The SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro are the higher-end pair of TWS earbuds from the fourth gen series and, just like the Air4, they do compete at the budget-friendly level of the market (the most crowded and ruthless level).
At a quick glance, the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro don’t really differ that much from the Air4, both pair of earbuds relying on the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform and the aptX Lossless codec to offer an excellent sound quality. And they both use the same type of 13mm dynamic driver, so why call the newer pair of earbuds Pro?
Well, the first reason is because the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro is not semi-open and instead, they do enter the ear canal, forming a seal, potentially increasing the sound quality. And, the manufacturer has also added a transparency mode which didn’t make much sense with the semi-open Air4, but are needed on the Air4 Pro. Plus, we also gained in-ear detection, so the track will pause when you take the earbuds off, resuming after the buds are back on.
It’s obviously not a major upgrade or refresh, but in this case, I have a feeling that even the smaller changes will have an impact on how the earbuds will feel and on the sound that’s being produced. You can also use the mobile app to adjust the EQ and yes, it’s actually customizable, not just some presets to choose from, so, without further ado, let’s put the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro to the test and see how well they perform.
Build Quality and Design
Design-wise, the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro are very similar to the Air4, but quite far from identical. First, it’s because of the inner-ear approach which needs to use silicone tips for a proper sealing (and the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro do offer a couple more tips of different sizes in the package).
Then, I noticed that the main microphone grille is smaller which may or may not indicate a downgrade in the call quality, but we will see in the dedicated section if that’s truly the case. The metallic speaker grille still remains and the entire earbud is covered by a matte finish, same as the Air4, but it’s worth mentioning that there are a couple of colors (shades) available. So, while the Air4 that I tested were black, the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro that I currently test are white.
The elongated neck is the same size as on the Air4 and it serves the same purpose. To encase the Bluetooth antenna, the extra mic and the two charging pins, and it also works as a stability point to ensure that the earbuds sit comfortably inside the ear. And yes, the Air4 are more comfortable due to the semi-open design, but the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro are light and feel decently comfortable as well, although you will feel the slight pressure in the inner ear, as expected from any pair of TWS earbuds.
On the outer side of either SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro earbuds, you will be able to see the faux metallic section which has the role of putting into focus the touch-sensitive multi-function button (similar to the Air4). If you double-tap any earbud, it will either Start or Pause a track and, to lower or raise the volume, you need to double tap the left or the right earbud. To move to the next track, hold the right earbud for a second and a half, but, if you want to return to the previous one, you’ll have to do it manually from the audio source since SOUNDPEATS added the function to switch to the Transparency mode / ANC / Normal by holding the left earbud.
Not the best implementation since they could have added a triple tap or a longer hold, but I digress. If you’re receiving a call, you can answer it with a double tap on any earbud (same as hanging up); to reject a call, hold any earbud for a second and a half. To activate the Game Mode, triple tap the left earbud – ah, so it can be done.
Now let’s talk a bit about water resistance. The SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro are IPX4-rated, same as the Air4 and it does mean that there is some protection from occasional splashes, but don’t take a shower while wearing these earbuds. Can you use them while doing some outdoor activities, including sports? There are earbuds that provide some protection against falls, but the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro do not, so I suggest you be careful if you decide to use them while jogging or cycling since they can easily fall off.
SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro Charging Case
The charging case that comes with the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro closely resembles the look of the AirPods and it does have a slightly different shape than the case of the Air4. Its dimensions are 2.36 x 1.77 x 0.86 inches (6.0 x 4.5 x 2.2cm), so it’s a bit more compact than the Air4’s case and it’s covered by a sort of glossy film finish. It does attract fingerprints, but they’re not really visible due to the particular type of finish, so all is well.
I noticed that there are a couple of metallic plates to enhance the look of the charging case and they do nicely complement the white version of the case. The charging port is USB-C and there is a small button next to it to reset the earbuds if you wish to pair them to something else. The lid is magnetic and easily opens, and there is an LED which will turn red when the battery life is below 10% and yellow when it’s between 10 and 49%. Above that level, the LED will show a green LED.
It’s not the most accurate system, but I guess it’s something. Other than that, you can easily carry the case with you since it’s so small (it will enter most pockets), but do be careful not to lose it since it does not have the option to add a lanyard.
Internal Hardware and Connectivity
Just like the Air4, the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro use 13mm dynamic drivers and, while I couldn’t see much on the FCC ID website where the manufacturer has provided some internal photos, they did disclose that the earbuds use the same Qualcomm QCC3071 SoC.
This way, they could take advantage of the Snapdragon aptX lossless audio technology. What adaptive aptX means is that with the help of Qualcomm’s Bluetooth High Speed Link, it’s possible to get data transfer rates between 140kbps and 1Mbps, the latter entering the CD lossless audio quality realm. So, depending on the amount of interference and the supported codecs at the audio source level, the bitrate will be adjusted accordingly. As for Bluetooth, the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro uses the version 5.3 and there is support for AAC if your phone does not support aptX, such as the case of the iPhones.
Yes, the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro supports Multipoint, just like the Air4 and the pairing process is also the same. First, you need to pair the earbuds to the first device, then turn off the Bluetooth at the source device level. Next, you need to pair the Air4 Pro earbuds to the second audio source device and then turn on the Bluetooth on the first device. The SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro will automatically reconnect to the first audio source and you should now be able to switch between devices – be aware that the switch takes about a second, so it’s fairly fast.
Also, there is a priority aspect in case you receive a call – if you’re listening to music, it will pause and it will switch to the device with the active call.
