Earphones have become an essential tool for our daily lives. They have evolved from listening devices to tools that are used to interact with the virtual world. And with the recent advancements in technology, we can enjoy convenient options such as True Wireless earphones (TWS).
Previous offerings such as neckband style wireless earphones still had a wire that connects the two earbuds. TWS earphones, on the other hand, have eliminated cables. They also come with a case that charges and stores the earphones.
Of course, like all products, not all TWS earphones are created equally. Since the concept of a TWS earphone is relatively new, there are plenty of products that are innovating the market. Some of these are revolutionary, while some of these end up being massive flops.
With all these models that are coming out, you may feel overwhelmed and be a bit confused. Luckily, we have the perfect guide for you. If you are simply looking for the best, then the Sony WF1000XM3 and the Lypertek Tevi are unbeatable for the amount of value that they offer.
Of course, there are still plenty of models here that caters to every budget. Keep on scrolling to find out more.
Best True Wireless Earbuds
Sony WF1000XM3 – Top TWS Pick
The Sony WF1000XM3 is our top TWS pick due to its sound quality, build quality and ANC. It does everything right, and it can almost be considered to be the perfect TWS pair. It also includes various standard TWS features such as ear sensors for automatic play/pause functionality, ambient noise control, and touch-based controls.
Let us first talk about the ANC. The Sony WH1000XM3 is highly considered to be the standard in ANC. It has a strong noise cancelation without giving a strong ear pressure sensation that is often associated with ANC. The WF1000XM3 inherits this feature, which is surprising given the massive size difference between the two models.
When compared to other options such as the Apple AirPods Pro, the WF1000XM3 does a better job of canceling more frequencies. In loud environments such as a construction site with big vehicles, the WF1000XM3 can completely block the sound of those vehicles. The AirPods Pro, on the other hand, cannot completely cancel out those types of noises.
In terms of sound quality, the WF1000XM3 also inherits the sound signature of the Sony WH1000XM3. They share a lot of similarities, specifically the fun bassy sound that still retains the clear mids and perfectly controlled highs.
It offers stronger, cleaner, and clearer bass compared to other options like the AirPods Pro and Lypertek Tevi. Vocals and highs still sound lively and perfectly complement the bass on energetic tracks such as electronic and pop music.
Microphone quality is also excellent. It sounds clean and retains its clarity even in noisier environments. This is because of the noise-canceling microphones, which are well implemented, like in most of Sony’s wireless headphones.
The WF1000XM3 also offers an application that is compatible with both Android and iOS. It gives additional functionality such as the addition of an EQ, ANC level control, DSEE HX, and adaptive sound functionality.
Adaptive sound detects the ambient noise present in your surroundings and automatically adjusts the amount of active noise cancellation applied. If you are in a quiet room, the ANC would be turned off. If you are in a loud environment such as an airport, the ANC automatically turns on.
DSEE HX, on the other hand, upscales the quality of low bitrate songs such as 128 kbp/s MP3 files (low music quality on Spotify and other streaming services). It is a feature that is available on most Sony DAPs like the Sony NW A105 and Sony ZX 507. It is a feature that works well, but will most probably be unused due to how good the quality of music files are on most platforms these days.
Despite not supporting popular codecs such as APTX HD and Sony’s LDAC, Sony’s excellent wireless implementation eliminates common Bluetooth problems such as video delay. There are barely any connection dropouts except for areas with strong interference.
Lastly, the battery life of the WF1000XM3 is acceptable for a daily driver. The earbuds themselves can last up to 6 hours with the ANC on and 8 hours with the ANC turned off. With the charging case, the WF1000XM3 can last up to 24 hours.
Recent models such as the Lypertek Tevi surpassed the WF1000XM3’s battery life with its promised 10-hour battery life (up to 70 hours with the charging case). Nevertheless, this is still a reasonable amount of battery life for a daily driver. You will most likely not use up all of its battery in one listening session.
