Wireless headphones give a great sense of freedom. But when it comes to the smallest headphones, the ones that are small enough to just pop into your ears, that sense of freedom is at its best.Some in-ear headphones have a neckband to connect the two earphones, but others are what’s called true wireless which are just two distinct earbuds and nothing else.Sports Bluetooth Headset price
We’ve tested a range of true wireless earbuds for audio quality above all else, but also ease of use, extra features, battery life and comfort of fit.Extra features include access to a smart virtual assistant, how easy it is to pause the music and noise-cancelling.We tested each pair until they ran completely flat on multiple occasions.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.True wireless earbuds became big business when Apple released its airpods in 2016. Tiny but capable, airpods are now on to their second generation. The small white buds look like they might fall out but in fact are a good fit for most ears, even when you’re exercising.
Although they work with any phone, the seamless integration with Apple devices is spectacular: open the case and a message flashes up on the iPhone screen to show battery level, for instance. Pairing is instantaneous and easily switched between Apple devices as you need them.
Audio quality is excellent and extra features are enjoyable. Say, “Hey, Siri”, and the virtual personal assistant is summoned to answer your questions or change track and so on. Take one airpod out of an ear, so you can talk to someone, and the music pauses automatically, resuming when you place the bud back in your ear.
The case charges the airpods: the buds themselves have a five-hour charge, then another 19 hours of battery life in the case. If the buds are flat, a 15-minute charge gives three hours of listening time.
A version with an optional case is available which is wireless-chargeable (£199): place the case on a wireless charging pad to charge the case without plugging in a cable.The latest earbuds from Sony include something special: noise-cancelling. This is a feature regularly found on over-ear headphones but rare in the smaller version, not least because it needs a bigger battery than many earbuds offer.
It’s also to be found in the Libratones below. In-ears often have useful noise isolation by fitting the ears tightly but noise-cancelling adds an electronic effect; it uses a microphone to measure ambient noise and this noise is then reversed in phase and fed back into the earpieces.
The out-of-phase “anti-noise” cancels the real noise. Sony’s earbuds make the most of this effect and sound great. The fit is good – place in the ear and twist to get them just right. Although they don’t feel as snug a fit as Apple’s airpods, they held in place happily enough.
The case, which contains a battery to recharge the buds, is slick and effective, with magnets inside which the earbuds find easily. They snap into place satisfyingly. Remove one and Bluetooth is turned on automatically to begin the pairing process. The case comes with several sizes of ear tip so you can find the size and feel you prefer. Battery life is three hours in the earbuds plus 18 hours in the case.