It has been a while since I have been “truly wireless”. As a matter of fact, now I think about it – I’ve never really been “truly wireless”, simply because wireless earbuds/headphones always still had a wire either between each earbud or for charging! And of course, with Apple rolling out their own wireless earbud (the AirPods), the wireless earbud market has seen a flood of alternative brands and options! Enter, the SoundPEATS Q29 earbuds. Coming in at 1/3 of the price of Apple’s AirPods and cheaper than most of their competitors in the sector – is the offering too good to be true?
- “Truly wireless” (99% of the time)
- Bluetooth 4.2 (10m/33ft range)
- Charging dock is also a carry case with built in battery, for up to 3 x full charges!
- Mono & Stereo modes
- Up to 80 hours of standby time
- Built-in microphones
- Lightweight – each earbud only weighs 5.3g and both earbuds + the case weighs around 42g.
- 12 month warranty
What’s in the box?
Everything you need to get up and running is in the box. The first thing you see when opening the box is the quick start guide – which makes sense once you attempt to start pairing the earbuds to your phone.
Talking of the box – the packaging for this product is pretty impressive in itself. Thick, smooth cardboard all around, with a slide out “compartment” containing the product itself. The product and accessories are all tightly packed into the dense foam – no plastic bags here!
Every size ear tip you could need from Extra Small all the way up to Large. A short MicroUSB cable is included for charging the dock with each earbud seated in the dock itself.
Setup and pairing
So, the setup/pairing process for these earbuds isn’t the simplest. It’s actually the first time I’ve ever had to refer to a manual to pair a Bluetooth accessory to my phone. It’s not a complicated process once you’ve looked at the instructions, but it’s not at all obvious straight out of the box. You have to turn each earbud on individually, pairing the first with the second. Then you pair one of the earbuds to your phone as you normally would – et voila! It’s definitely slightly more complicated than the process I’m used to for the TaoTronics earbuds I’ve been using up to this point, but by implementing this process, SoundPEATS are essentially allowing you to use each earbud completely independently of each other. Therefore, you could hand off one earbud to your friend to pair with their phone, whilst you continue using the other!
The pairing process struggle is a bit of trend when you read most of the reviews of this product, both by “professional” reviewers (MightyGadget, Review-Hub) and “non-professional”, consumers/reviewers (Amazon UK, Amazon US).
The sound quality from these little earbuds genuinely surprised me. Being wireless, I was expecting slightly more lacking audio quality overall, simply due to the fact that the earbuds themselves will somehow how to process the audio, the earbuds have to be kept fairly small to keep them lightweight whilst also cramming in a surprising amount of tech etc.
The noise isolation is pretty good, sound is clear and not too tinny and also is not heavy on bass. I listen to loads of different genre’s of music on a daily basis, from Blues to Hip-Hop, from Electronic to Spoken Word and all the way back around to your generic “pop”/charts music.
Volume is fairly lacking when compared to most other earbuds I’ve used and did annoy me a little in certain situations. Whilst the Q29’s get loud enough for most people – if you’re in a loud environment or listening to softer music/spoken word, these earbuds aren’t much use.
Considering the Q29’s also feature built-in microphones for use on phone calls, I’ll also briefly mention sound quality at this point. Obviously, I can’t really tell how my voice sounds through these whilst using them – however my wife did comment a few times as to how much background noise was being picked up as well as wind noise. Bearing in mind that the microphones are a good 4 inches away from your mouth and also not pointing directly at your mouth, this was no real surprise for me. When indoors, there was no problem whatsoever and apparently my voice was as clear as if I were using the standard phone mic.
Battery life & charging
Battery life is always a major concern with regards to bluetooth accessories. A lot of people are still of the belief that Bluetooth is a massive drain on your battery (both accessory + phone), however with the latest versions of Bluetooth battery drain is fairly low!
The SoundPEATS Q29s have a pretty good battery life. I averaged between 4 – 6 hours of continuous usage depending on volume and phone calls during that timeframe.
Pop the earbuds back into the charging dock and leave them for around an hour and you’re looking at another 4 – 6 hours of usage. Back to back, you could achieve (if you so wished) 16 – 24 hours of “continuous” usage.
The docking station is an incredible idea and fairly well implemented! I did find myself having to wiggle each earbud once it was seated to get it to actually start charging, but once it started – there was no stopping it 🙂
On the topic of the docking station/charging case – one thing that really needs looking at is the shape. I found the case constantly rolling back and forth whenever I opened it or placed it on my desk. In my eyes, the bottom of the case should be flat and sit flat upon whatever surface you have it on.
Issues I’ve had
As noted previously: The pairing process is a bit of a pain and required me to actually look at the quick start guide. Once setup, it’s not a problem – but initially it’s a pain!
Also, as noted previously: The volume output by the Q29’s isn’t all that loud. If you’re regularly in loud locations, places where there’s a lot of background noise, listen to softer music/spoken word or just generally like loud music powering through your ear canals – these earbuds may not be for you. The noise isolation is pretty good… but volume for me was a bit lacking.
Something I haven’t yet commented on is in-ear fit. These headphones have a bit of a unique method of putting in your ear. You insert each earbud with the SoundPEATS logo oriented horizontally. Once firmly in your ear, you then spin the earbuds around to point the built-in mic’s towards your mouth. This, in theory, is supposed to be enough to keep the Q29’s in your ears. Personally, I found that I was regularly having to push one of the earbuds back into my ear to ensure the audio kept isolated. I’m no runner, but I can see these headphones lasting 100m tops before requiring readjustment or swapping out. Go mountain biking or something similar… say goodbye to these earbuds!
Another thing I’d like to mention (and it may be something I did incorrectly), is that the audio on phone calls only seemed to come through to the earbud that was actually connected to my device. No matter what I did, phone call audio would only come through to a single ear. Once I hung up the call, my music would then continue in full stereo mode… weird!
In all honesty, I was genuinely impressed by the SoundPEATS Q29’s. Whilst there are still a couple of areas that could do with improvement, overall the offering is solid. When you consider that at £45/$49, the Q2’s are 1/3 of the price of Apple’s AirPods, less than 1/2 of the price of Motorola’s VerveOnes+ and even 1/4 of the price of Samsung’s Gear IconX’s… some of these minor niggles are not so significant.
Whilst I wouldn’t use the Q29’s as workout earbuds, I’ve had no gripe using them as my daily headphones whilst commuting, shopping and even at work. Audio quality is nice – not amazing, but a decent amount better than a lot of the more “budget” oriented earbuds on the market.
The charging case is a wonderful inclusion, providing a simple and quick method of charging, whilst also doubling as a decent carry case. The case could do with a look at it’s design, as it rolls around whenever I open or close it no matter how flat the surface I have it on is.
Put it like this: I can’t wait to see how SoundPEATS are going to improve on these headphones when it comes to refreshing/upgrading them! Currently though, they’re the best value for money in terms of truly wireless earbuds, but they do have a few “growing pains”.
SoundPEATS website: http://www.soundpeatsaudio.com/
DISCOUNT CODE (Amazon): Q29NEWCI
Please note: SoundPEATS sent me a pair of the Q29’s 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.