In conclusion, the Sony WF1000XM3 embodies all of the features of a good TWS earphone. It packs tons of features without sacrificing sound quality. Sony produces another winner that sets the bar for TWS earphones. If you want the best TWS currently available in the market, then you should certainly check out the Sony WF1000XM3.
Apple AirPods Pro – Best for Apple Devices
This one is a no brainer for Apple users. The best TWS for Apple devices is none other than the Apple AirPods Pro. Apple has an excellent and notable track record for creating products that work well with the rest of their ecosystem, and the AirPods Pro are no exception.
The main attraction of the AirPods Pro is its ease of use. It can seamlessly be paired with Apple devices thanks to the W1 chip. Just open the charging case, and the connection is immediately established.
In contrast, other TWS earphones that were not designed for a specific device like the Sony WF1000XM3 does not have a seamless pairing process. While it features NFC, the whole process is not seamless. It also cannot connect and switch to multiple devices like the Apple AirPods Pro.
However, the caveat here is that the experience is also not as good on Android devices. Most of the AirPods Pro features are missing on Android smartphones unless you download a third-party application. While there are workarounds, the magic of the AirPods Pro experience seems to go away on non-Apple devices.
Compared to the original AirPods, the AirPods Pro sports a new design, several added features, and better sound quality. We have a dedicated article that lists all the differences between the AirPods and the AirPods Pro.
But to summarize the differences, the AirPods Pro now features an in-ear design as opposed to the earbud design of the original and also has ANC. The ear tips found on the AirPods Pro are unique due to the shorter nozzle. The ear tips occupy most of the space that is traditionally occupied by the nozzle. This eliminates the pressure sensation that is often associated with an in-ear design.
In terms of sound quality, the Apple AirPods Pro can hold their own when compared to other TWS like the Sony WF1000XM3 and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2. They do not necessarily sound the best, nor do they have the best Active Noise Cancelling out of the bunch. Sound is a bit less refined compared to the Sony WF1000XM3 or even the cheaper Lypertek Tevi.
However, the AirPods Pro is a massive improvement over the original AirPods. Bass is tighter, mids are clearer, and highs have better definition. The original AirPods were simply designed for casual use. The AirPods Pro, on the other hand, are more competent to audiophile brands in terms of sound quality. They don’t necessarily sound better but are good enough for Apple’s target audience.
AirPods Pro can easily act as an everyday carry device (EDC) since it is small and has good battery life. These do not consume too much space when placed inside your pocket or a small backpack.
If you own an Apple device and are interested in a device that can seamlessly connect to your other Apple devices, then the AirPods Pro is the best device for you. However, if you prioritize other features such as sound quality and ANC, then other options in the market may suit your needs better. If you really like the Airpods but not the price tag, check out some of these good Apple Airpods alternatives.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
Sennheiser was one of the first brands to invest in TWS earphones. The original Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless was popular for being the first true premium option. It had a gorgeous charging case and a gorgeous design. It was also one of the best sounding options available thanks to Sennheiser’s sound tuning.
However, the original Momentum True Wireless already feels outdated in today’s market. It did not feature ANC, which is one of the selling points of today’s TWS earphones. Both the Sony WF1000XM3 and Apple AirPods are both more technologically advanced than the Momentum True Wireless, which makes Sennheiser’s offering a bit unreasonable for its price tag.
However, Sennheiser has made the smart move to update the Momentum True Wireless. The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 is equipped with new features that make it more competitive with the best offerings in the market. The most noticeable addition is, of course, ANC.
ANC is well implemented here. It can challenge the industry-standard models such as the Sony WF1000XM3 and even the well-loved Apple AirPods Pro. This is no surprise given Sennheiser’s excellent implementation in their over the ear wireless headphones.
In terms of sound quality, the Momentum True Wireless 2 is not too different from the original model. This means that the excellent tuning that made the original Momentum True Wireless a hit makes its return here. Bass is punchy while maintaining the clarity throughout all the frequencies. The highs are also noticeably sparkly and detailed.
It is a different kind of tuning compared to the Sony WF1000 XM3. While it is stronger in certain aspects, it all comes down to personal preference. Both Sennheiser and Sony’s tuning is excellent and should please both casual listeners and audio enthusiasts.
