Looking for the best wireless earbuds worth your hard-earned money? Chances are you’d struggle to find anything worthwhile at under $100. That’s not to say there aren’t decent budget options available, but they almost always have some fatal flaw — whether it’s a subpar sound or poor call quality — that makes them hard to recommend.
But Anker is on a mission to correct this with the Soundcore Life P3 earbuds, which bring some serious upgrades over the P2s for an even more impressive spec sheet at the same low price. Are they any good? As you can probably tell by that Editor’s Choice award on the top image, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Read on to find out why.
Anker Soundcore Life P3: Availability and price
The Soundcore Life P3s are available for $79.99 in the U.S. and £79 in the U.K. You can pick them up from Anker direct or Amazon. Color options include: black, navy blue, oat white, sky blue and coral red.
As of right now, they are available for pre-order from Soundcore’s website.
Anker Soundcore Life P3: Design
The Soundcore Life P2s looked cheap and, to be honest, somewhat weird. Given how drastic of an improvement the P3s are, it seems Anker got the message.
The construction of the Life P3 is more premium and the buds themselves are more durable and hefty. Overall, these feel more upmarket thanks to the metallic finish around the stems and the soft-touch plastic of the case. Of all the colorways, Oat White is my favorite for its classy appearance.
Beyond these changes, the design choices include several respectable additions to the mid-tier earbuds: IPX5 water resistance, a unibody build, a sleek pebble-style case with a flip-open door on a strong hinge, and five sets of ear tips for peak comfort.
Going more granular, the case measures 2.4 x 2.1 x 1.2 inches with a weight of just under 50 grams (1.8 ounces), whereas the buds are 1.5 x 0.9 x 0.9 inches and a measly 4.8 grams (0.2 ounces).
These numbers match the average earbuds, and most importantly, they ensure a comfortable fit over a long time without any weight fatigue, which is further ensured by a secure fit that stands up jostling while jogging.
Anker Soundcore Life P3: Controls and digital assistant
Like 99% of true wireless earbuds in 2021, Soundcore’s Life P3 are controlled entirely via touch surfaces on each stem: single taps for changing volume, double taps for skipping tracks, and holding for a couple seconds to activate the voice assistant or turn noise cancellation on.
Along with these controls, the built-in microphones are sensitive enough to pick up requests made to Siri and Google Assistant, but any longer moments of dictation can get lost when outside in loud environments.
Anker Soundcore Life P3: Active noise cancellation and ambient listening
One of the biggest upgrades from the Life P2 earbuds is the addition of active noise cancellation (ANC), which is not best in class, but good enough for most situations.
Anker provides four different ANC modes: Transport, Indoor, Outdoor and Custom, all of which target different frequencies of background noise and come with levels of customisation.
In real-world use, the Life P3s do a solid job of eliminating distractions, like my partner’s day job working on the phones or the sound of passing cars when the window is open. There are odd moments of noise leakage, especially in windy conditions like during a walk along the River Trent, but the noise cancellation is still great for the price.
What really impressed, though, was the Transparency Mode — something Anker has nailed in all of its earbuds since the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro. I could easily hear a conversation and discern each word being said from across the room.
Anker Soundcore Life P3: Audio quality
I’ll be honest, seeing the words “BassUp technology” on the box made me nervous. One thing I’ve learned over my years of testing earbuds is that cheaper models tend to inflate lower tones that wash out the mids and trebles.
However, proving me wrong, the Life P3s offer an accurate, detailed soundstage through their 11-millimeter drivers with adequate depth delivered by Soundcore’s bass boosting technology, which enhances the sonic definition of more popular track mixes like Chance The Rapper’s “Do You Remember.”
Don’t get me wrong, bass-favouring becomes a double-edged sword when faced with more challenging compositions. In Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No.6,” the weight of the lower tones fought against the soaring string section, resulting in a somewhat messy composition.
But for the majority of music and podcasts, these give even Apple’s AirPods a run for their money. Yes, they are that good.
Anker Soundcore Life P3: App and special features
The Anker Soundcore app continues to be one of the best in this category by giving you the widest suite of features to tweak.
Starting with ensuring the best sound whatever you’re listening to, Anker gives you 22 music presets and a fully customizable EQ along with an ear tip fitting test to ensure you are using the best size tips.
There is also the option to activate ANC or Transparency mode and a Gaming mode that supposedly reduces latency and enhances “the sounds of footsteps and voice.” I struggled to tell the difference in the audio mix, and the latency differences are minuscule. If you’re gaming, wired headphones are still the best.
Special shoutout to the Superior Sleep mode, which gives you white noise creation tools to create an ideal ambiance for sleeping, whether that’s the crackling of a campfire or the sound of raindrops tapping on a window.
Completing the package are battery level indicators for each bud, firmware updates, a handy “find device” feature that plays a high-pitched sound from any bud you lose, and the option to edit the touch control functions.
Anker Soundcore Life P3: Battery life
Anker promises six-hour battery life for the Life P3s, with an additional 24 hours in the wireless charging case. Endurance increases with ANC turned off, but I suspect you’ll turn that feature on most of the time.
In real-world testing, I hit this mark and then some, recording 6.5 hours on a single charge, which is impressive for earbuds at this price. There is no smart-wearing detection to prolong the battery life, but you get enough longevity for a full day of podcast listening while working.
Anker Soundcore Life P3: Call quality and connectivity
Using six microphones built into each earbud, the Life P3 have surprisingly good call quality for budget earbuds.
Voices came through loud and crisp and the buds did a good job of eliminating external sounds to provide excellent vocal clarity.
Bluetooth 5.0 ensures a stable connection up to a range of around 30 feet and the Life P3 kept playing music when streaming through multiple walls between my bedroom and kitchen. Initial pairing is rapid and re-pairing is even quicker. I would have loved to see multipoint technology to pair these to two devices simultaneously.
Anker Soundcore Life P3: Verdict
The Anker Soundcore Life P3 are the everyday consumer’s option of wireless earbuds — a great value package with quality to boot.
Most of the critically acclaimed models to this point are more expensive than the Life P3, which makes me thrilled to recommend these. It’s nice to have a pair of earbuds I can point readers toward that aren’t just great, but are also cheap. The Life P3s offer a sleek, comfortable pair of buds with impressive sound quality, lengthy battery life and a great companion app.
Call quality is only OK and the bass can sometimes overwhelm the soundstage when playing specific genres like classical music, but these are minor problems when you take into account the sheer value for money of this package. If you need a new pair of earbuds, but don’t want to break the bank, the Soundcore Life P3s are a fine choice.