Sony’s stellar WF-1000XM3 are still near the top of our list, but the true wireless earbud industry has changed a lot since their introduction. The M3s offer powerful ANC that automatically adjusts based on your activity, or thanks to a recent update, your location. The sound is also excellent and touch controls work reliably. Heck you can even find these on sale for well under $200 if you keep an eye out. However, they are big and bulky — sticking out of your ears like antennae. They lack the comfort of some of our other picks. While Sony packed in a ton of features here, the M3 has a lot more competition now.
Sure, there are cheaper options, but for $80, it’s hard to beat the Anker Soundcore Spirit Dot 2. These true wireless earbuds are smaller than a lot of the competition which makes them more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. Anker also delivers ample bass here, which means they can handle hip-hop, electronic and other genres that rely on low-end. They’re also IXP7 rated, so they’ll easily double as your new workout partner.
There’s no denying that AirPods are extremely popular among iPhone owners. And there’s a good reason. The earbuds integrate seamlessly with iOS. Plus, the more recent models offer hands-free access to Siri, on top of core features like quick pairing. In addition to active noise cancellation, the AirPods Pro have one very important thing the “regular” AirPods don’t: comfort. And when you factor in the spatial audio improvements in iOS 14, the Pro model is well worth the extra investment at this point.
Google’s first set of Pixel Buds were largely a bust. They weren’t true wireless, and overall, they felt incomplete. The company went back to the drawing board for its 2020 model — ditching the cord entirely and further integrating with Google Assistant. The Adaptive Sound feature that’s meant to be a stand-in for ANC isn’t great and you can find several options with better battery life. However, for the price, Pixel Buds offer solid sound quality, a comfy fit and direct access to Assistant the Android faithful will find useful.
Sennheiser made quite the leap from its first true wireless earbuds to version 2.0. The company figured out the touch controls, extended the battery life and added active noise cancellation. The Momentum True Wireless 2 is also the best sounding set of true wireless earbuds we’ve tested. As we noted during our review, Sennheiser consistently creates an audio profile that highlights minute details of songs, from the subtle attack of acoustic guitar strumming to the deep sub of synths and drum machines. The company’s trademark tone is warm, pleasant and inviting. The downside is these are pricey at around $300 and you can find better battery life (and wireless charging) elsewhere. In terms of pure audio quality though, this is the clear top pick.
The Galaxy Buds Live might be the hot new thing, but the Galaxy Buds+ are actually Samsung’s best option. The company went all-in with iOS integration this time around, which means iPhone owners are privy to the many of the same features and customization options as users with Galaxy devices or Android phones. The tiny size of the Galaxy Buds+ makes them comfy to wear for hours, and the affordable price won’t break the bank.