The runners and more fitness-aware among us know all too much how difficult it is to find a great pair of sports earbuds that look great, are comfortable, and sound great. SoundPEATS, however, thinks it has the solution — the SoundPEATS Q12 bluetooth earbuds.
The Q12’s have a lot riding on their success — SoundPEATS has released a number of sportsbuds in the past, and they’ve all been pretty highly reviewed. Do the SoundPEATS Q12’s live up to the hype? We put them to the test to find out.
Upon first opening up these puppies, you’ll find that they actually look pretty nice. They feature a sleek black look, with a slightly curved tip. Pretty much all of the components are black, apart from the silver magnet on the side of the earbuds — a magnet that helps you easily store the headphones, as you can stick together the two earbuds.
In the box, you’ll find quite a range of accessories. The earbuds ship with the medium tips and wings already fit onto them, but you’ll get a large and a small size for both tips and wings too. Notably missing are comply tips — we don’t think there’s really any excuse to not include comply tips, especially for sports earbuds, as they help keep the earbuds in your ear and keep a seal. They’re a small expense for companies too.
While sleek, the earbuds aren’t perfect — the earbud itself is somewhat large, and while the wings help keep them in your ear, the size makes them slightly heavy and they aren’t immune to the falling-out-of-your-ear syndrome. They’re a lot better at staying in than some, to be sure, but again, comply tips would have been more than welcome here.
As is the case with any earbuds, they’re not the most comfortable for long periods of time, but they do tend to feel a little better after a few minutes of wearing them. We’ve noticed a cycle of comfort with in-ears, where they’re quite uncomfortable when you first put them in, then they slowly get a little more comfortable after a few mins, then, they even more slowly get uncomfortable again. With the SoundPEATS Q12, that cycle seemed to last between one and two hours, which is a perfect amount of time for most who go for a run or to the gym after work.
As mentioned before, these headphones do fall out every now and then, which can be a little frustrating, especially for those who run. Nothing disturbs a run more than a set of earbuds that can’t stay in — but the fact is that these fall out less than some, and if you buy a set of comply tips separately they’ll stay in even better than they already do.
One of the biggest problems we have with cheaper headphones in general is that they often sound like a radio — that’s to say, they cut down the high frequencies and low frequencies, leaving only the mids. That’s not the case with the SoundPEATS Q12’s. If anything, these earbuds cut down on the mids.
Let’s start with the bass — there’s actually a good amount of it. You’re not going to get the nice boosted lows that you might want if you’re a big fan of rap or hip-hop, but there’s enough to give you a good kick, especially if you listen to pop or rock music. That kick, however, seems to come largely from the mid-lows and low-mids. In other words, there really aren’t that many super-low frequencies to give your music a lot of extra depth.
When it comes to the mids, the SoundPEATS Q12’s seem to be somewhat lacking. Not overly so — most people will get by fine on their runs or gym sessions, but some more midrange might be nice.
The high end is very present here, and it verges on a little too much sibilance in some cases. As is the case with the bass, there seems to be plenty of low-highs and high-mids, but perhaps not too many ultra-high frequencies that really give cymbals a shine and vocals a breath. Again, they’re not amazing, but they’re pretty darn good, especially for the price.
If you manage to get a good fit with these earbuds, which we did, you’re going to find that they keep out a good amount of outside sound, and keep in the music you want to listen to. Thankfully, you’ll still get some ambient noise, so you should be able to hear at least some traffic noise — which is good for safety if you run in the street.
According to SoundPEATS, the Q12’s offer around 6 hours of playback time, which is alright but not all that great. There are plenty of other earbuds that offer more than that, although perhaps not at the price. 6 hours will be plenty for most who are good at remembering to charge things, but if you often leave charging to the last minute you may find yourself getting a little frustrated.
The headphones also offer a pretty standard Bluetooth range, sitting at around 33 feet, although that will vary widely depending on things like obstacles and battery life.
The SoundPEATS Q12 earbuds have plenty going for them, especially at the price. While they’re not perfect headphones by any means, and they do have their drawbacks, at this price they’re a pretty incredible deal — they’re decently comfortable, they sound good, and they look great.
|Frequency response||Unknown||Active noise cancellation
|Driver size||Unknown||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Total harmonic distortion
|Rated input power
||Unknown||Battery life||6 hours|
|Maximum input power
||Bluetooth 4.1||Cable length||N/A|
||No||Case type||Hard case|
||N/A||In-the-box||Hard case, charging cable, 3 ear tips, 3 hooks, 2 cable shorteners|