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    Updated on Apr 10, 2020. Posted on Apr 10, 2020

    Listen Up! These Are The Best True Wireless Earbuds

    Look ma, no wires!

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    We’ve heard the future and it’s truly wireless. No, really. While we can all agree that a good pair of headphones are a necessity for modern life, true wireless earbuds add a dash of convenience by ditching wires completely.

    Netflix / Via giphy.com

    That means no cables anywhere, not even in between the ears, please.

    This presents a clear advantage for daily commuters and anyone who shuns bulky hardware. True wireless earbuds are small. They’re conveniently portable. And they can deliver surprisingly great sound without messing up your hair. Downsizing, however, comes at the expense of shorter battery life and the occasional audio dropout. And let’s not forget the accompanying charging case the buds call home when not in use — it’s just as important as the earbuds themselves.

    Editor's Note: We're currently updating these picks! Check back soon for more.

    Anker Soundcore Liberty Air

    BuzzFeed

    If you reject the look and feel of AirPods with every fiber of your being, let us stipulate up top: The Anker Soundcore Liberty Airs are not for you. Known for its well-priced tech accessories, Anker is hardly trying to conceal the fact that the brand has made earbuds that look a helluva lot like AirPods for half the price. But, plot twist: The Liberty Airs sound just as good as AirPods on a quiet day, and it’s highly possible they’ll fit your ears better, too.

    Granted, AirPods are not cheap, so half the price — $80 at the time of publishing — may still be too steep for some. For those looking for a pair of earbuds that’ll do the bare minimum, but do it well (good wireless connection, decent sound, and a durable case), the SoundPeats True Wireless Earbuds might be more your speed.  

    Despite a wonky pairing experience — connecting the earbuds after initial setup can take some finagling, especially if you’re on the move — the SoundPeats surprised us with their overall comfort and excellent sound quality for the price. Our testers also favored them over other inexpensive models from TaoTronics and JLab because of their smaller (read: pocketable) charging case.

    BuzzFeed

    For the rest of us who crave a good steal and some sweet, sweet audio, there’s the Liberty Airs. Like most budget models, the on-ear playback controls don’t include volume control, but they are touch-sensitive, which is a handy detail. A double-tap on the right earbud allows you to stop and play music and answer calls, while a double-tap on the left activates voice assistant. You’ll also be able to hop around with a tap and hold (right goes forward; left goes back).

    When it comes to features, don’t expect the Liberty Airs to offer the same perks you’d get with AirPods, like a fancy H1 chip that provides seamless pairing to Apple products. And with a build that features stouter stems and a glossier finish, there’s no denying you’ll have AirPods lookalikes dangling from your earlobes. But the Liberty Airs offer plenty of their own advantages, including the best sound you’ll get from a pair of true wireless earbuds under $100.

    BuzzFeed

    To get a sense of the Liberty Airs’ audio quality, you could, like us, fire up a record that’s been on heavy rotation, like, say, Big Thief’s U.F.O.F., and perform your own audio test. For a track like “Jenni,” the Liberty Airs do a wonderful job balancing out the song’s droning basslines, hazy electric guitars, and feathery vocals. But no matter the music genre (or podcast), we found the bass as well as the mid- and high ranges to be well-balanced and clear, with a surprisingly deep soundscape that blows other budget models out of the water.

    The sound quality is made better by the included silicone tips, which do an exceptional job blocking out ambient noise — a small but important detail AirPods lack. The Liberty Airs fit quite snugly as a result of this, and can withstand even the most active workouts. They’re also IPX5-certified so you don’t have to worry about damaging ’em with sweat.

    BuzzFeed

    In terms of connectivity, these buds boast Bluetooth 5 compatibility, which, in theory, will extend the range of your wireless connection (800 feet, up from 200 feet). The catch? You’ll need a Bluetooth 5–compatible gadget to take full advantage of the technology. In our experience at BuzzFeed’s New York HQ, we were able to travel from one side of a floor to the other without the connection dropping, proving that if open office plans are good for anything, it’s testing true wireless earbuds.

    As for the battery life? At an advertised five hours on a single charge, it’s great, if not standard for all true wireless earbuds no matter the price point. In our testing, we got up to just below 4.5 hours of listening at various volume levels. The charging case, which features a nifty LED battery life indicator, adds another 15ish hours. Luckily, you should have no problems getting along with the charging case, which has a fantastic (albeit fingerprint-prone) build with a light magnet to secure the buds in place.

