The Soundpeats TrueFree+ earbuds, are relatively inexpensive wireless earbuds costing around £30 or $30 (check the link for current pricing). They have TWS or True Wireless Sound, so there’s no cable connecting them. They come with their own enclosed charging case, use Bluetooth 5.0 for supposed better range and sound quality, and they support stereo phone calls.
They are an update to the already popular TrueFree, without the plus, with an improved charging case. There are literally hundreds of these earbuds on Amazon, but I bought some budget Bluetooth earphones from Soundpeats four years ago – their Qy7s, and they are still going strong, so together with their positive reviews I thought there deserved a closer look.
I wouldn’t describe the packaging as premium but it does its job. Inside the box you get the earbuds themselves in their charging case, a micro-USB charging cable and 4 sets of ear tips: extra small, small, medium – which are fitted and large. There’s also an instruction manual which could be clearer but it does cover most of what you need to know.
The case weighs 51g with the earbuds and the lid has Soundpeats branding across its top. It’s made of fairly lightweight plastic but it all fits well. It’s a compact case, but quite bulky – it won’t easily slip into your pocket, measuring 38mm wide by 32mm thick and 77mm long. There is a micro-USB port for charging around the back and two green LEDs on the front of the case. There’s no wireless charging.
The manual recommends not using fast chargers with the case, although I checked with my USB power monitor and it had no problem switching to trickle charging off an Anker 2.4A wall charger once it reached full capacity. But I’d recommend erring on the side of caution and following their advice to use a 1A charger.
The two green LEDs indicate the state of charge. They both go steady when the case is fully charged. When the second LED flashes, charge is between 60 and 90 percent. When that LED goes off and the other LED flashes, less than 60% charge is remaining and both LEDs will flash when the battery is low.
The case has a capacity of 800mAh which should charge the earbuds 9-10 times. This is an upgrade on theprevious version’s 380mAh charging case. Soundpeats also has their Q32 model that has an even bigger 2600mAh charging case – the ear buds themselves are the same with all three models.
The earbud’s battery can hold 43mAh and should last 4 hours, so that’s 35-40 hours of usage, if you’ve got the charging case with you. A full charge of the case from empty takes around one and half hours. I’ll come to back to battery life shortly.
The lid has a satisfying magnetic closure that opens to reveal the left and right earbuds, which both have the Soundpeats logo on their single multifunction button, together with a status LED. The LED will be red when they are charging, white when they are fully charged and then turns off after a minute or so. The lid of the case is translucent so you can see the charging light on the earbuds through it, which is a nice touch.
The earbuds can operate in both stereo and individually in mono mode, which can make pairing a little confusing. To pair in stereo mode, take both earbuds out of the case at the same time, within 8 seconds of each other. It can be a little fiddly removing them from the case, they’re quite slippery!
The white LED will flash on both earbuds whilst they pair to each other, then the left earbud’s white LED goes out and the right earbuds LED flashes red and white quickly to indicate Bluetooth pairing mode.
Go into Bluetooth settings on your phone and tap on SoundPEATS TrueFree+ R. The LED will turn off and you’re now connected to the earbuds. On Apple devices at least, you can see the battery remaining by swiping left from the home screen.
If you press and hold the multifunction button for 3 seconds on either earbud the red LED will briefly light up and both earbuds will be turned off whilst in stereo mode.
What gets a little confusing is you now need to turn both earbuds on individually to get back to stereo mode. If you turn the left earbud on first, its white LED will flash while is searches for the right earbud. And then after 8s or so, if you don’t turn on the right earbud, it will enter its own Bluetooth pairing mode.
If you return the earbuds to the case, and then take them both out, they’ll pair to each other and to your device as a stereo pair within a few seconds.
If you do want to use them in mono mode, they both function as separate Bluetooth devices. If we put the earbuds back in the case, and just remove the left earbud, just like before when we powered it off and turned it back on, it will flash white for 8 seconds, and then enter pairing mode. Tap on “SoundPEATS TrueFree+ L” in Bluetooth settings to connect.
If you now take the right earbud out, your device will then connect to that instead – it won’t connect them back up as a stereo pair. Turning them both off and on, or placing them in the case and taking them both out, will restore their stereo connection.
In stereo mode you can only connect to one device at a time. If I want to change the connection from my iPad to my iPhone say, I need to go into Bluetooth settings on my iPad, and “Disconnect” from the “SoundPEATS TrueFree+ R”. The right earbud’s LED will now re-enter Bluetooth pairing mode with its LED flashing red and white quickly. I can now tap on “SoundPEATS TrueFree+ R” on my iPhone.
It sounds a little complicated but you get used to it.
I haven’t had any connection issues, but if you get in a mess or if they are not doing what they’re supposed to, you can reset the earbuds. Go into the Bluetooth settings on any devices you’ve paired to, and choose to “Forget” both the L and R earbud.
Turn both earbuds off, and then press and hold the multifunction buttons on both earbuds for 10 seconds until both their LEDs flash red and white and hold until they go out. Then either turn them on again to start from scratch, or put them back in the case and take them out.
