Soundcore Life P2i vs P3i Wireless Earbuds Comparison – A Worthwhile Upgrade?

Written by Pete Anthony

Soundcore Life 3Pi vs Life P2i charging case and earbuds

Soundcore is the newer audio subsidiary of Anker Electronics, which has sold a wide variety of popular headphones and portable speakers over the last several years.

Both the P2i and P3i were released as part of Soundcore’s 2021 line up, and while they’re a bit dated now, they (and many of Soundcore’s other older earbuds) are still quite popular.

The P2i and P3i look almost the same at face value, and given that and the fact that they are made by the same company obviously, a lot of people have asked if they are actually different enough that one of them (presumably the higher numbered and later released P3i) is decidedly better than the other. I have fully reviewed both of these products and will answer those questions here in this comparison article.

Soundcore Life P3i vs Life P2i Side by Side at a Glance

Soundcore Life 3Pi vs Life P2i earbud front

P3i vs P2i earbud front
Soundcore Life 3Pi vs Life P2i earbud back side

P3i vs P2i earbud back
Soundcore Life 3Pi vs Life P2i earbud tip and nozzle

P3i vs P2i earbud tip and nozzle
Soundcore Life 3Pi vs Life P2i charging and carrying case top view

P3i vs P2i charging case top
Soundcore Life 3Pi vs Life P2i charging and carrying case side view

P3i vs P2i charging case side
Soundcore Life 3Pi vs Life P2i case inside

P3i vs P2i charging case inside

How Are the Soundcore Life P3i and Life P2i Similar?

Design style – both use the same popular and common stemmed ovoid housing design, and are in fact almost identical in shape and size. Though they have the same listed unit weight, the P3i earbud feels slightly heavier than the P2i earbud.

Weatherproofing – both have IPX5 certified water resistance (up to moderate splashing). I could not find an officially listed IP code for the longest time on the 3Pi, but it was finally mentioned on a comparison table of a different Soundcore product sales page.

Bluetooth version – both have Bluetooth v5.2 firmware, which is now dated, but that won’t realistically affect sound quality in any significant way.

Superior warranty – Soundcore has an 18 month warranty on all its headphones, which is better than the much more common 1 year minimum on most of the similar competition.

Case/Portability – the P2i and P3i cases are pretty much identical, save for the smooth sheen finish of the P2i case and the slightly rougher matt finish of the P3i case.

Included Accessories – both come with the same tips and two pairs of small and large replacement sets, and the same short USB-C charging cable.

What Are the Main Differences Between the Soundcore Life P3i and Life P2i?

Onboard controls – The P3i has touch based controls while the P2i has pressable button based controls.

Noise attenuation – The natural P2i isolation is OK but not great, while the P3i natural isolation is somewhat better. Additionally though, the P3i has active noise cancellation and transparency modes, which the P2i does not have, and with ANC running the overall noise attenuation of the P3i is top tier for its price-point.

Battery life – the P3i has slightly better purported earbud and total with case battery life (9h/36h) than the P2i does (8h/28h). One caveat here: the battery capacity of the P3i will go down if ANC or transparency is turned on. Soundcore doesn’t specify how much so, but it’s probably significant.

App Compatibility – the P3i is compatible with the Soundcore App, which can customize the touch controls as well as the EQ sound profile, while the P2i is not compatible with it. The P2i does have two onboard EQ pre-sets you can switch between.

Does the Soundcore Life P3i or the Life P2i Have Better Fit and Comfort?

Soundcore Life 3Pi vs Life P2i earbud in ear fit

P3i vs P2i in ear fit

Both the Life P3i and P2i fit comfortably and securely, and neither has any issues with the seal breaking. I would say I think the P2i fit feels very slightly better – their stems are narrower, longer, and don’t angle inward so much as a result, and it makes it so the buds can nestle in a little more deeply and firmly, which I personally prefer.

The P3i fit is lighter and shallower feeling, and a little more out and down due to the bigger and more inwardly angled stems. Some might actually prefer that though.

A note before the next section: this page describes how I evaluate the sound quality of headphones and earbuds.

Does the Soundcore Life P3i or the Life P2i Sound Better?

The significant feature that that P3i has that the P2i doesn’t, besides noise cancellation, is compatibility with the Soundcore EQ app, and the ability to create a custom EQ profile can make a big difference in potential sound quality.

The P2i has two presets, “bass” and “podcast,” and its main issue as it concerns music, in my opinion, is that neither of these EQ profiles are optimal or well rounded. The podcast has the mids tuned way up, which is generally appropriate for spoken media, but is also generally one of the worst things you can do EQ wise for music, and in “podcast” mode the P2i sounds thin, boxy, and hollow. The “bass” preset is somewhat better musically, but it just sounds kind of bloated and muffled, with noticeably recessed mids and highs and lack of detail.

The default Soundcore tuning is, at the current moment at least, just not that good, and I’ve said this repeatedly in my recent reviews and discussions of Soundcore products. I actually think the “bass” pre-set of the P2i sounds somewhat better than the P3i does out of the box, but, with some simple EQ adjustments in the app, most of the aforementioned tuning issues can be fixed and the P3i sounds significantly better than the P2i. You can read the full scoop on what I actually did in my full P3i review, linked below.

Which Should You Choose Between the Soundcore Life P3i or the Life P2i?

I would say the P3i is the pretty clear winner overall – you get the noise cancellation and EQ app compatibility, which can significantly improve their overall sound quality over the P2i’s, all for not that much more money.

The life P2i is a perfectly decent product, but competition in the budget price-point is becoming stiffer and stiffer by the day, and I think for the money there are just better choices out there. If you want a soft a bassy sound and pressable buttons though? Sure, get the P2i, and there’s a good chance you’ll be happy with the purchase.

Get the Life P3i wireless earbuds on Amazon (affiliate link)

Get the Life P2i wireless earbuds on Amazon (affiliate link)

Relevant Articles

Full Life P3i review
Full Life P2i review
Is Soundcore a good audio brand?
Our current picks for the overall best budget true wireless earbuds

Pete Anthony has had a lifelong affinity for music, and more recently has become an anti audiophile snob who wants great sound to be accessible and enjoyable by anyone. Without needing to break the bank. Read his full author page here.