With the Soundcore P20i, another new budget in-ear is presented without a hitch. While the Soundcore A20i comes with Bud earphones, the new P20i appears to be the Stab earphone counterpart. The cheap in-ear comes with app integration and certain similarities to the AirPods Pro.
Soundcore P20i Review, Specs & Price
- Soundcore P20i wireless in-ear headphones
- at Amazon for €27.99 (activate 30% discount voucher)
- Soundcore should sort out times.
In the meantime, it has become really confusing for Soundcore below the €50 mark and it annoys me. Because older headphones, such as the Soundcore Life P2, P2i or P2 Mini are still available from Amazon, as are the budget versions of the P3 mid-range series.
True to the motto, with the right discount code, one of them will always end up in the Amazon bestsellers and thus generate even more sales. The product range is and remains huge at Soundcore. You don’t notice anything about the sale and phase-out of the older models, at least at the moment.
So we have a huge selection of budget headphones from Soundcore on the market, which only differ in marginal details. Where the run-of-the-mill consumer, who deals less intensively with the brand than we do, does not understand at all and cannot recognize which is the best choice. I would really wish that Soundcore would thin out here!
Packaging & scope of delivery
The Soundcore P20i come in a compact, thin-walled box, as is also the case with other budget models from Soundcore. Inside you will find the headphones including the charging box, three pairs of ear pads, a USB-C charging cable and a Quick Start Guide.
Design close to the Soundcore Liberty 4
Visually, the new Soundcore P20i is reminiscent of its own top model, the Liberty 4. But also a little reminiscent of the older budget model Soundcore P2 Mini. The handset sticks are AirPods Pro level, kept short, giving them a modern look. In contrast to the Soundcore A20i, the P20i are only available in black and white, there is no colored variant. The headphones are protected against water with IPX5 certification, so they are basically also suitable for sports.
In contrast to the AirPods, the P20i are placed horizontally in the charging case and not inserted vertically. But it is also the same here that you now attach a loop to the charging case. This can also be found on the A20i and it makes me smile that now obviously only because Apple introduced it to the AirPods Pro 2, the first other manufacturers to start introducing this “Tamagotchi feature”.
Visually, I like that Soundcore uses matte plastic for the visible side of the bars, looks chic, in my opinion. As someone who has tested many headphones, I can tell that the materials used are not the most expensive. For the budget range, however, it is completely normal. The Soundcore P20i are well made, I can’t find any material weaknesses or processing errors – very good!
Sound of the Soundcore P20i
A dynamic driver with a membrane diameter of 10 mm works inside the Soundcore P20i. In the Bud Design variant Soundcore A20i it is “only” a 6 mm driver.
In the test, the Soundcore P20i is quite bassy and is noticeably more dominant and powerful in the sub-bass range than the Soundcore A20i. This is probably due to the larger membrane, which can develop more force due to its larger diameter. The midrange is also bassier and voices have more volume, which almost seems a bit unnatural.
The advantage of the larger membrane is certainly more bass, if you want to see it that way, the disadvantage is that the membrane naturally “swings out” a little longer than a smaller one. Unfortunately, the sound of the Soundcore P20i is not as precise and “crispy” as the Soundcore A20i. The heights are also more subdued in my opinion and are less in the foreground.
Disappointingly, I like the sound of the Soundcore A20i better in the test. I was hoping that Soundcore would launch the same concept as a stab in-ear and a bud in-ear. The practical test has shown that this is not the case. As is typical for Soundcore, the A20i still has more than enough bass, although it is weaker than the P20i, but it delivers the more precise and detailed sound – a pity!
Compared to the Soundcore P3i, the sound of the Soundcore P20i is almost identical, so if you want to have a very average ANC for a surcharge of around €15, you won’t do much wrong, but the sound won’t be much better either. I can’t recommend the Soundcore P2 Mini, they are simply the biggest disappointment that Soundcore has brought to the market so far.
Wearing comfort & headset
The Soundcore P20i deliver a good wearing comfort in the test. Unfortunately, they don’t shield quite as well as the A20i, at least in my ears , but they stay in place and don’t slip in the ear.
The headset works with two microphones per earpiece and Soundcore speaks of AI algorithms that are intended to ensure clear intelligibility. In practice, however, the headset can unfortunately only be used indoors and in quiet surroundings. If you want a really good headset, you have to dig much deeper into your pocket and spend at least €70-80.
Soundcore app with a larger range of functions in the budget area
If the sound is a bit too bass-heavy for you, you have the option of customizing the equalizer in the Soundcore app. In addition to creating your own sound profiles, there are also 22 presets, as for the A20i. The “Find my Earbuds” function is new, with which the listeners make a loud sound, which is intended to make it easier to find the listeners if you have misplaced them. This has now been patched for many models, including the Soundcore Life P3, for example. In comparison to the AirPods Pro 2, however, there is no additional loudspeaker integrated in the charging case.
In addition, the touch gestures can also be individualized, a function that was previously reserved for more expensive headphones at Soundcore and is now finding its way into the budget area with the P20i and A20i. There are three gestures in total, 1x tap, 2x tap and hold. The following functions are available for all gestures :
- Increase/decrease volume
- Next/Previous track
- Start voice assistant
- Disable gesture
Here, too, it is a bit tedious when adjusting the volume, as you type, the music is interrupted, a notification tone is heard and then playback continues a tad louder/quieter. This is less noticeable with the other functions. With headphones in this price range, you should be able to live with that, overall the touch gestures work reliably!
Bluetooth and Runtime
The built-in Bluetooth 5.3 chip supports the standard AAC and SBC codec. If you are looking for a high-resolution codec in the Soundcore budget segment, you will only find it in the really old Soundcore Life P2. Since the AAC codec is, in my opinion, well implemented in all reasonably up-to-date Android phones, I would no longer see it as a disadvantage, especially not in the budget handset segment.
In terms of battery life, there is even more in it than the Bud earphone counterpart A20i. Soundcore promises a full 10 hours of running time, and the headphones should be able to be fully charged twice in the charging box, resulting in a total running time of 30 hours. A quick charge function is also implemented, 10 minutes in the charging box should result in 2 hours of running time.
In the test, I was able to confirm a runtime of around 9 hours with the Soundcore P20i at an average volume of 50%-70%. Soundcore thus delivers the absolute top level in the budget area! However, wireless charging of the battery box is not possible here.
Conclusion – why not just an A20i with a different form factor?
In my opinion, the Soundcore P20i is one of the smartest budget headphones, especially in the white in which we tested it, if you want a stab in-ear. It annoys me all the more that the Soundcore A20i simply delivers better sound than the P20i. I had hoped that Soundcore would squeeze a technically almost identical model into two different form factors, which for my layman’s understanding of production could also make sense somewhere in terms of costs.
Instead, we get a different, larger audio driver that delivers more punch in the bass range, but vibrates less precisely and thus sounds less precise in the upper midrange and treble. Sure, the Soundcore P20i aren’t bad headphones overall for their price, but the A20i does it better in my opinion in the test.
- Beautiful design
- Customizable touch functions in the app
- Battery life at the highest level
- No high-resolution codec
- Heaset only useful in quiet environments
- No contactless charging
- Without proximity sensors
At least the P20i can assert itself against the competition from its own house: the P2 Mini. For a surcharge of around 15€ you can also get the Soundcore Life P3i, which, albeit very average, offers ANC and offers a very similar sound. As mentioned at the beginning, there are simply too many budget in-ears from Soundcore on the market at the same time.