Best Wireless Headphones for Note 10 and Note 10+ Android Central 2020
The Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ are the first flagship smartphones from Samsung that ditch the 3.5mm audio jack. This means your pre-existing wired headphones won't work and you'll need to find other headphones, probably wireless (unless you're a fan of dongles). The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are a solid pair of wireless earbuds and will provide the best experience with your Note 10 or Note 10+.
- Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Buds+
- Best ANC buds: Sony WF-1000XM3
- Best Workout Buds: Jaybird Tarah Pro
- Best Bassy Buds: Plantronics Backbeat Go 410
- Best Budget True Wireless: SoundPeats TrueFree
- Best Sound Quality: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
- Best Over-Ear: Sony WH-1000XM3
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Buds+
The Galaxy Buds+ are a great example of what it's like when your earbuds are built by the same company that built your smartphone. While the Galaxy Buds+ work with other Android devices (even iOS to a certain extent), they work the best when paired to a Samsung smartphone.
When you first get a pair of Galaxy Buds+, you just open the case and unlock your Samsung smartphone. A card will appear prompting you to pair with your new Galaxy Buds+. Once paired, they easy pair to all of your other Samsung gadgets, including your smartphone or tablet. No need to go into your phone's settings or enter pairing mode. You'll also get Bixby, but Bixby might not be all that useful depending on your usage.
They're true wireless earbuds, which means they require a charging case to charge. This also means the Galaxy Buds+ work independently. Yes, you can have just one in your ear at a time and effectively double your battery life. The buds themselves get 11 hours while the charging case will net another 11 hours of listening time. Once the charging case is dead, you can re-charge the case with either a USB-C cord or place it on a Qi-compatible mat. The case isn't too large, either, and will easily fit in normal jean pockets.
One feature the Galaxy Buds+ lack entirely is active noise cancelation (ANC). Most true wireless earbuds vendors are beginning to add support for ANC in their earbuds. However, their passive isolation is pretty decent, blocking out a decent amount of noise without needing to crank the volume up. Obviously, turning up the volume will help reduce noise, but that's not recomended.
- Wireless charging and USB-C charging
- Fast pairing with Samsung devices
- Long battery life
- Ambient sound mode
- Lacks ANC completely
Puts the "true" in true wireless
The Galaxy Buds+ are a great at being convenient. They're everything you'd come to expect from a set of true wireless earbuds.
Best ANC buds: Sony WF-1000XM3
The Sony WF-1000XM3 have industry-leading ANC for a set of wireless earbuds, let alone true wireless ones. They block out an impressive amount of low rumbles, such as engine noise, but also mid-range noises such as talking and fan noise.
You'll also get hands-free Google Assistant. This means that you'll be able to access the Assistant by simply saying "Hey Google" or "OK Google". What's great about this feature is that it works when either bud is paired to your phone so you don't have to worry about which one has the feature and which one doesn't.
The charging case will get you an additional 19 hours of battery life and charges over USB-C. Unfortunately, there's no wireless charging here. For the buds themselves, each bud gets six hours of battery life (either on their own or together in a stereo pair).
Unfortunately, there's no way to get both earbuds to have the same touch gestures. By default, the left bud is reserved just for the ambient sound mode, and the right ear cup houses all of your media controls. There's an option in the Sony Headphones Connect app to reverse these, but there's no more customization beyond that. This means you'll have to cautious about which earbud is connected if you plan to use only one earbud. The case itself is relatively large. If you're the type of person who likes to place your earbuds in your jean's coin pocket, these definitely won't fit in there.
- Great Battery life on both case and buds
- Hands-free Google Assistant
- Great ANC performance
- Touch controls specific to L/R earbud
- No wireless charging
Best ANC buds
Sorry, can't hear you
The WF-1000XM3 have class-leading ANC, which is their biggest selling point. Sound quality and battery life is also exceptional.
Best Workout Buds: Jaybird Tarah Pro
Looking to work out but don't want to carry a charging case around? The Jaybird Tarah Pro are your best bet. With up to 14 hours of battery life on a single charge, you'll be able to run a marathon before the battery runs out. While the battery life is great, they use a proprietary connector for charging, so you'll need to make sure you have enough juice for your day or carry the cable with you if you're low on juice.
