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When it comes to choosing the best wireless headphones for your needs, the options can be overwhelming. From Apple AirPods to Amazon Echo Buds to Bose SoundSport Wireless, there’s no shortage of headphones, all at vastly different prices. Is a $ 200 pair of headphones much better than a $ 100 pair? How can you tell them apart? And how, exactly, are you supposed to choose between them?
Here are the important points to consider when purchasing wireless headphones.
First, think about how you plan to use your new wireless headphones. Do you plan to take them on your daily journeys by train or bus? If so, you might want to invest in a pair of Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancellation, a premium feature where the built-in microphones listen to ambient sounds and mute them in your ear. Active noise cancellation makes it easy to listen to your favorite music and podcasts, even in noisy environments. This is a premium feature, so expect to pay a lot more for headphones that have it.
Thinking of bringing your new headphones with you to the gym? Then keep an eye out for the IPX4 or better water and sweat protection, and focus on the perfect fit. Do you have a Qi charger handy at home? Then you might want to pay a bit more for a wireless charging case.
And if you just want a pair of inexpensive headphones that work, well, there’s a pair of wireless headphones for you too.
Trending wireless headphones: Apple AirPods Pro
Of course, there are Bluetooth headphones that are cheaper than the Apple AirPods Pro. And there are headphones that have better sound quality. But when it comes to pairing your Apple iPhone, Apple Watch, or other Apple devices, AirPods Pro are hard to beat. The connection is almost effortless.
There’s some awesome technology behind Apple’s AirPods Pro – they have built-in accelerometers that determine when you have them in your ears, so there’s no need to turn them on and off manually. These things just know when you’re using them, and even what Apple device you’re using them with. And yes, Siri is also integrated.
There are a few upgrades in the Apple AirPods Pro that you don’t get with regular Apple AirPods. For starters, the Pro model has the more powerful H1 chip and is IPX4 water resistant. You also get super powerful active noise cancellation, which blocks out the outside world as you listen to your tracks. And because it’s made by Apple, you know you’re getting a quality (and trendy) product.
According to Apple, AirPods Pro last up to 4.5 hours on a single charge. They do come with a Qi-compatible wireless charging case, however, which extends that to over 24 hours of listening.
Trendy budget headphones: Apple AirPods 2
Looking for a cheaper option than AirPods Pro? If you’re willing to swap out a wireless charging case for a regular charging case, you can save around $ 70 by choosing the Apple AirPods instead.
While Apple’s cheaper AirPods are noise isolating, they don’t have active noise cancellation. This means they won’t perform as well in noisy environments. The lack of active noise cancellation means these AirPods are looser than the AirPods Pro, but some people may actually prefer that.
One more thing to keep in mind before hitting the buy button: Unlike Apple AirPods Pro, AirPods 2 are not water resistant. That doesn’t mean you can’t take them to the gym, but it does mean you won’t be able to get warranty service for water damage.
Alexa-enabled headphones: Amazon Echo Buds 2
Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro are the obvious choices if you’re married to the Apple ecosystem of tech products. But what if you have an Android phone?
Step into Amazon’s new second-gen Echo Buds, released in April. Available in Ice White and Black, the Echo Buds are premium headphones with great sound and a more affordable price. They offer many of the same features as the Apple AirPods Pro, including noise cancellation (with pass-through mode) and IPX4 water resistance. A hands-free voice assistant is also built in, but it’s an Amazon device, so you get Alexa here, not Siri. (If you have an Alexa-based smart home, this could be a big plus.)
The Amazon Echo Buds have a few drawbacks. They offer 5 hours of playtime on a single charge, comparable to the 4.5 hours of Apple AirPods Pro, but only 15 hours total with the charging case (AirPods Pro last 24 hours with their case). To take full advantage of Hands-Free Alexa, you need to download the Alexa app. These headphones pair relatively effortlessly with Apple and Android phones, but only with one device at a time.
Headphones Under $ 50: Enacfire E90 Wireless Headphones
When it comes to headphones, it can be very difficult to find a quality pair for less than $ 50. But the 4.5-star-rated Enacfire E90 wireless earbuds are just that – an option that wows Apple AirPods fans with great sound, a comfortable fit, and long battery life.
According to Amazon reviews, these headphones deliver on their promise of clear, deep bass. “I can’t stress enough how easy it is to hear the bass and how amazing it all is,” says an Amazon reviewer, a ten-year-old musician. “Even at the lowest volume, you can still clearly hear everything coming together.”
Another reviewer, Spencer H., says the bass is exceptional, “definitely comparable to AirPods for a fraction of the price.”
Believe it or not, there are several areas where the Enacfire E90 outperforms the Apple AirPods Pro. These headphones are IPX8 waterproof, which means they are protected against submersion. And battery life is better on the Enacfire E90 as well, with 8 hours of playtime on a single charge and 48 hours of total playtime when stored in the included AirPods-esque charging case.
The best of all? These wireless headphones are currently on sale for $ 30 on Amazon, down from their regular price of $ 40.
Luxury headphones: Bose QuietComfort headphones
They might not be as stylish and trendy as Apple’s AirPods, but if you’re looking for the highest quality sound you can get at any price, consider the Bose QuietComfort headphones.
First of all, the basics. These premium headphones feature adjustable acoustic noise reduction, IPX4 water protection, and a range of 30 feet. Touch controls are also included: you can swipe and tap to change volume, skip songs, and more. And reviewers rave about the high-fidelity audio quality and the comfort of the eartips. (“You barely know you’re wearing them,” LenC says.)
Available in triple black and a whitish color called soapstone, the Bose QuietComfort headphones last 6 hours on a single charge, one of the best in the class. And if their batteries are depleted, a 15-minute charge provides around 2 hours of playtime. A wireless charging case is also included.