SoundPEATS Truengine 2 Review: Truly Wireless Earbuds with Stellar Audio
Reputable earphone manufacturer SoundPEATS has just released a new pair of earphones: the Truengine 2. Read our full review here.
According to the Kickstarter for the SoundPEATS Truengine 2, SoundPEATS is "a leading designer & maker of personal audio headphones." And taking a look at the Amazon Marketplace, you'd be hard-pressed to find an argument against that. The company dominates the Australian market for in-ear headphones, occupying the top 3 spots in the Amazon Marketplace. SoundPEATS also performs well in the Canadian and US Marketplace.
The same Kickstarter reached its $15,000 goal in just 18 minutes, proving that there is certainly a demand for more products from SoundPEATS. The message behind all this is that SoundPEATS is well-versed in the earphones space. Their previous offerings have done well in multiple marketplaces, and consumers are actively looking for more, so the stage is set for the Truengine 2 to do well. And if my experience with them is anything to go by, then they should reach their target audience just fine.
The box itself is a fairly standard affair. Opening it reveals the earphones in their case, nestled in foam. The case isn't secured in any way, meaning that if you open the box the wrong way, the case can easily fall out and get damaged. Aside from earphones and case, the box contains a short USB-C charging cable, which plugs into the back of the case. It also has extra, different-sized earbuds, a manual, and some customer care booklets.
It's nothing to write home about, for sure. But it has everything you need to get started with the earphones, and the user manual gives you all the info you need. It's a nice and simple unboxing experience.
Aesthetically, the Truengine 2s remind me of those old Bluetooth earpieces you associate with taxi drivers. The elongated outside piece reminds me of something like this. Despite that, the earphones don't feel chunky or oversized, nestling nicely in my palm, and fitting snugly in my ear. The indicator lights on the side are flashy, and in some cases, a little too flashy. While they provide a good indicator of the current status of the earphones, they also incrementally flash while simply in use. This was actually pointed out to me by friends who thought there was something wrong with them. Admittedly, this is only a very small slight against the earphones, but a strange feature nonetheless.
As someone who's not used to wings (called EarFins in this case) on earphones, it took me a while to get accustomed to putting the Truengine 2s in my ear, but once I did, it came easily. The already-fitted medium size was perfect for my ears, and the provided smaller and larger sizes worked well for friends I tried them out on. I wore the earphones while running, skateboarding, and climbing. Not once did the earphones feel like they were going to fall out, despite sports like climbing and skateboarding being prone to heavy impacts.
While the Truengine 2s were certainly noticeable when in my ears, they weren't heavy. Weighing in at 6.1g, they're far from the lightest wireless earphones we've ever seen. That being said, however, considering their dual drivers and impressive battery life, it's quite an achievement that they don't weigh more.
All the jostling and jumping that comes with sports like the aforementioned may not always dislodge earphones, but it can make wearing them uncomfortable. That's not the case with the Truengine 2s, however. I wore them for about an hour at a time while skateboarding and - after some initial discomfort that can be attributed to my ears getting used to the earphones - I experienced no difficulties.
The earphones are held in place primarily by the tight fit achieved by the silicone earpieces, with the wings assisting by giving the earphones an extra part of your ear to hold onto. It's by no means uncomfortable, and after the initial adjustment period, I barely distinguished them from my usual earphones (OnePlus Bullets). The tight fit of the earpieces doubles up as an effective passive noise-canceling solution. It strikes a nice balance between muting ambient sounds in your environment and still allowing you to hear someone who's talking to you, albeit only in close proximity.
Audio quality - when things go right - on the Truengine 2 is stellar. The dual-driver setup, which fits very well into the relatively small form factor, can put out some fantastic sound. I put the earphones through their paces using an online sound test, which you can find here. My results using the Truengine 2s are as follows:
Low: 30HzHigh: 19KHz
Perceptual sweep heard at all times
60dB below full scale
No rattling heard
I really thought someone was knocking on my door
While impressive, these results are not the be-all and end-all in terms of the sound you get from the Truengine 2s. Occasionally, the audio drops for a second before instantly coming back. While it's an infrequent issue, it's not something you would expect from $120 earphones and can be extremely jarring. On top of that, it's not something I've ever experienced with my far cheaper Xiaomi AirDots. What's more, when changing the volume, there is a very noticeable disconnect. The volume increases in the right earphone, and after a very noticeable delay, then increases in the left earphone. This is certainly the Truengine 2s' biggest transgression in terms of audio and is one that is frankly unacceptable. It's something that I'm sure would be a very easy fix, and I cannot believe it made it past testing.
