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SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe Review – Budget AirPods Killers

Last updated: 1 month ago
9 min read
Editor
rating
3.4
SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe mic holes

SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe are an Apple AirPods alternative on a budget, with superior sound quality and support for an aptX Adaptive. They’re a great choice for classic earphone lovers who like having the best but don’t want to pay a premium.

Classic earbuds have many limitations, but some users still swear by them. Fortunately, they have more options than just Apple AirPods 3.

SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe strongly resemble the AirPods but cost more than half as much.

While you don’t get Apple ecosystem levels of connectivity and fancy Spatial Audio features, there are other compelling things about the Air3 Deluxe that work in their favor.

Most notably, the SoundPEATS app and good sound quality. The latter is much more natural and controlled than the AirPods 3, which is a big compliment on its own.

Dive into the full review below to find out what else are SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe hiding.

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  • Natural sound reproduction (with custom EQ)
  • Lightweight, comfortable fit
  • Companion app with lots of features
  • Poor stability for more active users
  • Lower battery life than advertised (4.5h per charge)
  • Call quality can be bettered by the competition
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CONTENTS (show more)

    Sound

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe have a well-balanced midrange and a reasonably full bass that can’t reach very low due to design limitations. Unfortunately, distortion is present on some tracks.

    Check SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe Sound Comparison

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Classic earphones will always suffer limitations in audio performance. Fortunately, products like SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe are proving that they can still sound great with proper tuning.

    To achieve that, these earbuds use large 14.2mm bio-diaphragm drivers that push a lot of air and can produce a satisfying punch.

    However, the Air3 Deluxe can occasionally distort. It isn’t distracting, but it’s still something you should know about.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe Frequency Response

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe measurement
    The frequency response may look uneven, but due to the earbud’s design, the real-world sound is more balanced.

    Bass: Punchy and controlled but lacking sub-bass

    As with all headphones with open design, these earbuds also lack sub-bass power. Consequently, you don’t hear anything under 40Hz.

    However, SoundPEATS managed to tune the Air3 Deluxe to sound quite punchy, with a noticeable peak at around 80Hz. Similar to how many Bluetooth speakers are tuned.

    As a result, you’ll only miss the oomph in very few songs. The rest of the response is relatively controlled, retaining a good amount of detail.

    Bass guitars don’t sound particularly full, but compared to the Apple AirPods 3, you can actually hear the individual string plucking.

    The bass quantity is still far away from basshead levels. But if you’re already rocking classic earbuds, these will probably sound punchier.

    Midrange: Natural enough

    Based on the frequency graph above, a lot is happening in the midrange. However, in real-life testing, the earbuds actually sound natural.

    The more expensive AirPods 3 sound muffled and recessed in comparison.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe with AirPods 3
    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe with Apple AirPods 3.

    Vocals and instruments are a smidge on the bright side, with female vocals sounding a bit tinny (like when your nose is clogged). I found that most pronounced in the track “Hazey” by zalagasper.

    Acoustic guitars in “Gallows Pole” by Led Zeppelin also lack some of that fine texture found on more expensive models.

    Nonetheless, these will satisfy your audio needs if you’re looking for a natural midrange in classic earbuds.

    Treble: Shimmery and smooth

    High frequencies continue the trend of nicely balanced frequency response. It’s boosted just enough to be shimmery yet remain smooth throughout.

    Songs like “In the Gallery” by Dire Straits sound engaging, with lovely textured cymbals and a decent amount of air.

    That being said, treble lacks many fine details, especially when a track is busy with instrumentation. So, you won’t be discovering new nuances in music unless you’re upgrading from really cheap earphones.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe on a wooden log
    The driver opening, facing directly into your ear canal.

    The soundstage does a great job of making the sound even more engaging. It’s pretty wide for earbuds, with good instrument separation.

    Furthermore, imaging lets you hear where the sounds are coming from with good accuracy.

    Apart from the absence of sub-bass and not the most detailed audio, the SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe perform better than most, if not all, true wireless classic earbuds on the market.

    As mentioned, they can even beat Apple AirPods 3, which cost $180. Looks like Apple can learn a thing or two from SoundPEATS.

    By tweaking the EQ in the SoundPEATS app, you can make the audio even more natural (see the image in the Features section of the review).

    However, by choosing “Custom EQ,” earbuds lose volume. Basically, you’ll have to raise the volume by one to reach the same loudness as with stock EQ.

    It’s worth pointing out that you should get in-ear headphones with ear tips if you’re looking for a fuller sound. Check the best wireless earbuds under $100 guide.

    Comfort & Fit

    Star Rating
    3.0 Good

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe remain comfortable even during prolonged listening thanks to its ergonomic design. On the other hand, stability isn’t optimal.

    The design of SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe draws many parallels to Apple AirPods 3, which are known for their comfortable fit.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe on a stone
    Earbuds have a simple, ergonomic shape that results in a comfortable wearing experience.

    Consequently, the Air3 provide excellent comfort. They mold perfectly to your ears without pressing into your skin, which would be painful.

    Because they’re lightweight, you quickly forget you’re wearing earbuds. You can wear them for a whole day and you won’t feel any discomfort.

    On the other hand, earbuds struggle to provide a stable fit. If you’re used to wearing classic earbuds, you’ll have a familiar wearing experience.

    Long story short, you can’t use these earbuds for anything but studying, walking, or very light, stationary workouts. Anything more intense than that, and they’ll fall out of your ears.

    Compared to AirPods 3, the latter use a different, more sticky plastic that better grabs your skin. Air3 Deluxe use a smoother finish that is more slippery.

    Durability

    Star Rating
    3.0 Good

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe feel reasonably sturdy, with an IPX4-rated construction that protects them from sweat and light rain. But, they’re stored in a rather cheap-feeling charging case.

    The Air3 Deluxe have a rather complex construction, glued together by 4 different parts.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe in the case
    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe might have an IPX4, but they’re still made of relatively cheap plastic.

    While earbuds feel sturdy in hands and should survive accidental drops, more parts mean more potential spots where they can crack open.

    At least light water splashes and sweat drops shouldn’t be an issue. SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe sport an IPX4 rating, which makes them fully sweatproof.

    However, you should keep them away from pouring rain, swimming pools, and even showers.

    Moving to the charging case, it’s made of slightly cheap-feeling glossy plastic. Their lightweight design doesn’t scream confidence, either.

    There’s a multifunction button on the case, which is nice and clicky, but it doesn’t produce a satisfying dampened click like on the AirPods 3’s case.

    The main weak point is the lid. It doesn’t wobble, but it’s quite thin, and the plastic hinge could easily break off. Nevertheless, with proper handling, they should still last you a long time.

    Battery

    Star Rating
    3.0 Good

    Battery test results: SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe have a rather low playtime of 4 hours and 28 minutes on a single charge. On top of that, they lack Qi wireless charging, with no mention of fast charging.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe Battery Comparison

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe battery comparison

    So far, SoundPEATS didn’t disappoint in battery life tests, but that’s about to change. SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe perform worse than what’s advertised.

    In our battery life test at 50% volume, earbuds managed to last:

    • 4 hours and 28 minutes

    That’s an hour less than what is promised on the manufacturer’s official website (SoundPEATS claim 5.5 hours of playtime).

    Because of that, I also question the remaining 16.5 hours of battery in the charging case.

    Regarding the case, it charges via USB-C only. There’s no support for Qi wireless charging.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe USB-C port
    You can only charge the case via the USB-C port at the bottom.

    Even the fast charging feature is missing from the marketing material. I’m sure earbuds support it, but SoundPEATS doesn’t disclose how fast it is.

    To charge either the case or the earbuds from 0-100%, it takes 1.5 hours in both cases.

    Features

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe offer a wide range of features for $60, most notably a companion app with in-depth customization. Furthermore, the mic is decent but not the best for the price.

    Usually, affordable earbuds come with baked features that you can’t customize. Thankfully, SoundPEATS added support for the SoundPEATS app, which lets you play around with settings.

    Like custom EQ, for example. While the default sound is already pretty good, you can further adjust EQ using a 6-band equalizer.

