Sony WF-1000XM4 review: a sonic triumph
Sony first released its WF-1000XM3 earbuds nearly two years ago, and though they offered some of the best noise cancellation and sound quality you could find at that time, a lot has changed since. Facing newer competitors like Apple’s AirPods Pro and Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds at the high end, and countless plenty-good alternatives below, Sony has returned with the new $278 WF-1000XM4 earbuds.
They provide even more powerful noise canceling; so good that it now approaches over-ear headphones. The audio quality has been further refined, and Sony added key features it frustratingly omitted last time — like IPX4 water and sweat resistance. The 1000XM4s also raise the bar for wireless audio and battery life in noise-canceling earbuds. Does that mean they’re worth almost $300?
- Best noise cancellation in true wireless earbuds
- Excellent, detailed sound
- New leader in battery life among competition
- No Bluetooth multipoint
- Microphone performance could still be better
- Only three sizes of ear tips included
$280 at Best Buy$278 at Amazon
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If you want the absolute best active noise cancellation in truly wireless earbuds, the answer is an emphatic yes. Sony has built a new chip it calls the V1 into the 1000XM4s that brings their noise cancellation capabilities to impressive new heights. These earbuds do a better job than the AirPods Pro and even slightly outperform Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds at hushing nearby noise. It’s now reached a point where the NC on these feels nearly as effective as Sony’s premium headphones. Impressive stuff.
They practically make the ambient sounds in my local coffee shop go poof, and while visiting family upstate over Memorial Day, I tested them in a crowded bar and found that I could listen to my music at around 60 percent volume without hearing any of the lively chatter surrounding me. Becca took them on a plane and they passed with flying colors, and they were able to cut down the cacophony of subway cars better than all earbud competitors. I credit these results partially to new memory foam tips that I’ll cover later, but it’s very evident that the V1 is cutting out more noise at all frequencies — just like Sony claims.
Both the earbuds and case are smaller than Sony’s previous WF-1000XM3s.
And when it comes to sound quality, the 1000XM4s are even more of a slam dunk than their predecessors. Sony told me that when it tunes earbuds, it closely looks at current music trends. So if you compare these directly to the 1000XM3s, you might notice slightly richer bass to handle your Dua Lipa fix. There’s no better of-the-moment album than Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour, and Sony’s earbuds simply do better at handling deep bass and low-mid frequencies than the AirPods Pro. But Sony’s audio prowess extends through all frequencies. Her voice, the acoustic guitars, and background vocals on “traitor” all come through with excellent distinctness.
It’s easy to close your eyes and get completely lost in the groove of Billie Eilish’s “Lost Cause,” where even whispered vocals come through with total clarity in the mix. John Mayer’s new Toto-influenced single “Last Train Home” and its airy vibe are right at home on the 1000XM4s, as well. Jump through genres and it’s hard to find anything that these earbuds can’t make shine. Electric guitars have just the right grit on ‘70s rock. Switch over to some soul and Sam Cooke’s voice has the warmth you’d expect. That extra bass lends added kick to hip-hop and dance tracks, though the low-end never gets bloated or overwhelming.
The earbuds now have an all-matte design with more subtle Sony branding.
The 1000XM4s look nothing like their predecessors. Sony has moved away from the pill shape to a more subtle, all-matte style. And the earbuds are noticeably smaller. Sony told me it’s just a 10 percent downsizing, but it feels like more due to the sleeker overall design. There’s a big round area for touch controls, and the flashiest thing about these earbuds is the small, accented circular microphone inlet. Sony’s logo is now on the side of the buds, where few would ever spot it when you’re wearing them.
Sony has shrunk down the carrying case even more; it’s 40 percent smaller than the bulky case that came with the 1000XM3s. Now it’s on par with cases from Jabra and other competitors. It’s shorter than the AirPods Pro case, but a tad wider and noticeably thicker. The case has a USB-C port and supports wireless charging, and the earbuds magnetically latch into the case strongly and should stay seated unless you fumble the whole thing to the ground. If I’m being fussy, the lid has a little more play than I’d like for $280 earbuds, but it stays shut fine.
But I’d argue the best thing about this redesign isn’t the actual earbud hardware: it’s the new ear tips Sony is including in the box. Last time around, Sony shipped six pairs of tips with the 1000XM3 buds — three silicone sizes and three foam-like tips. But with the 1000XM4s, Sony is going all-in on the memory foam approach with new “noise isolation ear tips.” They’re quite different from Sony’s past foam tips, now with a thicker design that’s less rounded and with a tackier feel that helps them stay planted in your ears. I’d describe it as almost a hybrid between silicone and memory foam.
The new noise isolation ear tips are actually one of the best things about the WF-1000XM4s.
You don’t get any plain silicone sets at all, and Sony only includes the standard small, medium, and large sizes; XS and XL would’ve been nice at this price point, but the large tips were a perfect match in my case. The seal is so strong that you’ll sometimes notice them twist in with a squeaking sound. Unlike the 1000XM3s, the 1000XM4s have a proper IPX4 rating for water and sweat resistance, so you can confidently use them for workouts or in the rain without weighing their odds of survival.
