SoundPeats Q9A review

The SoundPeats Q9A is one among several in-ear wireless “sports” headphones from no-name companies that are quite popular with consumers, mostly because they cost very little online. The Q9A, which vaguely resembles the pricey Beats PowersBeat2 Wireless, lists for $50 but can be had for a mere $25 (£16.99, AU$50) on Amazon. So, is it worth it?

Well, if you value sound quality, probably not. The Q9A sounds like a $8 earbud, not so different from Apple’s original white ‘buds that shipped with the early iPhones (the newer EarPods are a little bit better-sounding). It sounds recessed, distorts even at lower volumes, and has a harsh edge with anything more complicated than easy-listening music (it butchered the Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979 — Vocal Mix,” for example).

On the plus side, the headphone is lightweight and relatively comfortable to wear. I couldn’t get a tight seal from any of the soft-tip earbuds that are included, but like the Beats, this isn’t really designed to have a tight seal, so expect some ambient noise to leak in (and don’t expect huge bass).

Other positives: It managed to hold a mostly solid Bluetooth connection — it’s equipped with Bluetooth 4.1 — and I only experienced a few wireless hiccups. While I can’t tell you how well its less than first class construction will hold up over time, the Q9A is rated as being water-resistant and it comes with not one but two carrying cases (one soft mesh, the other a zippered clamshell-style case). A cheap cord-shortening accessory is also included, so you can adjust the length of the wire linking the left and right earphones.

Battery life is rated at 5 hours, which is OK but not great, and the headphones charge up in 1 to 2 hours via Micro-USB. Call quality using the built-in microphone was OK during the handful of calls I made. I could hear callers fine, but some callers said I sounded a little “soft.”

In the end, the Q9A’S sound quality was a little too rough for me, but hey, if you’re not a critical listener, and just want some tunes piped wirelessly into your ears while you’re working out, these SoundPeats are worth considering. After all, they’re only $25.

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