What makes it even more strange is that SoundPEATS says that the Truengine 2s utilize Qualcomm's TWS Plus technology. TWS Plus allows the use of wireless earphones independently of one another. What this means is that you take either one of the earphones out of the case and use it by itself without ever having to remove the other earphone from the case. Given that both of the earphones are connected individually to the source device, it's somewhat worrying that they can't sync for the simple task of increasing and decreasing volume.
Things don't improve much when we come to audio going into the earphones, either. On numerous occasions, people I called while using the earphones told me they could hear themselves. This occurred in both Messenger and Snapchat. However, regular phone calls worked fine, suggesting that this may just be something strange going on within the apps themselves.
SoundPEATS claims that their CVC (Clear Voice Capture) system allows the earphones to deliver "crystal-clear calls" even if you're out and about in "noisy environments". The Truengine 2s feature dual mics, which means you should be able to get a good sound out of them regardless. I decided to put them to the test. Below is a clip where the first section of audio comes from my Blue Yeti desktop microphone, and the second section comes from the Truengine 2s.
Both pieces of audio there were taken in my room, where you would expect the Truengine 2s to perform at their best. And they do just that. The quality of the audio is superb. The next two audio clips are from a busy hall in my university, then from me standing outside in windy weather with people talking in the background.
While the background noise in the clips is certainly there, it does not drown out my voice, and you can still clearly hear what is being said. Overall the audio seems to be quiet, but the various people I had listen to it had no issues discerning what was being said.
Official figures for earphone battery life vary - on the same page, hilariously - from 6 hours to 7 hours. In my day-to-day use, I found that the battery veered more towards the 7-hour mark. This is impressive, to say the least. For context, Apple's AirPods 2 have a 5-hour battery time, and it's the same for the Bose Soundsport free. I mention these two specifically because they seem to be what SoundPEATS is marketing the Truengine 2s against.
Given the size of the case, you would hope that the Truengine 2s have a significant reserve charge, and you wouldn't be disappointed. According to SoundPEATS, the case holds 30-hours of reserve charge. I didn't have time to test this fully, but since the initial charge when I first received the earphones for review nearly two weeks ago, I haven't had to charge it.
The Truengine 2s are controlled by touching the face of the earphones. There are a few commands available, like skipping songs and summoning the voice assistant. Below is a table which lists all the commands.
Double tap left/right earphone
Triple tap left/right earphone
Hold left earphone for 2s
Hold right earphone for 2s
Double tap left/right earphone
Hang up phone call
Double tap left/right earphone
Answer phone call
Hold left/right earphone for 1.5s
Reject phone call
Hold left/right earphone for 2s
Switch between two active phone calls
Surprisingly, there's no option to control volume included. Given that these earphones are intended to be used when playing sports, where your phone may not always be easily accessible, this is something of a pitfall.
The touch-sensing is more than a little awkward. You have to press in exactly the right spot on the surface of the earphones, and only the bottom half of the earphone is touch-sensitive. This means that you'll miss your intended action a significant portion of the time until your muscle memory attunes to where exactly the sensor is. Even then it's still very easy to miss the right spot, and for me usually takes more than one attempt.
Beyond these controls, the Truengine 2s don't offer much in terms of extra features that I haven't already discussed.
If you're looking for a pair of wireless earphones that won't fall out of your ears no matter what you do, then look no further than the Truengine 2. They deliver fantastic sound while remaining comfortable. Despite occasionally faltering in the audio department - desynced volume changes and random audio drops, I'm looking at you - the dual driver setup performs extremely well. It's impressive how SoundPEATS has managed to fit in dual drivers while retaining an overall manageable and compact form factor.
The Truengine 2s are let down by their clumsy implementation of touch controls. Not being able to control volume is a major missed opportunity, and it can be really annoying how awkward it is to even activate the controls in the first place. These faults are redeemed, however, by the earphones' stellar battery life and above-average microphone quality.
In conclusion, given that the Truengine 2s command a $120 asking price, they can be a hard sell for some people. But for those looking for comfortable wireless earphones that don't compromise on sound quality, it would be absurd not to consider these earphones.
Back the SoundPEATS Truengine 2, or find more info on their Kickstarter.
Update: SoundPEATS have reached out to us in response to this review. They say that they plan to change the sensitivity of the touch controls in time for mass production, in an attempt to fix the clumsiness I mention in this review.
Disclaimer: These earphones were sent to XDA-Developers by SoundPEATS for review. However, all opinions in this article are the author's own.XDA VIDEO OF THE DAY SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT