Sony WF-1000XM3 and AirPods Pro in charging case with cases openSource: Android Central

Best True Wireless Earbuds Android Central 2019

In 2019, when smartphones are slowly but surely getting rid of the 3.5mm audio jack from smartphones and tablets, users are turning to wireless as the next viable option. The Sony WF-1000XM3 is currently the best overall truly wireless earbud around for Android. It features solid sound, long battery life, and class-leading active noise cancelation (ANC).

Sponsored Pick: Boltune Bluetooth 5.0 True Wireless

Boltune True Wireless HeadphonesSource: Boltune

The Boltune True Wireless Earbuds have been consistently reviewed highly for what they offer in the truly wireless category. They're capable of lasting for up to 6 hours on a single charge for a total of 34 hours when combined with the charging box. When it does come time to charge them, you'll be all set in short time due to the USB-C quick charging.

The 6mm dynamic speakers and noise isolation ensure clear in-ear calls and listening while also delivering great sound. The lightweight ergonomic design means you won't grow tired of wearing them while their IPX7 sweat and water resistance rating means you don't have to worry about wearing them in the rain or while exercising.

Best Overall: Sony WF-1000XM3

Sony WF-1000XM3 case with lid open and right earbudSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

There aren't many ANC truly wireless earbuds out there outside of the Sony WF-1000XM3 and AirPods Pro. This is why the Sony WF-1000XM3 is an easy pick when it comes to ANC performance. The design isn't the prettiest, and they're rather bulky, but they get the job done.

Battery life is excellent with up to six hours alone and up to 19 hours with the charging case. For a pair of truly wireless ANC earbuds, the WF-1000XM3 perform surprisingly excellent in this department. Of course, as with most ANC headphones, the WF-1000XM3 offer an ambient sound mode that reverses the ANC microphones to allow the outside world in, therefore preserving battery.

Sound quality came out of left field with the WF-1000XM3s. Rather than having a bass-boosted sound and recessed treble which is typical with Sony headphones, the WF-1000XM3s have a tame bass that's only slightly boosted, with mids and treble being excellent and neutral.

In terms of water and dust resistance, the WF-1000XM3 get a basic IPX4 rating. This means that they are "splash-proof" which covers sweat, but it's not recommended in rain or similar situations.

Pros

  • Great sound
  • Active Noise Cancelation (ANC)
  • Ambient sound mode
  • IPX4 water and dust resistance
  • USB-C charging

Cons

  • Not as water-resistant as other options
  • Bulky design

Best Overall

Sony WF-1000XM3

Killing it softly

The Sony WF-1000XM3 are great if you need ANC. You'll also get an ambient sound mode that allows you to have a conversation without removing your earbuds.

Best Runner Up: Samsung Galaxy Buds

Samsung Galaxy Buds on a Samsung dual Qi wireless chargerSource: Android Central

Samsung is relatively new to the truly wireless earbud game. The company has been known to retain the 3.5mm audio jack throughout multiple generations, even when its competition continues to axe it. However, it does look like Samsung is beginning to axe the jack itself. With the Galaxy Buds, Samsung has a really solid first attempt at truly wireless earbuds.

Samsung's Galaxy Buds integrate best with Samsung's latest smartphones but work with all other smartphones, including Pixel devices and iPhones. You'll miss features such as quick pairing and quick access to the buds' battery status, which is only available on Samsung devices. It features a wireless charging case that uses the Qi standard, in addition to USB-C wired charging for faster charging. The charging case gives the Galaxy Buds up to two full charges for the earbuds and the buds themselves last up to six hours on a single charge.

Overall, they're fantastic if you own a Samsung smartphone, and good for every other device you pair to it. They offer superb sound quality for its form factor, exceptional battery life, wireless charging, and noise isolation. There's not much more you can ask for. The only real downside is the microphone on the Galaxy Buds. They could definitely be better and recipients have complained that the caller is hard to hear.

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Great sound
  • Integration with Samsung devices
  • Wireless charging case (and USB-C wired!)
  • Universal app on Android

Cons:

  • No iOS app
  • Underwhelming bass
  • Poor microphone

Best Runner Up

Samsung Galaxy Buds

Balanced, convenient audio

The Samsung Galaxy Buds feature excellent battery life and sound, convenience features, and a wireless charging case.

Best Active Noise Canceling: AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro in case with lid openSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Despite being somewhat limited on Android (no auto-play/pause, Google Assistant, or customizability), the AirPods Pro feature some of the best active noise canceling for an earbud on the market right now. The AirPods Pro's ANC performance is fantastic for its class. No, it won't beat out the top end over-ear headphones such as the Sony WH-1000XM3, but it gets close to almost everything else on the market. If we had to draw a comparison, the ANC on the AIrPods Pro compare favorably to the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700.

Sound quality is solid with the AirPods Pro, with a slightly underemphasized but flat bass. The low- and mid-mids are neutral and flat while the upper-mids are slightly pushed forward, and the treble is neutral and flat as well. Dynamic range is excellent, and soundstage is narrow but still sounds spacious.

The earbuds get 4.5 hours of audio playback with ANC enabled, and five hours with ANC disabled. The included charging case is rated for 19 hours of additional listening time. The case charges over the proprietary Lightning connector, which is great for Apple users but not for Android ones. However, the charging case is wireless charging capable, which means you can bypass Lightning entirely if you're already invested in wireless charging.

Comfort is some of the best we've tested as well. Unlike other earbuds that have a plastic "stem" that the ear tips attach to, the AirPods Pro attach directly to the bud's speaker. This means the ear tip is completely on its own and can truly mold to your ear without anything getting in the way.

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Good sound
  • Wireless charging case
  • Superb ANC performance
  • Media controls & ANC toggles work on Android

Cons:

  • No customizability on Android
  • Lightning for charging

Best Active Noise Canceling

AirPods Pro

Great package

The AirPods Pro have nailed all the fundamentals of a great truly wireless earbud: great battery life, sound quality, convenience, and comfort.

Best Sound Quality: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless right earbudSource: Sennheiser

You can't go wrong with Sennheiser when it comes to any audio gear, and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless are no exception. These earbuds make the list for those who enjoy dance, hip-hop, or any other bass-heavy genre of music.

The Momentum True Wireless has a super harsh boost in the bass. It gives it an overall darker sound signature, with a clear and even midrange and a rather underwhelming treble response overall. The excellent news is Sennheiser's mobile app (available on both iOS and Android) allows you to customize the sound signature to a certain extent.

They offer six hours of usage, with up to 12 hours of use using the included charging case. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Buds, the case is missing wireless charging of any kind, but it still offers USB-C for charging.

They are also one of the biggest genuinely wireless earbuds out there. But that's not a huge deal since they're still much more portable than any on-ear or in-ear headphones. At the very least, they're still pocketable even with the rather large charging case.

Overall, if you have the money to spend on Sennheiser earbuds and want that great bass, this is the choice for you.

Pros:

  • Super sound quality
  • 6-hour battery life
  • Charging case with USB-C
  • App for iOS and Android

Cons:

  • Case and buds bulky
  • Bass boosted

Best Sound Quality

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

High definition audio

You can never go wrong with Sennheiser. It offers some of the best audio gear on the market, and the Momentum True Wireless are no exception.

Best Value: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air in handSource: Android Central

When it comes to best value, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air are the best bang for your buck. If you set your expectations accordingly, these are an excellent value.

The charging case allows up to 20 hours of listening time while the earbuds themselves net you around 5 hours of listening on a single charge. While both of these stats are great, the Soundcore Liberty Air does not feature wireless charging of any sort and still charge over the aging Micro-USB connector.

The sound is excellent for earbuds at this price. They're rather neutral across the board with a slight boost in the treble. They also feature an IPX5 water resistance rating, which equates to being able to use them in the rain or while doing intense workouts.

Comfort is good. It's not the most comfortable earbud we've ever tested nor is it the worst we've tried. They're rather comfortable for the first 30 minutes to an hour of usage, but after that you'll likely need to take a break as the buds do get warm after some usage, which make them super uncomfortable.

Pros:

  • 20 hours of battery life with case
  • Great sound
  • IPX5 water resistance
  • Long battery life
  • Great comfort for short bursts

Cons:

  • No customization (app or on earbuds)
  • Micro-USB for charging

Best Value

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air

Solid inexpensive tunes

They are excellent for the price. Up to 20 hours of listening time with the charging case, the sound is excellent, and you get IPX5 water resistance.

