The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Belkin’s Soundform Earbuds Range Ranked

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Belkin’s Soundform Earbuds Range Ranked
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia
At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW - prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.

Belkin is probably the first name you think of for good quality charging (even better than the cables and power banks that come with the phones and gadgets they’re made for, tbh). But I’m not sure they’re the first name that comes to mind when you’re on the hunt for wireless earbuds. I guess Belkin wants to be, because they’ve launched into the space in Australia with a new Soundform range of True Wireless Earbuds. And spoiler alert: they’re not bad for a first attempt.

The Soundform range includes three new earbuds and one set of headphones for kids:

  • Soundform Freedom True Wireless Earbuds
  • Soundform Rise True Wireless Earbuds
  • Soundform Move Plus True Wireless Earbuds
  • Soundform Mini On-Ear Wireless Headphones for Kids

I got my hands on the first three, so let’s dive into what I do (and do not) like about each pair, crowing ‘the good’, ‘the bad’ and ‘the ugly’.

Soundform Move Plus True Wireless Earbuds

Soundform True Wireless Earbuds
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

The Move Plus pair are the entry-level earbuds (read: cheapest pair). They come in a box with Belkin’s Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad (10W) and will set you back RRP $89.95. (Myer is currently selling the Wireless Charging Pad on its own for $42.45.)

Look and feel

The case isn’t the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen, but it fits in my hand fine and weighs 48 grams.

The Soundform Move Plus True Wireless Earbuds themselves are very big. Far too big for my ears, in fact. It feels like they’ve been shoved into my ear and it wasn’t a pretty sight when I pulled them out (it also felt like I was uncorking a bottle). On the plus side, they didn’t fall out while jogging.

I do like that they’re black – much easier to keep the appearance of cleanliness than a white pair (looking at you, Apple).

Soundform True Wireless Earbuds
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Sound quality

Listening to music: Passable. The sound isn’t great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s way better than I was expecting. At half volume, I had the level of sound I’d want music played at. Full volume the music sounds like I need to adjust the equalisation – not static, but the levels of everything need to be adjusted. If I play something without heavy drums, it sounds no worse than listening through a small speaker.

Listening to a podcast is fine. The audio renders great if the entire thing is on the one level.

On a phone call: Cover your ears with your hands. OK. Now talk. Yeah. That’s how your own voice sounds when you’re on a phone call. I can hear myself way too much and my voice overpowers the voice of the person on the other end.

The person on the other end (my dad, shout out to him for helping me with this review), was clear enough, but sounded fairly distorted (like we were talking over Skype on dialup).

At full volume, my ears hurt.

My dad said I sounded echo-y and like I was holding the phone away from my mouth while talking.

In the car: The wind made its way into the phone call to annoy both me and my dad. He actually asked I hang up, it was that bad. Given how blocked the Soundform Move Plus True Wireless Earbuds make me feel wearing them, it creates a kind-of concern that I’m going to miss something (similar to how some people turn the radio down when they’re finding an address or when they’re parking).

At the gym: Eek these are no good for exercising. I can hear (and really feel) each step on the treadmill. The fact they aren’t noise-cancelling also means I can hear the music playing over the gym’s speakers and hear people talking next to me.

Belkin
Move Plus buds with charging pad. Image: Belkin

Pros

  • Battery life (8 hours in stem + 16 hours in case)
  • IPX5 sweat and splash resistance
  • The controls on the earbuds are useful and work fine
  • Easy Bluetooth connectivity

Cons

  • The case feels cheap
  • The earbuds are huge and they hurt after 20 minutes of use
  • Sound isn’t great

Recommended for

Someone who is looking for a wireless replacement for the headphones that came in the box with their phone back in 2018 that they’ve been using since.

Verdict: The Bad

They’re bad, but they’re not bad, they’re just not overly good. It all depends what you want to do. If they sold these without the charging pad, in theory, you’d have yourself a $47.50 pair of wireless headphones, which I would have no problems saying “You get what you pay for”. I can’t do that at $89.95.

3/10 for the Soundform Move Plus True Wireless Earbuds

Soundform Rise TrueWireless Earbuds

The Rise pair are a bit of a step up from the Move Plus earbuds. They come bundled with the Boost Charge Power Bank 10K (Multi-port) for RRP $119.95.  (The Boost Charge Power Bank on its own can be picked up from Catch for $50.)

Soundform True Wireless Earbuds
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Look and feel

The case is quite nice. It’s still matte black plastic but it feels less cheap. They’re easy to carry and they weigh 55 grams.

The Soundform Rise True Wireless Earbuds themselves are the perfect size. They’re actually a better fit than the more expensive Soundform Freedom True Wireless Earbuds (more on them below). They’re quite bulky but the bulkiness isn’t inside your ear, nor is it on the stem, and I think that’s what makes them the most comfortable out of the three Soundform sets.

They pop out of the case in such a pleasurable way, which feels secure (magnets, yay).

Soundform True Wireless Earbuds
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Sound quality

Listening to music: It’s good. Again, it’s not great, but they sound good. Full volume seems like it could go higher, but I do like my music loud. The bass isn’t over-powering, but I do feel like I could fiddle with the treble a little (oh, Belkin, please make an app).

They sound almost too clear (hear me out) – almost like sound is being faked.

Watching a show on Netflix (You 3 for those of you wondering) the audio is crisp and not ear-piercing. Again, I feel like the sound could go louder (the lack of noise-cancelling is noticeable in loud environments, unfortunately).

During testing, the left bud cut out twice, but nothing seemed to cause it and it hasn’t happened since.

