From what looked like a strange piece of plastic peeping out of the ear, true wireless earbuds (TWS) have come a long way.
From not just creating a niche of its own but TWS is gradually eating into the market for wired headphones. After all, they are convenient to use and does not restrict your movement the way wired ones do.
The market today is flooded with wireless earbuds in different shapes and sizes - with stem, without stem, in earloop.
And from many companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, Xiaomi, Bose, Sony, boat… the list seems to be endless. With so many options to choose from, here's are some of the best picks that do well on almost all fronts - from comfort to sound to battery backup.
Also Read: Google Pixel Buds A-Series: Smart buds with balanced sound
Apple AirPods Pro
Price: Rs 24,900
With so many options in the market, the AirPods Pro continues to be the best sounding earbuds and just perfect for the Apple ecosystem.
The buds with stem are lightweight and offer a comfortable fit. Accompanied with three different sizes of soft flexible silicone ear tips, the iPhone checks for the perfect fit/superior seal when paired for the first time.
Active noise cancellation is impressive. It uses two microphones combined with advanced software to continuously adapt to each ear and headphone fit.
The AirPods Pro successfully removes background noise and also has a transparency mode to be aware of the surroundings. Both the call clarity and audio clarity are top-notch.
With ANC, AirPods Pro offer four and a half hours of listening time and up to three and a half hours of talk time on a single charge. And the wireless charging case juices up the AirPods Pro for over 24 hours of listening time or over 18 hours of talk time, supports wireless charging as well.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Price: Rs 15,990
Launching wireless earbuds since 2016, Samsung has mastered the TWS category as the latest Buds Pro Buds have it all. From great design, fit and sound to utility features such as active noise cancellation (ANC), enhancing ambient noise and automatically switching between the two when speaking.
Buds Pro have a glossy finish at the top complementing the matte finish and rubberized in-ear tip (no wing-tips thankfully) and are placed in a matte-finish clamshell charging case. The buds offer a good seal, fits comfortably, without falling.
The Galaxy Wearable app installed a plugin for the Buds Pro from the Play Store, and this process of pairing took less than a couple of minutes. Active noise cancellation is impressive - it successfully subdues the background noise while playing music but not so much when the music isn't playing.
Voice Detect identifies when talking to people and automatically lowers the audio volume. It houses an 11millimeter woofer and a 6.5mm tweeter offer loud and clear sound.
Full charge lasted for four hours with ANC on, close to six hours with ANC off, and the case charged the buds twice. When completely dead, a five-minute charge juiced up the buds for about an hour's use. Comes with a Type-C cable but supports wireless charging (Qi-certified) as well. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are meant only for Android devices and not iPhone
Google Pixel Buds A-Series Price
Price: Rs 9,999
Boasting a unique design, there is no stem popping out with the Pixel Buds A-Series. It is accompanied by 3 sizes of ear tips for a comfortable fit. Controls are identical on both the buds.
The storage and charging case complement the buds. The soft finish and compact size have a very premium hand feel and comfortably slide in the jeans pocket.
The buds pair quickly over Bluetooth and have an accompanying - Pixel Buds app- for Android smartphones with very basic functionality.
They are good for answering calls. Unlike other modes, it lacks active noise cancellation (a common in this price range these days) but it does fairly well while answering calls.
More so because the fit in the ear blocked most of the outside noise. There is also an Adaptive Sound feature that tries to adjust the volume based on your environment.
It works well with vocals. Battery backup is a little over four hours on a single charge, plus two additional charge cycles.
OnePlus Buds Pro
Price: Rs 9,990
One of the best-looking earbuds in the market, it has a stem and seems to be inspired by the AirPods, offering a comfortable fit.
However, the sleek pebble-shaped charging case looks refreshing. Complementing this design is the matte black soft finish of the case and dual-tone buds in black and chrome finish.
There is a Hey Melody app that helps with tweaking some of the predefined controls on the earbud stem, earbud fit test, noise cancellation controls and the all-new Zen Mode for relaxing sounds. App also supports fit test to help choose the best tips for a good seal with ear canals.
The active noise cancellation on the buds help get rid of the background street noise and it also features 'smart' mode which automatically adjusts the active noise cancellation level basis the loudness of the ambient noise.
Call and audio output are good. And it supports a fancy feature OnePlus Audio ID - that enhanced the audio based on hearing ability.
The buds offer five hours with active noise cancellation, and the case can charge the buds four times. Even this one comes with a Type-C port and wireless charging support.
Price: Rs 19,990
Sony WF-1000XM3 isn't the smallest or shall I say a compact TWS. Both the wireless earbuds and the case looks big as compared to the AirPods Pro.
Available in silver and back colour options, they look stylish and sounds great too. Housing a 6mm dome driver, the sound while listening to music is impressive.
It supports stereo calling on both left and right earbuds with clear sound. The noise cancellation feature works well and is accompanied by the Quick Attention function to help listen to the surrounding sounds without removing the buds.
The battery life is pretty decent - around three hours with noise-cancelling and Ambient Sound enabled which can be stretched to four hours with some modes off. And the case juices the buds thrice.
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