Battery life has also been updated to meet today’s standards. The Momentum True Wireless 2 can last up to 7 hours without ANC. The battery life slightly takes a hit when ANC is activated, making the Momentum TWS 2 last for only 5.5 hours. With the charging case, the total battery life is 28 hours. While these numbers are not better than their competitors, these are enough and will last you throughout the day.
In terms of the design and form factor, the Momentum True Wireless 2 is noticeably different compared to the original model. The looks have been updated, but it still carries the signature design of the original model.
One caveat that the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 has is its application. The equalizer, in particular, is not well implemented. The interface is not as good as other industry-standard offerings. This can, of course, be updated by Sennheiser over time.
Overall, the slight revisions are exactly what the Sennheiser Momentum needs. The addition of ANC makes the excellent sounding Momentum True Wireless 2 compete with the likes of the AirPods Pro and WF 1000 XM3. The sound quality alone justifies its higher price tag compared to its competitors. It still has some caveats in the software experience, but this can be fixed later on by an update.
If you are interested in Sennheiser’s excellent tuning, then we highly recommend to check out the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2.
Samsung Galaxy Buds+
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ is an update over the original Galaxy Buds and offers a few tweaks and upgrades, such as the battery life. In terms of features, it is competent with the rest of the picks.
Like most of the products in this category, it supports touch-based controls, ambient noise control, and wireless charging. And speaking of that battery upgrade, the Galaxy Buds+ now has a battery life of 11 hours and can last up to 22 hours with the charging case.
One notable feature that is lacking for the Galaxy Buds+ is Active Noise Cancelling. A lot of the newer models are coming out with this feature, so it’s pretty odd that Samsung’s latest earbuds are not implementing this.
It is also missing an IPX certification. Having the Galaxy Buds+ exposed to sweat during workouts should be fine, but it would have been better if the user had a peace of mind with a proper IPX certification. Lastly, the Galaxy Buds+ do not feature Qualcomm’s APTX HD codec, which means that the Galaxy Buds+ will have some latency.
The Galaxy Buds+ also has very good integration with the rest of the Samsung ecosystem. Pairing with a Samsung smartphone tablet or smartwatch is seamless. This is a very good feature if you own multiple Samsung devices. Switching between the various devices is done automatically without needing to disconnect first to each device.
Like most of Samsung’s recent audio products, the drivers in the Buds+ are once again tuned by AKG. The tuning itself, however, is aimed at the general consumer. Bass is punchy and prominent but doesn’t overpower the mids and the highs. This is a typical fun sound that works with pop, electronic music, or any genre that has lots of bass. It won’t compete, however, with the likes of the WF1000XM3, the Momentum True Wireless, or even the Lypertek Tevi, which is why we are placing the Galaxy Buds+ below those models. Like the AirPods Pro, it is a product that is made for convenience and not for critical listening.
The Galaxy Buds+ is going to be recommended for users who want an AirPod Pro alternative and isn’t too critical about the sound quality. It isn’t as feature-packed as the WF1000XM3, and it doesn’t sound as good as the Momentum True Wireless. However, it has good integration with the Samsung ecosystem. And the convenience it provides is enough for some people to choose this over the better sounding alternatives.
Lypertek Tevi – Best Value
The Lypertek Tevi is the best bang for the buck alternative to the Airpods Pro. Don’t let the branding fool you. Despite not having a big brand name such as Sony or Sennheiser, the Lypertek Tevi can go toe to toe even with the best sounding earbuds in this list.
What makes this product stand out is the sound quality. The Lypertek Tevi uses a graphene-based dynamic driver. Its tuning appeals to audio enthusiasts and more serious listeners. Unlike most of the products in this list (including the AirPods Pro), the Lypertek Tevi does not have a bassy sound. The bass is still present and detailed, but it is dialed back to let the mids and the highs shine through. This might be a problem for bass lovers, but it will surely be a treat for audio enthusiasts.