Best Value Sound Quality: Jabra Elite 75t

Jabra Elite 75t Source: Jabra

The Jabra Elite 75t features a very bass heavy sound out of the box, which is surprising. The bass is boosted quite a bit that some may dislike the bass overall. For bass heads, this will be the earbud for you. The mid-range is slightly recessed as a result, and the treble is smooth and neutral. If you dislike the boosted bass, Jabra's companion smartphone application will do the trick. Soundstage is good for a truly wireless earbud, and dynamic range is excellent.

Battery life is excellent here as well with up to 7.5 hours of listening on a single charge. The included charging case gets you roughly 20 additional hours of listening, totaling around 28 hours of listening time with the charging case. Unfortunately, they still don't feature wireless charging for the case, but it does charge over USB-C which is a welcome improvement.

Comfort is equally as great. The Jabra Elite 75t is surprisingly really comfortable, easily in our top 5 most comfortable truly wireless earbuds. You won't experience fatigue or discomfort with them, even over long periods of time.

The Elite 75t are also IP55 water and dust resistant which means they'll have no issues with things such as sweat, rain, snow or other light activities. Just don't shower or swim with them.

Pros:

  • Customizable sound
  • Long battery life
  • USB-C for charging
  • Water and dust resistance
  • Excellent comfort

Cons

  • No wireless charging
  • Bass heavy sound is a bit much for some

Best Value Sound Quality

Jabra Elite 75t

Inexpensive wireless sound

The Jabra Elite 75t are by far the best value when it comes to sound quality, battery life, comfort and portability.

Best For Workouts: Jaybird Vista

Jaybird Vista earbuds with open case in backgroundSource: Android Central

When it comes to working out, the newly announced Jaybird Vista is by far the best solution. They offer great battery life while also giving superb passive isolation. The design allows them to fit most people's ears and with better isolation means a more consistent sound signature. They feature the latest Bluetooth 5.0 protocol for better overall efficiency between the buds and your phone.

In terms of Bluetooth audio codecs, you only have SBC here which is fine in terms of quality for most people. But latency will be pretty high here so you'll see a noticeable lag when watching videos or playing games. Battery life is better than most with up to 6 hours with the buds alone and up to 10 additional hours with the included charging case. The charging case charges via USB-C and takes roughly 2 hours to charge from dead. No wireless charging here on the case.

Sound quality is decent here. The Vista has a solid V-shaped sound signature with boosted bass, neutral mids, and boosted treble. The sound isn't overly boomy or heavy in the bass and the treble isn't boosted to the point where they sound piercing or sharp.

The Jaybird Vista offer IPX7 water resistance so it should be able to withstand practically any sort of water you throw at it. You can do practically anything but swim with these things.

Pros:

  • Solid, fun sound
  • Battery life
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • USB-C for charging
  • IPX7 water resistance

Cons:

  • No wireless charging for case
  • No auto pause

Best For Workouts

Jaybird Vista

Fitness junkies

The Jaybird Vista offer a fun sound signature for working out. They feature Bluetooth 5.0, great battery life, and IPX7 water resistance.

Best Value Workout: JBL Under Armor True Wireless Flash

Single JBL UA True Wireless Flash bud in-earSource: JBL

The JBL Under Armor True Wireless Flash are built like a tank with an IPX7 water resistance rating. For working out, these are an absolute gem and will be able to handle any sweat, rain, or snow that comes your way. With IPX7, these are rated to be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes.

In terms of battery life, these rival the top dogs in the true wireless space. They offer up to five hours on the earbuds, with up to 25 hours with the charging case.

For sound, the JBL Under Armor True Wireless Flash is decent. They use the same signature JBL sound, which translates to a boosted yet controlled bass, a neutral mid-range, and a treble that is present with a rapid roll-off to prevent treble fatigue. For working out, this type of sound signature is preferred as it gets the adrenaline pumping and elevates your music.

The only real downsides to these buds are that they still use Micro-USB for charging and that they use an "active" blue LED indicator when the earbuds are paired to a device, which I found to be distracting.

Pros

  • Battery life
  • Exceptional sound
  • Comfort and size
  • Class-leading water and dust resistance

Cons

  • Micro-USB for charging
  • Odd shaped case
  • Annoying blue LED status indicator light

Best Value Workout

JBL Under Armor True Wireless Flash

Classic JBL sound

With the JBL UA True Wireless Flash, you'll get strong battery life, class-leading water and dust resistance, and the great JBL great sound.