    Despite sitting on the higher end of the budget category, the Liberty Airs are a tremendous value and could easily retail at double the price without people taking to the streets in protest. For that fact alone, we’ve gotta hand it to Anker on another job well done.

    Get it from Amazon for $80.

    Jabra Elite 65t

    BuzzFeed

    The first lesson you learn when testing true wireless earbuds is no pair can escape the long shadow of Apple’s AirPods, easily the most popular true wireless earbuds on the market. But for our $$ pick, we’re going with the incredibly well-rounded and versatile Jabra Elite 65ts. In our estimation, the Elite 65ts outshine the AirPods when it comes to fit, and their sound can go toe-to-toe with a few of the expensive models we tested, which is an incredible feat.

    Upon first glance, you might think these earbuds look...how to put this...normal? The gunmetal gray is a refreshingly subtle colorway, and the buds don’t have any extraneous quirks that call attention to themselves. And unlike most we tested in this price range, they actually have intuitive physical playback control buttons. Among the standard playback options, the Jabras also allow you to control the volume — a functionality that many true wireless earbuds do not have.

    BuzzFeed

    Our testers loved the fit of the Elite 65ts, which is circular in shape with a slight curve to accommodate the ear canal. Pressing the control buttons may be cumbersome at first, since you’re mashing the buds further into your canal, but you learn to adjust. After figuring out which silicone tips fit you best (there are three sizes included), all it takes is a quick insert in the ear for an incredibly secure fit. As a result, the Elite 65ts have superb noise isolation, which, sure, won’t block out the roar of the blast of a lawnmower, but is a boon against rattling trains and nearby office chitchat.

    They’re also IP55-rated, meaning they’re dust-tight and sweat-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about buying a separate pair for your gym runs. Though, if performance is your top priority, we recommend looking at the Jabra Elite Active 65ts. They’re slightly more expensive, but built with workout-friendly features like sweat-resistance (IP56 rating, to be exact), a built-in accelerometer, and grippier coating.

    That said, when compared to the earbuds’ premium build, the charging case will leave you scratching your head. First, with no magnets to hold them in place, the earbuds don’t sit as securely in the case as they probably should. On top of that, the plastic case’s hinged lid is awkward to open. Upside? The case is petite and stores easily in a pocket, and surpasses every other expectation by offering two extra (five-hour) charges and the power to give you 1.5 hours of battery in just 15 minutes.

    BuzzFeed

    To really get into the nitty-gritty of sound quality, we found our first impressions to be telling: The internal voice assistant was incredibly clear, if not startling. Similarly, when listening to tracks, the default settings offered a crisp, powerful (albeit slightly bass-forward) sound. While many will be perfectly satisfied with the offerings as is, Jabra’s companion app allows you to dive into some of the levels and personalize them to your taste. That same app, FWIW, also offers the option of “HearThrough” (or Transparent Hearing, as it’s referred to elsewhere). This will give you the luxury of hearing the outside world for moments at a time when you need to tune back in. You might even become the type of person who enjoys talking on the phone with these: The 65ts have four-microphone technology, which reduces wind noise, while their 6mm speakers allow you to either block out or let in the ambient noises of the outside world.

    And how does the connectivity compare to others in this category? We found the 65ts to be just about as good as it gets — no dropouts whatsoever, even in busy streets and office buildings with tons of possible Bluetooth signal weakeners. Pairing was another story, though: For as much shade as some folks throw at Apple for their AirPods design, they sure know how to make things efficient, and nothing will ever be as charming as the highly automated AirPods setup process. To Jabra’s credit, our testers did find the pop-up to download the app upon pairing downright posh. It just...required some trial and error to finally get there.

    BuzzFeed

    In our humble opinion, the Elite 65ts present a compelling argument for straying from your brand loyalties to, say, Samsung or Apple. While the Galaxy Buds might lure Samsung users in with their device-specific features like Automatic Sync (easy pairing) and Ambient Sound Mode, it’s not a great loss. Like we said, you’ll only be needing to deal with the pairing process once and then never again. And the 65ts already offer their version of Ambient Aware Mode (“HearThrough”) that’s available for any device. As for Apple, our testers agreed the 65ts just offer a more democratic design, not just in how versatile they are (AirPods are not waterproof) but also in how well they fit in a range of different ear sizes. Save for buying foam covers, there’s no way to customize an AirPod to your ear, so you’d better hope your ear canal is Apple’s idea of “standard.” Otherwise, you’re out of luck.

