Apple builds on the simplicity and fidelity of their standard EarPods with this product. Built-in support for Siri means playing practically any song is just a matter of asking.
The housing of the AirPods is made of inflexible plastic, so if the “one-size-fits-all” size doesn’t fit you, you’re out of luck. They’re also among the most expensive truly wireless earbuds available.
Approximately three hours playback time and four hours talk time from a single charge. Portable charging case is capable of three sets of charges offering three hours per charge. These ear buds offer exceptional value for money.
Some buyers found the buds difficult to sync.
Notable for their water-resistant and sweat-proof design. Siri compatible. Offer approximately 4.5 hours playback time from one charge. Impressive Bluetooth range of around 30'. Touch buttons are easy to use. Good bass and crystal highs.
May be too large for some ears.
Easy to sync to your device and simple to operate when in your ears with the touch controls. Ideal for working out in the gym as they are water-resistant and sweat-proof. Comfortable ergonomic design.
The bass is less impressive than we'd like.
Three modes can be utilized, including stereo mode and single channel mode. We love the portable charging box, which can hold a 15-hour charge when on the go. Three different sized buds included to fit your ears.
Some users report right bud cutting out intermittently if device is stored away.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
For the last several years, the term “wireless earbuds” has been a bit of a misnomer. While most Bluetooth earbuds don’t require a wired connection to your smartphone, they still require a wire between the two earbuds themselves, so until recently, “wireless earbuds” has meant “mostly wireless earbuds.” New wireless earbuds have solved that problem, and to help sort out any consumer confusion, they’ve been christened “truly wireless earbuds,” because, well, there truly are no wires.
Of course, as with any new technological milestone, there are pros and cons related to the next big thing – truly wireless earbuds definitely solve tangle problems, but they rely on batteries, so owning a pair means keeping yet another device charged.
Read our shopping guide to truly wireless earbuds and get to know the good, the bad, and the ugly about the latest trend in mobile audio.
As you’re checking out various models, you’re likely to find truly wireless earbuds mixed along with traditional wireless earbuds. The differences between the two go beyond the wire.
Wireless earbuds consist of two earpieces connected together by a thin wire intended to drape across the back of your neck. Because these earbuds are wired, they use less power, so you’ll find better battery life on these models. The connecting wire can get frustrating at times, particularly if you have long hair or you don’t like dealing with wires all the time.
Truly wireless earbuds are two separate earbuds that wirelessly (truly!) connect to both an audio source (like your smartphone) and each other. Truly wireless earbuds are more convenient and easier to use than traditional wireless models but often don’t hold a charge longer than a few hours.
A solid performer that doesn’t break the bank
ENACFIRE’s sleek earbuds sound good, get decent battery life, and are super easy to use. While their bulky looks take some getting used to, we love the built-in music storage and the charging case. The E18’s are perfect proof that high-end headphones don’t always need to cost a lot.
All truly wireless earbuds are incredibly convenient, but there are a few additional features that set the best models apart from the rest. Here are our favorite bonus features.
Digital assistant support
Some truly wireless earbuds offer one-touch access to Google Home (on Android devices) or Siri (on Apple devices), and while that may seem a little gimmicky, there’s something magical and convenient about using your headphones to interact with a digital assistant. If you’ve grown fond of having an Amazon Echo or a Google Home device in your life, you’ll love having the same convenience from your headphones.
All truly wireless earbuds have built-in batteries so they can hold a charge on their own, but many include a handy carrying case that doubles as a charger pack, ready to recharge each earpiece on the go. Buying truly wireless earbuds that come with a charging case means you’ll always have a backup plan if the batteries die.
Noise cancellation is a pricey feature on any set of headphones, so it’s usually only found on the most expensive truly wireless earbuds. That said, the luxury of being able to touch a button and completely drown out all the background noise around you is definitely worth it if you can afford it.
Some truly wireless earbuds include a moderate amount of storage for music, usually between 2GB and 8GB, which is perfect for loading and playing your personal MP3s. With a local music player, you can listen to your music collection without the distractions of a phone, which is perfect for runners.
