Soundcore Life P3: new mid-range in-ear headphones with ANC for $67.99
The Soundcore Life P3 wireless in-ear headphones are the new “mid-range” headphones from ANKER’s audio division. With the predecessor, the Soundcore Life P2, the Chinese manufacturer landed a real “big seller”, which was considerably cheaper with a regular price of 50€. Is the surcharge worth it? You can find out in this review.
- Soundcore Life P3
|Name||Anker Soundcore Life P2||Anker Soundcore Life P3|
|Driver||6 mm dynamic driver (graphene coated)||11 mm dynamic driver|
|Impedance||16 Ω||16 Ω|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5||Bluetooth 5|
|Battery capacity||6 – 7 hours running time||6 hours runtime with ANC; 7 hours without|
|Weight||4 g per handset; 62 g with battery box||4.9 g per handset; 49.8 g with battery box|
|Dimensions||~54 × 60 × 24 mm; 17 x 12 x 6 mm||37.9 x 21, 75 x 23.75 mm; 60.92 x 52.88 x 30.97 mm|
|IP protection class||IPX7||IPX5|
|Bluetooth-Profil||AVRCP1.6, A2DP1.3, HFP1.7||AVRCP1.6, A2DP1.3, HFP1.7|
|Audio codec||SBC, AAC, aptX||SBC, AAC|
Packaging & scope of delivery
The Soundcore Life P3 comes in a comparatively small, square packaging, which is printed accordingly depending on the headphone color.
Inside you’ll find the headphones, a total of five pairs of ear pads, a USB-C charging cable, and an instruction manual.
Design & Workmanship
While you slide open the charging cradle of the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, the charging cradle of the Soundcore Life P3 is hinged, just like the Soundcore Life P2.
The earpieces of the Soundcore Life P3 are based on the design of the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, but are slightly modified. While the “bar” of the Liberty Air 2 Pro tapers slightly towards the bottom, the Soundcore Life P3 are consistently wide.
The shape of the ear cup is relatively identical and thus promises good wearing comfort. New, however, is the lush color selection. Besides the classics black and white, the Soundcore Life P3 are also available in red, light blue and dark blue – I like that!
In terms of materials, you can already feel that Soundcore has saved a bit here in direct comparison to the top model, the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro. The plastic of the charging cradle of the Life P3 is not treated as nicely and will certainly be more susceptible to signs of wear in the long run. The earpieces, on the other hand, make a similar material impression as the top model!
The workmanship is – as expected – very good and I have nothing to complain about here. Anything else would simply be pretty embarrassing for headphones in this price range.
Sound of the Soundcore Life P3
The Soundcore Life P3 is equipped with a “huge” 11 mm dynamic driver. In comparison, the Life P2’s driver only has a diameter of 6 mm. Thus, the Soundcore Life P3 promises to be a real “bass monster” already on paper.
Which it is also in practice. In the bass and sub-bass range, mid-range headphones are in no way inferior to the top model. Thus, in my opinion, it is particularly interesting for lovers of electronic music or fat hip-hop beats.
The Soundcore Life P3’s high and mid-range are also solid in the test. Considering that it performs so strongly in the low frequencies, it is amazing how well the single driver can still reproduce the high frequencies at the same time.
However, if you dare to compare it directly with the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, it is quite clear that the Life P3 covers a smaller frequency spectrum, especially in the midrange, i.e. it offers a smaller stage and cannot quite keep up with the performance of the top model in the treble.
Overall, the Soundcore Life P3 delivers a great sound in the test, which can only keep up with the manufacturer’s top model in the low frequencies, as expected. If you only put the sound in relation to the price, then you get an (almost) equally good sound even with cheaper Earfun Free 2, which are significantly cheaper. However, these headphones have no ANC, no app integration, etc.
Unfortunately without aptX
Here, you can definitely speak of a step backwards compared to the predecessor. While the Soundcore Life P2 supports the aptX codec, which is popular in the Android world, you have to settle for the AAC and SBC codec in the new Soundcore Life P3.
Personally, I think that if you use a music streaming service like Spotify & Co., you should probably hardly notice a difference due to the missing aptX codec. The standard music quality of the streaming services is not particularly impressive anyway. However, if you own high-resolution music or use a high-resolution streaming service like Tidal, the missing aptX codec is more of a nuisance.
Soundcore Life P2 vs. Soundcore Life P3
In order to test whether the omission of the aptX codec can actually be a disadvantage, I dared the sound comparison with Tidal and an aptX capable cell phone.
During my comparisons, it is noticeable that the Soundcore Life P2 has a slightly more defined and emphasized midrange in this usage scenario. For example, violins and guitars sound a bit more brilliant.
The Soundcore Life P3, on the other hand, has the stronger bass and is a bit spongier in the highs and midrange, but the difference is only really audible in a direct comparison.
In the test with Spotify and an iPhone, the differences between the headphones are smaller. I can only detect a difference in the low frequencies, where the Life P3 performs better in the sub-bass range.
In my opinion, those who use Spotify do not have to pay much attention to the codec. For people who own high-resolution music, it can be worthwhile to a certain extent, because yes the sound is slightly better.
However, I also think that someone who spends money on high-resolution music should not then buy a mid-range headphone, but one that can really exploit the potential of the music, such as the Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro.
Huawei Freebuds 4i vs. Soundcore Life P3
With the Freebuds 4i, Huawei offers a very similar overall product at a similar price. Both headphones come with ANC, dynamic drivers and a mobile app. However, Huawei’s app is only available for Android and not in the Play Store.
The headphones could hardly be more different in terms of sound. While the Soundcore Life P3 is a real bass monster as described above, the Huawei Freebuds 4i are much more restrained.
Especially in the sub-bass range, the Huawei Freebuds 4i is not at all capable of reproducing corresponding frequencies, which makes the low-frequency sound flatter.
On the other hand, voices in the midrange sound more realistic with the Freebuds 4i because they are less bassy. In the treble and midrange, the performance is again quite similar, but with the Freebuds 4i less overlaid by the bass, so that the treble seems more present something.
It is not possible to make a general statement about which headphone is the better one. It rather depends on your personal preference. As a lover of bass-heavy music, you should definitely go for the Soundcore Life P3. If your favorite genres are acoustic, pop or live recordings, then I would rather go for the Huawei Freebuds 4i.
Soundcore Liberty Air 2 vs. Soundcore Life P3
The Soundcore Liberty Air 2 have been on the market a bit longer and are the predecessor of the current top model. This one still comes without ANC and costs about the same as the new Life P3.
Sound-wise, the Liberty Air 2 with a dynamic 6 mm driver is a bit more restrained in the sub-bass. It is also tuned a bit differently out of the box than the newer Soundcore models. Thus, its midrange is somewhat more accentuated, which I personally do not like quite as much, but depending on the music genre can sound quite better.
In the high frequencies, the older Liberty Air 2 has a slight edge over the Life P3 in my opinion. Overall, however, I have the feeling that the Soundcore Life P3 with ANC now offers the better overall package.
Redmi Buds 3 Pro vs. Soundcore Life P3
The new Redmi Buds 3 Pro have only just arrived at our house, while this review is already pretty much done. However, since the headphones could be quite exciting and are also cheaper than the Life P3, at least from China, a small sound comparison naturally had to be done.
The sound of the Redmi Buds 3 Pro is overall less emotional than that of the Soundcore Life P3 in the test. This is due to the fact that the Redmi headphones offer a smaller stage, which means they cover an audibly smaller frequency spectrum.
They are worse than the Soundcore Life P3 in every sound range for my sensation. However, it is especially noticeable here in the sub-bass range.
Sound conclusion – good sound, but smaller stage than top models
The Soundcore Life P3 is a solid mid-range headphone that naturally can’t keep up with the sound of the top models. These offer a more detailed sound in the treble and midrange.
Nevertheless, it offers top performance in the low-frequency range, and it is a dream for people who like bass-heavy music. Those whose favorite genres are less bass-heavy music should take a look at the Huawei Freebuds 4i, but the Soundcore app also offers a lot of sound customization options, so you can also adjust the sound of these headphones to different genres.
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) of the Life P3
A total of six microphones are installed in the Soundcore Life P3. With two external and one internal microphone, this is so-called hybrid ANC. With this technology, ambient noise is picked up from both the inside and outside of the earpiece, allowing the ANC to work more precisely.
Soundcore not only implements a noise-cancelling mode, but, as with the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro modes for different scenarios, or modes in which the ANC works to different degrees. In addition, there is also a transparent mode, which works well in the test!
In testing, the ANC of the new Soundcore Life P3 does a solid job. Of course, it cannot quite keep up with the noise cancellation of the top models like the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, AirPods Pro or Freebuds Pro, but an ANC effect is still clearly noticeable.
ANC comparison with Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro
In comparison with Soundcore’s top ANC model, it is noticeable that the Soundcore Life P3 can isolate high-frequency background noise a bit worse. The differences are smaller for low-frequency background noise.
For example, the ANC of the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro is slightly better at reducing the volume of voices. This is useful in the office, for example. On planes or trains, where background noise tends to be lower and more monotonous, the cheaper Life P3 also does a good job.
ANC comparison with Huawei Freebuds 4i
The ANC comparison between Huawei Freebuds 4i and the Soundcore Life P3 should also be interesting, since both headphones cost similarly and offer similar features.
In a direct comparison, the ANC of the Freebuds 4i is a touch, really just a touch more effective than that of the Life P3 in my opinion.
While the performance is barely distinguishable in low frequency background noise, I think I can hear that it performs slightly better in the vocal range.
However, the differences are so small in my opinion that a small difference in the fit (which is individual for everyone) could be the decisive factor and not the built-in technology. Thus, I would rate the ANC of the two headphones as equal overall.
ANC comparison with the Soundpeats T2
The Soundpeats T2 are the cheapest ANC in-ear we would recommend, with a price of around 50€. However, compared to the Soundcore Life P3, the ANC of the Soundpeats T2 is significantly more ineffective.
Background noise is reduced much worse by the T2s, so even monotonous low-frequency noise is more audible and in the voice range it makes virtually no difference whether the ANC is enabled or disabled.
ANC comparison with the Redmi Buds 3 Pro
The Redmi Buds 3 Pro definitely have the potential to replace the Soundpeats T2 as the best ANC headphones up to 50€. However, the detailed test is still missing for this. As mentioned, the new Redmi in-ears have just arrived.
The ANC of the Redmi Buds 3 Pro is definitely better than that of the Soundpeats T2. On the other hand, it is less effective than the ANC of the Soundcore Life P3 and Hauwei Freebuds 4i. This is especially noticeable in high-frequency background noise, but a difference in effectiveness is also noticeable in lower frequencies.
Long story short: The Soundcore Life P3 have better noise suppression than the Redmi Buds 3 Pro in every respect.
ANC conclusion – solid, but not groundbreaking ANC
As expected, the Soundcore Life P3’s active noise cancellation can’t keep up with the top models, but it’s also far from the worst on the market.
Like the entire headphones up to this point, the ANC is also in the midfield. Low and monotone frequencies are filtered out well, while it works less well at higher frequencies. In this area, the “flagship models”, such as the Freebuds Pro, AirPods Pro, Liberty Air 2 Pro and also Xiaomi Mi Air 2, still have the edge.
The Soundcore Life P3, like the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, adapt well to the shape of the ear, or the ear canal – at least in my case.
Thus, the earpieces close the ear well and shield well from the outside world even without ANC turned on. The package also includes ear pads in six different sizes – so there should be something for everyone. I’m glad that Soundcore also offers a wide selection in the mid-range!
In the end, the wearing comfort is a very individual thing and largely depends on the shape of your ear. If you’re not sure whether the headphones fit well or not, you can check the current fit via the Soundcore app, but more on that later!