Once you power them on, the 1000XM4 earbuds will outlast all of their main noise-canceling competitors on a single charge. They’ll run for eight hours of continuous playback with NC enabled, an impressive jump from the five hours that the AirPods Pro, Galaxy Buds Pro, QuietComfort Earbuds, and Jabra Elite 85t all hover around. Turn noise canceling off, and the new earbuds can keep running for up to 12 hours. The charging case can juice the buds two times, so you’re looking at a total playing time of around 24 hours (NC on) or 36 hours if you can do without it wherever you are.
The case supports Qi wireless charging.
The earbuds have beamforming mics and bone conduction sensors for improved voice calls.
Sony is also beating Apple at bringing higher bit rate wireless audio to earbuds. The 1000XM4 buds fully support Sony’s own proprietary LDAC codec, which can transmit music tracks at up to 990kbps. This is currently the gold standard for Bluetooth audio, and though I’m sure it’ll prompt the usual “no one can tell the difference” debates, I’m glad to see LDAC show up in more portable form. 2021 is becoming the year of lossless music streaming, with Apple and Spotify both joining Amazon Music HD and Tidal.
But LDAC has its own challenges. Playback can get a little unreliable and choppy if you set it to max quality in an Android device’s developer settings, so generally I stick with the middle “performance” option where the top bit rate falls to 660kbps. At that quality, can you really perceive any improvement compared to AAC? Maybe I’m buying into snake oil, but to me it does sound like certain tracks do have that ever-so-slight extra bit of depth and clarity when streaming with LDAC. But keep in mind this is a feature that only applies to Android devices, and the 1000XM4s sound quite stellar when paired with an iPhone, where LDAC isn’t even a thing. It’s a reminder that everything in the chain — from how music was mastered and encoded to the earbud hardware itself — matters just as much as sheer bit rate.
LDAC has a detrimental impact on that otherwise exceptional battery life, too. If you’ve got noise cancellation active and are streaming LDAC, it drops to the typical five hours of continuous playback. That’s not bad when you consider how hard the buds are working under those conditions, but it’s a decrease all the same and removes one of the advantages the Sony buds have over the competition.
So far, this review has been largely praise, but the WF-1000XM4 earbuds do come with one crushing disappointment: they don’t support two simultaneous Bluetooth connections, a feature known as multipoint. It’s become a status quo feature for many high-end headphones (including from Sony) and allows you to have your headphones connected to both your phone and your computer and seamlessly switch between them. But for whatever reason, Jabra continues to be the only company that’s offering the convenience of multipoint in earbuds. This situation is getting frustrating — especially for products in this price bracket — and I hope the whole product category of true wireless earbuds can make progress on multipoint very soon. After recent leaks, I saw comments from people who said they wouldn’t purchase these earbuds if they lacked multipoint. And unfortunately, that’s where we’re at.
AGREE TO CONTINUE: SONY WF-1000XM4
Every smart device now requires you to agree to a series of terms and conditions before you can use it — contracts that no one actually reads. It’s impossible for us to read and analyze every single one of these agreements. But we started counting exactly how many times you have to hit “agree” to use devices when we review them since these are agreements most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate.
You can use Sony’s WF-1000XM4 over Bluetooth without clicking through any agreements. But if you want to use the Headphones Connect app, which is essential for customizing the settings and performance of your headphones, you’re agreeing to:
- Sony’s end user license agreement
You can also opt into letting Sony collect data from your usage of the Headphones Connect app, which the company says is for the purpose of improving its products and services.
Together, you get three optional agreements.
Microphone performance is better than it was on the 1000XM3s, but it’s still not as good as Apple’s AirPods Pro or Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro. The new earbuds utilize both beamforming mics and bone conduction sensors to know when you’re speaking and when you’re not. This does a respectable job of cutting out background noise for people on the other side of your calls, but it has the negative side effect of making your voice sound clipped or overly gated. In a home environment, they’re adequate for chatting with others, but things get a little more inconsistent outside or in loud environments. On a related note, Sony has brought over the speak-to-chat feature from the 1000XM4 headphones; with this setting on, the earbuds will automatically pause music and enable ambient sound mode whenever speech is detected. Once you’ve stopped talking for a few seconds, audio will automatically resume.
Sony’s ambient mode sounds more natural this time around, but since the buds aren’t vented and you can feel them in your ears, the effect is less convincing than on the AirPods Pro. Still, I like that Sony’s app lets you go deep on customizing the various sound modes; you can manually select how much outside sound to let through like other buds, but you can also adjust the mix of noise cancellation and ambient sound based on location — home, work, the gym, etc. — or have it change automatically if the app detects different activities. Lastly, Sony preserves its trick of holding a finger on the left earbud to temporarily activate transparency mode and lower the volume of your music until you lift it back off.
