In this article I’m comparing some budget true wireless earbuds from Soundpeats against some very popular true wireless earbuds from Anker, that cost over twice as much.
You can find links in the sidebar for detailed reviews I’ve done on both these earbuds, but let’s try and find out if the Ankers are worth the extra money.
In the box
The Soundpeats are only available in black and come in fairly basic packaging. In the box you get the earbuds themselves in their charging case, a micro-USB charging cable, spare extra small, small and large ear tips as well as the already fitted medium ear tips.
The Anker earbuds are available in black or white and come is more premium packaging. They too come with their own charging case in black or white, matching the earbuds. And the exact same assortment of accessories.
An instruction manual comes with both earbuds. The Soundpeats manual is a little more wordy and the translation is not perfect, but it’s clear enough.
Overview and build quality
The Soundpeats charging case is quite bulky and a little too thick to slide into your jeans pocket. It weighs 51g with the earbuds and measures 38mm wide by 32mm thick and 77mm long.
The Anker charging case is a little more slender with rounded edges, which do make it easier to slip into your pocket. It weighs a little more at 57g with the earbuds and measures 30mm thick by 48mm tall and 61mm wide.
Both charging cases only offer micro-USB charging ports. I would have preferred to see USB-C, especially on the more expensive Anker. There’s no wireless charging on either of them.
The Soundpeats case has a slightly bigger 800mAh battery which also charges quicker with a 1A input. The Anker case has a 500mAh capacity and only charges at 0.5A. Charging takes a similar amount of time with both cases – between one and two hours. But the Soundpeats case provides between 9 and 10 charges of the earbuds, versus 3 charges with the Anker.
Since the Anker Liberty Air earbuds have up to 5 hours battery life and the Soundpeats only 4 hours, overall you should get around 20 hours of total battery life with the Ankers and between 35 and 40 hours with the Soundpeats.
It’s a tradeoff, but I prefer the Anker’s slimmer case and the longer battery life of the earbuds, even if I have to charge the case itself a little more often.
Both cases have lids that snap shut rather satisfyingly, although the Anker’s has a slightly lighter mechanism that can also be open and close one-handed. Which is a good thing, because its bottom is rounded so it can’t be stood up without turning it upside down on its flat top.
Both cases are well made although the Soundpeats feels a little cheap compared to the Anker, but not as much as the price difference would dictate. I also prefer the matte finish of the Anker case even if does attract fingerprints.
Both cases have LEDs that show their state of charge. The Anker’s three white LEDs indicate the charge remaining when you open and close the case and when you plug it in to charge. The 2 green LEDs on the Soundpeats only show charge remaining when it’s charging so there’s no way of checking the current charge without plugging it in.
Both the Anker and Soundpeats earbuds are held securely in the case magnetically. They are both in-ear earbuds but the Anker earbuds are more like Apple AirPods, with a 4cm stem that extends from your ear. The Soundpeats are slightly more discreet only protruding a bit from the inside of your outer ear, with a design closer to the Samsung Galaxy Buds.
The Anker earbuds are made of a glossy plastic that does feel a little cheap. I slightly prefer the build and finish of the matte Soundpeats although they are a bit slippery taking them out of the case.
Both the Anker and the Soundpeats have a microphone at the bottom of each earbud for phone calls and voice commands.
Replaced in their case they both have LEDs that indicate their charging status. The Soundpeats are red whilst charging, then turn white briefly before turning off when fully charged. The Ankers have a small white LED that’s quite difficult to see outdoors, and turns off when fully charged.
You have to open the Anker case to see the status LEDs. The Soundpeats have a translucent lid so you can just about see the state of charge through the case. They have a single multifunction physical button on each earbud whilst the Ankers have a multifunction touchpad. I’ll come back to the controls shortly
Pairing the Anker Soundcore Liberty Airs is very straightforward. When you take them from the case, they pair with each other and the right status LED flashes white quickly. You can then choose “Soundcore Liberty Air” in your Bluetooth device list.
You can’t pair to each earbud separately. You’re actually pairing to the right earbud which connects to the left earbud. You can leave the left earbud in the case but if you want to listen to just the left earbud, you’ll need to still take the right earbud out of the case.
Pairing to the Soundpeats is a little more complicated since it’s possible to pair them as a stereo pair as with the Ankers, but you can also connect to them separately if you like in mono mode.
If you take them both out of the case, they will pair to each other. The right earbud will flash red and white quickly when it’s ready to pair to your device. You can then tap on Soundpeats “TrueFree+ R” in Bluetooth settings on your device.
Both the Ankers and Soundpeats can only pair to one device at a time in stereo mode. You’ll need to disconnect from that device, say my iPad, to connect across to another device, in this case my Apple Watch.
If you only take the left earbud out of the charging case, it will flash for 8s while it looks for the right earbud, but will then flash red and white ready for pairing when it doesn’t find it. You can pair this to the same device as the right earbud, or a different device.