If you have any issues with the earbuds not connecting to each other for stereo mode you can do a complete factory reset. Again delete any pairing records, turn both earbuds off and then press and hold both multifunction buttons for 20 seconds in total. Both their LEDs will flash red and white then go off as before. But keep holding the buttons until the lights flash red and white again and then turn off. Place them back in the case and then take them out again.
Fitting and controls
The earbuds are lightweight at just under 5g each. They are held in the case by magnets which keep them nice and secure, but as I alluded to earlier, can make them fiddy to take out.
They are made of the same lightweight plastic as the case, but don’t feel too cheap. An L and R is embossed in each earbud, which is handy when you’re starting off since you do need to use the correct one for each ear.
The medium ear tips are already fitted, and should fit most ears. To replace them with another size, you’ll need to pull them off carefully but with some force.
Both earbuds have a microphone at the bottom for phone calls and voice commands.
Fitting them to your ear correctly is crucial. 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 just inside the outer ear. The microphone should now be pointing towards your mouth and the earbud should sit fairly flush with the outside of your ear, which makes them quite discreet. Inserted correctly, I found them quite secure but I’ll discuss this further shortly.
If you can’t get a comfortable fit you could try some of the included smaller or larger ear tips, but more often than not, it’s how you fit them in your ear that makes the difference.
The earbuds have just the one button. As well as powering on and off as I covered earlier, a single press on either side will play and pause your music, podcast or video. Double pressing the left or right button will play the previous and next track respectively.
A single press on either button with also answer and end incoming phone calls.
Holding either button for a second will activate Siri or the Google Assistant. You have to be careful not to press it too long and end up turning off the earbud.
Most actions also trigger a voice notification.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to adjust volume using the multi-function buttons. So you’ll have to use your phone or tablet or you can use the voice assistant. On my iPhone I can hold the button for a second to activate Siri, wait for the confirmation double beep, which might take a second, and then say “Turn the volume down to 50%”.
Audio quality, battery life & performance
I was expecting overly heavy bass like many budget earphones I’ve tried, which tends to muffle the audio somewhat. But the SoundPEATS cover the mid ranges and trebles quite well too and sound particularly clear with vocals which also makes them good for podcasts.
It does depend on what you’re listening to. With more busy music tracks they can sound quite harsh and muddy, especially if the volume is high. I found turning the volume down helped here, which is generally ok since maximum volume it pretty loud.
They don’t sound as full bodied as some other earphones I’ve tried around a similar price point, but their clarity does make up for it to a degree.
Overall I was pleased with the audio quality, especially when you consider the price.
There is some audio delay watching videos on YouTube, although I’ve found that with many Bluetooth headphones. I think this is something YouTube could fix since audio sync in Netflix is fine.
You can also receive phone calls binaurally through both earbuds. With many other similarly priced earbuds, this just comes through one ear. It’s something you have to get used to but it does sound good. And the microphones do an impressive job of picking up sound – I couldn’t hear any difference listening to a phone call with someone use the earbuds’ microphones.
Because of the noise isolation, you only hear a muffled version of your speech when you’re talking, which is a strange sensation so I can’t say I’d use this feature unless I had to.
There’s no active noise reduction, but sound isolation is good, especially with the correct fitting ear tips. In fact for running and particularly for cycling, I would only wear one so I can hear what’s going on around me.
They worked perfectly paired directly with an Apple Watch – I didn’t get any drop outs on a couple of 45 minute runs.
I found there generally stayed put in my ears, even without any included fins. I did find one came slightly loose when running one time – I had to adjust it slightly but it didn’t fall out. They are also quite comfortable for in-ear earphones – the lack of a cable really helps.
They aren’t advertised at waterproof but they seem well sealed and at least sweat proof. I’ll report back in the comments down below if I have any issues down the line.
I’ve got three to four hours of use out of them as advertised which isn’t great, but as long as you’re happy to carry the charge case with you, you can always top them up. From completely flat it took just over one hour to charge them up again – so a quick 20 minute charge will give you another hour or so of usage.
The earbuds use Bluetooth 5.0 and I found the range very good – I had no dropouts in the next room, almost 10 metres away.
These SoundPEATS earbuds are reasonably well priced, have decent sound, fit pretty well in my ears at least and aren’t too noticeable. The 4 hour battery life is enough for my purposes – if I needed longer like on a train or plane, I’d probably have the charging case with me anyway.
Because you always put them back in the case after you’re done with them, I found battery life was less of an issue since they’re always fully charged when I take them out of the case anyway. And I’d rather these fairly discrete earbuds with slightly less battery life, than larger earbuds with better battery life that stick right out from my ear.
There’s no wireless charging, waterproof rating, or app to control them like some TWS earbuds have, and the case is quite bulky. Pairing can get a little complicated and I would have also liked some volume controls, but I can forgive most of these shortcomings for the price and the convenience of losing the cable. And the audio quality, whilst not as good as similarly priced wired headphones, is good enough for general use. I’ll use them for listening to music whilst running and they’re great for podcasts.
If you’ve got some of these, or something similar let me know in the comments down below.
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Amazon link: SoundPEATS TrueFree+ True Wireless Earbuds