Not that I expected them to, but the 1000XM4s can’t keep up with Apple’s ecosystem advantages that exist between the AirPods Pro and iPhone, iPad, or Mac. While they support Sony’s 360 Reality Audio and Dolby Atmos music tracks on Tidal, the setup process is a little ridiculous: you’ve got to take a photo of each ear in Sony’s app, images the company says are deleted after 30 days, to “optimize” the sound. But what’s more important beyond that hassle is that Sony’s solution doesn’t yet work for movies or TV shows, where Apple’s spatial audio does a tremendous job immersing you in content. Since Sony only makes the earbuds and almost certainly not the tablet or phone in your hand, it lacks the necessary tie-ins for head tracking and other tricks that help Apple pull off spatial audio so well. Sony doesn’t even really advertise the 360 audio chops of the 1000XM4 buds; they’re clearly intended more for music and stereo listening. (Many Dolby Atmos music tracks have an artificial wideness to their soundstage, so I don’t miss that part. ) A complete lack of any special interoperability with the PlayStation 5 or Sony’s TVs is a shame, though.
My first review pair of 1000XM4s experienced what I’d consider severe bugs: several times, they would completely crash and produce a buzzing sound — the sort of noise you hear when a video game freezes — and then power on again. I’d also have cases where only one earbud would connect to the paired device until I plopped them both into the case and tried again. Sony provided me with a second set that didn’t suffer the same problems. Becca didn’t have any such issues with her set either, so I’m relatively sure I got a bad unit the first time around. But I still think it’s worth mentioning for transparency’s sake. Sony generally does a respectable job of patching up early quirks with firmware updates.
Putting the one lemon pair aside, the other drawbacks aren’t enough to derail the end result: the WF-1000XM4s are a triumph for Sony. They’re an ambitious flex of decades’ worth of personal audio expertise, and they’re a reminder of just how well the company can execute when it’s focused on the right things. These earbuds can’t match all the bells and whistles of Apple’s AirPods Pro, and the lack of multipoint continues to sting. But they’re in a class of their own where it counts most: noise cancellation and sound quality. You’ll be paying quite a premium to get the best of that criteria, but if you’re the sort of person who will appreciate the top-notch performance, the 1000XM4s are a worthwhile investment.
Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge
Jabra Elite 3 review: nailing the essentials for $80
They’re consistent, they’re reliable, and they sound quite good for the price
By Chris Welch, a reviewer specializing in personal audio and home theater. Since 2011, he has published nearly 6,000 articles, from breaking news and reviews to useful how-tos.
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After establishing a strong reputation with great, dependable earbuds like the Elite 75t, Jabra is overhauling its whole lineup with three new models. At the high end are the $199 Elite 7 Pros and $179 Elite 7 Active earbuds, which will hit shelves in October. But for many, the most exciting part of Jabra’s latest trio will be the Elite 3 earbuds, which are the company’s first true wireless earbuds to launch at a price under $100. They only cost $79.99, putting them in competition with EarFun, Anker, JLab, and other companies that are known for quality buds on a budget.
Jabra doesn’t shoot for the Moon with the Elite 3s; they lack active noise cancellation and they sacrifice one feature that’s become a hallmark of Jabra earbuds: multipoint support. You can only pair these with one device at a time, whereas the company’s other products can connect to two audio sources simultaneously. It stings, but it’s also a predictable omission at this asking price. What you’re left with is a set of earbuds that outshine sound quality expectations, deliver lengthy battery life, and above all else, come through with consistent, reliable performance — which can’t always be said of other sub-$100 earbuds.
Jabra Elite 3
- Lightweight with snug fit
- Good sound for the price
- Reliable performance
- Easy-to-use controls
- No multipoint
- No auto-pause
- No ANC
$80 at Best Buy$80 at Amazon
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From a design standpoint, the Elite 3s have evolved beyond the utilitarian look of the 65t / 75t / 85t and show a little more style. Jabra describes it as “a sleek Danish design.” My review unit is the standard dark gray, but there are lilac purple and beige options if you want something brighter. Instead of the usual circular button on the exterior, these earbuds have more of a teardrop shape, and the mini stem with perforated mic holes from the company’s past buds is also gone.
But the Elite 3s feel very familiar once seated in your ears; thankfully, they use round ear tips instead of the oval-shaped tips that came with the 85t buds, which never fit as snugly as I would’ve liked. (Three sizes of silicone tips come in the box.) If you liked how the 75t buds fit, you’ll be right at home with these, and their lighter weight makes for even better comfort over longer periods. I never felt any soreness when wearing the Elite 3s. A good seal is crucial for the best passive noise isolation, and I was pleased with how these buds managed to subdue outside noise — even without ANC. They might lack multipoint, but on the plus side, you can use either earbud independently in mono mode. That hasn’t been the case for Jabra’s previous earbuds, so it’s a welcome improvement for the 2021 lineup.
These earbuds don’t protrude from the ear as far as Jabra’s others.
