The introduction of the Apple AirPods back in 2016 put wireless earphones back into the spotlight. This revived the market for TWS audio companies and tech companies alike have been in fierce competition since then. But thanks to that very competition, now, 4 years later, we have a wide variety of options to choose from. There is something out there for everyone. In fact, so many options that the hunt for one gets overwhelming and it is often tough to pick and settle on one. To help those lost souls, who have no idea what they’re looking for, I have compiled a long list. A guide to true wireless earphones (TWS) to help you choose.
Since there are so many options when it comes to wireless earphones, I thought it best to segregate them into separate categories to make this guide for true wireless earphones. This way you can directly look at what you want, or find something that caters to your current needs. So here it is, the ultimate guide to true wireless earphones! I hope everyone finds what they’re looking for. Happy hunting!
For the Audiophiles:
Now this section is for all those freaks out there who are extremely picky about the sound that enters their ears. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am an audiophile myself. I can’t stand most normal earphones. So trust me when I say, I get you. I do. But this quirk of ours comes at a price. And a great one I’m afraid, it’s all so very expensive. But here it is anyway, a list of over-the-top pieces of perfection which are any average audiophile’s wet dream. A guide to true wireless earphones for the audiophile.
First, on the list, we have one of the very best audio companies out there on the market, AKG. The AKG N400 are water-resistant earbuds with an IPX7 rating. Slightly overkill if you ask me but you have the assurance of no future water damage, even if you made the poor decision to shower or swim with them. The battery life is around 5-6 hours and the case holds around an additional 12 hours of battery. With them charged for only 10 minutes, you can enjoy close to an hour of listening. A perfect all-rounder if you don’t know what sound it is that you are looking for. It has ambient noise cancellation as well.
These will also offer a pair of silicone ear tips and a pair of memory foam ear tips to enhance the noise-cancellation effectiveness. Additionally, they have touch panels that you can use to toggle the noise cancellation, cycle through your content listening mode, access your best virtual assistance options, and control your playback. It is built with a sturdy matte-metal finish, from the charging case to the buds themselves. It doesn’t look anything special, but the case fits snugly in most pockets. A solid device for which should’ve been priced much higher than its $150 price tag. It offers everything a high-end pair should and more. It isn’t anything extraordinary. Just a solid pair of TWS IEMs which excels in what it does.
There are very few issues with the WF-1000XM3. Weighing just 8.5 g each, they’re comfortable in the ear and they look clean and sleek. It lasts about 6 hours on a single charge and the case can recharge up to 12 hours as well. That 6 hours is with noise cancellation turned on. And the noise cancellation itself is absolutely brilliant. Indisputably one of the best, if not the best noise cancellation out there. The device is pure quality and the $230 (around ₹17,000) price tag is justified. Especially considering the clean and all-rounded audio experience from the IEMs. You can’t go wrong with this device except for, perhaps, the price.
The device also has a quick attention mode which amplifies ambient outdoor sounds. This is useful when suddenly try to talk to someone. It even has in-ear detection and will pause playback when one bud is removed. The device also uses an L/R simultaneous transmission system for its connectivity which reduces latency. This will be very useful when watching shows or movies. A slight drawback is that the device isn’t very water-resistant. And the case is kinda really big. But it is so well rounded in all aspects like tonality, bass, its ranges that it just produces a very pleasing and clean sound which everyone will enjoy. Plus it looks absolutely classy. A guide to truly wireless earphones without this addition would be incomplete at best.
Samsung Galaxy Buds+
The Galaxy Buds+ were made after Samsung’s wild success with the first iteration of the device; the Galaxy Buds. Those were so darn good, even audiophiles were so pleasantly surprised at the quality of the earphones. They took a calculated approach to the Buds+ and they are virtually identical to the last model. The build itself is made out of plastic. While this may feel cheap it has its benefits when considering weight, comfort, and most important of all affordability. It is actually surprising that such a device would be priced around $149. These are one of the best sounding TWS IEMs you can buy in the market today.
A change from the last model was an under-the-hood change that had to do with the new dual-driver system. Each earbud now contained a dedicated woofer and tweeter. The bass response of the Buds+ is immaculate. The battery life is no joke either with up to 12 hours of playtime on a single charge and the case can carry more charge. This comes with added features like IPX2 rated water-resistance and Spotify integration. The microphone quality is top-notch as well. There isn’t much to complain about here. Honestly, if you have the budget go grab them.
For the Budget-Keepers:
Let’s take a small break from that enticingly expensive tech and return back to mortal Earth. This section is for those looking for a solid pair of wireless IEMs in the budget tech space with good pricing but little compromise to quality. All these earphones will be under $100 and their quality might just stun you. The wireless space is getting quite scary. A guide to true wireless earphones for people on a budget.
