Best Wireless Earphones
Even those with a mere passing interest in tech will be keen to find out about wireless earphones. After all, with more and more smartphones removing the earphone jack, we don’t have any option but to include them in our everyday gadget kit.
But there’s a reason smartphone-makers see wired headphones as redundant. Bluetooth connections are now fast and reliable, and being wire-free means we can use our phones and earbuds much more flexibly, whether we’re at the gym, doing chores at home, or out running errands.
As an area that’s gaining interest, the market is flooded with tempting options to give us clear sound at an excellent price while operating in a slick way. But what are the best buds of the bunch? Let’s take a closer look.
Apple AirPods Pro 2
Anyone in the Apple ecosystem will already be bought in by their wireless earbuds. Their second generation of their premium range, the AirPod Pro, was released in September 2022 and are seen as the top choice for those who can afford it – they’re £249 after all.
They’re laden with cool features, like active noise cancelling and adaptive transparency, a handy touch control so you don’t have to keep getting your phone out, and the latest H2 chip to make operating smooth and easy. You get up to six hours of listening on one charge, while the charging case has a battery that offers 30 hours of listening time – so you should be able to take it away for a weekend break without needing to recharge it. Best of all, the sound quality is excellent. Like all the other Apple products, it’s a top piece of kit, though at a premium price.
JLab Go Air Pop
At the other end of the price spectrum, we can trust JLab to come up with budget-busting earphones that deliver a solid product without a hefty cost attached. TheJLab Go Air Pop are only £20, meaning they’re a perfect choice for those that don’t need a top-quality product, or those that keep losing their earbuds. It has all the basic features you’d expect, like pretty decent sound, a good battery life (at eight hours, or 32 in the case), comfortable wear and reliable Bluetooth connectivity. Just don’t expect the extras, like noise cancelling or helpful touch controls.
If you’re always losing your earbuds but have a higher budget, Sony’s entry level Bluetooth earbuds are a smart choice. Available in black, orange, green and white, they look nifty. The brand-name sound quality and mechanics of it all are a step higher, and it comes with a few nice features, like compatibility with voice assistants and water resistance (perfect for running or gym sessions). The battery life is decent – it holds 10 hours of playback, and the case has another 10 hours – plus it only takes 10 minutes of charging for another hour. At around £59, it’s well worth considering.
For those who often take phone calls while using earbuds, these Technics are a godsend. They have ‘Just My Voice’ technology inbuilt so that background noise and wind are lessened. It’s also the first set of earbuds with triple-point connectivity, so you can connect the earbuds to your phone, tablet and laptop at the same time, and switch between them easily. Those features will make it popular for the modern-day office kit, but leisure users will find much to like too. The sound quality is excellent, and the noise cancellation isn’t too bad either. The battery life isn’t amazing, with 4.5 hours of listening from the earbud, but there’s another 16 hours in the charging case. Overall, it’s well worth the £259 if you can afford it.
Noise cancellation is a big attraction for earbuds. The feature can make all the difference when you’re on a flight, when you want to focus on sound in a loud environment, or even when you’re drifting off to sleep sounds. Enter the Panasonic RZ-S500W, which particularly shines with its noise cancelling abilities – it’s all the more surprising that these buds are Panasonic’s first model in this market. You’ll also get five sizes of tips to help seal in the sound, twin microphones for voice calling, intuitive touch controls, great-quality sound, and a decent battery. Expect 6.5 hours from the ear buds, and another 13 hours of listening through the charging case. At £130, it’s our favourite choice for the mid-range market.
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