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Technology The best-sounding true wireless headphones of 2019

01:50  07 october  2019
01:50  07 october  2019 Source:   cnet.com

The Best Wireless Headphones You Can Buy Right Now

The Best Wireless Headphones You Can Buy Right Now Admit it: you need to get some wireless headphones. With the technology getting so good and with headphone jacks disappearing, it just makes sense to invest in a future without wires if like listening to music or watching videos or just making the outside world less loud. How you use your headphones ought to inform which ones you get, of course. And that’s what this guide is for. Whether you’re an aspiring audiophile, a long distance runner, or just someone with a sense of style, there’s a set of wireless headphones for you. If you’re looking for earbuds, ear muffs, or something in between, we’ve got you covered.

It's now relatively easy to find inexpensive true wireless earbuds that sound pretty decent, and if that's what you're looking for, we've got a list of the best cheap true wireless earbuds. But alas, many of the best wireless headphones cost a lot. And if sound quality is your top priority, you're going to have to spend more -- and in some instances, a lot more.

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The best wireless headphones also tend to be on the bigger side because size does seem to matter when it comes to the sound quality of wireless earbuds. And that's where the one big caveat to all this comes into play: to get optimal performance, the best wireless headphones need to feel comfortable and fit right -- and you have to get a tight seal. If you can't get a snug fit with in-ear headphones, you'll think you got ripped off and be sadly disappointed, which is why I suggest buying from a store with a decent return policy -- such as Amazon .

The best headphones of 2019

  The best headphones of 2019 Picking the right headphones can be tricky business. We've tested hundreds of them to help you find the right ones for you.Choosing the right headphones can be a tricky business. Most people simply head to the store and pick up the first pair they find that are cheap and look like they sound halfway decent. Ideally, though, it's better to invest a little more and walk away with a pair that'll look good, sound even better, and last for the long haul.

Below is a list of the best wireless headphones, with a breakdown of features, including performance, noise cancellation, battery, audio quality and how comfortable they are. I'll update this list as I test new models (the Klipsch T5 True Wireless and Sony WF-1000XM3 have been added as part of the latest update).

Note that CNET may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Read more: Best cheap true wireless earphones | Best headphones for running in 2019

Sony WF-1000XM3: $228

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Sony hasn't been much of a player in the true wireless (AirPods-style) headphone arena, but its new WF-1000XM3 may change that. While this pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones isn't cheap at $228, it's the best-sounding set of truly wireless earbuds at this price, matching and perhaps even exceeding the sound quality and performance of pricier competitors from Sennheiser, Beats, Master & Dynamic and Bang & Olufsen. It also has a feature that those wireless earbuds don't have: active noise cancellation to reduce ambient noise.

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Its only drawback is that it isn't rated as being sweat- or water-resistant. That said, I've used these wireless noise-cancelling headphones for light workouts at the gym without a problem.

The Sony WF-1000XM3 active noise-cancelling headphones use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC but not aptX.

Water-resistant: No (lacks IPX certification)

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Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless: $300

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At $300 (£279, AU$499), Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless are more expensive than Apple AirPods wireless earbuds, Jabra's Elite 65t true wireless earbuds and Elite Active 65t and Bose SoundSport Free wireless earbuds. But they sound superior to those models, with better bass and cleaner, more detailed audio for a great listening experience. These wireless earbuds also feature very good sound quality for making phone calls, with solid noise cancelling capabilities, and offer a generally comfortable fit, though they're bigger than the Jabras and stick out of your ear a little more. Their only significant downside is that they gradually lose their charge in the charging case and can end up completely dead after about four days if you don't recharge the case.

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  Noise-canceling headphones can help prevent hearing loss, if you use them right Want to rock out with your headphones while protecting your hearing? Try noise-canceling headphones.You may have considered noise-canceling headphones to end the incessant battle between your headphones and external sounds. By blocking out background noise, they allow you to keep the volume of your music or podcast down, which helps protect your hearing. However, they aren't always the right answer -- read on to learn why.