QCY T5 – $35
The QCY T5 is a threat to the status quo of highly-priced, average-sounding TWS buds. These super cheap IEMs aren’t just ‘alright’, they are really good. Sure the build and the features aren’t too great, but it costs less than a good meal outside and it sounds like a champion. When it comes to just sound and tuning the T5 is tasteful. Extremely competent and clean audio with a flare of excitement. The design and build are very conventional. It’s made out of plastic which gives them a low-end feel. Despite this, they are still snug and comfortable. The simple look doesn’t affect its sound either, with actually really good audio for this price range.
The battery life is pretty good as well. It lasts over 4 hours on a single charge and the case can charge it 4 additional times. A $280 AirPod Pro would last the same amount of time. So you don’t really have to worry about battery life. It is IPX4 waterproof as well. Resistant to the rain and sweat. These are a very solid pair of earphones and the simplicity of the device shouldn’t fool you, they are remarkable. They are probably one of the sweetest deals on this guide for true wireless earphones.
KZ E10 – $40
As far as the design is concerned, the earphones themselves are quite large. They have a hook design that goes over your ear, making it harder for it to fall off. The shells and the ear hooks are both plastic and the only metal bit is the end of the ear-hook. Despite the material, the earphones are still well-built. It still feels sturdy and durable. The only issue is that comfort isn’t great when using it for longer periods of time. The hooks start to pain your ear after 45 minutes of use. This is never a plus point. The case itself is large as well, akin to the size of a big power bank, making convenience a thing to question. The battery of the E10 lasts about 3 hours on a single charge, while the case holds enough power to recharge a numerous amount of times.
Coming to the sound, the soundstage itself is rather large and extends laterally. There is very little depth to the sounds. But the emphasis on the bass is clear and defined and the audio has some detail. The audio itself is surprisingly good for a pair of IEMs at this price range. But the major drawback of the E10 is the connectivity issues. You might find that the music keeps stuttering or there is a lot of latency when watching something. But otherwise a solid pair for the price range.
Lypertek Tevi – $90
The Lypertek Tevi is a neutral sounding set of IEMs which are highly acclaimed in the TWS audio space. The case has a textured fabric that gives the device a premium feel. The earphones themselves are made from hard plastic but it gives off an air of sturdiness. They last about 10 hours of playback from a single charge which is quite amazing for an under $100 TWS. The case too can recharge it about 6 more times. This makes its battery life virtually undying. Perhaps its biggest strength is its battery life.
While the pair isn’t made for pure audiophiles, it still has a very good quality. The neutral soundstage might come as a disappointment to some, but that’s what makes the device so different. It isn’t super extraordinary but its just good at what it does. The bass is well balanced with good emphasis but not completely out of whack. And the rest of the audio didn’t just hide behind the good bass. The mids flourish in this pair, while the highs and lows are more clear yet defined with the right amount of emphasis. While it isn’t the audiophile’s dream, anyone looking for a really solid pair of TWS below $100, then this is it.
For the Comfort-Seekers:
This section will be more for those who are looking for something with great functionality and convenience with that dash of comfort. While the audio quality may not be the best and more tended towards the general consumer, these are still really good if you aren’t too picky about what enters your ears. A guide to true wireless earphones for people seeking convenience and comfort.
Beats Powerbeats Pro
True wireless earphones have seen a lot of new entries in the past few years. The Beats Powerbeats Pro is one such entry which addresses all the problems all the other buds on the market have. The Powerbeats are designed with ear hooks which not only relieve the pressure on your ear canal but also keep your earbuds in place should the silicone pop out. It also has accelerometers to detect when you speak to better guide the microphone when you’re in a loud or quiet environment.
Now we come to the crux of this device, which is its insane 10+ hour battery life. Plus the case itself can hold more charge. Plus it has fast charging for when it runs out. Popping it in the case for about 5 minutes gives you more than an hour of playback, which is slightly insane. Overall, this is a very good pair of earphones for the average consumer, that is if you can dish out the $249 price tag, which is perhaps its only real drawback. This guide to true wireless earphones is getting kinda spicy, and expensive!
Jabra Elite Active 65T
The Jabra Elite Active 65T can now be considered slightly old but they hold out surprisingly well against the current competition in the market. Even its new successor, the 75T, isn’t as good as these older ones. The battery life of the device ranges from 5-6 hours of playback, which is actually very solid for a device that comes in at retail for about $119.The charging case gives you an additional 10 hours of battery life and it comes with fast charging as well. You can get about 1.5 hours of payback from 15 minutes of charging which is not too shabby, relatively speaking.
One of the best features of these wireless IEMs is the microphone. This microphone is an absolute beast at the epitome of clarity. Convenience wise, this is perfect for all those dabbling in hours of conversation on their phones. Even professional calls can be taken without any panic about not being able to be heard. They are just that good. The sound itself isn’t amazing, but still pretty good. It is very balanced and clean. The mids are correctly emphasized and the vocals are quiet clear, but it would come as a disappointment for anyone looking for heavy bass emphasis. Overall, it is a solid pair of earphones which is an all-rounded convenience machine, delivery both comfort and functionality.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8
A pair from a titan in the audio industry, the Beoplay E8 is a picture-perfect definition of what the Bang & Olufsen brand represents. They deliver that quality signature Danish sound. The device is designed to less intrusive in the ears, so it is more for people who prefer a gentle fit. Definitely would not recommend running with this pair or basically any other activity. The case itself is beautiful. Made out of leather, it gives you that quality and chic look. The earphones themselves are more squared off in their build with a simple design. They are very light as well, giving you a very comfortable experience.
The sound itself is clear and defined. It is accurate but it might not be for everyone. It gives a very neutral sound. There is less emphasis on the highs, especially at high volumes. The soundstage is very narrow and may disappoint those looking for a pair that will assault your ears with different frequencies. It is on this list because it caters to comfort. There is an app to tweak the sound and even a few presets to choose from. But this pair is for those who want clean, clear audio which doesn’t overwhelm you but rather gently enters your mind. One drawback, apart from the $170 price tag, is that there is no noise cancellation.
For the Sporty:
This section is for those sports and adrenaline junkies. These options are all sweat-proof and water-resistant. They also ensure a very tight fit to make sure they stay safe and snug in your ears. They also sound great and probably a few of the best in the market for wireless sports IEMs. The sound signature, too, appeals to athletes with its thumpy, organic bass, and hype sound. A guide to true wireless earphones for the athletes.
Bose SoundSport Free
Bose SoundSport Free is a solid pair of workout earphones which meet most of the demands of athletes. These devices were very unique when they first came out and although they are still a solid pair of IEMs. The case itself is really big, comically so. But this in no way increases its battery capacity. The case can only supply an additional 10 hours of playback. The earphones by themselves last around 5.5 hours of playback. Athletes will enjoy the IPX4 rating on these earphones, making them water-resistant enough to even use in the rain.
Coming to the audio, the SoundSport Free sounds good. They are a departure from Bose’s notorious weak bass response and pump out a strong low-end. The treble and the mids have proper emphasis as well. You get a detailed sound and they did a good job altering the soundstage to appeal to exercise enthusiasts. The base receives substantial amplification but, for the most part, it is just simply loud and not thumpy. But it still sounds rather good. The only drawback with this product would be that it is old and would not survive the current competition with its $199 price tag.
Jabra Elite Active 75T
Jabra is the only brand that has two spots on our list. The reason these are here and the 65T is below in the comfort section is because these aren’t as good as the 65Ts. While the 65Ts aren’t as durable as these. The 75T has an IP57 rating, making it resistant to both water and dust. Plus the “7” denotes extreme water-resistance. The earbuds can survive 30 minutes underwater. One of the best features this device offers in ambient noise cancellation, one aspect in which its predecessor loses to the 75T. While this drain more battery, it is a god-send of a feature.
You shouldn’t worry about the battery life either. These last over 7 hours of playback on a single charge, which is actually quite good. Coming to the audio itself, the 75T is actually very good. The bass is emphasized and the sound signature is painted by it. But this can all be changed in the MySound+ app. It isn’t for the picky listeners, much like its predecessor, but it is perfect for a cardio session. Even with the $199 price tag, there might be a lot of value for this pair. The compact charging case can provide up to 3 on-the-go charge cycles. They aren’t perfect but they have high functionality and are the perfect pair for an adventure junkie.
The Jaybird Vista is a welcome step-up from Jaybird’s previous try at wireless sports-wear, the Jaybird Run. These durable pairs of IEMs come with an IPX7 rating making them very waterproof, perfect for athletes. The angled nozzle relieves discomfort in the canal, while the hook tips keep the device in place during high-intensity activities, ensuring they do not wiggle out. The only drawback to the build is the slightly large housing which can get painful after long periods of wearing it. The earphones have a battery life of around 5.5 hours which is pretty decent, but not too impressive. The case additionally can supply 10 hours of charge.
The sound quality is very good. The mids are very clearly emphasized, but the low-end isn’t neglected either. The sound signature is versatile. The ‘buds can play mainstream music very well, and not just gym music with those thumpy, groovy songs. Isolation in these IEMs is very good as well even though they do not have ambient noise cancellation. The downside is the microphone but since this section is for sports-wear, I do not think that will be a very big concern. For a price of $179, these earphones are rather decent. Jaybird’s compact charging case and sleek design may make it worth it. Especially considering the durability, fit, and isolation.