Review: Soundpeats Capsule3 Pro – Half-baked

Soundpeats Capsule3 Pro aim for minimalist aesthetics.
Soundpeats Capsule3 Pro aim for minimalist aesthetics.

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In the pursuit of adding premium features at a lower price, the Capsule3 Pro sacrifice sound quality.

General Usage
76%
Rank #19
Audiophile Usage
53%
Rank #27
Tested with Sparrow System 1.0

Score Breakdown

Click the label to navigate to the section.

Case

88%

Earbuds

71%

Software

55%
What We Like 😍
  • Good design with a minimalist aesthetic
  • Battery case holds a lot of charge
  • Comfortable to wear for longer periods
  • Good ANC performance
  • Strong sub-bass boost will cater well to bassheads
What We Don't Like 🤢
  • Stock tips seal poorly
  • Compressed sound despite LDAC support
  • Scooped out mids
  • Odd sounding treble
  • Narrow staging, below-average imaging
  • No customization of touch controls
  • The Soundpeats app needs some work

Where to Buy

Readers can get an extra 10% off during purchase by using the code C3P4KAZI during checkout (non-affiliated).

Introduction

Soundpeats has become fairly popular in the budget segment by offering “premium” features like ANC and transparency mode at a lower price point.

The Capsule3 Pro are the latest IEMs in the lineup, sporting an Airpods-style design and a feature set that is quite impressive given the pricing.

A spec sheet alone does not make a successful product, though. Let’s see how the Capsule3 Pro sound and if they can hold their own against their peers.

The packaging is fairly generic.
The packaging is fairly generic.

Case
88%

Battery
93%

  • Battery Life: 52
  • Connector: USB Type-C
  • Wireless Charging: Yes
  • Battery Capacity: 500mAh

Battery life is exceptional as the Capsule3 Pro case holds up to 52 hours of extra charge. With ANC on, I got about 5 hours (in LDAC codec) on a single charge and managed about six charge cycles before the case battery went empty.

The Capsule3 Pro will easily last a week on a single charge for most users.

Sadly, there is no wireless charging support, but at this price, that’s not too big a deal.

The case holds an extra 50 hours of charge.
The case holds an extra 50 hours of charge.

UX
96%

  • Can be opened easily with one hand: Yes
  • Pass the shake test: Yes
  • Light Indicators: Shows estimated battery life left and shows charging indicator

The case can be easily opened with one hand. The buds are held magnetically and do not fall out, even with vigorous shaking.

The LED on the front shows the case’s battery level and doubles as a charging indicator.

The Capsule3 Pro have an all plastic build.
The Capsule3 Pro have an all-plastic build.

Design
75%

  • Shape of the case: Rectangular
  • Material: Matte plastic
  • Build Quality: Above average

The Capsule3 Pro charging case is built well and has smooth, rounded corners. There is no creak or looseness when opening and closing the lid. It’s not the most premium in terms of build, but it gets the job done without being flashy.

The type-C port supports fast charging.
The type-C port supports fast charging.

Portability
75%

  • Weight: 38g (case only), 48g (with earbuds)
  • Volume: 5 cm x 6.7 cm x 2.6 cm = 87 cm cu
  • Portability: Average

The large 500mAh battery increases the dimensions and weight of the case to a degree. Portability is merely average for that reason.

Earbuds
71%

Battery
85%

  • Battery Life: 5 hrs (with ANC), 8 hrs (without ANC)
  • Charge Time (10 mins): 240 mins playback time

The earbuds last about 5 hours before they run dry (with ANC on). You can turn off the ANC and get around 8 hrs on a single charge.

The Capsule3 Pro need about an hour to charge fully (using a suitable fast charger), but you can get up to 240 minutes of playback time with just 10 minutes of charge.

The Soundpeats logo at the top also houses the touch control.
The Soundpeats logo at the top also houses the touch control.

UX
95%

  • Control Mechanism: Touch
  • Touch Accuracy: Good
  • Control Symmetry on both earbuds: No
  • Mono Use: Yes, both sides

The part of the stem with the Soundpeats logo acts as a touch-sensitive panel to control various aspects of the IEMs. Touch accuracy is good, with accidental touches mostly prevented while adjusting the IEMs.

Unfortunately, the controls are fixed and cannot be customized. A short rundown of the controls:

  • Double tap: Play/pause music, answer/reject calls
  • Press and hold (left earbud): Cycle between ANC modes
  • Press and hold (right earbud): Skip forward
  • Single tap (left earbud): Volume down
  • Single tap (right earbud): Volume up
  • Triple tap (right earbud): Activate voice assistant
  • Triple tap (left earbud): Activate game mode

Design
70%

  • Profile: Airpods style, with stem
  • Material: Matte plastic
  • Comfort: Good
  • Fit: Good

The black-gold color scheme and minimalist design make the Capsule3 Pro stand out.

The design accents are tasteful, and this particular shade of gold never veers into “gaudy’ territory.

There is one mic at the top (for ANC), one at the bottom, and another inside the nozzle of the IEMs. This last microphone acts as a feedback mic and enables the automatic EQ feature in the app (more on this in the Software section).

The bottom mic picks up some environmental noise.
The bottom mic picks up some environmental noise.

The nozzle has a strange oval shape. The idea behind this design is that the opening of the human ear canal is not completely round, and this mimics the shape more closely.

In practice, the oval-shaped nozzle has no practical benefits.

