Soundcore is the newer audio subsidiary of Anker Electronics, and they’ve made a name for themselves for producing a variety of performant and feature rich wireless headphones and earbuds at affordable prices. The Life P3 and Life P3i are two variants of a stemmed ovoid TWS earbud, and they’ve both become quite popular since their release. In fact, my reviews of these and other newer Soundcore earbuds are currently some of the most trafficked articles on this entire site.
The Life P3 and P3i are similar both in design and in name, enough so that a lot of people wonder if they are actually all that different from one another, and also if one is decidedly better than the other. I will break all that down here in this comparison article.
Soundcore Life P3 vs Life P3i Side by Side at a Glance
Anker Soundcore Life P3 vs Life P3i Specs and Features Comparison
|Spec||Life P3||Life P3i|
|release date||April 2021||Nov 2021|
|price-tier ⓘbudget: around $30 or less
value: around $30-$60
performance: around $60-$100
premium: around $100-$200
elite: more than $200
|design style||single 11mm dynamic driver||single 10mm dynamic driver|
|earbuds battery life||10h||9h|
|total + case battery life||50h||36h|
|onboard controls||touch based||buttons|
|warranty||18 months||18 months|
|active noise cancellation||Yes||Yes|
|EQ app compatibility||Yes||Yes|
The P3 and P3i are in fact very similar spec wise, and the only major difference between the two really is that the P3 has touch based controls and the P3i has button based controls. The slightly larger driver of the P3 could also give it a sound profile that’s different enough to be noticeable, depending on how either is tuned in the EQ app I would say. The P3 also has a case that gives marginally more total battery life.
Does the Soundcore Life P3 or Life P3i Have Better External Noise Blocking?
Both the Life P3 and Life P3i have relatively decent natural isolation and ANC – I did a fair bit of back and forth between the two and I’d say they are about the same, and quite good overall for their relative price-points. The Life P3 has three different modes for the ANC which are ostensibly optimized for different scenarios, but, I’d prefer just one single ANC mode that’s optimized all around, which is what the Life P3i presumably has (you can either just turn ANC on or off). Maybe the Life P3i comes out slightly ahead since it’s a little less expensive than the P3, but, that could be made up if you, for example, were able to get a better fit with the P3.
Does the Soundcore Life P3 or Life P3i Have a Better Case?
The cases are very similar and basically the same size, albeit with a different lid orientation, but I think the life P3i case feels a little better – it’s a little more rigid and sturdy, and the Life P3 case lid is a little more thin and flimsy. The Life P3i case also has the nice little ridge that makes popping it open with your thumb very easy.
Winner: Life P3i
Does the Soundcore Life P3 or Life P3i Have a Better Onboard Conrols?
The Life P3 and P3i have the same control schematic with six function slots that can be customized to your liking in the Soundcore app. Both the touch based backs of the P3 and button based backs of the P3i worked well and reliably, so here I’d say the best choice really only comes down to whether you prefer touch based or button based controls.
Does the Soundcore Life P3 or Life P3i Have Better Fit and Comfort?
I was able to get a decently comfortable and secure fit with both of them, and neither of them had any issues with the seal breaking if I moved my head, face, or jaw around. The P3 has shorter nozzles and rounder tips, and as a result sits a little shallower than the P3i does. The P3i in contrast has more U shaped tips that sit a little deeper and firmer. I think the design and tips of the P3i are a little more conducive to a proper fit, but I do personally prefer a deeper and firmer feeling fit. The P3 also comes with four sets of replacement tips while the P3i only comes with two. The P3 also has a fit test option in the Soundcore app, which the P3i doesn’t have. All things considered, I think some people are going to prefer the fit feel of the P3 and others will prefer that of the P3i.
Winner: drawA note before the next section: this page describes how I evaluate the sound quality of headphones and earbuds.
Does the Soundcore Life P3 or Life P3i Sound Better?
The P3 and P3i have very similar design and drivers, and they both have access to the Soundcore EQ customization – which I’ve now played around with a lot – and from that it would stand to reason that these earbuds would sound and perform very similarly to one another.
However, I think the the P3 has a slightly better tone and accuracy than the P3i does, which sounds a little thin and boxy/cuppy in comparison to the P3. The P3 is a little looser and more boomy, but still feels little more accurate than the P3i does. This gap could maybe be overcome with a lot of EQ tinkering, for those who would be willing to do that, but my feeling is that this discrepancy is independent of the EQ tuning.
Winner: Life P3
Which Should You Choose Between the Soundcore Life P3 or Life P3i?
The Life P3 and Life P3i are in fact mostly similar, and the better choice here is going to come down to your personal preferences. If you want something a little smaller, with a deeper style fit, and button based controls, then I’d say go with the Life P3i. If you want something with a shallower style fit, and you’re willing to pay a little extra for slightly better potential sound quality and customizability, then I’d say go with the Life P3. At the end of the day, Soundcore is a solid brand that makes good budget friendly headphones, and this includes both the Life P3 and Life P3i
Get the Life P3 wireless earbuds on Amazon (affiliate link)
Get the Life P3i wireless earbuds on Amazon (affiliate link)