The charging case looks very similar to Jabra’s others and remains nicely compact. But the company definitely opted for a lighter, cheaper plastic this time; the lid has some creaking and a bit of flex, and the case itself picks up scuffs quite easily. Functionally, it does the job fine and holds the earbuds securely. And the battery status LED is sensibly positioned on the front, unlike older Jabra earbud cases where it was around back. There’s no wireless charging here — just USB-C for wired recharges. For battery life, Jabra says the Elite 3s can hit up to seven hours of continuous playing time, and my experience so far gives me little reason to doubt that estimate. The case holds enough juice for three recharges, so you get 28 hours of listening time in all.
The case feels rather cheap and scuffs easily.
The Elite 3s don’t sound like $80 earbuds, and I mean that in the best possible way. Unlike the fatiguing, inarticulate sound signature that is all too common at this price, Jabra’s new budget buds have a nicely balanced EQ that lends the bass some added punch, but not to objectionable levels. The sound isn’t as full-bodied as with the Elite 75t or 85t buds, but it’s far from muddy. Listening to Kacey Musgraves’ new album Star-Crossed, the Elite 3s did a great job with both elaborate, reverb-heavy tracks like “Cherry Blossom” and the vulnerable, acoustic “Hookup Scene. ” Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” goes to show that the bass isn’t quite as thumping as on Jabra’s other earbuds, however. Supported Bluetooth codecs include standard AptX and SBC, but not Apple’s preferred AAC.
The Elite 3s lack manual EQ controls, unlike Jabra’s other earbuds.
The Jabra Sound Plus app, available on both Android and iOS, offers a few different EQ presets like bass and treble boost, though you lose the full slider controls that are reserved for the company’s pricier earbuds. That feels a little stingy to me, but I’ll take some EQ flexibility over none at all. You’re also stuck with the default controls, though there’s not much I’d want to change about them. The right earbud handles audio controls, while the left summons your preferred voice assistant. (Jabra supports Amazon Alexa in addition to Siri or Google Assistant.) I really like that the buttons now take up the full outer surface of the earbuds, making them effortless to find and press. And they’ve got a nice click. No one likes mushy buttons no matter the price. On Android, Jabra supports Fast Pair for quicker setup.
Jabra has redesigned its latest earbuds with a bit more style.
The Elite 3s feature a HearThrough transparency mode to give you some awareness of your surroundings. But it’s muffled enough that I rarely bothered toggling it on. The situation where it’s most helpful is when you activate sidetone (which lets you better hear your own voice) on calls. Speaking of which, these earbuds perform decently but aren’t going to boggle the mind. I never got any complaints about mic quality on the phone or over Zoom, and everyone could clearly make out what I was saying, though they do have that talking-on-earbuds sound to them. For $80, that still checks off the “good enough” box for me. Jabra rates the durability of the Elite 3s as IP55, meaning they’re resistant to everyday dust and can handle sweat and splashes of water, but shouldn’t be submerged.
AGREE TO CONTINUE: JABRA ELITE 3
Every smart device now requires you to agree to a series of terms and conditions before you can use it — contracts that no one actually reads. It’s impossible for us to read and analyze every single one of these agreements. But we started counting exactly how many times you have to hit “agree” to use devices when we review them, since these are agreements most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate.
As with other earbuds, the Jabra Elite 3s can be paired over Bluetooth without ever agreeing to anything in software. But since the Sound Plus app is so important for customizing EQ and the earbud controls, it’s basically essential.
Final tally is no mandatory agreements, but three near-mandatory optional ones.
Despite their appealing cost and solid performance, I’ve still got some minor nitpicks: the Elite 3s use tones and beeps to indicate pairing status and other functions instead of the unmistakable voice feedback from Jabra’s prior earbuds. I really hope this doesn’t carry over to the more premium new models. There’s no auto-pause on the Elite 3s when you remove an earbud. And as we continue to see active noise cancellation trickle down into more affordable buds from companies like EarFun, Anker, and TCL, Jabra might have to get more ambitious next time around. Or at least improve the rinky-dink case.
But as the company’s first earbuds coming in under the $100 mark, the Jabra Elite 3s managed to impress me with their well-considered mix of sound quality, steadfast performance, easy controls, decent call quality, and lengthy battery life. There are other features you might want for one reason or another, but I can’t think of much else I’d really need for this kind of money.
Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge
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TOP best budget wireless headphones 2023: ranking of inexpensive in-ear and over-ear headphones
8 min. for reading
Smartphones, Tablets, Gadgets
- What to look for when choosing inexpensive wireless headphones
- Top 10 Best Budget In-Ear Wireless Headphones
- Top 10 Best Inexpensive On-ear Wireless Headphones
To choose the best budget wireless headphones, you need to decide on the parameters of the future purchase: personal preferences play a role here.
Why choose wireless headphones? They are stylish and comfortable: you can move around while listening to music. Although wireless headsets have their drawbacks (for example, they may be inferior in sound quality to similarly priced wired models).
There are different types of headphones. Internal headphones are smaller and more comfortable to use outside the home, although they are inferior to external headphones in terms of sound quality and autonomy.