On a phone call: The problem with the Move Plus buds carries over here (in that I can hear myself way too much and somewhat overpowers the voice of my dad), but definitely not as much and it’s more tolerable. Dad also sounded clearer with this pair, too.

On the other end, dad says I sounded more natural and that there wasn’t an echo. He could hear the lawn mower outside my window, however.

Having two microphones in each earbud was well played, Belkin.

In the car: With the window up, these are fine. With the window down, driving fast with cars shooting by, they become hard to hear the call. BUT the noise isn’t heard too loud on the other end.

At the gym: I can still hear my feet hitting the ground when I run, but I don’t feel as suctioned in as the Move Plus. Although they don’t cancel out the background noise like the Freedom pair do, they’re more sturdy inside my ear and don’t catch on hair or fall out.

Belkin
Rise earbuds with powerbank. Image: Belkin

Pros

  • The fit is great for small ears
  • Battery life (7 hours in buds and 24 in Case)
  • IPX5 sweat and splash resistance
  • Choice between black and white

Cons

  • The sound could be better (these would definitely benefit from noise-cancelling)
  • They don’t stop playing when you take one out (this could also be a pro for some)
  • A little heavy

Recommended for

Someone who wants all-round headphones that are good enough. Belkin has clearly made these not for music-lovers and not for people who make a lot of phone calls, but that’s ok because there’s a lot of people that just want headphones that do all the basic shit really well, for a super affordable price. These would be perfect for someone who watches a lot of videos on their phone and doesn’t make overly long phone calls. The fact you can take one bud out and still have sound would be perfect for a lot of people.

Verdict: The Good

They’re good, not great, but they need a better phone call experience. Noise-cancelling would boost these up a point.

The Soundform Rise TrueWireless Earbuds get a 5/10.

Soundform Freedom True Wireless Earbuds

The Freedom pair are the top of the range buds from Belkin’s Soundform series. With the Freedom buds you’ll also get Boost Charge Dual Wireless Charging Pads for RRP $199.95. (The Boost Charge Dual Wireless Charging Pads 10W retails separately for $99 from The Good Guys.)

Soundform True Wireless Earbuds
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Look and feel

The case is very nice, it’s the shiny black for me (you can also get white, btw). They feel like they’re $200-worth of headphones (at least the case does) and the profile of the case is smaller than the Rise pair. They weigh 59 grams.

The Soundform Freedom True Wireless Earbuds themselves are big, bigger than the Rise pair, but smaller than the Move Plus pair. They’re more on-par with the Apple AirPods Pro (just a little bit longer, at 35 mm). The fact they’re so long and my ears are so small means my earrings tap on the buds when I run (or chew).

They do fit inside the ear nicely and there’s none of that suction-like pain. I also kept these in for a good 50 minutes before taking one out (it was only then I realised they were getting uncomfortable).

Soundform True Wireless Earbuds
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Sound quality

Listening to music: These sound good enough. Music is clear, not muffled; the bass is balanced, not overpowering; and the drums don’t sound like someone is hitting the bud with a rolling pin. Full volume doesn’t like screeching vocals, or heavy instruments, however. Pop music sounds fine, but even then, these aren’t the sound you’d expect from top-of-the-range earbuds (Bose has really ruined this for everyone else). It’s almost like they’re trying too hard to get the sound clear.

Noise-cancelling – or what Belkin is calling ‘closed/environmental noise cancelling’ was a good addition.

On a phone call: These are perfect for making phone calls. It sounds like my dad is speaking directly into a mic inside my ear (it’s almost like that’s the point, right?). I have no complaints for how they handle phone calls. The 8mm Driver is to blame here.

From the other end, the reports were ‘your voice sounds more natural than the last pair’ (the Rise) and ‘it’s more realistic’.

In the car: Talking while driving was much the same experience as it was at home. The engine couldn’t be heard at the other end, nor could the cars shooting past. From my end, the volume went loud enough and the noise-cancelling was strong enough to block the outside world.

At the gym: No gym music, no grunting from the weights section, just pure bliss from the podcast I was listening to. They don’t stay in my ears well, however, and the banging the earrings issue persists.

Belkin
Freedom buds with dual charging pad. Image: Belkin

Pros

  • Noise-cancelling
  • Battery life (9 hours in buds and 26 in case)
  • IPX5 sweat and splash resistance
  • Integrated with Apple Find My network

Cons

  • The stem length
  • They keep playing in the case for some weird reason
  • I want the sound to be just a little bit better

Recommended for

These are the best out of the three sets, quality wise, hands down. If you’re a music fiend, these aren’t for you, but they’re for everybody else.

The noise-cancelling is good and if it wasn’t for the length of these making them not only a little uncomfortable, but a little ugly, they’d score another point.

Verdict: The Ugly

They’re pretty good, not perfect, as there’s room for far better music quality (and a desperate need to chop the stem).

I’ve rounded up to a 7/10 for the Soundform Freedom TrueWireless Earbuds.

Soundform TrueWireless Earbuds: final thoughts

Due to the fact each pair of Soundform TrueWireless Earbuds come with a charging accessory that accounts for half of their price, it’s hard to call them a $90 pair of earbuds or a $200 pair of earbuds. But as you can’t purchase them without their bonus gift, they have to be treated as such.

My favourite pair out of the three are the Soundform Rise True Wireless Earbuds. Despite them not boasting noise-cancelling, they fit better and sound not too much worse than the Freedom pair. But the Soundform Freedom True Wireless Earbuds would take pole position if the stem was shorter – they’re otherwise fine.

Belkin Soundform True Wireless Earbuds
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia