These days, it can be tough to tell what’s what in the wireless earbud world. There are some great products out there, and not all of them come from marquee manufacturers. On the other hand, there are a lot of earbuds that are downright dreadful. Tinny audio, minimal battery life, and unreliable connections are just some of the issues you might encounter. This is mostly because the marketplace is crowded, and manufacturers are scrambling for an edge. A year ago, for instance, five hours of battery life was pretty good. Now, a pair of earbuds that lasts for five hours is only average. This pace of advancement invariably leads to some failed products going to market.
Fortunately, we’re here to help. We’re about to review two of the best wireless earbuds on today’s market. We’ll talk about where they’re the same, how they’re different, and when one might be better than the other. We’ll start by examining the SoundPEATS T2. These are no-nonsense, compact buds that sit concealed inside your ear. We’ll follow up with the Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC. These buds have a small fin on the side, which gives them an exceedingly secure fit. Which pair is the right choice for you? To find out, we’ll need to take a closer look. Let’s see how these two earbuds stack up!
The SoundPEATS T2 wireless earbuds are designed to sit discreetly inside your ear. They’re compact, matte black shells with flat backs that function as soft controls. You can tap them to skip tracks, adjust the volume, and answer or end phone calls. You can also use them to access your phone’s voice assistant, and perform even more hands-free controls. Because they have a soft touch, you won’t have to worry about causing any discomfort when they’re pressed.
To help you find a better fit, SoundPEATS includes three sets of ear tips in three different sizes. If the original tips are too big or too small, try a different size. A well-fitted set of tips should sit comfortably inside your ears, and shouldn’t be painful to wear. That said, they should also fit securely enough that they don’t wiggle, and to provide a seal against outside noise.
The T2 earbuds are IPX6-rated for water-resistance. This means they can withstand a steady stream of water, such as a shower. If you want to wash off after your workout without removing them, you can. As long as they’re not fully submerged in water, they’re going to be just fine. Besides which, SoundPEATS covers these earbuds with a 12-month warranty. If they fail, you’re protected for that period of time.
The included charging case has an irregular shape, but is more vertical than it is horizontal. The profile is rounded on all corners and edges, so there are no sharp surfaces to poke through your pocket. The buds are easy to insert, and rest in a pair of molded wells when they’re charging. To access the inside, you simply snap open the spring-loaded lid with a thumb or a forefinger. When you’re done, snap it shut in the same fashion. It won’t pop open easily when it’s in your pocket. The outside of the case is matte black, just like the earbud shells, without any decoration. The only exception is a row of four LED lights, which indicate the current battery level.
These earbuds, as well as the second pair we’re reviewing, are both mid-priced options. If you want something cheaper, check out the SoundPEATS TrueFree 2. They’re more affordable, but they have a shorter battery life, and the audio quality isn’t quite as good.
Battery & Connectivity
The T2 buds each have an internal battery that carries enough charge for 10 hours’ use. This is longer than virtually any wireless earbuds on the market. In ANC mode, your performance will drop to eight hours, which is still very good. And at full volume in ANC mode, you can expect around 6 ½ hours. No matter how you cut it, these batteries are phenomenal. Better yet, the charging case provides enough extra juice for 30 hours of additional use. This means anywhere from 26 to 40 hours of battery life, depending on how hard you push your earbuds. When it’s time to charge the case, it takes just a few minutes. You can go from empty to full in about two hours when the USB Type-C cable is plugged in.
The earbuds connect to your smartphone or MP3 player via Bluetooth 5.1. This is an upgraded version of the Bluetooth 5.0 standard, and offers some minor tweaks to the protocol. You’ll get slightly lower latency and a slightly more stable signal. More importantly, you’ll get the significant benefits that already came with Bluetooth 5.0. These include lower latency, higher bandwidths, and a more stable signal than earlier Bluetooth protocols. Moreover, just like Bluetooth 5.0, Bluetooth 5.1 devices are also backwards-compatible with older standards. So if you want to use your five-year-old iPod, you can.
The SoundPEATS T2 earbuds utilize 12mm drivers, about 50 percent larger than your typical earbud drivers. This means they’re capable of producing richer audio at all frequencies, particularly on the low end. Not only that, but they’re also capable of high volumes. If you want to drown out the world with maximum volume, you’ll be more than capable of it.