Each of these types is divided into two more types. For example, internal headphones come in in-ear (also known as in-ear) and in-ear (that is, with a vacuum part). The difference is in the fit. For some, plug-in ones are more convenient, for others, in-ear ones.
In-ear headphones (with vacuum part)
Large external headphones are divided into on-ear and full-size – they differ in how much they cover the ears and provide natural (also known as “passive”) sound isolation. It is important to remember that large full-size headphones will be extremely inconvenient to use outside the home.
Most modern budget wireless headphones work via Bluetooth, although occasionally there are models using a radio channel – they have a separate stationary transmitter, which is why they are only suitable for home use.
Another important point is battery life. Wireless internal headphones most often come with a storage case, which acts as an external battery for the device. Without recharging, these headphones usually work for 3-5 hours, although the Realme Buds Air 3 model plays music up to 7 hours, and taking into account the ability to recharge in the case, up to 30 hours. Large external headphones can live on a single battery charge for 20 or more hours – this is their undeniable advantage.
Realme Buds Air 3 Starry Blue
The human ear is capable of hearing sound waves in the 20 to 20,000 Hz frequency range, all the best inexpensive wireless headphones should support this range. Although users who buy a headset not for listening to music, but for audiobooks, podcasts and communication, may not even notice the difference if the supported range is less.
If you plan to use headphones for phone calls or video calls, don’t forget to pay attention to the quality of the built-in microphone. It is located directly in the dynamics, so the dimensions of the device do not increase. Support for the HFP standard is important: it allows you to answer calls directly from the headphones without pressing anything on the phone. For example, as in the Xiaomi Redmi Buds 4.
Xiaomi Redmi Buds 4 Blue (M2137E1)
These are all the main features that will help you choose the best budget wireless headphones in 2023, but there are a number of secondary parameters that can increase your comfort level when used:
- Soundproofing Some designs (such as full-size external and in-duct) provide a good level of soundproofing. However, Active Noise Canceling technology makes it much better, and thanks to it, a trip to the subway or a flight will be more comfortable. On the other hand, using this function increases battery consumption.
- Wired ConnectionSome models offer the option of using a wired connection, which can improve sound quality and definitely reduce battery consumption. This is a very convenient, albeit optional, feature.
- WeightSmall in-ear headphones usually weigh quite a bit. For full-size over-ear models, the optimal weight is 300 grams – heavier headsets may be uncomfortable.
- Gaming Features For gamers to get the full experience from using such a headset, you should pay attention to surround sound systems and, if desired, the presence of vibration feedback.
HIPER AIR 2 True Wireless – the most affordable
Small and affordable in-ear headphones inspired by Apple’s famous Airpods. If you don’t look closely, it’s almost impossible to notice the difference between this model and the “apple” product. AIR 2, like Airpods, is capable of maintaining a signal at a distance of up to ten meters from the source, and also has an IP54 degree of moisture protection, which makes it not afraid of water drops on the surface. The case has a capacity of 300 mAh, which is why the total operating time, taking into account recharging, is 16 hours. This is more than enough for a long flight or a trip to another city, although you should not expect super-quality sound from such a model.
Rs. Thanks to high-quality sound reproduced by speakers with a carbon fiber membrane, you can hear both the smallest details of what is happening in online battles and hear moments in your favorite songs that are invisible on other devices. Excellent battery life of up to 6 hours on a single charge. By this alone, the M70 could be among the top budget headsets, but some buyers are confused by their gaming design.
HUAWEI FreeBuds SE – the longest battery life
Stylish headphones with high-quality sound and IPX4 dust and water resistance rating – useful for those who are going to use them for sports or outdoor activities rest (not afraid of splashes). Thanks to the increased battery capacity, the headphones can work up to 14 hours without recharging, and with the charging case we are talking about 35 hours. But buyers note the peculiarity of the microphone in this model – despite its high quality, there is a delay before switching on during a conversation in a few seconds.
3 499 r.*
HIPER Mini — the most compact
The format of wireless earbuds already implies an extremely modest size of the device, but the Hiper Mini model stood out. The length of the “legs” of these Apple Airpods analogues does not exceed one centimeter, which makes them almost weightless (together with the case, both headphones weigh only 32 grams) and invisible. Despite the size, the headset is equipped with an acceptable quality microphone and a good battery that allows you to work up to four hours without recharging. However, you should not expect super-quality sound from this model.
HIPER Cobra True Wireless – the most affordable gaming earbuds
Stylish, affordable wireless gaming headset that sets itself apart from other in-ear headphones with its gaming design. “Ears” support the IP54 dust and moisture protection standard, which allows them not to be afraid of a small amount of liquid and moderate dust getting on the case. Also, the headset can work up to 6 hours on a single charge. There is a good microphone. But due to the small size of the speaker membrane (only 8 mm), this model suffers from sound detail at high volumes, which can be a hindrance when used in noisy environments.
