Active noise cancelling earbuds continue to come down in price and be more accessible to consumers. The Life P3 by Soundcore features multi-mode active noise cancelling, wireless charging and up to 35 hours of total playtime – all of these make the Life P3 appear to be a very promising set of active noise cancelling earbuds at their sub-100 £79 price point.
Soundcore Life P3
The Life P3 come in a handful of colours, for this review I’ve been testing the Navy Blue colour but there are also others such as Sky Blue, Coral Red, Oat White and Black if you want something a little more, or less, colourful. The colour choice is carried through to the charging case, which I’ll speak about in a moment, and both feature a mix of glossy and matte plastic and feel well made.
The plastic construction of the earbuds helps keep them lightweight and comfortable to wear and the mixture of both glossy and matte finishes helps break up the design. The outer stem of the earbuds features a matte finish, which is also home to the touch controls behind the Soundcore logo. The stem features a large grille area at the top which gives the earbuds a layered design and visual look which I think looks really nice. The stem itself is rounded which feels good to wear as there are no sharp or jagged edges, they sit nicely within my ears.
The rest of the earbuds are finished in a glossy plastic which does make them easy to clean and wipe down after wearing although this will be more prone to scratches and showing signs of wear – I’ve been using these earbuds for the last few weeks and there are already some scratches and scuffs showing up from my use. Despite this, I do think that, when paired with the matte plastic, the glossy look gives the earbuds a nice premium look which can catch the light quite nicely around the sides of the stem.
The underside of the earbuds features two charging pads that are used to charge the earbuds in their charging case. The bud area is also nicely designed and rounded like the stem and features a rubber ear tip design which helps with passive sound isolation and providing a secure fit – there are extra ear tips included in the box so you can get the best fit, however, I found the ones fitted out of the factory to work just fine. One of the design elements I like about Soundcore earbuds is the swirly pattern around the ear tip grille, this makes it easy to clean the earbuds and it also just looks quite nice.
Overall, the design of these earbuds is quite nice. I like how the earbuds have a layered design and how they’re tidy-looking and don’t stand out too much. I think the glossy plastic could be a bit more durable as it seems to scratch easily, but this shouldn’t be too noticeable on lighter colourways and is inevitable as it is a glossy finish.
The Life P3 earbuds are stored in a clamshell-shaped charging case when not in use and to charge them up. The charging case shares the same colour as the earbuds and also shares some of the matte and glossy plastic design features – although the case mainly has a matte finish which will be durable for storing in your bag or pockets. The case features a glossy Soundcore logo on the top as well as a glossy band around the sides of the case. There’re three LED indicator lights on the front which show the battery level of the case, although I don’t believe these display when the earbuds themselves are charging but you can use the Soundcore app to check the individual battery level of each earbud.
The back of the case features a USB Type-C charging port, but the case also supports wireless charging so you can charge without the need for any cables – so these can be truly true wireless earbuds if you wish. Opening up the case, the hinge feels sturdy and has a bit of a spring into it, so the case won’t accidentally close if you’re trying to get out your earbuds, the earbuds are also securely held in place with magnets, so they won’t accidentally fall out. The charging case contains a repairing button so you can connect the earbuds to new devices.
The packaging for the Life P3 features “Bass Up” and “Thumping Sound” across the packaging, so that will probably give you a rough idea of how these earbuds sound. The earbuds feature 11mm drivers, with a 20Hz to 20KHz frequency range which is a good range for a pair of earbuds.
I tested the earbuds using the Soundcore Signature default sound profile, as this allows me to test how the earbuds will sound by default, but, with these earbuds, you do have the flexibility of being able to adjust the EQ and sound profile to your liking. This allows you to make the earbuds sound right for the music you listen to if they don’t out of the box.
When using the Soundcore Signature profile, the earbuds generally sound good for listening to music and a range of spoken word content such as TV shows, YouTube videos and podcasts – however as the bassy branding may suggest, the bass is quite prominent although not overwhelming and it still sounds like good bass, it isn’t muddy. The mids sound clear, although their level of presence can vary depending on the track, as they can become overwhelmed by the bass at times. Additionally, the treble and high-end can sometimes be crushed and distorted when listening, particularly if a song has quite a lot going on within it – the result can be a treble that sounds a little abrasive and sharp.
