/used to the below process:
- Turn the headphones on
- Open the Bluetooth menu on your phone
- Tap on the “Soundpeats A1 Pro”
- Hit pair
- Start listening
Re-pairing follows very much the same process, although you hold the multi-function button down until the led indicator starts flashing blue/red (pairing mode). Then, follow steps 2 onwards.
I want to note that for some reason, despite having Bluetooth v4.1 onboard, the SoundPEATS A1 Pro seem to struggle to maintain a connection with my phone (iPhone X) over distances larger than 3m, even with direct line-of-sight. I’m not sure why this is exactly… but it does happen from time-to-time. I’ve also seen others mention that they have experienced occassional drop-offs when they have their phone in their pocket only 2-3 feet away.
As I mentioned previously, I’ve used SoundPEATS products before and have generally been impressed by the sound quality offered by their devices. Whether it’s simply because these headphones are on-ear style headphones, or the sound quality just isn’t up to scratch but I wasn’t all that impressed by the sound quality. I’m not saying it was bad by any means, the sound quality is perfectly adequate… however it doesn’t stand out. To put it bluntly – I couldn’t pick these headphones out of a group if I tried.
For me, the listening experience is relatively flat. The mids and highs were unexciting and the bass was fairly under-exaggerated, if existent at all in some tracks. As per usual, I try to listen to a wide variety of genres of music when testing headphones (you can find my Spotify playlist here), from blues to hip-hop, acoustic to charts, spoken word to classical.
In order to get peak performance out of the A1 Pro, I found myself having to crank the volume up to around 70%. This gave the best listening experience for me, both in terms of “isolating” the sound as well as the overall body of the music. At this level, there was no noticeable distortion, but if you go higher than around 85% volume (which is quite loud I will just say!) then you will start to notice the audio quality starts to fall off and become pretty tinny.
I believe the biggest problem with on-ear headphones (and the main reason I’m personally not an avid user of them) is that sound leaks like nobodies business. My wife would complain each and every time I used the headphones that she could hear more of what I was listening to than I could. Not only that, but there’s no isolation from exterior noise, meaning whatever is going on around you is more than likely going to leak into the music you’re listening to.
As I noted above, I’m not the biggest advocate for on-ear headphones. I personally prefer over-ear headphones and in-ears, as I find on-ears leak far too much audio and lack the necessary noise isolation capabilities to allow for a decent listening experience. Due to this sound leakage, you can’t really use these headphones in a confined environment (commuting on a train, aeroplane or in an office environment), despite being incredibly comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
That being said, the SoundPEATS A1 Pro’s are a comfortable, lightweight pair of headphones that come in at an extremely competitive price point when you consider the features. The 25 hour battery life alone is going to sway some people – as it should! Whilst I wouldn’t recommend wearing the headphones for the full 25 hour period, worn for 2 – 3 hours at a time results in your ears getting warm and maybe a little achy once you take the headphones off, although nowhere near as much as I expected. The cushioned pads do a pretty good job of keeping you comfortable!
The build quality is OK for an everyday user that’s going to either have these on their head or around their neck. If you need something you can sling in a bag, or take everywhere with you then I’d personally suggest looking for something else as I have little-to-no confidence in the overall sturdiness. Lightweight usage – fine… anything more and you’ll be back online looking for another pair of headphones in no time.
Sound quality I would also summarise as OK. At £30 ($30) on Amazon (UK/US) and being on-ear headphones, I think you’ll be hard pressed to find something competitive at the price point in the same form-factor.
SoundPEATS website: https://soundpeatsaudio.com/
Product page: https://soundpeatsaudio.com/soundpeats-wireless-headset-over-ear-headset-with-bluetooth-4-1-stereo-sound-built-in-mic-25-hours-working-time-backup-aux-cable-built-in-mic-bluetooth-headset-black.html
Please note: I was sent a SoundPEATS A1 Pro unit in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. This review is 100% honest and the fact that the product was sent to me has not influenced or swayed any of my opinions or findings.
I have worked with many companies previously (both large and small) and the first thing I mention to any company requesting a review is that anything I find will be noted in my review, whether it be positive and negative.