Every now and then at the gym, I see someone using earbuds with a cord connecting them to their phone. Their workout playlist blares through the earbuds but the cord clearly gets in the way. I suppose many people prefer wired earphones but I don’t understand why. If any tech gadget has improved more quickly than others it’s Bluetooth headphones and earbuds. Just 5-6 years ago we didn’t even have the option of totally wireless earphones. Today’s Bluetooth earbuds sound even better than the wired earphones from a half-decade ago.
You can spend over $300 or more for a pair of wireless earbuds and many people do. For most people, a nice-sounding and comfortable pair of earbuds are in the $100-$200 range.
Apple’s line of AirPods is favored by many people, especially those who use Apple products almost exclusively. The 2nd generation AirPods are still available for around $149. These 2nd gens are plenty good for most people who only want fine-sounding and comfortable earbuds with a long lasting battery without spending a fortune. The AirPod 3rd generation includes a wireless MagSafe charging case, longer battery life and there is a definite improvement in sound quality. For the occasional user who only wants to listen to music or podcasts, the 3rd generation might not be worth the extra $50.
Apple’s AirPods Pro is for audiophiles who want the richest sound along with wireless charging. The Pros also have active noise canceling. You won’t hear any background sounds, like a noisy coffee shop, airplane, or gym. The Pros do have transparency mode for when you need to hear some of what’s happening around you. Like most high quality earbuds the AirPods Pro are expensive at around $250. My friends who’ve purchased the Pro version tell me they’re totally worth the cost. I imagine testing and purchasing AirPods is like choosing a make and model of a car. If you try the top-of-the-line version you may never enjoy a less-expensive model.
While the AirPods Pro are highly reviewed and favored by Apple fans, my favorite Bluetooth earbuds are from Bose. The Bose Quiet Comfort earbuds have amazing sound and an incredibly long-lasting battery. I keep the Quiet Comfort earbuds in my gym bag and car and can go for 2 weeks before needing to charge the case. They’re not quite as comfortable as the AirPods and they’re bulkier. They seldom fall out of my ears even while running or working out. The noise-canceling is just as good and maybe better than I find in the Airpods Pro. The Quiet Comfort earbuds are not as expensive as the AirPods Pro. I’ve found them on Amazon and other online retailers for $200.
For budget-minded audiophiles, the Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 are excellent wireless earbuds. These do not have Active Noise Canceling but they do have some of the richest bass for people who like the thump, thump, thump of Hip Hop and Rock music. The Dots are some of the smallest earbuds I’ve tried and perhaps the most comfortable. A charging case keeps them charged for days and they’re a nice choice when paired with the Soundcore app that allows you to adjust for the type of music or talk you’re listening to. These Dot 2 are under $100. At the time I’m writing this I’ve found them online for under $80.
The coolest earphones I’ve tried are the brand new Soundcore Frames. These are sunglasses with built-in speakers that are surprisingly good for listening to music or podcasts. The Frames have 4 small speakers in the stems or arms of the sunglasses along with microphones for talking on the phone. These aren’t earbuds but open ear headphones which means you can hear the world around you. That makes the sunglasses a good and safe choice when running, walking or driving. The listening experience is more like listening to the car radio or home speakers.
The Soundcore Frames also give the user lots of choices on the style of sunglasses they prefer to wear. The arms snap on and off Soundcore Frames and the company has released all types of sunglasses from classic aviators and wayfarers to fashionable styles called “Festival” and “Marina”. You can purchase the Soundcore Frames with one style and then buy other frames that simply snap on and off the speaker arms.
Definitely a fashion purchase. If you’re looking for a pair of earbuds just for music quality, you’ll want to choose a pair of earbuds that have active noise canceling with the option for transparency mode when you need to hear things happening around you.
No matter which brand of earbuds you buy it’s important to note that the most logical reason for Bluetooth earbuds to stop working is corrosion inside the charging case. This happens when the earbuds get moisture or sweat from working out or running. To keep Bluetooth earbuds working and charging, it’s a good idea to blow inside the case and on the bud’s contact point before placing them back in the case. You can clean the buds and the charging case with a Q-Tip and 10% rubbing alcohol once a week according to Apple.