Your Guide to The Best True Wireless Earbuds in 2020
The year is 2020, truly wireless earbuds are the norm and audio jacks are dead. And most importantly, nobody is meme-ing wireless earbuds anymore. When Apple first came out with the design of the AirPods in 2016, the internet found every conceivable way to laugh at them. Fast forward 4 years later, the AirPods and AirPods Pro are now the icon of status in the world of true wireless earbuds.
Now, truly wireless earbuds have become a genuinely viable replacement to the endangered audio jack. With luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton jumping on the wagon and offering a pair of premium and luxurious earbuds at $1620.00, it’s safe to say that wireless earbuds are here to stay.
On that note, here’s a comprehensive list of truly wireless earbuds (for convenience sake I will just use wireless earbuds for the rest of the article) to suit every budget and any needs.
Best Budget: Creative Outlier Air (S$79.00)
Starting off with the best budget wireless earbuds on this list, the Creative Outlier Air comes out as the clear front-runner. Boasting an insane 8 hours of playtime and relatively good sound quality, these earbuds really punch above their weight with their low price range. Coupled with their water resistance (IPX5), the Creative Outlier Air is a no-brainer for anyone on a budget but unwilling to settle for anything sub-par. While they lose out in sound quality to their pricier competition, these are an absolute bargain at just S$79.00
- Long-lasting battery life
- IPX5 Certification
- Unique charging case
- Sound quality may not be up to par with others on this list
Best for Apple Users: Apple AirPods Pro (S$379.00)
While the OG Apple Airpods will always remain in our hearts, the recent release of the AirPods Pro is another story. With the sealed ear canal, the sound quality on these is better than before and paired with functioning active noise cancellation, the AirPods Pro is truly a great sounding pair of earbuds.
Their biggest pull factor is, of course, the convenience of being part of the Apple ecosystem. If you’re a diehard Apple user, these will seamlessly connect to all your devices on your iCloud account after you’ve paired it to a device once. On the other hand, if you’re an Android user, obviously saying “Hey Siri” will get you nowhere. But you are still getting a superb pair of earbuds even though you will lose a lot of the cooler Apple features that make it so convenient and attractive.
- Improved sound quality
- Convenient for Apple-users
- Good active noise cancellation
- Not Android-friendly
- You become the subject of mockery amongst your friends
Best Sound Quality: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless (S$295.00)
For the people prioritising sound quality above all, look no further. Despite being released in 2018, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless still remains at the top when it comes down to top-notch sound quality. With a balanced and accurate sound, these earbuds sound amazing especially for those who don’t like an overpowering bass in their music. Furthermore, there are no latency issues here which is a big plus for people who watch Netflix on the go.
However, noise isolation could be an issue for some as there is no built-in active noise cancellation and a minute level of ambient noise can still leak in. Available on Amazon SG for S$300.00 (one of the more expensive ones on this list), its hefty price point may be off-putting for some of you. But for those who can afford Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, be rest assured you have the best sounding wireless earbuds on the market for a truly immersive sound experience.
- Great balanced sound
- Good build quality
- Cool charging case
- Noise isolation can be an issue for some
- Not water resistant
Best for Sports: Jaybird Vista (S$199.00)
While the Jaybird Run wasn’t bad, they weren’t amazing for their price point either. The Jaybird Vistas are essentially what the Jaybird Run could have been. With a superb fit, these earbuds sit snugly into your ears and will be appreciated by fitness enthusiasts as these are tough to shake off.
Coupled with an IPX7 certification (can be immersed in water up to 1m for a maximum of 30 minutes), the Jaybird Vistas are the go-to workout wireless earbuds for athletes and gym-goers. The sound profile may be a little bass-heavy for some but as an athlete myself, I definitely appreciate the bass that gets my adrenaline pumping during workouts and runs. For earbuds without active noise cancellation, the noise isolation on these are good.
- Great fit
- IPX7 Certification
- Stable connection
- Stylish design
- May become uncomfortable after long periods of wear
- Ear tips are unique and hard to replace
- Poor microphone quality
Best for Android Users: Samsung Galaxy Buds+ (S$258.00)
Recently released in February 2020, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ is Samsung’s answer to the Apple AirPods Pro.As compared to its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ kept what was good and made significant improvements to its battery life and microphone quality.
With an insane play time of 11 hours, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ will surely satisfy those who wear their earbuds for extended periods of time or are just too lazy to keep recharging them (aka me). More significantly, these earbuds feature Spotify integration which allows users to receive music recommendations from Spotify via the earbuds, a feature that’s rare in any other iteration of wireless earbuds now.
- Amazing battery life
- Clear microphone quality
- Unique Spotify integration feature
- No active noise cancelling
- Sound quality similar to the original Galaxy Buds
Best Active Noise Cancelling: Sony WF-1000XM3 (S$349.00)
Maybe you’re looking for a pair of earbuds to block out the ambient noise of daily commute (buses and MRTs can be pretty noisy sometimes). Or maybe you’re trying to block out the “ambient” noise of your friends/colleagues at work, I feel you. Well, the Sony WF-1000XM3 is your answer to all of your above problems.
Featuring stellar active noise cancellation coupled with great overall sound quality, the Sony WF-1000XM3s is an absolute joy to use. More uniquely, these earbuds are compatible with Sony’s new 360 Reality Audio which basically allows users to experience music 360 degrees as opposed to just left and right from conventional earbuds. Furthermore, these are the most comfortable pair of earbuds on this list despite it’s rather bulky looking aesthetic. While not overbearingly so, the charging case also happens to be the bulkiest on this list which might be a bummer for some. The biggest downside to these earbuds are the lack of water-resistance ratings which means it will not be ideal for exercising or even getting stuck in an unexpected downpour.
- Exceptional active noise cancellation
- Great sound quality
- Very comfortable
- Compatible with Sony’s 360 Reality Audio
- No water-resistance
- Relatively bulky charging case
Best Overall: Jabra Elite Active 75t (S$318.00)
The Jabra Elite Active 75t takes the top spot on this list. Water-resistant? Check. Good noise isolation? Check. Great sound quality? Check. Reasonably priced? Absolutely check. Boasting an IP57 rating (dust and water-resistant), these earbuds are certainly the most durable one on this list. Furthermore, the lack of active noise cancellation can be disregarded as their 4-microphone system cancels ambient noise from all angles, providing a wholly-sealed isolated sound experience.
Their sound signature is a tad bass-heavy but is much better balanced than the Jaybird Vista. With the option to EQ it yourself via the Jabra app, the Jabra Elite Active 75t is a versatile pair of earbuds. Instead of scoring A’s in all categories, these earbuds take the top spot because they are an all-rounder and don’t have any glaring or deal-breaking flaws. If I were to nit-pick, the only flaw would be the lack of active noise cancellation. But unless you’re going to be using these at a construction site, I doubt it will be a problem. All in all, whether you’re an athlete looking for a pair of workout earbuds or just your average Joe looking for your daily driver, the Jabra Elite Active 75t is worth the wait.
- IP57 rating
- Great sound
- Good battery life
- Good microphone quality
- No active noise cancellation
A previous version of this article mentioned the Jabra Elite Active 75t to be priced at S$280.00 and launching in March which was inaccurate. We apologise for the previous inaccuracy.
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