Bottom line

Truly wireless earbuds have gained popularity over the past several years, and are now some of the most popular headphones you can buy. Choosing a pair is difficult right now because many tech companies are rushing to get their own versions out. As the technology matures, great earbuds will come down in price, and sound quality will continue to evolve. For now, the Sony WF-1000XM3 are our top pick for truly wireless earbuds.

The Sony WF-1000XM3 feature class-leading active noise canceling (ANC) tech and are neck-and-neck with the AirPods Pro. However, they pull ahead because the WF-1000XM3 are completely customizable on Android, giving you options to change how much ANC you want, along with a basic 5-band equalizer to give you some control over how they sound.

Another area where they shine is in the battery life department, giving users up to six hours of battery life with the buds, and an additional 19 hours of battery life on a single charge. Its only real fault in terms of charging is lacking wireless charging of any sort. If you're looking to juice up, you'll have to plug in via USB-C.

How to choose the best true wireless earbud

Sony WF-1000XM3 in charging case with lid openSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Choosing earbuds can be difficult, especially truly wireless ones. They come in varying shapes and sizes, and comfort can vary greatly depending on how big your ears are.

But that's only the tip of the iceberg as headphone manufacturers continue to make custom designed earbuds for specific scenarios. Wireless earbuds are a lot more complicated than simply cutting the cord.

Sound Quality

Not surprisingly, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless takes the top spot for having the best overall sound for truly wireless earbuds. They features excellent dynamic and a wide soundstage compared to other earbuds, let alone truly wireless ones.

The Sony WF-1000XM3 sound surprisingly fantastic. Despite Sony having a reputation for making dark-sounding headphones, the WF-1000XM3 turn the tide here. You get an overall more neutral sound signature with only a small bass boost and neutral mids and treble, giving it a rather impressive sound for ANC earbuds.

Lastly, the AirPods Pro feature great sound. The bass can sound underwhelming for some (while still being flat), the treble is neutral and the mids are a bit boosted. Dynamic range is excellent but the soundstage is narrow but spacious.

Best true wireless earbuds, ranked by sound quality

  1. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless
  2. Sony WF-1000XM3
  3. AirPods Pro
  4. Samsung Galaxy Buds
  5. JBL Under Armor True Wireless Flash

Comfort

Comfort plays a huge role in choosing a pair of true wireless earbuds. Comfort is arguably more important than anything else because if they don't fit your ears or you can only wear them at 20 minutes at a time, what's the point?

Our overall pick, the AirPods Pro, are comfortable for long periods of time. They don't cause any sort of ear fatigue and and are super light. You definitely shouldn't have an issue with the AirPods Pro, thanks to them not having a plastic stem that gets shoved in your ear.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds are also comfortable for long periods of time. They don't cause any sort of ear fatigue. They're not the lightest pair of true wireless earbuds out there but they're not the heaviest. You definitely shouldn't have an issue with the Galaxy Buds, granted you have the right set of ear tips.

Third on our list is the Sony WF-1000XM3, and they are rather large in size and a bit heavy. However, with the right ear tips, they can be super comfortable. You won't ever not notice they're there but you won't feel any sort of ear fatigue, even over extended periods of time.

The Jabra Elite 65t are comfortable at first, but in our testing noticed that they can get slightly uncomfortable after about an hour or two of usage. That's unfortunate because the 65t's are genuinely great earbuds that come with a lot of features.

Best true wireless earbuds, ranked by comfort

  1. AirPods Pro
  2. Samsung Galaxy Buds
  3. Sony WF-1000XM3
  4. Jabra Elite 65t
  5. Jaybird Vista

Noise isolation

The AirPods Pro surprisingly take our top pick for best noise isolation performance. While it's comparable to the WF-1000XM3, and the two are pretty close, the AirPods Pro are simply more consistent when it comes to its active noise canceling (ANC) performance. Technically, both earbuds would classify as class-leading ANC performance, but there aren't many other truly wireless ANC earbuds out there in the first place.

So in third and fourth place are the Jabra Elite 65t and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless. Neither of which feature active noise cancelation but are solid when you crank the volume up to a decent level. You'll still hear a decent amount of environmental noise but it's greatly reduced when you crank up the volume.

