The TrueCapsule true wireless earbuds from SoundPeats have touch controls, IPX5 water resistance and support Bluetooth 5.0. They have the same stem based design as the Anker Liberty Airs I reviewed recently, and Apple’s AirPods for that matter. Rather than the in-ear design of the SoundPeats TrueFree+’s I also took a look at a few weeks ago, or the Galaxy Buds.
I was quite impressed with the TrueFree+’s so was keen to see how SoundPeat’s latest earbuds fared at a similar budget price of around £35 or $40.
Inside the compact packaging you get the earbuds themselves inside their charging case. Black is the only option. You also get a micro-USB charging cable, and some small and large ear tips to accompany the already fitted medium tips.
There’s also an instruction manual which does cover basic functionality.
The oval charging case with the earbuds weighs 47g, and is a little more compact than the TrueFree+s at 81mm by 38mm by 28mm. The case has the new SoundPeats logo on its lid and is just about slim enough to slide into the pocket of your jeans. It has a smooth matte finish and the build quality is good. There’s a magnetic closure that’s a little fiddly to open. I also found the earbuds a little tricky to remove.
You’ll need to peel off the stickers protecting the charging pins.
I like the design and build quality of the earbuds. Their matte finish and overall look makes them seem more expensive than they are. They weigh 5.3g each and their overall length is 43mm with a 7mm thick stem which has SOUNDPEATS down the outside and a microphone on the bottom of each earbud.
The earbuds charge in the case, where they are stored flat and held securely by magnets. It can be a bit of a puzzle placing them back in the case – I slightly prefer how the Liberty Airs and AirPods are stored vertically. The TrueCapsules hold 4 hours of charge and the 650mAh charging case provides another 20 hours of usage. The earbuds take around one and a half hours to charge from empty.
When you remove the earbuds from the charging case or you drop them back in, the four white leds on the front of the case indicate its remaining battery life – a nice feature that the SoundPeats TrueFree+’s case doesn’t have.
The earbuds’ status LED lights red whilst they are charging and then turns off when fully charged. You have to open the case to see if they are still charging. When you plug the case into charge via its micro-USB port, the status LEDs flash to indicate charging progress. Charging of the case from empty takes around two and a half hours at around 0.35 Amps. There’s still no USB-C port on these budget earbuds and no wireless charging.
The status LEDs on both earbuds flash white quickly whilst they pair to each other. Then the right earbud flashes red and white indicating pairing mode. Connect to SOUNDPEATS TrueCapsule in your device’s Bluetooth settings. Voice prompts confirm power, pairing and connection status.
You’re connecting to the right earbud, so you can use the right earbud on its own if you like. But unlike the SoundPeats TrueFree+ you can’t connect to the left earbud individually. This does at least make pairing less complex.
If you return the earbuds to the case, they’ll automatically pair with last connected device within a few seconds when you take them out the case again. You can only pair to one device at a time. To pair with another device the process a little long complicated. You‘ll need to manually power them off by holding the right touch control for a lengthy 8 seconds – this will also turn off the left earbud. Then press and hold the right earbud touch control for 6 seconds until it enters pairing mode and connect the new device. You’ll need to manually switch on the left earbud by pressing and holding its touch control for just over a second.
If you have any issues with the earbuds pairing with each other, you can factory reset them. Return both earbuds to the case and wait a second for the red charging lights to come on. Remove any pairings records for any previously connected devices and then press and hold both the left and right touch controls of the earbuds still in the case for 10 seconds until both their LEDs flash white twice.
Fit and controls
The already fitted medium ear tips should fit most ears, but it’s easy to change over to the included smaller or larger size for a good fit. I found the most secure fit was achieved by a push and twist backwards on both earbuds so the stem comes forward.
They’re very comfortable in my ears, and I barely notice them, partly thanks to their light weight. They don’t feel like they’re going to fall out and even fared well on a run. I still wouldn’t say I had 100 percent confidence in them staying put, but they were more secure than the Anker Liberty Airs in my ears and similar to the SoundPeats TrueFree+’s. I’d still be more confident using them for sports if they provided some optional fins.
I don’t mind physical buttons, but the touch controls on these earbuds work well and do avoid the slight discomfort of pushing the earbud further into your ear every time you adjust the controls.
Double tapping the right earbud pauses and plays your media or answers an incoming phone call. Tapping and holding the left and right earbuds for just over a second plays the previous and next tracks respectively. Double tapping the left earbud activates your voice assistant.
Unlike the Liberty Airs, the earbuds do provide audible feedback that you’ve successfully activated your command.. A small vibration would be even better, especially when listening volumes are high.
I was able to use the touch controls with gloves with moderate success.
But there’s no volume controls which I’ve not yet found on any budget TWS earbuds. So you’ll have to use your devices controls or you could use your voice assistant for handsfree adjustments.
There’s also no in-ear detection, so you’ll need to pause your audio manually.
Audio quality, battery life & performance
I was very impressed with the sound quality of these budget earphones. If I’d paid twice what they cost I’d still have been pleased with how they sounded. They are quite bassy, but for most of the music I listened to, so long as the volume wasn’t too loud, the bass didn’t drown out the mids and treble, which still came through with decent clarity.
Of course they aren’t perfect, when the music gets very busy or there’s a lot of bass, and you push the volume over 70% the bass does distort a little and everything can sound a little jumbled. But for the price of these earphones they sound really good. There’s no app to control EQ settings, but your smartphone or tablet may let you configure audio settings. If you’re using the Music app on iOS you can adjust EQ settings. I did find turning Bass Reducer did help on some tracks.
Spoken audio like podcasts and YouTube videos have a pleasant full bodied sound.
Even with Bluetooth 5.0 and like most TWS earbuds I’ve tried, there was some audio delay watching YouTube videos on iOS. Netflix managed to keep this to a barely noticeable level.
You can use the TrueCapsules for phone calls and they have binaural audio with sound coming from both the left and right earbuds. Call quality on both ends of the call was ok. It was roughly on par with using my phone microphone and speakers but because of the earbuds passive noise reduction it’s a strange experience holding a phone conversation with both earbuds inserted
Bluetooth range was very similar to the SoundPeats TrueFree+ and the Liberty Airs, all supporting the Bluetooth 5.0 standard. I had no dropouts in the next room around 10 metres away. They also worked fine with an Apple Watch which I used for a few runs.
There’s no active noise reduction, but sound isolation is good, especially with the correct fitting ear tips. There’s almost too much passive noise reduction for running, where you lose a sense of your surroundings. You could also just use one earbud if this bothers you.
I did get almost 4 hours use out of them as advertised, which is a bit on the low side compared to other TWS earbuds, but most of the time you’ll have the case with you so you can give them a quick top up if need be.
They have an IPX5 water resistance rating which at least makes them sweatproof, so they’re a good companion for the gym or running. But I would definitely check the fit in your ears before taking them out for a long run.
It’s difficult to find any major faults with the SoundPeats TrueCapsules, especially at their budget price.
I like their design and build quality is good. The touch controls work well, they are comfortable and they have a pretty secure fit in my ears at least, and most importantly they sound good.
If I was going to be picky, battery life is a little on the low side at only 4 hours, and they can sound a bit jumbled with some tracks, especially at higher volumes.
But if you want some true wireless earbuds with the AirPods, stem based design and good sound quality at a fraction of the price of the bigger brands I would definitely give them a try!
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SoundPeats TrueCapsule TWS earbuds: https://amzn.to/2YvGL4A