The other notable feature of the Lypertek Tevi is the battery life. Lypertek claims that each earpiece has a battery life of 10 hours. When paired with its charging case, it gives a total of 70 hours of playback. That is an insane amount of battery life that is unmatched by any product in this list.
As for the rest of its features, the Lypertek Tevi supports the APTX HD codec with its Bluetooth 5,0 connectivity. This means that the Tevi provides a stable Bluetooth connection with minimal dropouts. It also minimizes latency when utilizing the APTX HD codec. The connection on each earbud is also independent, which means you can use each earbud independently.
The Tevi also features IPX7 water-proofing, which is good for protecting the device against accidental submersion up to 1 meter, rain, and sweat. In terms of its physical design, the Tevi has long nozzles, which make it compatible with aftermarket tips such as Spinfits.
It also implements a one-button design that can control the volume, play/pause, and track selection. The charging case (which has a striking similarity to the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless charging case) supports charging via USB Type-C. This whole package is built very well and punches above its price point.
As a bonus, Lypertek has rolled out a firmware update for the Tevi that makes it compatible with an application. The application enables tweaks such as the functions of the buttons and also provides an equalizer. The application doesn’t do much, but it shows that Lypertek supports its products and is going in the right direction.
The only downside is that it doesn’t have an active noise canceling feature like the AirPods Pro. This is understandable since none of the earbuds in this price range have that feature. Plus, the passive noise canceling from the in-ear design of the Tevi is enough to block most ambient noises.
Overall, the Lypertek Tevi is a bargain due to its sound quality and feature set. It can easily compete or even beat the Apple Airpods Pro, the Sony WF1000XM3, and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, all of which have more than twice the price of the Lypertek Tevi. Due to these factors, the Lypertek Tevi is our most bang for the buck recommendation for this list.
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 can be considered a competitor to the Lypertek Tevi due to their similar feature set. However, some design elements and the difference in tuning differentiates these two models. While it is not necessarily better than the Tevi, it is an excellent alternative for fans of a fun sounding sound signature.
Both the Cambridge Audio Melomania and the Lypertek Tevi have Bluetooth 5.0. They both support APTX and AAC codecs that provide low latency. Both of these models also have an IP rating. The Melomania has an IPX 5 rating while the Tevi has an IPX7 rating.
In terms of the form factor, the Melomania 1 has a charging case that looks and feels similar to the original Apple AirPods. The Tevi, on the other hand, has a charging case that looks similar both in shape and aesthetics to the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless charging case. The earbuds have an earplug design, which is odd since most competitors like the Tevi are going for the IEM design.
The downside of this design is that it does not feature curvatures. This means that it is not as comfortable as the Lypertek Tevi. The nozzle is also shorter and is only compatible with Cambridge Audio’s ear tips. The more standard nozzle found on the Tevi is compatible with third-party ear tips such as Spinfit and Comply.
As for the call quality, the Melomania is mostly similar to the Tevi. Voice is kept clear even in noisier environments. This is impressive considering how far the microphones are from your ears.
In terms of battery life, the Melomania can last up to 9 hours. With the charging case, it can last up to 30 hours. The Tevi, on the other hand, can last up to 10 hours and 70 hours with the charging case. Melomania’s battery life is not as good as the Tevi but is very much acceptable.
In terms of sound quality, the Melomania has a very different tuning compared to the Tevi. It has a U-shaped sound signature where the bass and highs are boosted while the mids are recessed. This fits energetic genres, such as pop and electronic music. However, fans of vocal-based and acoustic music may not be totally satisfied with the Melomania’s presentation.
The Tevi, on the other hand, has a much more balanced sound signature. Mids are more forward and detailed. The bass is also more realistic compared to the Melomania. Both sound signatures are good. The better sound signature highly depends on your preferences.
Overall, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 is a capable TWS. It has all the essential features of a good TWS. Despite having a different and arguably less defined tuning than the Lypertek Tevi, it is still competitive with the rest of the market. If you want the features of the Tevi but want a more fun sound, then you should check out the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1.