    We have no hesitation in recommending the Jabra Elite 65ts, which checked every one of our boxes for this price point and, we believe, are the best fit for most casual listeners. If you can manage to open the case — and maybe you will, now that you’ve been primed — you won’t be disappointed by what’s inside.

    Get it from Amazon for $120.

    Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

    BuzzFeed

    Can you really call yourself a premium headphone brand in the year 2019 if your name doesn’t sound like a powerful law firm? Case in point: Bowers & Wilkins. Bang & Olufsen. Master & Dynamic. Uh...Sennheiser? We’ll allow one exception to the rule with our $$$ pick: Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless earbuds.

    Released in 2018, the Momentums are the German company’s first true wireless earbuds, and are packed with premium details that wow, even down to their fancy heathered case — a nice break from the ubiquitous matte design. They’ve really packed these things to the brim with special features, which will probably make you forget all about the unsatisfying battery life. All things considered, we’re confident that their sound, design, and stellar connectivity make them the best premium true wireless earbuds currently on the market.

    About the pairing process: Sennheiser’s controls are not incredibly intuitive, so unless you have a sixth sense for Bluetooth configurations, you’re definitely going to want to get cozy with that instruction manual. Luckily, pairing is the only part that requires brainpower — after you’re in, you’re in.

    BuzzFeed

    If your experience is anything like ours, you’ll encounter practically no dropouts or subsequent failed pairing attempts. That’s a rarity. Touch controls (like tapping once on the left bud for pausing tracks or twice to play the next one) won’t be everyone’s idea of a good time — but for some, it’ll be a useful alternative to digging for your smartphone when you’re in a bind.

    On your first whirl, you might be struck by just how light the metal pieces feel in your ears, and that’s a big feat of craftsmanship. You won’t, at any point, have to worry about whether or not the heft of the buds will cause them to fall out (like we did with Master & Dynamic’s stunning MW07 buds). With a little finesse and an insert-and-twist motion, the pieces fit like a dream inside the ear canal and only protrude slightly, which is great news for anyone allergic to the indiscreet AirPods look and perhaps not-so-great news for commuters who like an immediate “Can’t talk right now!” signal.

    BuzzFeed

    How do the Momentums stack up against the others in battery power? A little disappointing. With up to four hours of playback and two extra charges (eight additional hours) from the case, it’s a less-than-industry-standard of five hours per charge. The upside is Sennheiser gives you ample opportunity to know how much battery you have left at any given moment. On the back of the charging case, you’ll notice a small light that glows green if the battery is full, yellow if it’s hovering around 50%, and red if you’re in the danger zone. Plus, you can download the companion Smart Control app to see what the exact battery percentage is.

    For all the touch controls that the Momentums offer, weirdly there is nothing to power off the buds and conserve that precious battery life. This can only be done by placing them back in their case — specifically, a charged case. If the case has no battery, which happens more than you might expect, the buds will continue to play music if not directed to stop on your device. All of which to say you'll quickly master the art keeping the charging case loaded with juice. 

    In true premium fashion, the Momentums come with a Transparent Hearing feature, accessible by both app and touch controls, which allows you to eavesdrop on conversations around you by heightening outside audio levels. This is your moment, creeps! The Smart Pause feature, too, is a great concept with some small caveats. When you remove one bud, audio will stop playing — however, if they’re placed too closely together (e.g., thrown haphazardly in your coat pocket) the Momentums will get tripped up and continue playing. But these bells and whistles are probably not what’s going to ultimately rationalize your splurge, anyway.

    BuzzFeed

    What will, however, is their spectacular audio quality, which we’re far from the first to declare the best in the game right now — unmatched, even, by the offerings from premium brands Bose, Bang & Olufsen, and Master & Dynamic. You’ll probably find the default audio settings ideal, but if not, you have the option of going into the app and tinkering with bass and treble levels. If you’re a bass fiend, this is your opportunity to go wild: Sennheiser is in the game of balance, and the bass is set up so as not to overwhelm some of the small flourishes in a track.

    Deciding to drop several hundred dollars on a new pair of shiny, aluminum earbuds is going to come down to whether you can tune out a handful of minor annoyances. If you can? Great. Have yourself some best-in-class audio and forget all about it. It’s important to remember that we’re still in the trial phase of true wireless technology. If this is Sennheiser’s first-ever attempt, we can only imagine where they’ll land with the next drop.

    Get it from Amazon for $210.