The Sound Quality
I connected the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro to an AGM Glory Pro smartphone since it had support for aptX (the iPhone 12 did not), I had to first check some technical aspects of the dynamic drivers. The first test checks the driver quality and, ideally, you should not be able to hear any buzzing. After listening to a sweeping tone, I could tell that it was very clean, so it passed this test.
Next, I checked if the drivers are perfectly matched and, after listening to the tone, the sound seemed to be positioned in the middle of my head, so it passed this test as well (be aware that it matters how much you push the earbuds in the ear canal and the type of silicone tips that you use). Afterwards, I listened to some binaural songs for the initial sound quality assessment and the imaging is decently done, making it easy to determine the location of the singers and of the instruments. As for the sound stage, it is the same as on the Air4, not very wide, but it feels very intimate.
The voices felt slightly recessed, but we will see if that’s the case with the next songs. Moving forward, I had to listen to the usual list of songs, but it’s worth mentioning that the volume was set to 70% and that I used Amazon Music to get the best sound quality. Also, at the beginning, I left ANC enabled. The first song is low-bass focused and it’s called Faded by Zhu. The SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro do a very good job at producing a meaningful low-bass representation, it goes fairly deep and detailed, so it’s not overly boosted. Turning the ANC off doesn’t really have any impact on the sound quality.
You will be able to better hear what’s going on around you, but no change to the frequency response as far as I could tell.
Moving forward to the mid-bass-focused Morph the cat by Donald Fagen, the jazzy aspect of the song takes over a bit more than the bass itself, so it’s a bit recessed. It’s not bad or anything of the sorts, but it may make some songs sound slightly different (than when using monitor headphones). After that I had to check the song that’s prone to muddiness, Mr Jack by System of a Down. The SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro curbs the chaotic nature of the song and it manages to keep everything clean and tidy. But it also feels that the voices lost some of their roughness and are perhaps a tiny bit recessed.
To hear it more clearly, I checked a more mids-focused song, She Burns from Vance. The song is very detailed and as I heard before with the other songs, the male voice is a tiny bit recessed, although nothing too serious. Breathin’ by Ariana Grande showed that the female voice is way better represented and perhaps a tiny bit forward, although it doesn’t overwhelm the instruments (something that did happen on the Air4 – maybe the latest update changed it?). Lastly, I played Sweet Child o’ Mine by Guns n Roses and it was a pleasant listen. AXL’s voice doesn’t get fatiguing and neither do the instruments, so it is possible to listen to treble-focused songs for hours without needing a break.
How good is the ANC?
The ANC on the Air4 had the titanic work of suppressing some of the droning noise on a semi-open ear design. On the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro, it’s much easier to achieve good ANC and indeed, the technology is much more effective. Any droning noise in the room was completely silenced (UPS, NVR, switch) and it even cut quite a few dB from my typing noise on a mechanical keyboard (which is not silent at all). Will it do a good job while flying? Probably not as good as a Sony WH-1000MX3, but it should still cut the engine noise by almost a half, which is quite the feat at this price point.
The Mobile App
As I have seen on the Air4 and the GoFree2, there is an important mobile app which can be used with the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro. I say important because it actually offers some useful features unlike other brands. The pairing process is very simple considering that the app will detect the earbuds automatically, so besides creating an account, there isn’t much else that you need to do. But do be aware that there is come data collection going on as long as you use the app.
The main page is Home and here, you’ll be able to see the amount of battery left that’s left on each earbud and, if you tap on the first icon at the bottom left corner, it will summon the Customized window. Here, you can adjust the volume, enable the Adaptive EQ (the earbuds will guide you towards achieving a personalized EQ profile) and underneath, we can choose between several EQ presets. The most important feature lies immediately below because here, you can change the frequency response the way you see fit. Further down, we can see the three modes – ANC, Normal and Transparent, while near the bottom, you can enable the Game Mode, the In-ear Detection or Disable all functions of the touch keys.
The Call Quality
I didn’t have many complaints about the call quality on the Air4 – it was alright, nothing special. The SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro seem to have improved a bit in this regard, and the caller did immediately say that the voice sounded less muffled and more natural, which is great. So, the 6-microphone system does work well, but was it able to handle a busy coffee shop? My voice was always in focus, but higher-pitched sounds will get through – overall it’s not bad. Near a highly trafficked street, I did have to raise my voice several times, but it’s a passable experience.
The Battery Life
The SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro earbuds are equipped with a 35mAh battery each, same as the Air4 and the manufacturer has made the same 26-hour claim as it did with the non-Pro version. Of course, this takes into account the charging case as well and I am sure the tests were done with ANC off and the volume no higher than 50%. I kept the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro at 70% volume, ANC on and aptX – this way, I got very close to 4 hours (something like 3 hours and 45 minutes). It’s not a phenomenal performance, but I guess it’s close to the Air4.
I asked in the title if the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro are that much better than the Air4 and the answer is yes, they are better. The sound quality is definitely superior due to the proper sealing, but the trade-off is that you need to insert the earbuds into the ear canal. The ANC works really well, again due to the good sealing, the custom EQ is a mandatory feature and the charging case looks great. There aren’t many aptX lossless TWS earbuds at this price point, so do check the SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro out if you’re in the market for a good, but inexpensive pair of earbuds.
SOUNDPEATS Air4 Pro
- Good sound quality considering the price tag.
- Support for aptX Lossless.
- The app supports custom EQ.
- Compact charging case
- Bluetooth Multipoint.
- Can’t return to a previous track using the MFB.
- The battery life could have been better.