The nozzle has a oval shape which is not the most practical.
The nozzle has an oval shape which is not the most practical.

The ear tips are oval too, which makes fit a challenge. I never managed to get a good seal with any of the supplied tips, so I used a third-party alternative (Spinfit CP-100).

The stock tips have poor sealing for my ears.
The stock tips have poor sealing for my ears.
Fortunately, the case closes even with third-party tips.

Mic
75%

  • Noise Cancellation: Good
  • Voice Pick-up: Good

The mic manages to pick up a voice in crowded areas but struggles in windy situations. This is a common issue for most TWS IEMs, however. There is some compression in the voice that makes things sound robotic.

Mic demo

Sound
46%

  • Driver: 12mm single dynamic driver with biological diaphragm
  • Sound Signature: Bass-boosted, V-shaped
  • Bass: Average
  • Mids: Substandard
  • Treble: Average
  • Sound Detail: Average

Soundpeats Capsule3 Pro utilize a single 12mm biodynamic driver for the full frequency range.

The tuning is bass-boosted, V-shaped, with scooped lower-mids.

Frequency response graph of the Soundpeats Capsule3 Pro. Measurements conudcted on an IEC-711 compliant coupler.
Frequency response graph of the Soundpeats Capsule3 Pro. Measurements were conducted on an IEC-711-compliant coupler.

The bass response is closer to “basshead” territory, but the lack of mid-bass punch may not be to everyone’s liking. This “suck-out” near 300Hz aids in keeping the lower-mids free from bass bleed at the cost of thinning out the midrange.

The upper-mids boost is not an issue in most tracks with some bass in the mix. In acoustic and vocal-centric tracks with sparse instrumentation, things get shouty and shrill due to the lack of mid-bass and lower-midrange recession.

The treble looks good on paper but sounds odd. There is a noticeable lack of crispness when it comes to reproducing treble. Cymbals and high hats sound dampened and severely lacking in sparkle. The roll-off from 6kHz is too steep.

Imaging is just left and right, while staging is narrow. General separation is better than some of the competition, e.g., Galaxy Buds Live, but the likes of the Sony WF-C500 offer a more well-rounded presentation.

The sound signature barely changes between ANC modes, so I recommend using ANC while listening to music, as it allows playback at lower volumes.

The ANC creates a strong “suction” effect which can be a bit jarring. Moreover, with the stock tips, ANC performance is noticeably worse than with third-party alternatives.

Connectivity
88%

  • Audio Codec: SBC, AAC, LDAC
  • Bluetooth Version: 5.3
  • Bluetooth Chip: WQ7033AR
  • Auto-connect when: Case lid opened
  • Average drop-outs in an hour: 0-3 times
  • Multi-point connection: No

Multipoint support is absent, which is a letdown. Fortunately, LDAC is supported, and so is the latest BT 5.3.

Waterproof
75%

  • IP Rating: IPX4

The IPX4 rating means that the Capsule3 Pro are secure from minor splashes. This means they will be reasonably resistant to sweat and some raindrops. However, there is no dust ingress protection.

Software
55%

  • Available on: Android, iOS
  • 9 EQ presets, 8-band EQ
  • Adaptive EQ
  • Auto-Pause: None.

The Soundpeats app is a mixed bag.

On the one hand, there are tons of EQ presets, a decent 8-band EQ, and the Adaptive EQ function advertises automated EQ by using the feedback mic placed inside the nozzle of the IEMs.

On the other hand, the app is slow and takes a while to perform each operation. The custom EQ presets also turn off all DSP processing, so things sound even more compressed. The Adaptive EQ feature also boosts the bass too much for me, though this may vary based on individual tastes.

The Soundpeats app offers some EQ presets.
The Soundpeats app offers some EQ presets.

Comparisons

vs Soundpeats Opera05

Soundpeats Opera05 are the brand’s most premium offering and have a single-dynamic + dual BA setup. The Opera05 are decidedly more premium in build and appearance, though their added heft hurts portability.

The Opera05 are larger and more premium.
The Opera05 are larger and more premium.

The app offers similar features, while the ANC and mic performance is even better on the Opera05.

Frequency response graph of the Soundpeats Capsule3 Pro vs Soundpeats Opera05. Measurements conudcted on an IEC-711 compliant coupler.
Frequency response graph of the Soundpeats Capsule3 Pro vs Soundpeats Opera05. Measurements were conducted on an IEC-711 compliant coupler.

As for the sound, both IEMs have a strong emphasis on sub-bass, but the mids are better tuned on the Opera05. The bass impact is also more visceral on the flagship. The Capsule3 Pro has comfort on their side due to lighter weight, but in terms of sound quality – Opera05 are superior in every aspect.

The only downside of the Opera05 is the hot treble that can be fatiguing.

I recommend spending the extra bucks on the Opera05, as they are superior overall. If budget is a concern, the Capsule3 Pro will offer many of the same features, but the sound quality is a definite step down.

Conclusion

The Soundpeats Capsule3 Pro offer good ANC at a competitive price, but the sound quality takes a hit. The scooped-out mids and odd-sounding treble make the music sound thin and lacking in engagement.

The feedback mic in front of the driver is partly to blame, and the driver placement could be better. Moreover, the nozzle shape and the stock tips could be made universal by simply adopting a round profile.

The excellent ANC performance cannot hide these deficiencies, so I cannot help but feel the Capsule3 Pro is only half-baked: a great idea that falters at execution.

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