Founded in 2005 and the winner of multiple awards for its line of earphones, SoundMAGIC is a name that’s familiar with many portable audio enthusiasts. In this article, I’m reviewing the SoundMAGIC P23BT stereo Bluetooth headset. The P23BT has incredible battery life, aptX HD support and a detachable microphone cable. It retails for $49.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by SoundMAGIC for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Bluetooth version: 5.0
Bluetooth Codecs: aptX, aptX HD, AAC, SBC
Driver: 40mm dynamic
Transmission range: 13m
Music playback time: 54-60h
Continuous talk time: 39-45h
Packaging and Accessories
The P23BT comes in a high-quality cardboard box. There’s an image of the headphones on the front and there are extensive features and specifications lists on the back and sides of the box. Inside the box, you’ll find:
SoundMAGIC P23BT stereo Bluetooth headset
Foam carrying case
USB Type-C charging cable
Auxiliary audio cable with built-in microphone
Although built primarily from plastic, the P23BT feel pretty strong. They’re very lightweight and consist mainly of a spring steel headband and earcups. There’s some silicone padding on the underside of the headband to disperse and relieve pressure on the top of your head.
P23BT has a foldable design and is very small and compact when folded up; in fact, I can pretty easily fit them inside my pants pockets when they’re in the included carrying case. Weighing in at just 156g you hardly even notice they’re there.
There’s only a single button on the headphones which is a multi-function Power On/Off and Bluetooth Pairing button. The rest of the controls are managed by the touch panel on the left earcup and I found them to be logical and responsive during use.
Internally, the P23BT utilizes 40mm dynamic drivers. There’s no active noise cancellation but during normal use, these are still suitable for most normal environments such as commuting etc.
When it comes to comfort, the P23BT headphones feel pretty good on the ears. They’re lightweight and the foam earpads feel reasonably soft. These are a nice change from the bulky full-sized headphones that I’m used to wearing and definitely feel more suitable for portable use.
The battery life of the SoundMAGIC P23BT is outstanding. You can get between 54-60 hours of music playback on a full charge and 39-45 hours of continuous talk time. The headphones also support quick charging and a 10-minute charge will give you up to 5 hours of playback time. That is really awesome and a refreshing change compared to other everyday gadgets that almost universally require daily charging.
Call quality and Bluetooth Connection
The headphones come with an auxiliary cable that includes a microphone. That means if you’re into online gaming or online conference calls, you can be confident your voice will come through loud and clear.
In addition, P23BT has a built-in microphone that you can use when connected via Bluetooth. It’s not as clear as the wired microphone cable of course but it sounds pretty nice and has a good voice tone.
The Bluetooth connectivity feels rock solid and I didn’t experience any cutouts or dropped connections during testing. The signal is good at up to 13m which is slightly above average for this kind of device.
Videos and gaming
When it comes to latency and synchronization when watching videos or gaming, the P23BT performs really well. There’s no noticeable lag when watching YouTube on my iPhone. What is perhaps even more impressive is the gaming performance. There are hardly any sync issues when playing fast-paced online games. Even without a dedicated gaming mode, the P23BT performs admirably.
While the P23BT aren’t going to match dedicated, high-fidelity headphones for sound quality, they still sound nice. The overall presentation is balanced with a fairly even spread between bass, midrange and treble. It’s consistent between wired and Bluetooth modes too, although it sounds ever so slightly cleaner in wired mode.
The bass is punchy but fairly speedy and not overdone. When listening to Lovage’s “Stroker Ace“, the kick drum and underlying bass guitar drive the song along and deliver ample rhythm without overwhelming the sultry vocals of Jennifer Charles or the electric guitar.
Sub-bass notes aren’t the foremost in authority but they produce a satisfying light rumble when needed. While hardcore bassheads might feel it lacking, most will find the bass adequate and appreciate the control that comes with it.
Midrange notes are slightly on the warmer side of neutral, giving them a smooth inviting presentation. The tone sounds natural and reasonably detailed. There’s a decent amount of clarity in the mids and vocals sound forward and intimate enough to be engaging. While listening to Melody Gardot’s “Les etoiles“, the vocals are upfront and articulate, even if they’re not delivered with ultimate clarity.
P23BT’s treble notes are soft but clear enough. It’s not an especially precise or detailed treble but more importantly, it’s smooth and fairly spacious. While I imagine picky audiophiles might lament the lack of resolution in the treble, most will appreciate its smooth and non-fatiguing nature.
The SoundMAGIC P23BT is compact, lightweight and has stellar battery life. The included cable with a boom microphone is especially good for conference calls and online gaming. With support for aptX HD, P23BT sounds great too. Coming in at under $50, this is great value for money and you should definitely add it to your list if you’re looking for a portable Bluetooth headphone.