I've used these wireless earbuds in the gym, but they don't fit quite securely enough in my ear canal to run with them. Though the touch controls make them easy to use. Battery life is rated at 4 hours, and you get two extra charges from the carrying case. These use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC and aptX and a firmware update has improved their performance and slightly.

Water-resistant: Yes (IPX4 rating -- splashproof)

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  The absolute best Black Friday 2019 headphone deals available now: Sony, AirPods Pro, JBL, Beats and Jabra on sale Price cuts on AirPods Pro and Sony's "Bose killer," with sale prices as low as $30 on true wireless models.They're back: Best Buy again has the JLabs JBuds Air on sale for $30. They normally retail for $50. JLabs makes a lot of true wireless earphones and this is its most affordable -- and frankly, the only one I'd buy. It's a decent set of true wireless earbuds that's a relative bargain at $30.

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Read more:Best wireless headphones for making calls in 2019

Master & Dynamic MW07 True Wireless: $300

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The Master & Dynamic MW07 True Wireless may not fit everyone's ear equally well, but they certainly have a distinct look, as well as very good sound and a great listening experience if you can get a tight seal. These in-ear headphones are known for more of an audiophile sound profile, with smooth, well-balanced sound and well-defined bass, and the MW07 delivers that kind of sound.

Available in a variety of color options for $300, these wireless earbuds with excellent audio include a swanky chrome charging case that comes with a secondary pouch for safekeeping (yes, the case can get scratched up if you leave it in a bag). Battery life is rated at 3.5 hours, which is a little on the short side, and the case with its built-in chargeable battery gives you an additional three charges (it charges via USB-C). These use Bluetooth 4.2 with support for AAC and aptX and have an extended range of more than 20m, according to Master & Dynamic.

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  Black Friday 2019 headphone deals available now: AirPods Pro, JBL, Jabra, Sony and Beats on sale [just updated] Price cuts on AirPods Pro and Sony's "Bose killer," with sale prices as low as $30 on true wireless models.They're back: Best Buy again has the JLabs JBuds Air on sale for $30. They normally retail for $50. JLabs makes a lot of true wireless earphones and this is its most affordable -- and frankly, the only one I'd buy. It's a decent set of true wireless earbuds that's a relative bargain at $30.

Water-resistant: Yes (IPX4 rating -- splashproof)

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  Best Black Friday 2019 headphone deals: AirPods Pro, Beats, Jabra, Sony, JBL Check out price cuts on the AirPods Pro and Sony's "Bose killer" WH-1000XM3 noise-canceling headphones, with prices as low as $30 on true wireless models.And while you shopping, we have ideas for how to keep your stress level manageable. Visit our Holiday Survival Guide for tips on how to get through the Thanksgiving weekend without too much strain.

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Klipsch T5 True Wireless: $200

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While Klipsch's T5 True Wireless doesn't ship until mid-August, I've been testing an early review sample and have been impressed with the sound -- it's nicely detailed with natural-sounding mids and punchy, well-defined bass. The only caveat is you really have to jam the tips into your ear to get a tight seal and block out noise, and the design may not be for everyone.

While the Zippo-inspired case is somewhat heavy for its relatively compact size, it's sleek, sturdy and features USB-C charging. Battery and battery life are also a highlight: The buds themselves can run for up to 8 hours on a single charge at moderate volume levels and the case with its built-in battery provides three additional charges on the go.

The T5 Wireless uses Bluetooth 5.0 and has support for both AAC and aptX.

Water-resistant: Yes (IPX4 rating -- splashproof)

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Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 2.0 True Wireless Earbuds: $350

  The best-sounding true wireless headphones of 2019 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.Sarah Tew/CNET

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 2.0 True Wireless Earbuds ($350, £300) feature some of those extra design touches that'd you expect -- and end up paying for -- with Bang & Olufsen products. The charging case for this set of headphones is arguably the most aesthetically pleasing of any charging case out there (like the new AirPods' wireless charging case, this one also features wireless charging) and feels like a case you'd get at Tiffany's.