Overall I appreciate the simplicity of pairing with the Ankers, but I quite like the extra versatility of being able to pair to each earbud separately with the Soundpeats.
Ear fit and comfort
There’s a slight knack to fitting the Soundpeats earbuds in your ears for the best fit. Hold them straight up with the microphone at the bottom and insert into your ear. I find it helps to angle the earbud away from my ear slightly as I do this. Then rotate the earbud backwards so it rests mostly inside the outer ear. The microphone should now be pointing towards your mouth.
The Anker earbuds are easier to fit, since they fit more like traditional in-ear earphones. You just need to insert them and twist them slightly for the best fit.
I found the fit much more secure with the Soundpeats. I was able to run with them, whereas the Ankers fell out when running within minutes of setting off. They were ok for general use though. But everyone’s ears are different, so you might find them perfect for you.
You can change the silicone ear tips with both earbuds for a better fit. The eartips are slightly harder to take off and on with the Soundpeats.
I found the already fitted medium tips worked best for me with both sets of earbuds. Often it’s how you fit them in your ear that is more of a factor than the size of ear tips.
The touch controls on the Anker earbuds work quite well, and pressing the physical button on the Soundpeats can be uncomfortable, pushing the earbuds further into your ear.
But the controls are a little more intuitive on the Soundpeats. Pressing either earbud’s button pauses and plays your music, podcast or video. Or answers an incoming phone call. A double tap on the left and right earbud skips to the previous or next track respectively. And holding either earbud’s button for a second activates the voice assistant.
With the Ankers, you have to remember which side does what. A double tap on the right earbud pauses and plays your media and answers phone calls. A double tap on the left earbud activates your voice assistant. Tapping and holding the left or right earbud skips to the previous or next tracks respectively, similar to the Soundpeats.
Both the Anker Liberty Airs and the Soundpeats Truefree+ sound good. But the Ankers definitely have the edge. They have better clarity and handle the mids very well. They have a little less bass than the Soundpeats, but that could be partly due to the Truefree+’s better fit in my ears.
Both the Ankers and Soundpeats didn’t handle the highs so well, especially at louder volumes where they sound quite harsh. Lowering the volume helps, and this will of course depend on what you’re listening to. Tracks with more vocals and also podcasts sound pretty good on both earphones.
The Soundpeats go a little louder than the Ankers but there’s not much in it.
Both earphones have some audio lag playing games or watching YouTube videos. Although this is negligible in Netflix.
The sound isolation again depends on fit, so was slightly better with the Soundpeats for me. Sound leakage was pretty close between both of them and not enough to be of concern. At maximum volume it was more apparent with the Soundpeats, since they’re a bit louder. There’s no active noise cancellation on either set of earbuds.
Both earbuds have stereo voice calling and I found they sounded very clear.
The microphones also do a good job on both sets of earbuds. I couldn’t tell the difference listening to a call from someone via the Anker or the Soundpeats earbuds, compared to an iPhone X’s microphone.
Although it can be convenient, I don’t particularly like making voice calls with both earbuds in. Because of the sound isolation, you don’t hear your own voice properly which is an odd sensation.
Battery life and Bluetooth range
The quoted battery life of 5 hours for the Liberty Airs and 4 hours for the Soundpeats was very close to what I got, playing music at around 70% volume. The extra hour from the Ankers does give them the edge.
Unfortunately neither of them have fast charging for charging the earbuds, or the case for that matter. But twenty minutes of charge from empty still provides at least an hour of playback if you’re got the case with you. A full charge took just over an hour for both pairs of earbuds.
Both earphones use Bluetooth 5.0 and I found range good, with no dropouts in the next room of the house around 10 metres away. I did have some issues with the Ankers dropping out when connected to my Apple Watch. It was ok outside away from any interference and they were fine with my iPhone and iPad.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Airs do have better sound quality. And that does justify their higher price tag to a degree. Their longer battery life and slimmer charging case, also make them a little more convenient for when you’re out and about. Plus they have an IPX5 rating against the elements.
The touch controls generally work quite well, but I prefer how the Soundpeats buttons are configured. And the sound quality is still surprisingly good with the Soundpeats, especially when you consider the price. Pairing the Soundpeats is a little more complex, but you do get the flexibility of being able to pair to each earbud separately.
Neither earphones have fast charging, wireless charging, or volume controls. And there’s no app to control them.
If you don’t want to spend too much, I think most people would be more than happy with the Soundpeats. For running I actually find them the better option since they’re a more secure fit – in my ears at least. I also feel less self conscious with the Soundpeats, but that’s subjective and I’m sure of lot of you will prefer the look of the Ankers.
For the best sound quality I’d go for the Ankers Soundcore Liberty Airs. I just wish they had a more secure fit and that their build quality was a little better – especially for the price. But do keep an eye on the price especially if you’re not in a rush – I’ll link to both sets of earphones down below. If you can get them for less than their RRP, they are definitely worth considering.
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