Honor Choice EarBuds X — with the longest battery life of the case
Another in-ear headphones made according to the famous Airpods patterns. With support for Bluetooth version 5.2, they have virtually no latency in data transfer, which adds a natural feel to conversations. The earbuds themselves run for four hours without recharging, but together with the case, their activity can be extended 10 times, up to 40 hours. However, users note that, like many earbuds, the shape of the earbuds does not fit all ears, and for some they do not hold very well.
HIPER Sport V3 True Wireless is the best choice for athletes
This headset was designed specifically for athletes and use in extreme conditions. There is a behind-the-ear mount, a large battery that provides up to 11 hours of continuous operation, as well as IPx7 moisture protection. Thanks to the latter, the device is absolutely not afraid of sweat, raindrops and other moisture. However, the behind-the-ear fastener may seem rather inconvenient out of habit, so before purchasing it is worth trying models with a similar fastening.
Tecno SC01 Sonic 1 – great sound
Affordable and comfortable Apple Airpods with great sound thanks to the AAC codec – this format transmits data with minimal quality loss. On a single charge, the headphones can please the user for up to 6.5 hours, which is enough for a long trip or almost a full day. However, buyers note the not very high quality of the built-in noise reduction, which also negatively affects the quality of the signal from the microphone.
JBL Wave 100 is a worthy replacement for Samsung EarBuds
Headphones in the style of Samsung EarBuds, which attract with their minimalist design and comfortable shape. This model also did not let us down and the sound, which is suitable for listening to music in different genres, as well as podcasts with audiobooks. The capacious batteries of the charging case and the headphones themselves allow the device to last up to 5.5 hours without recharging, which is useful for long walks or use outside the home. But because of the sensitive microphone, the interlocutors will feel uncomfortable when talking on the street.
OPPO Enco Air 3 is the most stylish
Despite the Airpods repetition, Enco Air 3 looks more unusual than most wireless in-ear headphones. The model has a huge number of other advantages: here is support for the modern version of Bluetooth 5.3, and continuous operation up to 6 hours, and a high-quality microphone with good sensitivity, which allows you to comfortably use it in outdoor conditions. Although the model, despite the high-quality sound of medium and high frequencies, has a lack of bass – because of this, listening to rock and rap in these headphones is not so pleasant.
LORGAR Noah 501 – with good surround sound
Large and powerful over-ear headphones that produce quality and surround sound thanks to two 40 mm drivers. This will be useful for music lovers, gamers, and movie lovers. Despite support for connecting via the modern version of Bluetooth 5.3, the model also allows you to connect it to signal sources via wire. However, given the continuous operation time of 58 hours, such a need is unlikely to arise due to the sudden discharge of the device. Among the shortcomings, one can note large ear pads (the parts of the headphones that come into contact with the ears or head) and the rigid design of the headband.
Soundcore Life Tune – with the purest sound
Over-ear headphones with amazingly detailed sound – thanks to support for an extended frequency range from 16 to 40,000 Hz. This allowed them to enter the top of inexpensive wireless headphones. Also, the model provides an excellent fit thanks to soft ear cushions made of special memory foam – a snug fit without discomfort is ensured. The earphones can even be folded for easy portability. Some buyers complain about the weight of 240 grams, which can cause neck pain when worn for a long time.
HIPER Live Actual – Fastest Charging
Large, over-ear headphones with a wide sound range of 20-20,000 Hz and a long battery life of 8 hours. If necessary, they can replenish the charge in just an hour when connected to the network. Also, the device is equipped with a built-in microphone, which works great when used as a headset. Of the minuses: users note the overall bulkiness of the design and the soiling of the artificial leather used in these “ears”.
A4Tech Bloody GR230 – 3 connection options
Large over-ear gaming headphones that will appeal to both gamers and music lovers. A large headband made of soft material makes them comfortable to wear at home and spend long gaming sessions. The battery provides up to 40 hours of operation on a single charge. There are three ways to connect this model to a signal source: using Bluetooth version 5.2, radio channel or wire. As a disadvantage of the device, it is possible to note the support of only two channels, which makes the sound less voluminous.
Leef MW-SW-B07 — the most affordable full-size headphones artificial leather feel comfortable on the head even after prolonged wear, which is why the model is included in the rating of inexpensive wireless headphones. However, for a relatively modest price, you should not expect high-quality sound. A battery life of 4 hours for a full-sized model seems quite modest. But these headphones have the functionality of a built-in player: they can play music and FM radio without additional devices.
HIPER Live Casual — the loudest
hom frequency range. The device has a microphone installed. The model has dust and moisture protection according to the IP54 standard, which allows you to safely use the device in outdoor conditions. Of the minuses of the headphones, one can single out some “blockage” of the high frequencies, which makes them more suitable for listening to music with voluminous bass, like rap.
HOCO W28 Journey – with the most striking design
Compact and lightweight headphones that are easy to carry thanks to the folding mechanism. The accessory connects to any device using Bluetooth not the latest version 5.0. However, if the delay between the source and the headphones seems too long, you can use a wired connection through the 3.5 mm jack. The headset has a sensitive microphone, although it is not equipped with active noise cancellation.
