UK Tech Reviews​​
HOME
BACKGROUND
Audio - Computers - Tablets - Headphones

SoundPEATS Q16 Review

Background

I’ve been a bit of a fan for wireless bluetooth headphones for some time now and have had the opportunity to try out quite a few different models over the last year or so - both full-sized and Earbud/IEM types. In getting the chance to try all these different models out I have realised that there’s some truly excellent bargains to be had out there.

To offer some background, I have an embarrassing amount of headphones in my collection - ranging from inexpensive wires such as the Apple Earpods to the lofty heights of Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10’s, 1More 1001 Triple Driver in ear monitors and the rather excellent V-Moda Crossfade Wireless - all of them having their own strengths and weaknesses.

The Soundpeats Q16 Wireless Earbuds are the first I have tried which can be described as truly wireless - each earpiece is completely self contained - loudspeaker, amplification and bluetooth electronics - all in one. The basic operating principle behind these types of headphones is that one master unit pairs to your music device whilst the other slave unit pairs to the master. Whilst obviously this creates a whole new set of problems potentially - Soundpeats seems to have pulled this feat off quite nicely - quite nicely indeed.

Physical Description

Whilst the headphones are fairly large, they have been designed to fit tight in your ears and not move when you are. They certainly offer a nice solid and stable fit. Controls are easy to get at and the buttons themselves are easy to tell apart. One really nice feature is that the buttons operate the same for both headphones when they’re paired correctly so you can use either left or right hands to access the controls. The controls themselves are nicely positive and are a lot easier to find than with other bluetooth headphones I have come across. Another really nice touch is that both sets of headphones switch off with a single keypress. Both have to be powered up independently however. Pairing is done by pairing the right hand earbud to your music player and then, once connected the left hand bud pairs automatically with the right hand one when powered up.

The Q16’s come supplied with a special dual USB charger cable so both can be charged simultaneously, small, medium and large eartips and a rather nice zipped carry case to keep the headphones and all the bits in. All in all, a very nicely thought out package.

Sound Quality

As is the case with pretty much all in-ear monitor type headphones, care needs to be taken to make sure you are using the right tips in order to get the best sound quality out of them. The included buds worked OK but I found them to be a little stiff and didn’t quite ‘feel’ right - a quick dive into my extensive collection of spare buds came up with a more suitable pair. Note that the bore of the buds is somewhere between the Etymotic ER4P and Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10’s so you can pretty much get away with using most spare tips. I went for the larger size as the Q16’s have a fairly shallow insertion depth and I wanted to get the best seal possible.  Once in correctly these little beasties can actually shine quite nicely.

Bass.
With a good seal the bass is fairly heavy but not totally over the top. There’s a nice solidity to the sound and generally instruments have an accurate timbre to them. Details are good and the bass definitely doesn’t override the mids - which is a good thing.

Mids.
Ever so slightly forward. Vocals come across very clearly - especially female vocals but strident guitars can sometimes be a little overwhelming. I did notice that they settled down a bit after a few hours use - this could be a degree of burn in - either from the headphones themselves or from my ears/head/brain.

Highs.
Surprisingly sweet. This is especially welcome when you consider that there’s no mention of APTx in the specifications of these headphones. Assuming that when connected to an Android device they’re not using the same high quality codec that would be found on Apple kit, I really didn’t expect such high quality detail in the treble area.

The amplifiers in the Q16’s offers far more volume than I’m comfortable with - which is nice because I do like to listen to my music loud from time to time. The volume controls are somewhat course - this is sometime which I find to be the case with a lot of bluetooth headphones though and the Q16’s aren’t any different in that respect. The voice feedback for power on, etc could do with being a little quieter - these are great headphones for listening to music in bed at lower volume settings thanks to their nice bass but the voice prompts can be a little jarring when you go to switch these off after a listening session but that’s nitpicking to be honest.

I haven’t really had them long enough to put them through too many charge/discharge cycles yet but their battery life is reasonable given their size - they do recharge fairly quickly though so you shouldn’t have any problems in that respect. I made a voice call to my Father in law (who’s my usual guinea pig when it comes to testing headsets out and he reported that my voice was clear but quiet - after taking for a few minutes though I think he forget I was using a headset - so no problems there.

For the price I think the Q16’s are a great wireless earbud. They definitely offer some advantages over their competitors thanks to their completely wire-free design. Sound quality is surprisingly good - more than acceptable for the price and the way they fit is nicely thought through.

Improvements.

I would be nice to have the following improvements for their next wireless models:-

APTx bluetooth protocol
Narrower ear tubes that allow a deeper more snug fit
Wireless Charging capability
Lightweight metal construction.

If I am going to be honest, even the suggestions above don’t really take away from the fact that these are an excellent set of headphones with a nice non-offensive sound quality and present excellent value for money when compared to their more expensive counterparts from companies such as Bluebird and Jabra.  A comfortable 5-star recommendation.