    My custom EQ settings:

    FrequencyBoost/reduction
    70Hz-2dB
    300Hz0dB
    800Hz+3dB
    2.5kHz+5dB
    6kHz0dB
    8.5kHz+2dB

    Or you can choose from other EQ presets in the library.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe EQs
    EQ presets on the left and my custom EQ on the right.

    Furthermore, the app lets you adjust the Adaptive EQ feature. It plays various frequencies at different volumes, and you answer how many beeps you’re hearing.

    However, the end result isn’t impressive, as it primarily boosts the sub-bass and upper-treble. It’s better to stick to default tuning (or our custom one).

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe in app
    Adaptive EQ feature setup on the left, and setting customizer inside the app on the right.

    Moreover, the app lets you enable/disable features like:

    • Adaptive EQ
    • Game Mode
    • Touch key one-click functionality
    • In-ear detection

    The in-ear detection feature that automatically pause the music is something I don’t like in earbuds/headphones, so I’m glad they let you decide if you want it or not.

    One thing that’s, unfortunately, missing from customization is touch controls.

    On the bright side, they’re similar to other true wireless earbuds and are easy to learn. And most importantly, they cover all the commands you need.

    Note that the SoundPEATS app requires you to register. Otherwise, it won’t open. While having an account means the app remembers the same settings throughout different devices, there should be the option to use it without registration.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe controls:

    • One tap on the right earbud – volume UP
    • One tap on the left earbud – volume DOWN
    • Double tap on both earbuds – play/pause/answer or end calls
    • Triple tap on the right side – voice assistant
    • Triple tap on the left side – Game Mode
    • Hold for 1.5s on the right side – next track/reject calls
    • Hold for 1.5s on the left side – repeat/previous track/reject calls
    • Hold for 2s on both earbuds – switch between calls

    Microphone Quality

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe call quality isn’t quite on par with the best, but it does the job.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe Microphone Test

    Even in a quiet environment, 4 built-in mics (2 on each side) struggle to maintain your voice nice and clear.

    There’s some audible noise and distortion in the background while your voice is slightly muffled and thin. Still perfectly understandable, just a bit unnatural.

    Microphones retain the same voice quality even when exposed to loud ambient noise. There’s no additional degradation of audio, which is great.

    Still, if you make many business or video calls per day, you might want to pick classic earbuds with more natural mic performance, like TaoTronics Soundliberty 80.

    On the other hand, SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe will mostly do for occasional phone calls or online classes, where pristine clarity isn’t that important.

    For the best earbuds with a microphone see our guide.

    Noise Isolation

    Star Rating
    2.0 Adequate

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe manage to block a tiny bit of background noise, making them unsuitable for usage in a noisy environment.

    Classic design earbuds have no ear tips, meaning they can’t seal your ear canal perfectly and block ambient noise.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe glowing yellow
    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe don’t use ear tips, so expect only mild passive noise isolation.

    While they make a barrier between your ear canal and the outside world, that’s not enough to prevent the sounds around you from ruining your listening experience.

    Therefore, it’s best to use SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe somewhere quiet, without loud distractions.

    What about sound leakage?

    Despite their design, it isn’t that severe. If you’re in a library, people close to you will hear faint music. Otherwise, you shouldn’t bother anyone.

    Bluetooth

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe have an average range but come packed with other goodies like Bluetooth 5.2, gaming mode, and aptX Adaptive codec. No multipoint, though.

    Earbuds are rocking Bluetooth 5.2, which brings all the latest Bluetooth features (described in detail in our separate article on Bluetooth technologies). However, while connection stability is great, the range isn’t.

    In my indoor testing, the earbud’s audio cut off right after passing the second brick wall. That’s around 40 feet or 12 meters in the distance.

    While that should be enough for an apartment, people living in a house will have to carry around their phones.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe on a rock
    A button on the case is used to initiate Bluetooth pairing mode and to reset the buds.

    Other connectivity features involve mono mode but no multipoint.

    How to pair SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe?

    • The first pairing starts immediately after you open the case’s lid.
    • To pair the earbuds to other devices, you open the lid (with buds inside) and hold the button on the case until the LED light above the button starts blinking. You’ll also hear a “pairing” prompt coming from earbuds.
    • Find and connect the Air3 Deluxe on your Bluetooth device.