Some but not all truly wireless headphones are sweat-proof or water resistant, which doesn’t mean you can take them deep-sea diving. It does mean that you can wear them to work out or sit in a hot tub without fear of water damaging the electronics.
Some truly wireless earbuds support “single-channel mode,” which allows you to use one earbud at a time. It’s great for situations where you need to keep one ear free to hear things around you. It’s also a good way to extend battery life, since the one you’re not using can be left to charge.
The Bluetooth standard continues to evolve, and new versions are periodically released that improve stability, distance, and fidelity. Each iteration is numbered, with higher numbers representing improved versions. In general, stick to truly wireless earbuds that support Bluetooth version 4.0 or higher.
When it comes to truly wireless earbuds, it’s easy – but not necessary – to spend a lot of money to get the perfect pair. You can expect to pay from $40 to $450 and up for truly wireless earbuds.
Inexpensive: In the $40 to $99 range, you’ll find a mix of solid performers and underwhelming knockoffs. Truly wireless earbuds in this price range will typically have good (but not great) battery life. If you just need a pair of earbuds for phone calls or working out, you don’t need to spend a lot, but if you’re buying a pair primarily for listening to music, plan on spending a little more to get a set of truly wireless earbuds that can deliver better audio fidelity.
Mid-range: In the $100 to $249 range, you’ll see a big jump in overall quality and more brands that you know. While on paper the feature set of these models may look the same as that of less expensive models, pricier truly wireless earbuds are more reliable and user-friendly. If you’re after a hassle-free experience that won’t drop connections or require frequent repairs, expect to pay more.
Expensive: In the $250 to $450 range, there’s a handful of models from top-shelf brands known for premium audio. Truly wireless earbuds in this price range deliver audiophile-quality sound and killer features and come in high-end finishes.
The only truly wireless earbuds no one can tell you’re wearing
SoundMoov’s 316T truly wireless earbuds are made for the no-frills crowd – they’re small and discreet, they support simple, one-touch operation, and they stay reliably paired with any Bluetooth device. Music fanatics might want to look elsewhere, but if you need a workhorse set of earbuds that you can depend on through a day of conference calls, the 316Ts are an easy decision.
If you’re new to earbuds, practice getting a tight seal between your ear and the rubber tips. With earbuds, the sound quality you get is largely dependent on making a seal between the rubber or silicone earbud tips and your ear. If any air escapes, sound does, too, degrading your experience. To get a strong seal, pull down on the earlobe, insert the earbud, and then let go of your earlobe to allow your ear to form a seal around the earbud.
If you’re concerned about running out of charge while you’re on the go, buy a powerbank to take with you. Most truly wireless earbuds won’t make it through a full workday without recharging, and in some cases you might even need to recharge them more than once a day. While many truly wireless earbuds include cases that hold an extra charge, those only hold one extra charge. If you buy a good power bank, you can easily carry around a few extra charges at a time.
If you plan on working out with your wireless earbuds, get a model with ear hooks. Most truly wireless earbuds advertise that they’re great for working out, but depending on the size of your ears or how much you sweat, that may or may not be true. Many truly wireless earbuds include flexible plastic hooks that wrap around the backs of your ears and help the earbuds stay in place. Ear hooks let you focus on your workout instead of worrying about dropping your expensive new headphones.
Q. How long should I expect truly wireless earbuds to last on a single charge?
A. Different models offer varying amounts of talk time, but in most cases you can expect at least three hours from a single charge, and rarely more than five. To get more realistic estimates about a specific model, search for user reviews from owners.
Q. Can I use Apple AirPods with my Android phone?
A. Yes, although pairing them with an iPhone will unlock additional functionality. Apple’s AirPods can be used as a standard headset with just about any phone, meaning you’ll be able to use them for phone calls as well as listening to music. However, AirPods include additional features that are only compatible with iPhones; for example, iPhone owners can use AirPods to act as a conduit to Siri, Apple’s voice-activated digital assistant.
Q. Does music sound good on truly wireless earbuds?
A. It depends. Audio quality is one of the key differentiators among different models of wireless earbuds, and it’s one of the features that will quickly drive up the cost. Moderately priced models typically only have so-so audio quality. If music is important to you, you’ll need to spend a little more.
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