Making calls with the Life P3 – a very good headset!
With a total of six microphones, the Soundcore Life P3 is able to filter background noise reasonably during the test calls. Thus, constant background noise, such as from a busy street, is hardly audible for the conversation partners.
Only more concise background noise can be perceived by the conversation partners. In the test, my counterparts could understand me well at all times and can easily follow. Thus, the Soundcore Life P3 is also suitable for longer phone calls and offers one of the best headsets in this price range.
App & operation
While the Soundcore Life P2s are still equipped with ordinary push buttons, the Life P3s now also use touch sensors in the mid-range.
They support three different touch gestures:
- single tap
- double tap
- hold down for 2 seconds
These three gestures can be assigned a total of six individual functions (one per handset) in the app. These include:
- Decrease volume
- increase volume
- next track
- previous track
- Start voice assistant
- Ambient sounds
- Switch between two modes
While the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro only supported two gestures shortly after release, the Life P3s have three gestures from the start – it’s nice that Soundcore has made improvements here on both models.
One feature that Soundcore saves on the Life P3s is a wear detection feature. This automatically resumes or pauses playback when the earpieces are inserted or removed. This is reserved for the top model in the Soundcore universe.
App with slimmed-down & other functions
In the Soundcore app (Android/iOS), there are other functions and setting options besides the individualization of the touch sensors. These partly differ from the possibilities with the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro.
With the Soundcore app can be used for the Life P3 headphones:
- Noise cancellation modes can be changed
- Transparent mode
- Turn off
- Turn Gaming Mode on/off (amplifies steps, voices & shots)
- Customize Equalizer (Presets & Customization)
- Good Sleep (eleven white noise sounds for concentration and sleep)
- EarTip Test (check ear cushion fit)
- Install Updates
The Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro also features HearID, a hearing test based on which an individual equalizer for your hearing is created – this is reserved for the top model. There are also additional equalizer presets for the more expensive model. Funnily enough, the more expensive headphones do not have a gaming mode and Good Sleep.
Overall, the Soundcore app has useful features, it’s clean and everything works as it should. Soundcore has one of the best complementary audio apps on the market, in my opinion, and Sony and Bose can take a leaf out of their book!
As always, Soundcore draws on ANKER’s expertise when it comes to charging electronics. Thus, a runtime of 6 to 7 hours, depending on ANC use and volume, is feasible in the test – a very good value! Even top models from established brands do not manage more, but rather tend to have a shorter runtime.
If you are in a hurry, just 10 minutes on the USB-C cable is enough to listen to music for up to 2 hours, thanks to the quick-charge function.
Furthermore, the Soundcore Life P3 now supports wireless charging, a feature that was previously reserved for Soundcore’s top models.
When it comes to battery performance, Soundcore can hardly beat any manufacturer thanks to ANKER’s expertise. However, it is often a trade-off between slim earpiece design and battery size, where Soundcore has found a good compromise in my opinion.
Conclusion – buy the Soundcore Life P3?
With the Soundcore Life P3, I think the manufacturer has found a good differentiation from the cheaper Life P2 and the more expensive Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, which makes the new headphones fit well into the product portfolio.
It offers many top features in a slightly toned down form, which I still think should be enough for most people. The ANC isn’t the best but ok, the sound isn’t the best but for Spotify and other music streaming services a headphone doesn’t HAVE to sound better.
Plus, there’s great integration with the Soundcore app with useful additional features and customization options.
In short: Even if the headphones are not “the best” from Soundcore, it offers a lot of top features at a lower price. Especially if the price should drop a bit, which I expect sooner or later, the Soundcore Life P3 is guaranteed to be a price/performance winner! But even for the regular price, you definitely can’t go wrong in my opinion.
- Great overall package
- Strong sound with sub bass/bass at top level
- App integration with many functions & update option
- Good ANC for the price range
- Battery life & QI charging
- Similar sound (without ANC) also available for a lower price
- significant price increase compared to the predecessor (but more features)
- No aptX