Best true wireless earbuds, ranked by noise isolation

  1. AirPods Pro
  2. Sony WF-1000XM3
  3. Jabra Elite 65t
  4. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless
  5. Jaybird Vista

Smart Features

The Sony WF-1000XM3 are probably one of the smartest earbuds on the market. The earbuds themself feature auto-play/pause when you remove them, auto-connect when you put them in your ear, and hands-free Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. You'll also get an ambient sound mode which lets you quickly hear the environment around you without removing your earbuds. This feature uses the great ANC microphones already onboard the earbuds and reverses them.

The earbuds can be configured in the Sony companion app even further, allowing you to customize the sound signature, how much ANC you'd like to be pumped in, and choose if you want Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Jaybird has one of the most robust earbud smartphone apps out there. While the earbuds themselves don't have any smart features aside from auto-connecting when you take them out of the case, the features the smartphone app adds makes up for it. The app lets you adjust your sound signature, as well as find your earbuds if you've lost them.

The AirPods Pro make the list because they're smart but only if you use an iOS device such as an iPhone or iPad. You get hands-free Siri, they automatically play and pause when you remove them from your ear and put them back in, and you'll also get seamless pairing and device switching across any Apple device paired to your iCloud account.

A little known secret about the AirPods Pro is that device switching is still easy even when you don't pair them to Apple devices. If you've paired to the device before, simply go into your device's Bluetooth settings and tap on them to connect. The AirPods Pro will automatically stop pairing on the previous device, disconnect from the previous device, and then pair to the device you've just hit connect on.

Best true wireless earbuds, ranked by smart features

  1. Sony WF-1000XM3
  2. Jaybird Vista
  3. Apple AirPods Pro
  4. Samsung Galaxy Buds
  5. Jabra Elite 65t

Battery Life

This one was pretty close. Our top three contenders all had really amazing battery life with anywhere between 24-26 hours with their respective charging cases. Battery life is an interesting topic when it comes to true wireless earbuds as you have to take into account the earbuds' battery life but also how much juice the charging case gives you.

Both the JBL Under Armor True Wireless Flash and the Sony WF-1000XM3 have 25 hours of battery life with their respective charging cases. However, the WF-1000XM3 edges the JBL's in this case as they can last up to six hours on a single charge compared to the JBL's five hours on a single charge.

The AirPods Pro were a close third, offering up to 24 hours of battery life with the charging case. On their own they have a respectable 4.5 hours of audio playback and four hours of talk time (with ANC enabled).

Best true wireless earbuds, ranked by battery life

  1. Sony WF-1000XM3
  2. JBL Under Armor True Wireless Flash
  3. Apple AirPods Pro
  4. Anker Soundcore Liberty Air
  5. Jaybird Vista

Microphone Quality

The best true wireless earbuds in terms of microphone quality is easy. This category goes to the Apple AirPods Pro. While they don't have the greatest sound reproduction, Apple nailed it when it comes to the microphone quality. No matter the environment, they're able to isolate your voice well from the environment around you. We never once had an issue with the person on the other end not being able to hear us, even in super loud environments. The noise isolation algorithm here is superb and isn't overly aggressive to the point where your voice sounds robotic.

The Jaybird Vista are also pretty good when it comes to its microphone quality. While not as great as the AirPods Pro, the Vista are able to block out a considerable amount of background noise and the noise isolation algorithm keeps up and doesn't clip your voice or make it sound robotic. The person on the other end can still hear a decent amount of background noise but it's not too bad.

Lastly, the Jabra Elite 65t. They're pretty good in this department as well. However, if you have a higher-pitched voice, the noise isolation algorithm will more than likely cut some of your voice out. While it's not too terrible, it is worth noting if you have a higher-pitched voice. For everyone else, the Jabra Elite 65t compares favorably to the Jaybird Vista. The algorithm itself is great at blocking out background noise and isolating your voice. You can still hear a good amount of background noise but that's too be expected.

Best true wireless earbuds, ranked by Microphone Quality

  1. Apple AirPods Pro
  2. Jaybird Vista
  3. Jabra Elite 65t
  4. Sony WF-1000XM3
  5. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Peter Cao has been an audio enthusiast for a number of years. He's tested over a dozen headphones and is excited to continue on his audio journey.

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