Update, 10/16/2022: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and updated our best overall pick with the new Apple AirPods Pro.
Wireless earbuds have taken over in the years following Apple’s decision to omit a headphone jack on the iPhone 7. In the years since, we’ve had several revisions of AirPods and a flood of affordable, third-party wireless earphones, many of which parrot the AirPods design.
The truth is, AirPods will always deliver a superior user experience to non-Apple branded headphones when paired with an Apple device. The same is true for Beats, which Apple purchased in 2014. These earbuds pair effortlessly with your iPhone or iPad and can be used across devices seamlessly. You can also locate them using Find My if they go missing.
Unfortunately, AirPods are also expensive. You’re paying for a user experience that no other earbuds can provide since Apple controls the ecosystem, but it can be a hard sell for those on a budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of good alternatives for the cash-strapped and AirPods averse.
Features like active noise cancellation, where ambient sounds are stripped out of the mix using microphones and software, are now much more commonplace and available on third-party earbuds. Many earbud models also support wireless charging and some can take advantage of fast charging to quickly provide an hour of listening from only a few minutes’ charge.
If listening to music in the highest possible quality is what you’re most concerned about, wireless earphones might not be the best choice. Or rather, music on your iPhone, in general, may not be the best choice. The iPhone doesn’t currently support high-resolution audio codecs like LDAC, which means any music sent to your earphones will be compressed.
For that reason, wired headphones still provide the best listening experience for audiophiles or anyone interested in streaming lossless music.
With that settled, let’s get into which wireless earbuds can give you the best experience on your iPhone and iPad.
- ✓ Sound quality improved over the original
- ✓ ANC is much more effective than the original AirPods Pro
- ✓ Adaptive Transparency mode protects you from sudden loud sounds
- ✓ Spatial Audio works well
- ✓ Updated charging case charges every way you can think of
- ✓ U1 chip helps you find your AirPods even easier
- ✗ Still only available in white
- ✗ Call quality isn’t the best
When the non-Pro Apple AirPods got an update to the 3rd generation, it made the choice between the AirPods and the AirPods Pro a tough one. This didn’t last long, however, as with the release of the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation), it’s now obvious which is the best.
The new AirPods Pro might initially seem like an incremental upgrade, considering they look nearly identical to the original AirPods Pro. Inside, Apple improved several key components for better sound, and the new H2 processor makes for the best noise cancellation in a set of AirPods to date.
Apple’s pace-setting Transparency mode is better than ever, with Adaptive Transparency lowing the volume of low sounds while letting you hear your surroundings. Thanks to the H2 chip as well as more and more Dolby Atmos mixes hitting streaming services, Apple’s Spatial Audio sounds much better than on the original AirPods Pro.
The charging case has some stealth improvements as well. It’s IPX4-rated water-resistant, as the AirPods Pro are, making for better weather resistance. The case also features a built-in speaker, making it much easier to find your AirPods if you set them down and forget them.
There’s only one real downside. While other companies are adding more color variations, and Apple is even doing this in other products, the 2nd-generation AirPods Pro are still only available in white.
Best Earbuds Overall
- ✓ Decent, if a little bass-heavy, sound quality
- ✓ Tile integration for finding lost earbuds
- ✓ Passable battery life with USB-C charging and rapid charge
- ✗ Sound quality falls short of pricier models
- ✗ Quality control could be an issue with some reviewers reporting defective units
Cheap wireless earbuds are often plagued with issues like poor battery life and frequent audio dropouts, not to mention disappointing sound quality. The Skullcandy Sesh Evo manages to deliver solid performance and decent sound quality at around a quarter of the price of a pair of AirPods.
Skullcandy’s earbuds are basic but represent good value for money when compared with Apple’s offerings. You’ll get five hours of listening, with an extra 19 hours from the USB-C charging case. You can use each earbud solo, and each has a microphone for voice calling and talking to Siri.
Some reviewers report that the Sesh Evo earbuds tend to be a little bass-heavy, but that’s fairly normal for the Skullcandy brand and similarly priced models. At this price range, you miss out on features like noise cancellation, but for about $50, there’s not a lot to complain about.
One neat feature normally not seen at this price range is integration with Tile so that you can locate your earbuds if they go missing and a Tile user happens to walk past. That’s pretty neat, especially if you already invested in the Tile Bluetooth tracker ecosystem.
Best Budget Earbuds
Skullcandy Sesh Evo
The Skullcandy Sesh Evo earbuds are inexpensive and get the job done. Just don’t expect all the features of more expensive models.
- ✓ Active noise cancellation with transparency mode
- ✓ Decent battery life with USB-C charging
- ✓ Customize the sound using Jabra’s iOS app
- ✓ IP55 water resistance and two-year warranty
- ✗ Can’t use one earphone alone
No two trips are the same, and there’s no one-size-fits-all pair of earbuds for every traveler. With this in mind, the Jabra Elite 75t true wireless earbuds strike a great balance between features and affordability, with enough battery life to get you from JFK to LAX.
