It’s time to cut the cord! In 2019, when smartphones are slowly but surely getting rid of the 3.5mm audio jack from smartphones and tablets, users are
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It’s time to cut the cord!
In 2019, when smartphones are slowly but surely getting rid of the 3.5mm audio jack from smartphones and tablets, users are turning to wireless as the next viable option. Ironically, as the company that still retains the headphone jack in their flagship smartphones, Samsung currently builds the best truly wireless earbuds for Android devices. Our best overall pick is the Samsung Galaxy Buds for their superb battery life, wireless charging case, and excellent sound quality.
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Buds
Samsung is new to the truly wireless earbud game. The company has been known to retain the 3.5mm audio jack throughout multiple generations, even when its competition continues to ax it. With the Galaxy Buds, Samsung is now stiff competition in this space.
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds integrate best with Samsung’s latest smartphones but work with all other smartphones including Pixel devices and iPhones. You’ll just miss features such as quick pairing and quick access to the buds’ battery status, which is only available on Samsung devices. It features a wireless charging case that uses the Qi standard, in addition to USB-C wired charging for faster charging. The charging case gives the Galaxy Buds up to two full charges for the earbuds and the buds themselves last up to six hours on a single charge.
Overall, they’re the best bang for your buck in terms of truly wireless earbuds. They offer superb sound quality for its form factor, exceptional battery life, wireless charging, and noise isolation. There’s not much more you can ask for. The only real downside is the microphone on the Galaxy Buds. They are unequivocally terrible in every sense of the word. It sounds like you’re completely underwater to the person on the other end.
Long battery life
Integration with Samsung devices
Wireless charging case (and USB-C wired!)
Universal app on Android
No iOS app
Samsung Galaxy Buds
Balanced, portable audio
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are the new kid on the block. Despite this, they check all the boxes people want with their truly wireless earbuds: great battery life and sound, convenient features, and a wireless charging case.
Best Sound Quality: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless
You can’t go wrong with Sennheiser when it comes to any audio gear, and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless are no exception. These earbuds make the list for those who enjoy dance, hip-hop, or any other bass heavy genre of music.
The Momentum True Wireless has a super harsh boost in the bass, giving it an overall darker sound signature, with a clear and even midrange and a rather underwhelming treble response overall. The good news is Sennheiser’s mobile app (available on both iOS and Android) allows you to customize the sound signature to a certain extent.
They offer six hours of usage, with up to 12 hours of use using the included charging case. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Buds, the case is missing wireless charging of any kind, but it still offers USB-C for charging.
They are also one of the biggest truly wireless earbuds out there, but that’s not a huge deal since they’re still much more portable than any on-ear or in-ear headphone. At the very least, they’re still pocketable even with the rather large charging case.
Overall, if you have the money to spend on Sennheiser earbuds and want that great bass, this is the choice for you.
Super sound quality
6-hour battery life
Charging case with USB-C
App for iOS and Android
Case and buds bulky
Best Sound Quality
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless
High definition audio
You can never go wrong with Sennheiser. It offers some of the best audio gear on the market and the Momentum True Wireless are no exception.
Best Value: SoundCore Truly Wireless Earbuds
When it comes to best value, the SoundCore Truly Wireless Earbuds are the best bang for your buck. If you set your expectations accordingly, these are an extremely good value.
While nothing special, the charging case allows up to 12 hours of listening time while the earbuds themselves net you around 3.5 hours of listening on a single charge.
The sound is right where you expect for earbuds at this price. It’s nothing mind-blowing but will get you by if you just want something to listen to music. They also feature an IPX5 water resistance rating, which equates to being able to use them in the rain or while doing intense workouts.
12 hours of battery life with case
IPX5 water resistance
No customization (app or on earbuds)
Only microUSB for charging
SoundCore Truly Wireless EarBuds
Solid inexpensive tunes
For the price, you get what you get, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be bad. These buds still offer solid audio quality with a 3.5-hour battery life, and up to 12 hours on a single charge. Sure, they don’t have any party tricks such as wireless charging or USB-C for the case, but most consumers probably have a few microUSB cables laying around the house.
Best Active Noise Canceling: Sony WF-SP700N
There aren’t many active noise-canceling (ANC) truly wireless earbuds out there so this is an easy pick if you absolutely need no distractions when listening. The design isn’t the prettiest and they’re rather bulky, but they get the job done.
Battery life is rather lackluster with up to three hours alone and up to 9 hours with the charging case. However, that’s a trade-off you have to expect if ANC is a priority. Of course, as with most ANC headphones, the WF-SP700N offer an ambient sound mode that reverses the ANC microphones to allow the outside world in, therefore preserving battery.
Sound quality is right where you’d expect from a modern pair of Sony headphones. You get bass with a hard thump and warm sound signature with a neutral mid range and an almost non-existent treble region. You can boost the bass even further with Sony’s flagship Bass Boost feature.
In terms of water and dust resistance, the WF-SP700N get a basic IPX4 rating. This means that they are “splash-proof” which covers sweat, but it’s not recommended in rain or similar situations.
Active Noise Cancelation (ANC)
Ambient sound mode
IPX4 water and dust resistance
microUSB for charging
Not as water-resistant as other options
Bulky and questionable design
Best Active Noise Canceling
The Sony WF-SP700N are great if you absolutely need ANC and basic water resistance, but you’ll have to make due with lackluster battery life. With ANC you also get an ambient sound mode that allows you to have a conversation without removing your earbuds.
