It’s safe to say that music and sound design make up for a huge chunk of our gaming experiences, even if it is subliminal. Games like Doom try to put big bassy sounds in just about anything that can move, while others like Elden Ring create a sense of mysticism and awe as you traverse the world. Jump into Bloodborne and you’ll feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, or step into the world of Pokémon and feel that sense of discovering build as the happiest little tune plays on in the background. That level of immersion makes all the difference, and unless you have the music up to 100% you might not even notice how you’re feeling. The right equipment gets you that level of immersion quicker than a cheap pair of Walmart headphones, and SoundPEATS really aims to deliver on that front. We got a hold of both the Mini Pros and Air3 Pros, and we’re going to test if they can deliver true to their “high-quality but affordable” goal.
If you’ve ever owned SoundPEATS, you’ll already know they are a good stepping stone into the world of earbuds. I’ve owned a pair of SoundPEATS’s TrueCapsules for nearly 3 years now, and they lasted me for quite a while before they seemingly stopped working on me. So, going into this review I know the little things to look out for that will make all the difference in the long run. Of course, before we can dive into the details we gotta take a look at what you can expect in your unboxing.
Straight away the first thing I looked for was that USB-C port, and thank god they both come with one. Of course, at this price point don’t expect to get a wall plug, but they charge up nicely even if plugged into a laptop. They run a near identical Qualcomm chip, as well as Bluetooth 5.2, and both come prepared to provide SoundPEAT’s Game Mode (albeit this low-latency mode didn’t appear to have much impact on my experience) and some very impressive Active Noise Cancelling. I’m not sure if there is any difference between both products’ ANC modes, but I gotta say it’s absolutely amazing that at this price point you can get better ANC than most mid-range over-ear headphones. Looking at you Sennheiser and your 450BTs.
Of course, there are the smaller things that set one product apart from the other, namely the playtime. SoundPEATS promise that the Mini Pros will get you 21 hours of playtime in total, while the Air3 Pros up that to 24 hours. The former is also weirdly rated higher at waterproofing than the latter, with the Mini Pros rated IPX5 and the Air3 Pros rated IPX4. Spec-wise, that’s honestly as far as it goes with the Mini Pros being better than the Air3 Pros. A lot of the difference comes from the sound quality, as well as the little nuances that each earbud provides — one of which is returning your buds to their case. The Air3 Pros pause your music as soon as they start receiving power from the case, yet the Mini Pros will keep playing until you realize your pocket is singing the menu music for PUBG Mobile. I have no clue if you’re meant to pause your music first, but given that my first pair of SoundPEATS always paused my music as soon as they went into the case I’m starting to believe I might just have a faulty pair.
However, to shoot the ball to the Mini Pros side for a sec, they definitely feel better in the ear. That also applies to when they start falling out of your ear and you have to rearrange them. The one problem I have with Air3 Pros is that I’m always accidentally touching the back and either pausing my music or raising the volume to obscene levels. On the rebound, however, the case of the Mini Pros is fantastic at keeping your grubby fingerprints — that is unless you needed a constant reminder of what they looked like. The Air3 Pros have a different material covering that is nicer to hold and a lot less slippery. One last thing between the two is the charging aspect. I had a bit of trouble getting the Mini Pros to start charging as soon as they’re in the case, but a little movement here and there and they sat in and charged as they should. Of course, these are very minor things, but again, they’re things that add up.
Sure, the Mini Pros are smaller, sleeker, and look nicer when compared to the Air3 Pros. I mean, that’s Apple’s mentality with the latest gen of Airpods compared to their first. Smaller isn’t always better, and there’s gonna be times when you’ll wish you chose function over form. The Air3 Pros look and feel a little bulkier, but you’ll be glad you went that direction when you notice the crazy difference between the sound quality of the two. And there is absolutely a difference. The Mini Pros had way more high-end than the Air3 Pros, and the bass felt slightly non-existent. Sure, they’re both a bit tinny and they don’t have a huge sound range, but you have to expect that when you use earbuds over headphones, so let’s put that aside for the minute. When I ran SoundPEAT’s EQ test on their app, I noticed that the lower and higher frequencies were identical on the Mini Pros, while the Air3 Pros did a far better job at giving you a deeper range. And that’s where it matters most. Putting aside fingerprints, the one thing that really makes the difference between the two stand out is how much better quality the Air3 Pros are to the Mini Pros. It did a better job at giving me the melodic range that you can come to expect from Pokémon or Minecraft, and they hit me hard when I was blasting out phonk and smashing through some Asphalt 9. The Air3 Pros are absolutely the go-to.
The Mini Pros are good, but the Air3 Pros are great. Even though both earbuds are priced at $79.99, there’s no denying the overall better quality of the latter. They’ll last you a good couple of years, and you won’t feel bad if you accidentally step on them or drop them onto concrete. They’re tough little buggers that have a lot to offer, especially when you’re dropping bots in PUBG and love to hear that deep, punchy note of the AK-47. If you have to choose, choose right and go for the Air3 Pros. You won’t regret it.
SoundPEATS have delivered a fantastic and well priced product under their Mini Pro and Air3 Pro line. The latter definitely outshines the former, and the level of tech that the Air3 Pros bring at the exact same price point is incredible. If you can get passed its design, you've got a great pair of earbuds that will last you for years to come.
PROSAIR 3 PRO
- Deep bass and fuller tones
- Slightly better playtime
- Better at the higher and lower tones
- Better waterproof rating
CONSAIR 3 PRO
- Tinny sound at times
- Very tinny at most times
- Finnicky at times to charge the earbuds
- Case doesn't pause music when earbuds are in