Soundcore Life Q30 – Biggest Battery
Headphones with state-of-the-art noise-canceling technology are featured in the 2023 rankings. Unlike other models, Life Q30 has dual microphones, thanks to which they can cope with high noise levels. For those who do not want to be completely cut off from the environment, there are three modes of operation of noise reduction. The duration of work is 60 hours, although you have to pay for this with a tangible weight of 260 grams.
Rs. The sound quality of the speakers and the built-in microphone also did not let us down – the headphones can be used both for listening to music and for audio books with podcasts. The capacious battery, which provides 15 hours of continuous operation, will not disappoint. As a drawback, we can highlight the Bluetooth 4.1 version, due to which some buyers may experience a delay in the conversation.
JBL Tune 510BT – the lightest
A popular model that is loved for its good value for money. Lightweight (only 160 grams), comfortable and great-sounding headphones with natural noise isolation, perfect for outdoor use. A capacious battery thanks to which the device can work up to 40 hours without recharging. The only negative that buyers highlight is the short charging wire in the kit (only 0.2 meters).
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Best Wireless Headphones 2021-2022 – Reviews and Articles
The New Year holidays are getting closer, which means that you can think about summing up and make plans for 2022. Despite restrictions and lockdowns, in 2021, a lot of interesting premieres happened in the world of Hi-Fi and electronics. At the same time, many leaders of the past years have not lost their positions and retained their high ratings. In our selection – the best headphones 2021-2022, which should be presented as a gift to relatives, friends and even your loved one.
Audio Technica ATH-ANC700BT
Active noise-cancelling wireless headphones are becoming more and more popular among active lifestyle enthusiasts to help them relax on flights, focus in a noisy office or coffee shop and enjoy music, video or podcasts in high quality sound. Following new trends, Audio-Technica has introduced one of the most interesting models in its price category, the ATH-ANC700BT. It is based on a time-tested design and soft memory foam ear cushions that guarantee excellent noise isolation and comfort.
Of course, there is also the famous Audio-Technica sound, recognized as a reference by many sound engineers, and a modern system of active noise reduction, and convenient touch-gesture control of playback and calls. As for autonomy, there will be 25 hours of listening and up to 1000 hours of standby time on a single charge. It is worth noting that it is possible to connect both wired and wireless headphones.
It’s no secret that the British company Bowers & Wilkins produces not only absolutely luxurious acoustic systems, but also portable equipment that is interesting in every sense. Let’s take a look at the B&W PX7 wireless headphones: they were created by engineers involved in the design of the famous 800 Diamond speakers, which can also be found at the Abbey Road studio.
Inspired by racing supercars, the developers opted for modern body materials – in particular, carbon fiber, which guarantees lightness and strength, durability and wear resistance of the structure. At the same time, large drivers with a diameter of 43 mm sound great, and the adaptive noise reduction system automatically adjusts to environmental conditions and gives comfort in any environment. As for autonomy, we have up to 30 hours of continuous playback and a 15-minute fast charge, extending the listening time by another 5 hours. Also among the nice bonuses are smart sensors that automatically stop and resume playback when you remove and put on the headphones.
Thirty-five years of successful experience in the production of loudspeakers has not been in vain for DALI: having accumulated a solid store of knowledge, the savvy Danes successfully debuted in the portable audio market with the introduction of high-end full-size headphones IO-6.
It’s no secret that the quality of DALI speaker systems speaks for itself. And given the fact that full-size headphones are, in a sense, a pair of miniature speakers, the engineers managed to introduce a new portable bestseller. Here and active noise reduction, which works very well, and balanced sound, typical of the company’s products. In general, DALI IO-6 is a good choice for travelers and not only: you can listen to music and podcasts for up to 30 hours, and even if the battery is dead, it is possible to connect headphones using the included cable with a standard minijack plug.
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless
The German company Sennheiser introduced its first models of microphones back in 1946, after which it launched the production of high-quality headphones, which have come a long way since then and have come a long way of evolution and a real test of time. As a result, today we have before us the current Momentum Wireless model, a good example of respect for tradition and the skillful use of the latest technologies.
Meet by the clothes: the solid construction with stainless steel shackle and premium finishes are the first things to catch your eye. It’s nice that the design here is not boring and in some ways even vintage. And thanks to the ergonomic design, Active Noise Cancellation and Transparent Hearing mode, Momentum Wireless not only sound as expected, but also guarantee incomparable comfort. Autonomy here is not the highest among competitors – up to 17 hours of listening. However, this is definitely enough for long walks and travel.
Marshall Major IV
Since 1962, Marshall has been producing high-end professional audio equipment and has recently been surprising with a very successful line of portable equipment. We drew attention to the Major IV wireless headphones, which are interesting for several reasons.
First of all, it attracts with its charismatic design, reminiscent of classic guitar amplifiers. By the way, the already well-thought-out ergonomics in the new generation has been further improved. In addition – of course, a solid, sweeping sound in the recognizable Marshall style, which was the result of careful tuning of proprietary drivers.
