The trend towards wireless earphones is gathering pace. We test three of the best.
When Apple decided to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack from its latest range of iPhones, the wireless AirPods were the inevitable result. Unlike in-canal earphones, the AirPods adopt a one-size-fits-all approach and sit snugly in your ear, rather than forcefully penetrating it. In fact, they look and sound just like the cabled EarPods they replace, except without the clunky wires and cylinder extension that made them look like pendant earrings. Apple has crammed an extraordinary amount of functionality into such tiny packages. They come with five hours of battery life (and also charge four times from the carry case, giving you 24 hours away from a power point), a flawless Bluetooth connection which ensures your music never skips, an internal microphone for calls and are easily controlled by finger taps and Siri. The AirPods are basically the most advanced, convenient wireless earphones out there. They can work on Android devices but lose some functionality.
The best for daily use, but can fall out during exercise.
Jabra Elite Sport
A big trend driving wireless earphones is fitness. People want to listen to music when training without the inconvenience of being tethered to a smartphone. With its Elite Sport earbuds, Jabra has pushed the boundaries with size and functionality. The Elite Sport fit almost entirely in your ear and form a tight seal in the ear canal (they come with six different sized tips and three ear wings to get you the best possible fit). There’s also a stupendously comprehensive workout app, which combines with in-ear heart rate monitoring to track cardio and workouts — both those offered by the app and those created by you. The audio quality is excellent and so is the Bluetooth connection. We had no problem with the heart rate tracking, but expect the readings to occasionally fall out of sync with other devices such as fitness bands. Works great with both iOS and Android.
The best fitness tracking wireless earbuds.
Jaybird X3 Sport
While the cable which connects the Jaybird X3 Wireless earphones to each other means they’re not as cutting-edge as the two other brands we tested, they still establish a fully wireless connection to your device. The Jaybird X3 provide a great fit (they come with three sizes of ear wings and foam and gel tips) and, more importantly, sound great. They’re as good as any wireless earphone we’ve tested. While they don’t connect to an exercise app like the Jabra Sport Elite, they’re sweat-proof and impossible to dislodge, making them great for exercise if you just want to listen to music. Even better, the Jaybird X3 earphones come with an eight hour battery charge, which means they can pretty much cover any exercise session, run or long cycle. They also come with a fast charging port which allows for speedy recharge (1 hour of juice in 15 minutes). Seriously, the only downside we can think for these (apart from the tether) is that there’s no fitness tracking. They work with both iOS and Android devices.