Best Value Sound Quality: Jabra Elite 65t
Sound quality is a strange thing and is very much subjective. However, the Jabra Elite 65t undoubtedly has superb sound quality for its size and form factor.
Just like pretty much every other option on this list, how great the sound quality is depends on how well the earbuds seal in your ears. With a proper seal, the bass can sound rich and present with a slight emphasis to provide a warm sound signature. However, the mid range is a bit uneven, making them slightly muddy, especially when it comes to vocals. As for the treble, they’re present and slightly overemphasized to the point where S’s and T’s may sound a bit sharp in certain recordings and tracks.
In terms of comfort, these are above average. They’re angled to fit in your ears and will flat out not work for some people’s ears due to its unique design. If you have smaller ears, I’d avoid these altogether. The Jabra Elite 65t have a slightly larger than usual design which would make them unfeasible for those who have smaller ears.
They offer a 5-hour battery life with the charging case giving users up to 15 hours of usage on a single charge. The Jabra Elite 65t are rated for IPX55 water and dust resistance, which is better than most earbuds.
Water and dust resistance
microUSB fo charging
Not great for small ears
Best Value Sound Quality
Jabra Elite 65t
Inexpensive wireless sound
Truly wireless earbuds are still relatively expensive due to their nature. However, the Jabra Elite 65t’s are by far the best value when it comes to sound quality, battery life, and portability.
Best For Workouts: Powerbeats Pro
When it comes to working out, the newly announced Powerbeats Pro is by far the best solution. They offer great battery life, while also giving superb passive isolation. The design allows them to fit most people’s ears and with better isolation means a more consistent sound signature.
They feature Apple’s H1 chip, which means super easy pairing, low latency, and support for “Hey Siri” if you use any recent Apple device. For Android and other devices, they function like basic Bluetooth headphones.
While Beats has a reputation for having rather poor sound quality, the company has been improving its sound over the past several years. It’s still far from great for audiophiles, but it features a fun sound signature with a punchy and not over-barring bass response that most will enjoy.
The Powerbeats Pro offer IPX4 water resistance so it should be able to withstand rain and sweat. Just don’t dunk these in a tub of water or use them over a sink.
Solid, fun sound
H1 chip for Apple devices
Basic Bluetooth on Android
Lightning for charging
Best For Workouts
The Powerbeats pro offer a fun sound signature for working out. They’re guaranteed to stay in your ears. The case is a bit bulky but with the battery life these offer, you probably won’t need to carry the case unless you’re planning on using them for more than 9 hours.
Best Value Workout: JBL Under Armor True Wireless Flash
The JBL Under Armor True Wireless Flash are built like a tank with an IPX7 water resistance rating. For working out, these are an absolute gem and will be able to handle any sort of sweat, rain, or snow that comes your way. With IPX7, these are rated to be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes.
In terms of battery life, these rival the top dogs in the true wireless space. They offer up to five hours on the earbuds, with up to 25 hours with the charging case.
For sound, the JBL Under Armor True Wireless Flash is decent. They use the same signature JBL sound, which translates to a boosted yet controlled bass, a neutral mid range, and a treble that is present with a very quick roll off to prevent treble fatigue. For working out, this type of sound signature is preferred as it gets the adrenaline pumping and elevates your music.
The only real downsides to these buds are that they still use microUSB for charging, and that they use an “active” blue LED indicator when the earbuds are paired to a device, which I found to be distracting.
Comfort and size
Class leading water and dust resistance
microUSB for charging
Odd shaped case
Annoying blue LED status indicator light
Best Value Workout
JBL Under Armor True Wireless Flash
Classic JBL sound
If you’re familiar with the JBL sound, the True Wireless Flash is right up your alley. With these earbuds you’ll get strong battery life, class leading water and dust resistance, and great sound.
Best for iPhone: Apple AirPods (2nd generation)
It’s no secret that Apple’s AirPods have become the most popular truly wireless earbuds on the market. Since their debut in December of 2016, the company has struggled to keep up with demand.
In early 2019, the company refreshed the popular earbuds with new features such as an always listening “Hey Siri” (Apple device required), a Qi-compatible wireless charging case, and slightly better battery life when taking on phone calls.
Sure, they lack any sort of isolation, and the sound quality is debatable. However, they are super convenient and offer features such as quick pairing between devices and up to 24 hours of battery life with the charging case.
Portability and convenience
Wireless charging case
No gesture support or customization on Android
5 hour battery life
Best for iPhone
Apple AirPods (2nd generation)
It just worksApple’s AirPods (first or second generation) are by far the most popular wireless earbuds on the market, let alone truly wireless earbuds and they’re popular for a reason. They offer the best bang for your buck in terms of the feature set, if you use an iPhone.
Truly wireless earbuds have gained popularity over the past several years. Choosing a pair is difficult right now because many tech companies are rushing to get their own versions out and as the technology matures, great earbuds will come down in price and sound quality will continue to evolve.
However, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds remains one of the best you can buy right now. It’s also the best bang for your buck in terms of performance and features. Unless, of course, you’re planning to use them to purely work out. In that case, check out the Powerbeats Pro or JBL Under Armor True Wireless Flash.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Peter Cao has been an audio enthusiast for a number of years. He’s tested over a dozen headphones and is excited to continue on his audio journey.
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