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They also sound very good, with clear, well-balanced sound. The bass audio has good definition but doesn't have quite as much energy or oomph as the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless' bass. As a result, I wouldn't say these are the best wireless headphones for bass audio lovers (look to the Beats for that), but they do sound impressive with well-recorded tracks. While they're the most-expensive pair of wireless headphones in this roundup, they come in a variety of color options, some of which cost less than $300.

Note that with version 2.0 of these wireless earbuds, Bang & Olufsen improved the battery life to 4 hours (plus three additional charges from the case with its built-in chargeable battery) and added USB-C and wireless charging. These use Bluetooth 4.2 with support for AAC but not aptX.

Water-resistant: Yes (they are splashproof, according to B&O)

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Beats Powerbeats Pro: $250

  The best-sounding true wireless headphones of 2019 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.Sarah Tew/CNET

Yes, the Powerbeats Pro's jumbo charging case with its built-in battery is a notable drawback. But the combination of incorporating all the features that make Apple's AirPods great while delivering richer sound and better battery life in a design that won't fall out of your ear ultimately is a winning proposition. Just make sure you buy them somewhere that has a good return policy in case you're in the small minority that has ears that aren't quite a comfortable match for them.

They use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC but not aptX.

Water-resistant: Yes (IPX4 rating -- splashproof)

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Jabra Elite 65t: $170 - $190

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The Elite 65t ($170, £150 or AU$300) and slightly enhanced Elite Active 65t ($190, £170 or AU$350) are our current top picks in the true wireless category because they sound better than Apple's AirPods, this pair of headphones offers just as good or even better performance for making phone calls, and they fit a lot of ears securely.

Their sound isn't quite as rich or clean as the more-expensive earphones above them on this best wireless headphones list (the bass lacks a little kick), but it's still a very good sounding set of true wireless earbuds for listening to music and more, and the battery life is decent. Since they've been on the market awhile, they're frequently discounted, so wait till you see a deal on these wireless earbuds before buying.

These use Bluetooth 4.2 (AAC but no aptX).

Water-resistant: Yes (IP56 rating -- can withstand heavy sprays of water)

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Read more: Jabra Elite 75t unveiled: Our favorite AirPods rival gets a new and improved sequel

1More Stylish True Wireless: $100

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I don't really know how stylish the 1More Stylish True Wireless earbuds are (yes, that's their name), but they do sound good. With a list price of $100, they're the least expensive of any of the models on this list. 1More made a name for itself with its wired earbuds, the Triple Drivers, which sound great and were a good value when wired headphones were still a thing. The same clear, balanced sound found in that headphone is present in 1More's first true wireless earbuds (they don't sound as good as the Triple Drivers, but they sound very good for true wireless).

These have more of an audiophile sound profile, with more "accurate" sound, so bass lovers may be a little disappointed, but I liked them. Of course, it helped that I was able to get a tight seal with one of the included ear tips. However, the stabilizer fin did nothing for me (I just jammed the tip into my ear to get a secure fit).

Their battery life is rated at up 6.5 hours (expect closer to 5 if you're listening to your music at higher volumes), with an extra 17 hours or so of battery life available from the charging case. These use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC and aptX.

Water-resistance: No (lacks IPX certification)

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UA True Wireless Flash Engineered by JBL: $170

  The best-sounding true wireless headphones of 2019 © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.Sarah Tew/CNET

JBL and Under Armour bill their new True Wireless Flash ($170) as totally wireless sports and workout headphones "designed for runners by runners." They're technically the first truly wireless earbuds from the duo, and as far as truly wireless workout headphones go, they're quite good, although some of their allure is tempered by a rather large charging case that's probably three times the size of Apple's AirPods' charging case. The battery life of these wireless earbuds is rated at five hours.

With relatively clean, well-balanced sound and meaty bass that's pretty well-defined (read: not boomy), they sound on par and even slightly better some of the other best wireless headphones in this price class. They've got better bass than the Jabra Elite 65t, but the Elite 65t may be a more comfortable fit.

The wireless earbuds are fully waterproof and use Bluetooth 4.2 (no aptX).

Water-resistant: Yes (IPX7 -- fully waterproof).

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Read: Best over-ear headphones

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