Of course, this may be me being a little picky, but these are some of the things that stood out to me, the earbuds don’t sound terrible though – there’s just room for improvement. If you like bass, I can imagine you may find yourselves liking these earbuds quite a lot, the main issue for me was the abrasive treble as I found that quite noticeable within certain tracks.
I imagine the trade-off for these earbuds is that they sound a little worse than earbuds that have no ANC at all, such as the Life Dot 2, but the sacrifice of sound quality gives you the addition of ANC at this price point. Whether that trade-off is worth it is up to you, it really depends on whether you need ANC or whether you can live without it.
The earbuds offer a good level of volume when listening, they’ll get loud if you want them to. I found my comfortable listening volume to be between 40-60% depending on what I was listening to.
Overall, despite my few nit-picks, I do like how these earbuds sound and I think they work nicely for casual listening and exercise. If you want a detailed listening experience, these probably aren’t for you, but for using on the go and out and about I don’t have many complaints.
The Life P3 features a 6-microphone array which is not only used with ANC but also when making or taking phone calls with the earbuds. These are used to help reduce background noise so the person you’re talking to can hear you more clearly.
The microphone quality sounds good, and the microphones managed to pick up my voice clearly and to a good volume. If you want to go handsfree with your phone calls, you’ll have no problems with these earbuds and the person on the other end of the line will be able to hear you clearly.
The Life P3 feature Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity with support for the SBC and AAC audio codecs. Unfortunately, there is no multi-device pairing as the earbuds can only be connected to one device at a time, so you’ll need to manually re-pair if you wish to use these earbuds with multiple devices such as your phone and computer.
The main appealing feature of these earbuds is their active noise-cancelling functionality, with support for multiple ANC modes and settings. The earbuds support multiple settings for ANC, such as indoor, outdoor and transport, so you can pick the setting that best fits your environment – I did find there to be a difference between these modes so I would recommend making use of this feature. The transparency mode also features some settings between a regular mode and a mode that works more at picking up vocals for conversation. The quality of the transparency mode is good and there is only a small amount of white noise when this mode is active.
For the price of the earbuds, their ANC performance is very good and worked well at cutting out a variety of low-end noise around me. Like many ANC earbuds and headphones, high pitch noises do manage to seep past the ANC but overall, they did a good job. I spent most of my time on the indoor setting which worked very well at cutting out fan noise around me. I found this particularly useful during hotter days as I could wear the earbuds to cut out the noise of the fan in my room.
One thing I really like about Soundcore products is the Soundcore app, which lets you make the most of the earbuds as it allows you to quickly move between modes but also get extra functionality such as touch control customisations to change how the buttons function. There are also some other features such as ambient sound modes for sleeping and relaxation and gaming modes to reduce the latency of the earbuds’ wireless connection.
The gaming mode does work at reducing the latency, but it is still wireless so there is still some latency – just less than there was before but this mode can introduce a more unstable and choppy connection. The Soundcore app also allows you to update the firmware of the earbuds when they receive firmware updates, so they can get better with age. The earbuds also feature an IPX5 water resistance rating, so you can use them during exercise and at the gym without having to worry about them getting sweaty.
As far as battery life goes, the Life P3 offer up to 6 hours of listening when ANC is turned on and this can be extended to 7 hours if you turn ANC off. This can vary depending on your listening conditions and volume, but 6 to 7 hours of listening on a single charge is good. The charging case can add around an extra 28 hours of listening time, bringing the total up to 35 hours of listening before needed to charge the charging case.
When it comes to charging, the earbuds will take around 2 hours to charge and the charging case around 3 hours. Unfortunately, there is no fast-charging capability for the case or earbuds, but the charging case does support both wired and wireless charging – which is nice to see.
So, to conclude. The Soundcore Life P3 are a good choice if you’re looking for a pair of active noise cancelling earbuds but don’t want to break the bank. The earbuds feature a nice design and are well made and their integration and customizability with the Soundcore app is a great element of these earbuds. Their sound quality does fall short in comparison to a pair of non-ANC earbuds at a similar price, but I personally don’t mind that compromise to have ANC in an affordable package.
The Soundcore Life P3 active noise cancelling true wireless earbuds are available to purchase on Amazon.
The Summary.Soundcore Life P3
- Great ANC performance.
- Soundcore app integration.
- Wireless charging.
- Treble can sound abrasive.
- No fast charging.
- Gloss plastic easily scratches.