Sabbat E12 Ultra
Another great pick in the budget category is the Sabbat E12 Ultra. It can be described as the closest model to the Lypertek Tevi in terms of features. It features the same APTX HD codec support for low latency, Bluetooth 5.0, individual earbud pairing, and the noise-canceling microphones that are key features of the Lypertek Tevi.
In terms of the Bluetooth chipset used, it is a significant improvement over the standard Sabbat E12 model, which was known for having dropouts and connectivity issues. The E12 Ultra also offers an excellent battery life that lasts up to 8 hours. With the charging case, it can last up to 30 hours. It is not as good as the 70 hours total battery life of the Lypertek Tevi, but that is still significantly better than some of its competitors. (In fact, it is even better than some older generation products such as the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless).
Just like the Lypertek Tevi, the E12 Ultra doesn’t support active noise canceling, which the AirPods Pro does. This isn’t very surprising since none of the products in this price range supports that feature. Build quality is also not as good as the AirPods Pro.
Unfortunately, that is where the similarities end for the E12 Ultra and Lypertek Tevi. They have different sound signatures, and more users prefer the overall sound quality of the Lypertek Tevi. The E12 Ultra has a bassy sound signature that appeals to the general audience. It isn’t as detailed as the Lypertek Tevi.
The E12 Ultra doesn’t sound bad. For consumers who aren’t critical in the sound quality, the E12 Ultra is an excellent performer. However, the Lypertek Tevi did such a good job that we can’t help but set it as the standard that other brands in this price range should follow.
In terms of build quality, the plastic build on both the earbuds and the case is less reassuring when compared to the more premium build of the Lypertek Tevi and other more expensive products. The plastic, however, seems to be of decent quality and should survive daily commutes and accidental falls.
One feature that the E12 Ultra has that the Lypertek Tevi doesn’t is Qi wireless charging support. Most manufacturers don’t seem to be placing too much emphasis on this feature as it is absent on more products (even on the high-end price range). It isn’t particularly fast, but it is still a good feature to have.
Overall, the Sabbat E12 Ultra is a good alternative to the Lypertek Tevi and the AirPods Pro. It isn’t as good as either of the models in any department, but it still holds its own and is significantly better than the other models in this price range. If you can’t afford the superior Lyypertek Tevi or if you aren’t particularly critical about the sound quality, this will do a good job.
KZ S2 – Best Budget
KZ is a brand that has been receiving mixed reviews for their products. Some products like the KZ ZSN Pro have been well received for its sound quality for its price point. However, their other products have been criticized for having an unpleasant sound signature or from copying other designs.
Regardless of their previous reputation, it is undeniable that they are a brand that is continuously pushing budget earphones forward. They prove that budget IEMs and TWS can achieve so much more with a bit of creativity and innovation.
With the KZ S2, they have just done exactly that. They have produced a product that has features that can only usually be seen in higher-end products. The standout features here are the sound quality and the low latency mode.
The KZ S2 is the follow-up to their other well-received product, the KZ S1. Like the S1, the S2 has a hybrid driver configuration. It has one balanced armature driver and one dynamic driver. What this means is that the S2 has a dedicated driver that is capable of handling the low frequencies and another driver that is capable of handling mid and high-end frequencies.
Most TWS earphones, including models that are twice or thrice its price point, usually only utilize one dynamic driver. However, it does not matter if an earphone has multiple drivers if the tuning is not good. Luckily, the KZ S2 has a well-detailed tuning that should be good enough for anyone looking for a budget pair.
Despite leaning towards a brighter sound signature, the KZ S2 still retains an impactful bass that does not overextend into the midrange. The detail retrieval of the KZ S2 is excellent and is a lot closer to other budget wired IEMs. The imaging and soundstage is also excellent. The overall sound quality and tuning beat other budget TWS offerings.
For the rest of the features, the KZ S2 features an IPX5 rating, touch-based controls, and a low latency mode. These features are unheard of for this price range and are usually exclusive to higher-end models. The low latency mode works well with only a slight hint of lag that should be negligible for most use case scenarios.
