FINDING A GOOD SET OF EARPHONES can sometimes feel like a chore. And because now most of them on offer are now wireless, it makes finding a decent pair just that bit harder, especially if you're more of an old-school music fan used to the wired variety. Will they be comfortable as well as sound good? Will the Bluetooth connectivity work well? Will they need charging often?
There are literally thousands of these Bluetooth offerings on the market now, each promising different things, so knowing which are any good before you buy isn't easy. We've tried lots of pairs to answer this very quandary, and here are some of the best, whether it's for sports, travelling abroad, walking down the street, commuting to work or simply just chilling out at home.
Jaybird Vista: Best for long runs
Available for £159.99 from Jaybird
If your earphones have a tendency to fall out during a run, or they're a little too weighty for anything long distance, then these great-fitting, true-wireless buds from Jaybird should prove just the thing. Not only are they insanely light (they weigh just 33g with the case included!) but they're also very compact. Battery life could be a little louder, but we're happy to overlook this considering how well designed, comfortable and portable they are.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless: Best all-rounders
Available for £279.99 from Argos
The Momentum True Wireless buds from Sennheiser live up to the brand's reputation for quality. With solid noise-cancelling capabilities and super comfortable fit, these bad boys are great performing earphones and work well even when making phone calls. They stick out of the ear a little more than we'd like - so probably not as good as Jaybird's offering for running - but everything else is top-notch. The stylish fabric carry/charge case is also an added bonus.
Urbanista Stockholm: Best AirPod lookalikes
Available for £89 from Urbanista
The Urbanista Stockholm look a lot like AirPods and even come with an eerily similar charging case that provides 14 hours of playback time. However, despite looking just as stylish, Urbanista's efforts are almost half the price of Apple's £159 wireless earbuds at £89. Sure, the sound quality might not be quite as impressive - there's no active noise cancellation and bass it weak - but the one-size-fits-all buds handle certain types of music well, such as mellow rock and vocal-led tracks. Perhaps a no-go for hip-hop fans, though.
Aftershokz Aeropex: Best for cycling
Available for £149.95 from Amazon
If your fitness weapon of choice is cycling, and you wish you could listen to music while riding your bike without risking your life, then you need a pair of Aftershokz Aeropex. The wireless stereo headphones are the safest alternative to traditional sports headphones and earbuds thanks to bone conduction technology. An open ear design offers music to play and call features as you can peddle yourself fit from A to B, all while allowing you to hear perfectly what's going on around you.
Bose Soundsport Free: Best for sound quality
Available for £180 from Bose
For those looking for wireless headphones that can withstand the abuses of working out, the SoundSport Free are an excellent option, assuming they fit your ears (they are some of the bigger earphones in our roundup).
Nevertheless, this slightly bigger design means a much better sound quality, touting a weighty, full-bodied sound with deep, powerful bass and a lovely even tonal balance. They are by far some of the best sounding wireless earphones we have tested.
They aren't noise-cancelling, which is a shame as if there's one thing Bose does impeccably well it's this. But they are still a brilliant pair of cans. Just depends if you think the bulkier design is worth the best music playback quality, or not.
Sony WF-SP700N: Best for yoga and meditation
Available for £160 from Currys
When it's time to cool down, stretch out and release your mind, yoga is the perfect remedy. While you didn't think it was possible, there's a pair of headphones that are best suited to this, too: the Sony WF-SP700N.
These wireless buds are ideal for this scenario because they boast digital noise-cancelling technology in a completely Bluetooth design, allowing you to listen to music without any background distractions but also with the freedom of not being tied to your phone. I used them during my yoga session outside at the resort's "Volcano" outdoor astroturf area, overlooking some beautiful extinct volcanoes.
They've got this secure fit design, too, so the earbuds sit and stay comfortably in your ears throughout your vinyasa flow. They are also IPX4 sweat-resistant, in case you prefer a bit more of a stronger practice.
Jabra Elite Active 65t: Best for sports
Available for £170 from Currys PC World
If you're looking for a good set of earbuds that have zero wires and let you move freely, the Jabra Elite Active 65t might be just what you're after. Not only do they stay in your ears and produce good sound quality with a decent bass range, but they're also waterproof (with an IP56 rating), offer motion detection and voice control, and look stylish. These beasts literally have it all. Well, apart from a cheap RRP; the earphones' only downside.
Bose Sleedbuds: Best for night time
Available in Autumn for £229
Late last month, Bose launched its first-ever "noise-masking" Sleepbuds", a pair of freshly-designed in-ear wireless headphones that have been made for specifically for bedtime in a bid to help you sleep better. These are original because they are unlike any other earphones on the market, working in the same way as normal Bluetooth earphones but with a smaller and thus more comfortable form so they can be used while you're in the land of Nod.
They aren't focused on music streaming, though. So instead they are all about helping you to drift off in a more relaxed way by masking unwanted, external noise and replacing it with soothing sounds. Essentially, they're aiming to improve people's health, reducing sleep deprivation.
They might not be available yet but we've tried them and they work really well. They'll be with us later this year, so keep an eye out.
Jaybird Run XT earphones: Best for comfort
Available for £139.99 from Amazon
What always surprises us about completely wireless earphones is that many of them just aren't really that comfortable. In most cases, they can be bulky, and in my experience, a chunky or heavy set of buds doesn't bode well for active pursuits, as any kind of strong movement usually means they just fall out.
But JayBird's Run XT are quite the opposite. Not only do they have no wires connecting the two earpieces to give you more freedom, but they actually stay there. Sound quality is superb, too, and best of all they are loud if you need them to be (something that many earphones suffer from these days).
Libratone Track+: Best for controllable noise-cancelling
Available for £170 from Tekzone
If you want to block out all those pesky external sounds but also have the freedom to prance around without being corded to your phone or MP3 device (yes, some people still have them), then the Libratone Track+ are the earphones for you.
To put it simply, they combine freedom with great sound, lightweight design, and Libratone's latest four-level adjustable noise cancellation, which is called Adaptive CityMix II. This lets you choose the level of noise-cancelling you need, to make them perform either a bit like Sony's Duo Ear.
With a really comfortable flexible neckband, the Bluetooth earphones proved to be great to wear over long periods such as when you're working, as well as being splash-proof in case you want to take them to the gym. A really lovely pair of wireless buds, and one of our favourite all-rounders on the list. µ
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