While 2020 may not have been an ideal year for most things, it was a great year for truly wireless (TWS) headphones. We saw numerous companies explore this segment owing to the recent removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack on most high-end smartphones. With choice though, comes confusion. Each headphone maker focuses on a different core feature-set. But which one should you buy this holiday season?
Apple AirPods Pro
Offering a premium experience in a more compact form factor than the original AirPods, the AirPods Pro features active noise cancellation for a distraction free listening experience and an adaptive equalizer.
You also get a customizable fit alongside sweat and water resistance, ideal for high-intensity activities. Wireless charging is a given here and overall audio quality takes a step up. The AirPods Pro is the most ideal companion for any Apple device owner due to how it functions within the ecosystem.
Honor Magic Earbuds
Equipped with 10mm drivers, the Magic Earbuds offer a hybrid active noise cancellation experience on a budget reinforced by their customizable fit. They work not just for music but also for calls thanks to their adaptive triple microphones.
Their longer stem and wider case may be something you have to get used to over time but otherwise, they offer everything from custom touch controls, a decent battery and instant one-step pairing if you happen to own a compatible Honor device. Just do not expect sound quality to be phenomenal. Currently, they are available for Dh369.
Huawei FreeBuds Pro
Thanks to intelligent dynamic active noise cancellation, the FreeBuds Pro can recognize ambient sounds offering a noise reduction of up to 40dB, a feature that differentiates them from the rest. Its 11mm driver helps you enjoy music on a seamless connection, with the ability to wirelessly charge them and use them on multiple devices simultaneously.
Most of its features are accessible via Huawei’s AI Life companion application, but you need to adapt to its gestures which work with pinches rather than regular swipes. More so, removing and putting back the earbuds takes time to get used to due to their tight fit in the case.
Oppo Enco W31
Prioritizing sound quality, the Enco W31 delivers excellent audio with support for a variety of different modes. Its 7mm driver is suited for plenty of complex soundtracks but more so, the earbuds officially support IP54 water and dust resistance, something that is difficult to find at this price tag.
Gesture navigations on the earbuds feel less responsive than its competition though and there is no support for active noise cancellation nor wireless charging.
While these are not conventionally designed to be earbuds, the Bose Frames can deliver both sound and eye protection at the same time. They produce sound you would never expect from sunglasses with options available for both fashion and sports. The Tenor and Soprano variants come polarized lenses and premium designs with an emphasis on rich sound.
The Tempo on the other hand is a pair of sports sunglasses perfect for fitness enthusiasts. With the ongoing Dubai Fitness Challenge, these could be a great companion to continue that journey forward.
Sennheiser CX 400 BT True Wireless
Combining many of the features found on its flagship earbuds, the CX 400 BT True Wireless offers excellent 7mm drivers with a built-in equalizer, customizable touch controls and passive noise cancellation.
You get Sennheiser’s signature sound profile along with natural mid-tones and a clear treble.
Huawei FreeBuds 3i
If value for money and active noise cancelation is a priority, the Freebuds 3i with its 10mm driver could be an ideal choice. With good sound quality and reliable hardware, you benefit a fair bit without the bells and whistles of wireless charging.
But these are geared more towards a casual listener putting customization of gestures at the helm making them a less than ideal choice for an audiophile. They are priced at Dh369.
Oppo Enco W51
The most premium offering from Oppo, the Enco W51 brings support for above-average active noise cancellation and wireless charging.
The lightweight design of the earbuds makes them comfortable to use for longer durations with intuitive and responsive gesture controls but for a premium pair of earbuds, customization seems lacking with only compatible smartphones from Oppo able to take advantage of the buds’ full potential.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
Different from the rest on the list, the Galaxy Buds Live offers a premium listening experience in a unique bean-shaped form factor. While comfort levels are subjective, the earbuds are the first to offer active noise cancellation on this open type design, albeit a bit inferior compared to the competition.
They come with a 12mm driver for sound tuned by AKG with support for wireless charging and a good degree of gesture support. But, the hardware only comes with IPX2 water-resistance.
Realme Buds Air
The Realme Buds Air is only features a universal fit, sporting a rather conventional design language. Its compact nature allows it to be lightweight and portable, offering wireless charging support too, a big selling point for earbuds at this price range.
You find support for environment noise cancellation technology, gestures and a dedicated low-latency mode specifically tuned for gaming. But in terms of audio and build quality, it falls lower in the pecking order.