Review: Soundpeats Truengine 2 dual-driver earbuds punch well above their price point
Soundpeats is not a brand I'd encountered before the Truengine 2 set arrived at New Atlas HQ, but it turns out these guys have been making a name for themselves, particularly on Amazon, with a series of affordable Bluetooth earbuds and earphones. Anyone in the tech writing game these days will tell you, we get a ton of review opportunities for earbuds, so they need something different and interesting about them before we agree to run a review.
In this case, what drew our attention was the Truengine 2's "world first" dual driver TrueWireless Plus setup for each ear, which gives you one composite-diaphragm bass driver and one treble driver plated in beryllium, with the company's own crossover built in to separate high and low frequencies and run them through their own optimized speakers. In theory, this should give you bigger, better bass and clearer trebles.
And indeed, these things do sound absolutely terrific to me, with a full and thumpy (though not overpowering) low end, and outstanding detail and crispness up top that doesn't sound harsh. I've been spending a lot of time lately with Jacob Collier's wildly varied Djesse Vol. 2 record, and the Truengines have been a great help to me in picking apart the insanely dense, multi-layered, chord-stacking recordings this young genius is famous for.
Since the Nura headphones turned my understanding of hearing and audio gear upside down, though, I've been reluctant to pass judgement on sound straight up, because everyone's ears are physically different and what sounds great to me might not to you. I can only say these earbuds are just about spot-on for me right out of the box and a great pleasure to listen to.
I can also definitely say that they're some of the absolute best earphones I've used when it comes to the basics. The Truengine 2s are easy to pair with your phone, and they re-pair almost instantly as soon as you take them out of their charging case. A lot of the time, they're paired and ready to go before I've even got them in my ears. And they take next to no time to put in.
Their lightweight, IPX5 sweat and waterproof plastic design, featuring soft rubber "earfins," might not be very exciting to look at, but they pop into your ears very quickly with no fiddling about, and they simply stay put, without needing to feel like they're harshly jammed in there. This makes them more comfortable than most for all-day use.
Touch controls on each ear give you access to most of the basics, including Google Assistant or Siri, but leaving the volume controls on your phone. There's built-in mics in each ear for phone calls, with Qualcomm's cVc noise cancellation helping to keep your voice clear to callers. According to people I called, they sound great inside, but get a little choppy when they start fighting against wind noise outdoors. Par for the course, and a difficult problem to solve.
The Bluetooth 5.0 connection is rock solid, using Qualcomm's TrueWireless Stereo Plus. This simply shouldn't be something worth mentioning in 2019, but as somebody who's used more than his share of wireless earbuds, it's amazing how many name brand units simply can't keep a stable connection when you've got them in your ears and your phone in your pocket. I haven't had so much as a blip of connection glitching with these things, they just work, and they've got a 20-m (65-ft)-plus range that's better than some full-size headphones I've got. Really impressive.
I took them on a couple of flights, where I found they weren't super isolating and I had to run them fairly loud to get over the engine noise. On the other hand, I also took them on a bicycle, and was very pleased to note that their rounded protrusions create very little wind noise, even at 40-50 km/h (25-30 mph) – so I could enjoy music at a medium volume on the bike path.
In terms of complaints, well, the charging case (which extends battery life from seven hours up to 30-odd hours of listening) is a bit chunky for my tastes, and doesn't feel great in a pocket. Soundpeats has gone for a big battery over a comfortable carry. I'm also not a huge fan of how they flash when you're wearing them, which means when I'm doing some serious listening in bed with the lights off, there's some very noticeable flashes that I don't think are necessary.
But at the end of the day, I've quickly adopted these things as my new favorite daily drivers. They sound great to me, they stay in, they're comfy, and they have a rock-solid, reliable feel about them that makes them a lovely experience to use with very few frustrations. I think they're significantly better in just about every way than my previous go-to earbuds, the US$125 xFyro ones, and they're a ton cheaper too, if you get hold of them quickly.
The Soundpeats Truengine 2 earbuds will be available for a super early bird deal of just US$59 when the Kickstarter campaign goes live Tuesday at 9 am EDT. After three days, they'll go up to $69, and their full retail is US$120. Personally, I think they're a strong proposition even at full retail, and the early bird pricing makes them just about a no-brainer. Color me impressed, and I'd go so far as to say some bigger brands could do well to check these things out to see how a set of earbuds ought to work!