Earbuds have one big advantage over headphones, which is they're a lot smaller and easier to take with you. Their more nimble design may also help when space is limited, or you need to integrate them into a broader gaming setup, like virtual reality (VR), for instance.
Gaming earbuds now come in various forms, both wired and wireless, and are built to handle the demands of even the most demanding gamers, be it reduced latency, comfort, and immersive sound quality. It doesn't matter if you have PC, console, VR, or mobile gaming in mind — these earbuds can keep you in the game.
Here are the earbuds worth playing with
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Ways to connect
The Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeed are all about staying connected, which could be via Bluetooth or by plugging in the dongle to a PC or game console to create an ad hoc connection free of latency. There are versions for Xbox and PS5, and while sound quality is good, noise cancelation isn't the best in class.
Playing Sony's game
If you're a PlayStation, PC, or mobile gamer, the InZone Buds give you Bluetooth or a USB-C dongle to stay connected. You get great sound and Sony's excellent noise cancelation to help drown out background noise and stay focused on the action. Battery life is superb, and so is comfort over longer stretches.
The GTW 270 Hybrid buds earn their keep by staying open to a variety of gaming devices. While you can't use them with Xbox consoles, these earbuds will work with everything from the PS5 and PCs to Android phones. The USB-C dongle is great for cutting out latency, but it also comes at the cost of using the built-in mic.
Wired earbuds may seem too old school with disappearing headphone jacks on phones, but they're great for gaming because they cut off all latency and ensure connections never drop. The Cloud Earbuds II have a 3-ft. long tangle-free cable, though the unique ear tips may not fit all ears just right.
For VR and more
Final designed these earbuds for gamers who want to hear the details that can determine the difference between success and failure at key moments in a game. That includes immersive VR experiences, transporting you into the world you're playing in without worrying about any connectivity drops along the way.
The Penta Driver P50 could appeal to audiophiles as much as they do gamers, given the five drivers arrayed on either side. Wrapping these around your ears won't weigh you down in longer gaming sessions, not to mention the multitude of ear tips to choose from. The clear sound here will give you an edge, too.
Could the Hecate GX07 be for anything other than gaming by just looking at them? These earbuds clearly cater to the right crowd in this case, but beyond the winged doors and RGB lights, you get a competent pair of wireless earbuds built to not only deliver clear sounds, but also cancel noise and make it easy to talk through the mics.
Give me a mic
For the budget-conscious, Turtle Beach has you covered with the Battle Buds, wired earbuds with an obvious inline microphone that also support in-game chats wherever that's available. They may not blow you away in audio quality, but they're very functional and highly compatible with various gaming devices.
Sound all around
The SXFI Trio are USB-C earbuds that, when connected, let you use Creative's Super X-Fi technology to hear spatial audio with any game you play, particularly on Android. Using a 3.5mm dongle for PC or other devices cuts off the spatial tech, so range is limited here, but the effect is easy to like when you do hear it.
Earbuds can play the game, too
The thing about wireless earbuds is they come in so many shapes, sizes, variants, and even distinct feature sets. That's not to say the earbuds on this list serve only one purpose, but they're all designed with the intricacies of gaming in mind, and that's a big deal. Hence, the Razer Hammerhead Pro HyperSpeed — which also have PlayStation and Xbox versions — are an ideal place to start. They're versatile in their compatibility and easy to set up and use.
The Sony InZone Buds follow a similar path, albeit more linearly focused on Sony's own products. They've helped raise the benchmark for everyone just by how good the sound and noise cancelation proves to be when playing games with them.
Plus, headphone jacks aren't dead yet; some Android phones still cling to them, including those with some focus on mobile gaming. Game controllers still use them all the time as well, but they won't interfere with Bluetooth connections when you've paired wireless earbuds with a phone, tablet, computer, or console.
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Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar. Often times, that will be with a pair of headphones or earbuds playing tunes. When he's not testing something, he's working on the next episode of his podcast, Tednologic.