Separately, we note the fact that the battery life of the headphones reaches 80 hours, this is one of the record figures at the moment. In addition, Major IV provides the possibility of both wired and wireless charging.
Another characteristic feature of the headphones is a multifunctional joystick, thanks to which playback and calls control becomes extremely simple and convenient. Well, Marshall turned out, as always, stylish and fairly compact wireless headphones that successfully stand out from the competition and give the expected impressive sound.
Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones are something of a multifunctional Swiss knife in the world of portable audio, a model with the expected high sound quality and some incredible amount of options.
First of all, we note auto-calibration and noise reduction with Dual Noise Sensor technology – a powerful weapon in the fight for sound quality. The system evaluates the content being listened to and the external environment at a frequency of 700 times per second, after which this information is sent to the QN1 processor, which adjusts the playback parameters in real time.
Worth mentioning is useful functionality for travelers: atmospheric pressure optimization technology is indispensable during air travel, and noise reduction can be adjusted so as not to miss important information, such as announcements in the airport lounge.
In addition, DSEE Extreme technology enhances the sound of compressed audio files with the help of artificial intelligence, and built-in sensors detect whether headphones are worn, automatically starting and stopping playback. Well, in order to instantly reduce the volume and assess the environment, just bring your palm to the right ear cup. But that’s not all: “cherry on the cake” is a mobile application with a lot of features and settings for avid geeks and those who like to customize everything to their taste.
Headphones last up to 30 hours on a single charge, and the convenient foldable design allows you to take the WH-1000XM4 with you on trips and outings. Thus, the fourth generation of the “thousandth” Sony remains one of the market leaders: certainly not the most affordable, but offering the most opportunities in its category.
Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2
For over 75 years, Sennheiser has been making audio products for professionals and connoisseurs of sound quality. And, of course, the company simply could not ignore the rapid development of the TWS earphone segment. Thus, we have a wireless model Momentum True Wireless 2.
In addition to the laconic design and consistently high sound quality, Momentum True Wireless 2 will appreciate the active noise reduction system and the Transparent Hearing function, which allows you to clearly hear the environment without removing your headphones if necessary. In addition, some of the interesting features of the model include customizable touch controls, support for voice assistants, and a “smart pause” option that works automatically when you remove the headphones and resumes playback when they are put back on.
Proprietary 7mm dynamic drivers give you a solid and detailed sound, and the built-in equalizer allows you to customize the playback settings to your taste. By the way, Momentum True Wireless 2 can play music and podcasts up to 7 hours, and thanks to the included charging case, autonomy increases to an impressive 28 hours.
RHA TrueConnect 2
RHA is a relatively young and already very well-known company headquartered in Glasgow (Great Britain), which has loudly declared itself in the portable audio segment. We paid attention to the popular TWS model TrueConnect 2: it has good passive noise isolation, Bluetooth 5.0, and dual microphones for clear voice transmission in headset mode.
Separately, we note that TrueConnect 2 is protected from dust and moisture according to the IP55 standard and will become your faithful companion in any weather, and you can control playback and call the voice assistant using touch pads on the case. Headphones will work up to 9hours, and up to 35 more hours when using the charging case, which is a very good result. Of course, in the case of TrueConnect 2, an attractive price also matters, thanks to which the model has become a real bestseller.
Klipsch T5 II True Wireless ANC
Few audio manufacturers can combine tradition and innovation as deftly and skillfully as Klipsch. This statement is also true in the case of the stylish T5 II TW ANC wireless TWS earbuds, which not only attract the eye due to their non-trivial design, but also offer a maximum of relevant options.
First of all, let’s note 5.8 mm drivers with verified sound, active noise reduction system and Transparency Mode, for comfortable listening in any environment. In addition, Klipsch offers an interesting headphone control option: for example, you can answer a call by nodding your head, or reject a call or switch the track by turning your head to the side, which is especially convenient, for example, when you are walking from the store and your hands are full of shopping bags.
Another interesting feature is support for Dirac HD Sound technology, which optimizes the sound, enhances detail and improves bass reproduction. As for autonomy, T5 II True Wireless ANC will work up to 7 hours on a single charge and up to 21 hours when paired with a branded case.
Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay HX
The Danish company Bang & Olufsen has created more than a dozen absolutely amazing turntables and amplifiers, tuners and speakers and has gained the status of one of the trendsetters of High End fashion. It is doubly pleasing that the premium brand has not bypassed the portable audio segment and introduced the new BeoPlay HX full-size wireless headphones.
The model is made in a recognizable style from B&O: it can be called classic and, at the same time, fashionable and relevant. Naturally, BeoPlay HX bribes with the highest quality materials and good ergonomics. Thus, the headphones will serve for a long time and will give a lot of positive emotions. In addition to proprietary 40 mm drivers with neodymium magnets and excellent sound from Bang & Olufsen, we note the presence of an adaptive noise reduction system, modern Bluetooth 5.