These wireless earbuds will be on several wishlists this year. Even more than usual after Apple released its new iPhone 12 series in the fall without including a set of inexpensive EarPods as a free package. There are a lot of options to choose from. I will skip the clear AirPods / AirPods Pro for iPhone owners. If someone really wants it, it’s likely due to the close integration with Apple and Siri devices – or the looks. Either way, those who set their hearts on the AirPods likely won’t be happy with anything else, even if other wireless earbuds provide better sound or better battery life.
I’ve evaluated various wireless earphone options over the past several years, and I have some recommendations. Any of these would be a great gift.
For anyone who has trouble finding a suitable wireless earbud: UE FITS
I am one of those people who finds it difficult to find suitable earphones. This is a problem because poorly fitted earphones mean discomfort, the risk of popping, and poor audio performance.
I’ve spent the last few weeks trying a set of custom-molded UE 18+ CSX earphones from Ultimate Ears, and the experience has been awesome. For the first time – after testing dozens of earphones over the years – this is a perfect pair.
The price and the need to send in custom templates again for processing mean this is probably not a realistic option for a holiday gift. But … the company has incorporated developments used for custom molding used in the CSX series into a new offering: UE FITS. These $ 249 earbuds are gel-infused and use Ultimate Ear’s LightForm Technology to fit in the ear in just 60 seconds.
There is clearly a lot of demand for well-fitting earphones, since the first batch sold out. However, you can still order the UE FITS Wireless Earbuds for January 2021 delivery.
True wireless earbuds for hardcore music lovers who also want ANC: 1 ANC true wireless in-ear headphones
I reviewed 1More’s True Wireless ANC in-ear headphones in April. Thanks to the unique O-shaped hooks, the aluminum charging case, and the carbon fiber appearance covers, these earbuds are excellent looking.
1 It is equipped with the latest technology, including improved two-level active noise cancellation, Bluetooth 5.0, infrared sensor with automatic switch off, and Qi wireless charging support for the charging case. It looked great, thanks to a specially modified 1More dual-hybrid driver setting (including a 10mm titanium composite diaphragm dynamic motor).
I was particularly impressed with the solid bass and high-power performance of the award-winning earphones. It was worth $ 199.99 for the MSRP. Since that review, the value proposition has gotten better (thanks to firmware updates), especially for video enthusiasts. The 1More True Wireless ANC earphones are now the world’s first THX certified true wireless earphones.
For those who spend a lot of time on voice calling: the Jabra Elite 85T
I use earphones to listen to music. Some people use it to talk on their phones. If you’re shopping for headphones for someone who spends a lot of time on calls, Jabra is a name you should pay attention to. The Danish brand has a long history of designing high-performance headphones for both professional and personal use. The company puts this experience into effective use in its wireless earbuds.
The Jabra Elite 85T is the company’s latest offering. It delivers high-quality sound and 11-level active noise cancellation.
Great call quality thanks to three professional-quality MEMS microphones in each earbud. Additionally, Jabra uses an algorithm to cancel wind noise. Callers can hear their voices too (without shouting) thanks to the side notes feature that plays their voices in the earphone.
For fitness enthusiasts (and anyone prone to things that go wrong): Jaybird Tarah Pro
Jaybird’s Tarah Pro wireless headphones have been around for a while. I reviewed it again in January, 2019.
However, despite being long in the teeth as far as earphones go, these $ 159.99 earbuds remain a top pick that will be ideal for many people who find traditional earphones unavailable.
There is a wire connecting the earphones (they still connect wirelessly to a smartphone or smartwatch), and this brings big advantages. The controls and battery move from the buds themselves to an onboard unit. This means smaller and lighter buds, easier operation, and a massive 14-hour battery life. On one charge. And there is no risk of losing a bud if someone comes out.
These earbuds are extremely comfortable (Jaybird was a pioneer in making silicone fins and tips), stay firmly in place during vigorous activity and are virtually indestructible. Includes IPX7 water resistance rating and durable braided cable. It also looks good, and the sound can be customized using the Jaybird mobile app.
For nearly two years now, the Jaybird Tarah Pros have remained the earphones I use when I’m working outdoors.
Great soundtrack budget option: 1 more color headphones
Finally, a second option from 1More. I only reviewed the company’s ColorBuds a few weeks ago. The name comes from the color palette in which these true wireless earbuds are presented. If someone is sick white or black, ColorBuds includes other options such as Twilight Gold or Sakura Pink. You can also get Midnight Black …
The choice of color isn’t the big draw for 1More ColorBuds, though. The real reason to consider this is a value proposition. At $ 99.99, these are true budget wireless earphones and they are way better than they should be for this price.
The sound quality is excellent, thanks to 1More using a custom-tuned, full-range balanced strap. Battery life is rated at six hours, and the charging case features fast charging, USB-C port, and the earbuds are IPX5 waterproof. Click controls can be customized, including support for digital assistants.
There is no shortage of inexpensive wireless earbuds from brands that you may not have heard of before. Choosing any of these can be a real roll of the dice. However, 1More ColorBuds proves that you can pay as little as $ 100 for a pair of true wireless earbuds from a reputable company and still get a great experience.
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