It is completely normal if you are unaware of what a “true wireless earbud” is. Defined as in-ear Bluetooth headphones that are not connected via wires to the device or to each other, most of the world was unaware of this technology until the Apple AirPods erupted into the public eye in December 2016.

The internet found all manners and forms to poke fun of it. From videos of people cutting off the wires of their EarPods to memes that emphasised the ridiculousness of this supposed new invention, the idea of truly wireless earbuds at that time was not welcomed.

Fast-forward over 2 years later and heaps of former naysayers have now been converted into believers of this sans-wire technology. Many tech companies have also jumped on the “truly wireless” bandwagon in the past two years, presenting us, the consumers, with a huge variety to choose from.

We have narrowed down the best of the true wireless earbuds for you and anyone you wish to gift it to for 2019.

Before you buy…

The true wireless headphones industry is still in its formative years, even with tech giants pouring all their resources into developing better devices, the products are not the definitive version it wants to be just yet. Many flaws are still present and it may take some time before any of the products could be considered a proper standard for the industry.

If you are looking for a reliable connection or great sound quality, you may want to check for wireless Bluetooth headphones or stick to the more traditional wired ones.

Best of the Best: Creative Outlier Air

Creative Outlier Air

We can’t help but feel intense pride when a Singaporean company makes it to any well-meaning list. And this time, they are top of the class.

The Outlier Air, launched this month, is Creative’s first foray into the “truly wireless” headphones category, and they have the formula all worked out. Priding itself on its ability to last 10 hours per charge for a total of 30 hours (with 2 charges from the case) the Creative Outlier Air is an excellent introduction to the true wireless earbuds experience.

Although true wireless earbuds are not usually marketed for their sound, the Outlier Air has the addition of higher quality aptX and AAC Bluetooth codecs, leading to a better boosted and natural sound. Creative has also taken the liberty of adding a dual-voice call mode where it is able to send call audio to both earbuds instead of one.

IPX5 Water Resistance

For the active individuals, the Outlier Air is also IPX5 certified water resistant. You can sweat into them just don’t bring them swimming! Wrap all these qualities up and slap a price tag that’s half of the Apple Airpods and you get one of the best true wireless earbuds right now.

+ Great battery life

+ Good mic pick up with background noise cancelling

+ One of the better sounding earbuds

+ Amazing price (SGD119)

– Bulkier than most other earbuds

Best for iPhone and Connectivity: Apple AirPods (2019)

Apple AirPods

You cannot go wrong with pairing Apple products

The first generation of Apple AirPods will forever be remembered as the product to have launched the true wireless earbuds sector into global recognition. This month, the second-generation AirPods were introduced into the market, albeit to lesser hype and hate.

As with most Apple products, sync between any Apple devices to the AirPods is a breeze (Android users will have to enable through Bluetooth). And due to the new H1 chip introduced in the second-generation of AirPods, the connection from the earbuds to the sound source is the strongest amongst the true wireless earbuds competition. The hands-free voice-activated “Hey Siri” feature may also excite Siri fans. Instead of having to manually press either the phone or AirPods, you may now activate Siri by simply speaking into the AirPods.

AirPods Case

The most interesting addition to the second-generation AirPods would be the wireless charging case. With the new AirPods wireless charging case, you can charge your AirPods case with any Qi charger mats. If you do not need that feature, no worries, it is completely optional to purchase the wireless charging case.

+ Most stable connection to all types device

+ Super quick and easy sync with Apple devices

+ Sleek and stylish design

+ Small case to travel with

– Many features are not available with Android devices

– Rather pricey for fewer features as compared with other options

Best Sound: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

The brand Sennheiser is synonymous to great sound. Even within the true wireless department, they deliver.

The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless is a great display of what the future holds for true wireless earbuds audio capabilities. Good things come in small packages, and these earbuds sure pack a punch.

If your biggest concern is sound quality, look no further. With dynamic 7mm Beryllium drivers, The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless has the most enjoyable audio experience out of every other earbud in this list. The app also allows you to EQ the sound to your personal preference. With only a 4 hour usage time between charges, these sleek earbuds are all about pure audio performance. You will not find many other niche features like water resistance or weather sealing.

The sleek and classy design with a well-placed brand logo makes this pair of earbuds a possible fashion accessory. Retailing at SGD$469, The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless is an exceptional product, beset only by its hefty price tag.

+ Best sound in the true wireless category

+ Classy design makes it wearable anywhere

+ Able to EQ own audio

– Huge price tag

Best for Sports: Jabra Elite Active 65t

Jabra Elite Active 65t

Don’t sweat it. This pair is resistant to sweat.

With the word ‘active’ as part of the product name, you can be very sure Jabra made these for the sports-inclined individual. The Jabra Elite Active 65t is a parallel upgrade to the former Elite 65t with added sport functionality.

With an IP56 rating, the Jabra Elite Active 65t is water and dust resistant. Rain or shine, these earbuds will endure through it all. A 5-hour battery life per charge (15 hours in total with 2 charges from the case) ensures full workout sessions of uninterrupted music and audio. And if you are ever in a rush and forgot to charge them, the case provides rapid charge, 1.5 hours in 15 minutes.

Image credit: Jabra

For users considering any pair of sports earphones, the first worry that comes to mind would be the fit and comfort in the presence of sweat and motion. The Jabra Elite Active 65t dispels that worry by having an additional in-ear bump and a small-arm to secure the fit. Every other review of this product came to the same conclusion, they stay put. The earbuds also come with 3 pairs of silicone ear gels to optimize the fit.

An accelerometer within the earbuds helps track your fitness with the companion Jabra Sound+ application.

+ IP56 water and dust resistance

+ Extremely good fit even in sweaty and high motion situations

+ Application to help track your fitness

– High latency in connectivity, audio lag while watching videos

– Mic is rather poor

Best Budget: Xiaomi Airdots

Xiaomi AirDots

Nope, that is correct. This is not the AirPods, these are the AirDots.

 At less than half the price of the Apple AirPods, yet with such similar design, the Xiaomi AirDots is easily dismissed as a cheap rip-off without a second glance. Yet if given the chance, the AirDots is a rather capable pair for its price.

For a true wireless earphone to retail at less than a $100, expectations have to be limited. Although the design is heavily influenced by the AirPods, the Xiaomi AirDots lack the curvature and sleekness of the AirPods. The sound quality, however, was surprising. The AirDots prove to have a really capable noise-cancelling feature, with the ability to shut out most street and traffic noises while pouring clear bassy notes into your ears.

Image credit: Xiaomi AirDots

Connectivity with Apple or Android OS was relatively easy and the connection stayed true for most of the day. Call functionality, however, was extremely lacking with the AirDots as audio for calls are only limited to a single side and background noises easily crept into the call audio. But if you are looking for cheap true wireless earphones to test out this new technology, the Xiaomi AirDots is your best bet. There is even a cheaper version of the AirDots, aptly named the Xiaomi AirDots Lite that goes for less than SGD$60.

+ Good performance for the price range

+ Connectivity is strong

+ Strong noise-cancelling

– Rubber earbuds are really uncomfortable after an hour of use

– Design is really similar to Apple AirPods

Treat yourself with a new pair or offer wireless earbuds to someone you care about.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner.

User Feedback