SoundPEATS Q Buds review: Cheap, but tiring

TWS true wireless earphones - under $50

THREE STARS - The SoundPEATS Q Buds may be practical, but there are better sounding wireless earbuds, even at this low price.

SoundPEATS Q Buds specs:

Below this SoundPEATS Q Buds review you will find comparisons between the SoundPEATS Q Buds vs Mpow Mbit S, Edifier X3, 1more PistonBuds, and QCY T5.

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Design, comfort and battery life

SoundPEATS has been pushing wireless earbuds onto the market in the last month, of which the SoundPEATS Q Wireless is the next step right after the Sonic and excellent TrueAir 2.

Their newest Q Buds has a stem-design but with ear-tips that go into your ears entirely. It's not as compact as the AirPods-like TrueAir 2, which applies to both the case and the earphones themself.

The charging case is big - 6 by 4,5 by 2,8 centimeters, and especially in white, it looks a bit like a soapbox. The box and lid feel sturdy enough, and on the inside, you'll find a single LED-light that indicates the remaining battery by its color. It can fully recharge the earphones twice and charges via USB-C or wirelessly itself.

The SoundPEATS Q Buds offer up to 6,5 hours of battery life on a single charge, a good score for its price. The earbuds look polished yet cheap due to the grey sticker on the touch panels, and because the ear part is quite long, they protrude further out of your ears than most earbuds with stems.

The side that goes into your ears is round and compact - which makes them nice enough to wear for a few hours. Unfortunately, the installed rubber-tips are so loose on the sides; you may switch to a bigger tip than is normally comfortable to get more grip in your ears.

Happily, the hidden LED-light in the stems doesn't blink when you're playing music.

Connectivity and controls

The SoundPEATS Q earbuds control by touching the round grey part of the buds. They have extensive controls:

  • Tap L or R twice to play/ pause music

  • Tap R once to increase the volume

  • Tap L once to decrease volume

  • Hold R to skip to the next song

  • Hold L to return a track

  • Triple-tap L or R to activate the voice assistant on your phone

The track and volume options are confirmed by soft beeps, which fire a tad late, making the controls feel a bit slow. Furthermore, the SoundPEATS Q doesn't always register a single-tap or confuses double-taps for two single-taps.

Connectivity on the Q buds is good. The earphones keep a strong Bluetooth connection up to ten meters away from your device, and you can switch seamlessly between listening to one and two earphones. That means you can listen to one earbud while you're charging the other, take the charged bud out and resume playing in stereo right away.

Calling and watching movies

Watching videos on the SoundPEATS Q Buds goes without major problems. There's good synchronization between audio and video on both iPhone and Android, although videos in the YouTube-app aren't entirely in lipsync. There's also a noticeably delay in sound effects when playing video games.

Taking a phone call with the Q Buds is doable. Indoors, it may sound like you're talking through a tube - a bit echo-y and tinny, but your voice has plenty of volume, and you're perfectly audible. Outside, like the SoundPEATS TrueAir 2, things fare better. Surrounding noises are only reduced neatly, although brighter notes can still come through.

Video calls like Zoom meetings and Microsoft Teams aren't recommended with the SoundPEATS Q Buds. It can occur your voice completely drops its volume all of a sudden, making you next to inaudible.

Sound quality of SoundPeats Q: Tiring vocals

The Q has a strong emphasis on upper-mids and highs in the sound. Voices are placed front and center in the music, especially female voices and higher-pitched male vocals.

Unfortunately, this isn't done in a good way, resulting in lots of vibrant nuances and details such as gasps and breaths in the singing. Instead, the upper-mids and vocals feel like they have an unnatural volume bump. They feel too loud, too bright compared to the rest of the music. Whether it's the warm voice of Charlie Cunningham, or the raw edge of Lorde: once their voices gather a bit of power - which happens practically every refrain - vocals quickly becomes overbearing - a bit thin and shouty. It's tiring.

As there's a strong emphasis on brighter vocals, mids and upper-mids also benefit from this approach. Instruments like guitars, violins, and trumpets sound detailed, including audible string-plucking in the first. Claps and higher drum-kicks also have a sweet impact.

The same cannot be said about the bass. The SoundPEATS Q bass has enough slam and rumble to provide music their energy, but the bass is far from tight or detailed - and doesn't dive deep either. It's somewhat muddy. As the lower-mids are little pronounced, the Q has a cold tonality as well.

Even at such a low price, you can do better than the SoundPEATS Q sound quality.

SoundPEATS Q Buds comparisons

SoundPEATS Q vs QCY T5/ Aukey EP-T21

The QCY T5 or Aukey EP-T21 is another affordable wireless earphone with emphasis on the upper-mid tones, but it keeps vocals and highs much more controlled and gives them a warm undertone rather than Q's colder and thinner approach. The mid-bass of the QCY T5 has more weight, resulting in a more balanced sound - although you will lose half of the battery life compared to the SoundPEATS.

SoundPEATS Q vs Edifier X3

The comparably priced Edifier X3 can get a little bright and harsh when songs boost higher frequencies out of themselves, but the sound often remains more pleasant than the SoundPEATS. The X3 has more weight in the lower mid-tones and especially the bass, which sounds tighter and fuller than on the Q. The Edifier has less controls and micro-USB charging instead of wireless and USB-C charging of the SoundPEATS. Still, with its stemless design and more pocketable charging case, it is a more likeable product than the Q.

SoundPEATS Q vs Mpow Mbit S

Vocals on the SoundPEATS Q are more articulated and prominent than they are on the Mpow, but the Mbit S does provide a more pleasant listen most of the time. Smoother and warmer on lower volume levels, and much more engaging on higher volumes, when the bass strikes strong and the lower-mids make the sound warm and powerful. The Q can go louder, but it can become too harsh and bright when turning it up, while the Mbit S lets in more joy.

SoundPEATS Q vs 1more PistonBuds

The Omthing Airfree or 1more PistonBuds has a more defined and deeper bass and resolves more detail in the lower-mids. It sounds somewhat dark next to the brighter SoundPEATS Q, with recessed male vocals even - but the added fullness, warmth, and higher level of details in the music, make the Airfree a more pleasant listen. The SoundPEATS does have twice the battery life and more controls, however.

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The SoundPEATS Q Buds may be practical, but there are better sounding wireless earbuds, even at this low price.

Three stars - worth considering

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I bought the SoundPEATS Q to test and review myself. My reviews are 100% independent and non-commercial. I test and review all audio products equally honest - read about it here.

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