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The Best Wireless Earbuds

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Offering unmatched portability, true wireless earbuds are a must-have accessory for those wanting a great on-the-go audio experience.

True wireless earbuds have surged in popularity over the past couple of years. They offer complete freedom for wires, ultra-portability and decent battery life thanks to the rechargeable charging cases they come with. With most reputable audio brands now including at least one iteration of earbuds in their line ups, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to options.

That's where we come in. We've tested and reviewed countless pairs of earbuds and this article will break down the best of them. If you’re new to the world of wireless earbuds, we’ve included a handy buyers’ guide and if you want to take a look at all of your options, scroll down the page for the complete list, plus a couple of honourable mentions.

The best wireless earbuds to buy

1. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus

If your budget is tight and you prioritise sound quality over anything else, these are the true wireless earbuds to buy. They feature a High Performance mode that increases their dynamic range and widens the soundstage, with the effect being rich, detailed and expansive audio unmatched by other earbuds in the 1 Plus' price range.

Should you wish to tweak the EQ you can do so within the companion app, where you'll also find six EQ presets along with the option to customise the controls. Unlike most earbuds these days, the 1 Plus opt for physical button presses rather than touch controls; but these work excellently. We didn't find the fit quite so impressive but you get a great selection of eartips to choose from, which should ensure most people are able to achieve a secure and comfortable fit.

Key specs– Built-in microphone and music control buttons: Yes; Weight: 5g per earbud, 50g charging case; Battery life: 35 hours (High Performance mode); IP rating: IPX5

2. Sony WF-1000XM3

When it comes to noise-cancelling technology, Sony's WF-1000XM3 lead the pack. These true wireless earbuds house the company's QN1e chip, a near-identical processor that features in the industry-leading ANC headphones, the WH-1000XM3.

The WFs are far more portable, however, and with a fun sound signature, intuitive touch-based controls and a wide level of customisation via Sony's Headphones Connect app, these buds are truly excellent. The only drawback is that they aren't IP-rated, attract wind noise due to the design and have a rather large-sized charging case.

Key specs Built-in microphone and music control buttons: Yes; Weight: 8.5g per earbud, 77g charging case; Battery life (total): 32hrs

3. Anker Soundcore Life P3

Budget earbuds tend to struggle when it comes to delivering effective active noise cancellation, but the Life P3 put a decent dent in ambient sound across the frequency range. There are three ANC modes to select from in the Soundcore companion app, which also provides access to a huge range of preset EQs. You can also create and save your own EQ, making the P3 pleasingly customisable.

That customisation extends to their touch controls, which can be tailored to cover all the key actions via single and double taps on the earbud stem or by holding your finger on the touch-sensitive surface for two seconds. Said touch controls can be a little hit and miss at times and our reviewer found the buds worked themselves loose in their ears occasionally, but those are relatively minor gripes considering what a great value proposition the Life P3 are.

Key specs – Built-in microphone and music control buttons: Yes; Weight: 5g per earbud, 50g charging case; Battery life: 30 hours; IP rating: IPX5

4. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

The original Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless held a place on this list for some time thanks to their rich, accurate sound and spacious soundstage. Their successors take everything that was good about the originals and add active noise cancelling into the mix, making for an even better audio experience.

The ANC may not be class-leading, but the sound quality delivered by the 7mm dynamic drivers is. That sonic excellence combined with a comfortable fit and up to 28 hours battery life with the charging case makes the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2 a great option for audiophiles looking for earbuds. The only downside is the price – they’re the most expensive buds on our list.

Key specs – Built-in microphone and music control buttons: Yes; Weight: 6g per earbud, 58g charging case; Battery life (total): 28hrs

How to choose the best wireless earbuds for you

How much should I spend?

The most important thing is to set yourself a budget and, if you don’t have a big budget, get the very best you can afford. The same principle applies for normal wired, Bluetooth or active-noise cancelling headphones – the more limited your budget, the more you’ll have to compromise somewhere along the line.

As a general rule of thumb, the more you invest, the better the audio quality will be. Aside from that, more expensive sets will offer unique features, such as built-in heart rate tracking, or support for virtual assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant, though some budget options are now also integrating voice command functionality.

Are they easy to set up?

Wireless earbuds are no different from other Bluetooth headphones – they connect the same way to your smartphone or computer, and once you’ve paired one earbud you won’t, in most cases, have to pair the other. The whole process is pretty easy and, once paired, you’ll never have to do it again.

What about connectivity?

Thanks to the advances in Bluetooth technology, wireless earbuds connect seamlessly across devices and have the same wireless range as any other set of Bluetooth headphones. It's worth keeping an eye out on a device's Bluetooth version number. Most new devices use Bluetooth 5.0, which is the latest version of the technology. With older versions, you're likely to get more audio dropout when using your earbuds.

How important are codecs?

Codecs determine how Bluetooth transmits information to your device. The SBC codec is pretty much universal across all devices and works just fine, though you'll open up the possibility to listen to higher resolution audio with more advanced codecs such as AAC, which is favoured by Apple or Qualcomm's aptX, aptX HD or aptX Adaptive codecs.

Can I make calls?

All of the earbuds we’ve tested come with built-in mics. They’re good at picking up your voice but won’t isolate it from ambient sound as well as your smartphone. Naturally, when connected through Bluetooth, you’ll be able to hear the caller in your ears.

Can I use one earbud only?

Most earbuds have one master and one slave driver – depending on the way the manufacturer has implemented it, you’ll be able to listen to your music through one of the said earbuds. Of course, we’d always recommend both for the full stereo experience.

What’s the catch?

Wireless earbuds typically don’t isolate sound as well as over-ear headphones. They also have less battery life owing to their compact design, although this is offset by the inclusion of portable charging cases, which allow you to top up your buds while on the go.

Finally, wireless earbuds are easier to lose – the running joke of losing your wireless earbuds is a harsh reality. Lose one side and you’ll be constrained to a mono experience. So, if you’re prone to losing devices or remembering to charge your phone, true wireless earbuds may not be for you!

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