According to Review Geek’s review, the Jabra Elite 75t earbuds deliver the excellent audio quality you’d expect from a pair of wireless earphones in its price range. The silicon tips form a seal with your ear for great passive isolation while being comfortably fitting, and you can tweak the response using the equalizer in the Jabra Sound+ app for iPhone and iPad.
These earbuds have active noise cancellation that suppresses background noise (like the hiss of an airplane) for uninterrupted listening. They also offer a transparency mode like that seen on the AirPods Pro, allowing you to toggle ambient audio without having to remove your earphones.
You’ll get around 7 hours of audio on the Jabra Elite 75t earbuds, for a total of 24 hours of playback when paired with the included charging case. You can even choose from a variety of color combinations, from low-profile all-black buds to an eye-catching gold beige. All and all, a good buy for travelers.
Best Earbuds for Travel
- ✓ Same Apple H1 chip as the AirPods for easy pairing and switching
- ✓ Active noise cancellation and transparency mode
- ✓ Adjustable ear hook for a snug fit
- ✓ IPX4 sweat and water resistance
- ✗ Hook design might not be to everyone’s tastes
- ✗ Beats can still be a little bass-heavy for some genres
Beats has been a subsidiary of Apple since 2004, which means that headphones like the Beats Fit Pro are effectively Apple headphones. They use the same integrated H1 chip as Apple’s AirPods so you only need to pair them once for them to work with all of your Apple devices since they sync over iCloud.
The Beats Fit Pro design relies on an adjustable ear hook to anchor the headphones in place, which should prevent them from slipping out even during vigorous exercise. They are much smaller than workout headphones that use a clip design, which makes them and the charging case pocketable. Since they’re designed for exercise, the headphones also have an IPX4 sweat and water resistance rating.
Like the AirPods Pro, the Beats Fit Pro earbuds have on-board active noise cancellation which means they can remove a lot of background noise. They also have a transparency mode, which allows you to hear the world around you without having to take them out of your ears—though you’ll still need to pause the music for this to work properly.
You’ll also get support for spatial audio since the Beats Fit Pro uses sensors to track your head position which makes listening to Dolby Atmos music, movies, and TV shows even more immersive. You’ll get around six hours of battery life on a single charge, with an extra 18 hours in a fully charged case. You can fast charge them for 5 minutes to get around an hour of playback in a pinch.
One alternative to the Fit Pro is the Powerbeats Pro which uses the same Apple H1 chip for simple pairing and switching between devices. Instead of an adjustable hook, a clip is used to secure these in-ear headphones in place. They’re quite a bit larger and they lack active noise cancellation and support for spatial audio, so they fall a bit short of the Fit Pro but they may still be a good option.
Best Workout Earbuds
Beats Fit Pro
Beats Fit Pro earbuds are great for working out with their built-in hooks, active noise cancellation, and IPX4 water and sweat resistance.
$199.99 Save 20%
- ✓ Possibly the best active noise cancellation in this price bracket
- ✓ Good battery life, even with ANC enabled
- ✓ Good sound quality that can be customized using Sony’s app
- ✓ Water resistance on a par with AirPods Pro
- ✗ Despite support for LDAC, iPhone users miss out
- ✗ More expensive than AirPods Pro
- ✗ No easy pairing or deep iOS integration
The Sony WF-1000XM4 offers best-in-class active noise cancellation at a price point to match. With the WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds, Sony combines its Integrated Processor V1 with earbud tips that make a tight seal with your ear to minimize external audio.
The earbuds support the high-resolution LDAC Bluetooth codec, though iPhone users will have to fall back on the lossy aptX until Apple adds support for the format (if that time ever comes). There’s also a bone-conducting sensor to make sure you can hear what’s going on, even in boisterous environments.
Sony promises 8 hours of battery life with ANC enabled, with an additional 16 hours in the case. The case charges wirelessly via USB-C, with fast charging for the buds (5 minutes for an hour of listening). An IPX4 water-resistant rating brings these in line with AirPods Pro, and you can even customize the sound profile with Sony’s free Headphones Connect app on iPad or iPhone.
Compared with AirPods Pro, Sony’s earbuds offer superior noise cancellation at the cost of user experience. There’s no simplified pairing process as seen on headphones that use Apple’s proprietary H1 chip, so expect a little more resistance when it comes to using these across devices.
Review Geek rated the Sony WF-1000XM4s 9.5 out of 10 in its review, complimenting the earbuds’ incredible sound quality, best ANC in its class, and an excellent Ambient Mode.
Best Noise-Canceling Earbuds
$278.99 Save 10%
Source by www.howtogeek.com