Maybe you thought your regular wired earbuds were just fine, or maybe you were good and ready to cut free from the wires. Whatever your thoughts on headphones, the reality is that we’re moving toward a time when wireless is the watchword for in-ear and over-ear headphones alike.
Certainly, it’s easy to see the appeal of wireless earbuds: There’s not a chance that they’ll ever get tangled or twisted, and they make it easier to exercise without fear of being constrained by the limits of your cords. They come with some obvious drawbacks, too: It’s easy to picture losing a single wireless earbud, for instance, or running into an unexpected issue with connectivity.
Perhaps this is why it is only recently that developers have started to really lean into the idea of truly wireless earbuds, or sets with absolutely no wires connecting the buds to each other, to a charger, or to your audio device.
Of this new class of truly wireless in-ear headphones, Apple’s AirPods have emerged as the clear audiophile favorites; retailing for $160, AirPods look and feel quite similar to the EarPods that have long been the standard accompaniment to iPods and iPhones. Experts say that AirPods are among the easiest wireless earbuds to set up and keep connected (and yes, they will sync with non-Apple devices), and that they offer perhaps the best phone call experience of any truly wireless earbud.
With that said, this first generation of AirPods is not without its drawbacks: As with traditional corded EarPods, sound quality is not prime, and the earbuds are not really noise cancelling, which can make them harder to use on the train or at the gym. If you want in-ear controls, too, you’ll be out of luck with AirPods; aside from the basic “play/pause” command, you’ll need to actually use your phone or watch to control your audio levels.
For the Apple-averse, the gearheads over at The Wirecutter also recommend the Samsung Gear IconX ($141), which offer decent sound quality and touch-responsive controls, as well as a bevy of additional fitness features if you’re using a Samsung device. On the other hand, the connectivity’s range can be quite small, and you can’t power off the headphones without also depositing them back into their case.
Looking for even more truly wireless options? The Wirecutter also notes that the Jabra Elite Sport is the best system for the gym – though their odd fit and $250 price tag may turn some people off. The same goes for the Erato Apollo 7 system, which retails for more than $200, though it does offer the best sound on the market.
Have any wireless earbuds you think we should stuff into our earholes? Looking for some other tech recommendations? We’d love to hear from you! Here at Geek Chicago, digital marketing is our passion, but gadgets and apps are our lifeblood. Drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter whenever you want to talk shop!