Products in this test
Have you gone on a summer holiday and forgotten to bring along earphones? That’s a shame. If you’re the type of person who lies on the beach under the parasol while everyone else is swimming, you need some good sound for your audiobook or podcast. The taxi ride home from the summer party will also be better if you can tune out the driver’s endless chatter and enjoy your favourite music instead.
A pair of completely wireless earphones – so-called true wireless – take up no space in your bag or purse and can easily fit in a trouser pocket. The best ones sound at least as good as a good pair of traditional headphones, so there’s no need to accept mediocre sound just because you’ve ditched the cord.
The best earbuds sound really good and have a long continuous battery life of 8-10 hours. With two or three extra charges from the portable case, the earbuds can last for a short holiday without the need to charge them between battles. And when you do need to charge, you can often get an hour of playback out of just ten minutes of charging.
Noise reduction and ambient sound
In the premium class, there are almost no earbuds without active noise cancellation. And it’s now effective enough to enjoy the entire flight to Lanzarote. Sometimes it can be too effective, in which case it’s a good thing that the hearing aids also have ambient sound. This means that microphones pick up sound from outside and send it into your ear, making it sound almost as if you’re not wearing earplugs at all.
All earbuds in this test have both noise cancellation and ambient sound.
Some earbuds have features that set them apart from others. For example, you can find them again if you can’t remember where you put them. Some have so-called sidetone, which allows you to better hear your own voice during mobile calls and video conferences.
Many earbuds have their own app with an equaliser, with different presets or where you can adjust the sound yourself. This can be handy if you’re not entirely happy with the sound as set by the manufacturer.
All the best wireless earbuds
Here we test a wide range of premium earbuds. The cheapest ones cost just under €200 and then gradually increase all the way up to €400. And if you think price determines quality, we can reveal that we had a few surprises here.
Products in this test
Great sound quality
Beyerdynamic makes great headphones, so it should come as no surprise that they also make great wireless earbuds.
Much better than its predecessors
Bose has improved their horrible QuietComfort Earbuds. The Earbuds II are much better in every way.
Best at noise cancellation
The Sony WF-1000XM5 continues the legacy of the popular M4 model, delivering even better noise reduction and sound quality.
The best sound
Technics promises clearer calls and better noise reduction than ever before with the flagship EAH-AZ80 earbuds.
Audio-Technica finally hits the spot
Audio-Technica are good, but have so far failed to convince us with their wireless earbuds. That changes with the ATH-TWX9.
Still very good
The Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 is more of the same, but that also means more of a good thing.
Bang & Olufsen's best
Beoplay EX is among the most expensive wireless earbuds. And at their best, they're really good.
Best value for money
At this price, you're unlikely to get better sound than from the OnePlus Buds Pro 2.
Best for Samsung phones
Samsung's best earbuds are okay, but the Pro model isn't worth twice the price.