FINDING A GOOD SET OF EARPHONES can sometimes feel like a pilgrimage.
And because now most of them on offer are now wireless, it makes finding a decent pair just that bit harder, especially if you're more of an old-school music fan used to the wired variety. Will they be comfortable as well as sound good? Will the Bluetooth connectivity work well? Will they need charging often? So many questions!
There are literally thousands of these Bluetooth offerings on the market now, each promising different things, so knowing which are any good before you buy isn't easy. We've tried lots of pairs to answer this very quandary, and here are some of the best, whether it's for sports, travelling abroad, walking down the street, commuting to work or simply just chilling out at home.
Jaybird Run earphones: Best for comfort
Available for £170 from Argos
What always surprises us about completely wireless earphones is that many of them just aren't really that comfortable. In most cases, they can be bulky, and in my experience, a chunky or heavy set of buds doesn't bode well for active pursuits, as any kind of strong movement usually means they just fall out.
But JayBird's latest pair of fitness buds, the JayBird Run, are quite the opposite. Not only do they have no wires connecting the two earpieces to give you more freedom, but they actually stay there. Sound quality is superb, too, and best of all they are loud if you need them to be (something that many earphones suffer from these days).
Sony Duo Ear: Best for multitasking
Available for £249 from Sony
These are probably one of the weirdest-looking set of earphones out of there right now, and as you'd expect from how they look; they're not for everyone, but they are aimed at a specific user. These buds are all about feeding music to your ears when you need to be aware of your external environment.
The technology is designed to offer audio while still letting you hear ambient noise, a little like bone-conducting tech; so you can hear things like traffic, conversations and everything else around you in your daily life.
If you like to run outdoors and would prefer your music to sound more like background noise as opposed to taking over your entire sense of hearing because you need to be aware if there's a car coming as you cross the road; these are great, as they also adjust to the noise around you. If they detect there's an outside noise, they'll lower the volume that's fed to you so you can hear it. Ideal for cyclists, also.
Jabra Elite Active 65t: Best for sports
Available for £170 from Currys PC World
If you're looking for a good set of earbuds that have zero wires and let you move freely, the Jabra Elite Active 65t might be just what you're after. Not only do they stay in your ears and produce good sound quality with a decent bass range, but they're also waterproof (with an IP56 rating), offer motion detection and voice control, and look stylish. These beasts literally have it all. Well, apart from a cheap RRP; the earphones' only downside.
Bose Sleedbuds: Best for night time
Available in Autumn for £229
Late last month, Bose launched its first ever "noise-masking" Sleepbuds", a pair of freshly-designed in-ear wireless headphones that have been made for specifically for bedtime in a bid to help you sleep better. These are original because they are unlike any other earphones on the market, working in the same way as normal Bluetooth earphones but with a smaller and thus more comfortable form so they can be used while you're in the land of Nod.
They aren't focused on music streaming, though. So instead they are all about helping you to drift off in a more relaxed way by masking unwanted, external noise and replacing it with soothing sounds. Essentially, they're aiming to improve people's health, reducing sleep deprivation.
They might not be available yet but we've tried them and they work really well. They'll be with us later this year, so keep an eye out.
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium: Best for cycling
Available for £100 from Amazon
If your fitness weapon of choice is cycling, and you wish you could listen to music while riding your bike without risking your life, then you need a pair of Trekz Titanium. The wireless stereo headphones are the safest alternative to traditional sports headphones and earbuds thanks to bone conduction technology. An open ear design offers music to play and call features as you can peddle yourself fit from A to B, all while allowing you to hear perfectly what's going on around you.
Backbeat Fit: Best for runners
Available for £140 from Amazon
The BackBeat Fit earphones are made by Plantronics, the business outfit responsible for headsets. They are specifically designed for the perspiring athletic types out there, including "sweatproof" P2i coating that protects from any potential moisture malfunctions.
Weighing just 22 grams, they are lightweight and flexible enough to go unnoticed, but detailed with a reflective finish for runners' safety in the night. It also comes with a threaded case that can be strapped to your arm, holding your iPhone or smaller Android device in place.
We found the BackBeat Fit are ideal for runners, but also just great for all-rounder for everyday use, too.
Libratone Track+: Best for controllable noise-cancelling
Available for £170 from Tekzone
If you want to block out all those pesky external sounds but also have the freedom to prance around without being corded to your phone or MP3 device (yes, some people still have them), then the Libratone Track+ are the earphones for you.
To put it simply, they combine freedom with great sound, lightweight design, and Libratone's latest four-level adjustable noise cancellation, which is called Adaptive CityMix II. This lets you choose the level of noise cancelling you need, to make them perform either a bit like Sony's Duo Ear.
With a really comfortable flexible neckband, the Bluetooth earphones proved to be great to wear over long periods such as when you're working, as well as being splash-proof in case you want to take them to the gym. A really lovely pair of wireless buds, and one of our favourite all-rounders on the list. µ
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