Due to the chipset used, the KZ S2 only supports AAC. However, the fact that the KZ S2 can still achieve low latency without resorting to APTX is really impressive.
As for the design, the KZ S2 is similar to the S1. It features an IEM design that is comfortable. The nozzle is also long enough to be compatible with third-party ear tips such as Spinfits.
In terms of battery life, the KZ S2 can last up to 4 hours and can be recharged up to 4 times through the charging case. This isn’t breaking any records but is certainly enough for daily use.
As for the call quality, it performs as expected for the price. It is better than cheaper offerings but is not as good as more expensive models. Like other budget offerings, it starts to struggle in noisier environments.
Overall, KZ has once again set the bar for budget earphones. It is truly remarkable how they were able to cram so many features in a budget device. It has good sound quality, good battery life, and even a low latency mode. If you have a tight budget and can’t afford the other models on this list, then you will be perfectly happy with the KZ S2.
What To Look For in True Wireless Earbuds
Different TWS models have different features. Each model has its own strengths and weaknesses that make them unique. However, there are essential features that any TWS should have in order to give you the best experience possible. Here are some points that you must keep in mind when shopping for a pair of TWS.
Build Quality and Form Factor
The most important quality of a TWS is the build quality. TWS are items that you will be using every day. You are inevitably going to drop them or even treat them harshly over time. Due to those reasons, TWS should be made to withstand the demands of our everyday lives.
The form factor is also important. The IEM style is usually the preferred design since they are proven to be comfortable for longer listening sessions. Also, take note that not all TWS earphones are compatible with third-party ear tips. Some TWS earphones have a shorter nozzle and have proprietary ear tips. Make sure to check this if you wish to purchase third-party ear tips.
The next important aspect of a TWS earphone and arguably every audio product is sound quality. It does not matter how many features a TWS earphone has. If the sound is not good, then the overall experience would not be enjoyable.
Not all TWS earphones will have the same sound signature. Some models will have more bass, while some models will have a more balanced sound. You should research the sound signature of the model that you are interested in based on the genres you prefer.
In order for a TWS to be a part of your everyday carry items (EDC), then it is absolutely essential for them to have good battery life. These earphones should not feel like another item that you have to charge constantly.
Ideally, a TWS earphone should at least last up to 4 hours. The provided charging case should be able to recharge the earphones at least 4 or 5 times. Luckily, most modern offerings surpass these numbers. Just be careful if you have a tighter budget since most budget TWS earphones have terrible battery life.
Isolation is important in order for you to enjoy your music. If the noise around you is constantly leaking into your earphones, then you won’t have an enjoyable experience. There are two types of isolation to combat outside noise.
Passive Noise cancellation refers to a TWS earphone’s natural ability to block out noise. Since most TWS earphones have an in-ear design, they can naturally block out most of the noise since they are inserted directly into your ear canal. However, some TWS earphones do not give a tight seal, which lessens the effectivity of the passive noise cancelation.
Active Noise Cancellation refers to the technology that TWS earphones use in order to cancel out noise. This is usually done by producing noise that cancels out ambient noise. When combined with passive noise cancellation, this will effectively block out most sounds and will help you achieve an enjoyable listening experience.
ANC is a preferred feature for a TWS earphone. However, it is usually reserved for the higher-end models. Unless you are riding a plane or constantly exposed to loud environments such as construction sites, passive noise canceling can be good enough.
Bluetooth Version and Codec Compatibility
The main disadvantage of wireless products is latency. However, due to recent advancements, various workarounds now exist. The most popular being Qualcomm’s APTX codec and Sony’s LDAC codec. It is ideal that a TWS has these codecs in order to minimize latency for videos and games.
TWS earphones are usually considered multi-purpose devices. This means that they must also be effective for calls. This may not apply for everyone, but for those who use earphones for calls, take note that not all TWS earphones have good mic quality.
This is especially apparent with lower-end models. Budget TWS earphones start to struggle in noisier environments. Make sure that the TWS earphone has noise-canceling microphones for the best results.