If you want to drown out even more background noise, you can activate the hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) mode. Hybrid ANC utilizes microphones both inside and outside the earbud. The outer mics pick up incoming noise and create an anti-noise signal to cancel it out. The inner mics detect what you’re actually hearing, and make any necessary corrections. In total, this system can reduce the total volume of background noise by up to 30dB. That makes it one of the more effective ANC systems around.
If you’d rather hear more of the world around you, you can activate transparency mode. In this mode, the ANC mics will actually amplify outside noise instead of boosting it. This is a great feature for brief social interactions where removing your earbuds would be inconvenient.
Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC
The Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC earbuds have a slightly broader profile than the SoundPEATS T2. Instead of a simple set of ear tips, there are broader wings that fit inside your outer ears. These wings are rubbery, but fairly firm, so they provide a bit of extra security to the fit. To make sure you have a comfortable set, Anker includes three sizes of wings. Much like tip sizes, it can pay to try these out before settling on a choice. And speaking of tips, Anker ups the ante in that regard. They provide five different sizes, so virtually anyone can get a well-fitted pair. If you prefer a more traditional fit, Anker has other options. Their Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 has tips-only retention, but the battery life is significantly shorter.
As with the T2 earbuds, the backs of the A2 buds function as soft touch controls. You can adjust the volume, skip tracks, and perform other basic functions. Also like the T2 buds, you can call up your voice assistant to perform more advanced functions. These earbuds carry a water-resistance rating of IPX5. This means they’re splash-resistant, and safe for rain or sweat. We’d avoid taking them in the shower, but anything shy of that should be just fine.
The A2 NC kit includes a charging case, with a matte black finish that matches the earbud shells. It has a flat design, with an oval profile that’s attractive to look at. It’s also flat and easy to slip into your pocket. At the front, you’ll see three LEDs, which show the battery status. Other than that, the case is plain, with the exception of an Anker Soundcore logo on the top.
Battery & Connectivity
The A2 NC earbuds are rated to operate for seven hours on a single charge. This equates to about six hours at full volume, which is still fairly good. In addition, the case can charge the buds four more times, for a total life of 30 to 35 hours. If you forgot to charge your earbuds, no worries; a 10-minute quick charge will buy you 90 minutes of playback. Charging the case is similarly easy. It will fill completely after about two hours of USB Type-C charging.
These earbuds utilize the current Bluetooth 5.0 standard. It’s not quite as low-latency as Bluetooth 5.1, but no-one but hardcore gamers will notice the difference. Moreover, they can be connected in either stereo or mono mode. Use stereo mode for calls, and mono mode for hands-free calling. Mono mode is also useful any time you need to keep an ear open to be aware of your surroundings.
The A2 NC earbuds have 10mm bio-composite drivers, which produce more bass than the T2. On the downside, they don’t offer the same across-the-board richness. But if you want powerful bass, you’ll be pleased. You’ll also get hybrid ANC and transparency mode, with similar performance to the T2. If that’s not enough, you can also download the Soundcore app for free. This will let you choose between 22 sound profiles and adjust the sensitivity of the ANC. You can also customize the touch controls from there.
Call quality is no issue. There are six external microphones, which isolate your voice and block out background noise. Communication is free and easy, provided the other person has a halfway decent mic.
Each of these earbuds has its own strengths and weaknesses. The SoundPEATS T2 have the more powerful batteries, with up to 10 hours of performance on a single charge. They also offer the richest all-around audio experience and a wider soundstage. Finally, the lower latency of Bluetooth 5.1 is ideal for gamers and cinephiles.
Meanwhile, the Anker Soundcore LIfe A2 NC earbuds offer better ergonomics. The ear wings provide a more comfortable, secure fit, and the five sets of ear tips are a great bonus. Not only that, but you get more powerful bass, at the expense of the T2’s richer experience. Whichever way you go, you can’t go wrong.
Meet Derek, “TechGuru,” a 34-year-old technology enthusiast with a deep passion for tech innovations. With extensive experience, he specializes in gaming hardware and software, and has expertise in gadgets, custom PCs, and audio.
Besides writing about tech and reviewing new products, Derek enjoys traveling, hiking, and photography. Committed to keeping up with the latest industry trends, he aims to guide readers in making informed tech decisions.