    What Bluetooth Codecs Do They Use?

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe wireless earbuds offer the best Bluetooth codecs for both mobile operating systems: AAC for iOS and aptX Adaptive for Android.

    The latter is great as it can adjust the performance based on connection strength. However, your phone has to support the codec, too. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with regular aptX, which isn’t bad either.

    Is There Audio Lag When Watching Videos?

    Even without special modes, SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe show no video lag. Audio is perfectly in sync in both Facebook and YouTube apps.

    In case you play mobile games, enabling Game Mode by triple tapping the left earbud (or switching a toggle inside the app) reduces the latency to 60 milliseconds. I had difficulties seeing any lag, even in fast-paced shooters.

    Should You Get SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe?

    Star Rating
    4.5 Almost Perfect

    Purchasing SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe is a great choice for anyone who’s already familiar with classic or semi in-ear design and wants the best sound out of it.

    Furthermore, they even offer a companion app for Android and iOS with more features than premium Apple AirPods 3 (unless you find Apple ecosystem perks super useful) at a price that’s almost 3 times lower.

    If you’re specifically looking for classic Bluetooth earbuds, you can’t go wrong with SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe back of the case
    SoundPEATS logo on the back of the charging case.

    Just be aware that these earbuds are not for serious sportspeople, nor an excellent choice for commuting. They are primarily for casual listening, someplace quiet.

    Also, there are better options out there if you’re looking for good call quality, like TaoTronics Soundliberty 80.

    How do SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe compare to the competition?

    • They sound more natural than the competition (and even more expensive models of the same design).
    • You can pair them with a companion app that provides some customization.
    • They’re equally comfortable and stable, with only some earbuds of the same design performing slightly better in stability.
    • They have a rather disappointing battery life of around 4.5 hours per charge, slightly below the competition’s results.
    • Earbuds have an IPX4 rating, much lower than the fully waterproof competition from TaoTronics.

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe Alternatives

    TaoTronics Soundliberty 80 vs. SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe

    TaoTronics Soundliberty 80 on a moss

    While they sound full, their sound isn’t as natural as on the Air3 Deluxe.

    Earbuds have a much longer stem, pushing the mic closer to your mouth and ensuring superior call quality. They’re also waterproof with an IPX8 rating.

    On the other hand, they lack customization and an app and have a worse battery life of below 3 hours on a single charge.

    TaoTronics Soundliberty 80 review

    JBL Tune 225TWS vs. SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe

    JBL Tune 225TWS earbuds

    JBL true wireless buds have a brighter sound with almost no bass. There’s also no app support for custom EQ.

    While they’re comfy, they’re somehow even less stable than the Air3 Deluxe.

    And to make things worse, they lack an IP rating, have a slightly worse battery of 4 hours and 18 minutes, and use physical controls that are uncomfortable to use.

    JBL Tune 225TWS review

    Apple AirPods 3 vs. SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe

    Apple AirPods 3 buds in case

    Slightly bassier sound signature with a more recessed midrange and lesser treble presence.

    They also lack a companion app, as any customization is reserved only for iOS users.

    On the other hand, they have a better battery of over 6 hours per charge, a quality build, and better integration with Apple devices.

    Apple AirPods 3 review

    What’s in the Box?

    SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe accessories
    • SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe true wireless earbuds
    • Charging case
    • USB-C cable for charging
    • User guide

    Specifications

    Type: True wireless
    Connection: Bluetooth 5.2
    Back design: Closed-back
    Drivers: 14.2mm dynamic
    Frequency range: n/a
    Impedance: n/a
    Weight: 0.14 ounces (4.06 grams) per earbud, 1.28 oz (36.3g) with case
    Mic & Controls: Yes
    Water resistance: IPX4
    Battery life: 5.5h + 16.5h in case
    Charging time: 1.5h – USB-C
    Active noise cancelling: No
    Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive
    Wireless range: 40 feet (12.1 meters)
    Microphone: 4 cVc 8.0 microphones (2 on each earbud)

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