With so many options available, there are some key factors to consider
We’ve come a long way from the simple wired earbuds of the past. The most advanced may have come in a range of colours and included a remote on the cable, but they didn’t offer much in the way of features – unless you were willing to shell out a substantial amount of money.
These days, Bluetooth is practically standard and there are hundreds of wireless earbuds to choose from offering a range of different features. Faced with all that variety, how do you choose the right earbuds for you? Let’s break down some of the key factors you should consider.
Bluetooth technology has evolved to deliver extremely high sound quality, allowing you to enjoy the nuances of your favourite music on the go. There are various specs that contribute to sound quality to consider, including frequency response (measured in Hz), which defines the range of audio frequencies the earbuds can produce, and the size of the drivers. For those less technically minded, the best solution is to try out the earbuds for yourself if possible, or to read reviews to decide which model offers a sound signature that suits your personal tastes.
Manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to improve in-ear sound quality and Nura offers a revolutionary personalised sound technology that adapts to give each user a custom-tuned listening experience. The new NURATRUE earbuds have highly sensitive microphones that listen for otoacoustic emissions (the sounds created by sensory hair cells in your ear as they respond to auditory stimulation), which contain information about the user’s hearing. Then the self-learning engine in the Nura apps creates a unique hearing profile that provides superior depth, detail and clarity so you hear your music like never before.
Unlike wired headphones, wireless earbuds require charging. You don’t want to plan a day of walking around listening to your favourite music or catching up on your podcasts just to have your earbuds run out of charge half an hour in. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to build charging your earbuds into your daily routine, but it will also pay to understand battery life before making your purchase.
Wireless earbuds typically offer between four and eight hours of audio playback per charge but come with portable charging cases that enable you to keep them topped up while on the go. Make sure to check the battery life offered in the specs to ensure they will suit your needs. For instance, Nura’s NURATRUE earbuds carry six hours of charge, which can be extended to 24 hours with their fast-charge case. The earbuds charge to full in the case in two hours, and the case itself can be charged in two-and-a-half hours, making it quick and easy to replenish your batteries.
The proliferation of noise cancellation means that more and more earbuds include the technology. Active noise-reduction technology monitors external noise and creates an opposing sound to counter it – often with options to adjust the level of noise cancellation or to turn it off entirely.
It’s worth considering where you will be using your earbuds – noise cancellation is great for noisy environments such as trains and planes or when you need to concentrate, but in busy environments such as city centres, it’s important for your safety that you can hear what is going on around you. NURATRUE earbuds feature active noise cancellation with a Social Mode that allows you to activate and deactivate sound cancellation and hear your surroundings at the touch of a button.
Comfort and fit
One factor that remains constant when choosing in-ear headphones is that you want to make sure that they fit comfortably and won’t drop out of your ears at an inconvenient moment. Some are designed to sit in your outer ear, while those with ear tips fit closer to your ear canal offer a more secure fit and better sound isolation.
You may know which type of earbud design works best for you, but otherwise some trial and error may be involved. Fortunately, many earbuds come with a selection of different tips and accessories – NURATRUE earbuds, for instance, include four silicone ear tip options, two wing attachments and a pair of foam tips. The more options you have at your disposal, the more likely you are to achieve a comfortable, stable fit that will help block out sound from the outside world.
One of the great innovations in earbud technology was the introduction of the in-line remote. Prior to that, you had to fish your MP3 player out of your pocket (or your CD player out of your bag!) to adjust the volume or skip a track.
True wireless earbuds have taken things a couple of steps further by implementing touch controls executed via taps or swipes on their outer surfaces. It’s worth investigating how they work on different models before you buy a pair, as each set of earbuds handles controls slightly differently. If the controls sound particularly convoluted, you might find them frustrating to use on a day-to-day basis. Reviews might reveal when controls are awkward or buttons hard to press. Now, some models such as NURATRUE even provide customisable controls, so you can design the system that is most logical and convenient for your own use.