In terms of sound quality, the Tarah Pro are excellent. There's a small boost in the upper bass which means you may hear some distortion. The midrange is great with a small recession, which can equate to vocals taking a backseat. The treble is above-average here. It's mostly balanced with a small low-treble recession. This means that the sound may be a bit darker than some other earbuds out there.
The earbuds don't have that many smart features despite being wireless earbuds. They have physical controls on either bud and can activate your digital assistant of choice (Bixby or Assistant depending on which you have set up). There's no auto-pause feature when you remove a bud and there's no hands-free voice assistant, either.
As workout earbuds, these are super comfortable for long term use and are also water resistant so you'll be okay if things get intense and you start sweating. They're only IPX2 rated though, which means you won't be able to run in the rain or anything. The Tarah Pro come with several ear tips in the box so fit shouldn't be an issue.
- Excellent sound quality
- Exceptional battery life
- IPX2 water resistance
- Proprietary charging cable
- Could be more water resistant
Best Workout Buds
Intense listening sessions
The Jaybird Tarah Pro have excellent battery life, are rated for sweat resistance, and sound excellent. They have one downside: the proprietary charging cable.
Best Bass Buds: Plantronics Backbeat Go 410
Bass heads, the Plantronics Backbeat Go 410 are right up your alley. The amount of bass boosted, most bass heads will be super happy. For the rest of the sound, the mid-range is balanced and even, and the treble gets a sizable boost as well, giving the Backbeat Go 410 a fun sound that most will enjoy.
In terms of battery life, you're looking at eight hours with ANC and 10 hours without ANC. Their ANC performance is decent, but won't compete with more premium over-ear headphones. But with only a two-hour difference in battery life, you might as well keep ANC on.
Comfort wise, the Backbeat Go 410 are decent. With the amount of bass they push though, you'll want to take a break every few hours to let your ears breathe. They become extremely uncomfortable after a few hours of use.
While these don't have smart features of any sort, they have basic support for the Google Assistant. They work similarly to other headphones with a multi-function button. You'll need to simply tap and hold the button to summon the Assistant.
- Fun bass and treble heavy sound
- Good battery life
- Decent ANC performance
- Bass effects long term comfort
Best Bassy Buds
The Plantronics Backbeat Go 410 feature a solid, bass-heavy sound with long battery life. However, they aren't the most comfortable for long term use.
Best Budget True Wireless: SoundPeats TrueFree
The SoundPeats TrueFree are a great pair of earbuds for the price. They pack a strong bass-heavy punch and are suited for genres such as EDM, hip-hop, or rap. You'll also get a solid three hours of battery life. While not the best battery life around, they get the job done. Luckily, since they're true wireless earbuds, they also come with a charging case that'll give you 3-4 additional charges which makes up for the lower battery life on the buds side.
One oddity the charging case has is that it doesn't have a lid. You simply place them in the case and the buds sit flush with the body. Fortunately, the buds and the case are lightweight, so you shouldn't have issues lugging them around. Plus, I'd take a charging case without a lid over having a charging case that's larger because it has to accommodate a lid.
The TrueFree come with a few additional ear tips, so finding tips to fit your ears shouldn't be an issue. The buds have a single-button design which manages play/pause, calls, and skipping forward and back. Unfortunately, they don't have support for volume control so you'll need to use the volume buttons on your Galaxy Note 10 or Note 10+.
- Strong, bass-heavy sound
- Multiple charges with charging case
- Single multi-function button
- No volume control
- Charging case doesn't have a lid
- Could have better battery life
Best Budget True Wireless
Affordable true wireless earbuds
True wireless earbuds don't need to be expensive to be good and the SoundPeats TrueFree are a great example.
Best Sound Quality: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 buds, at their core, were built for sound quality, which is expected coming from the company. They have a slightly boosted bass, but otherwise their sound is mostly balanced. The Momentum True Wireless 2 also offers excellent dynamic range and a solid soundstage given that they are a set of true wireless earbuds.
Battery life is solid; you'll get seven hours of listening time, and the included charging case give you an additional 21 hours, totaling 28 hours. Once the case is dead, you can charge it back up over USB-C. Unfortunately, there's no wireless charging here.
The Momentum True Wireless 2 feature some smart features. Just like most other true wireless earbuds, they pause when you remove one bud out of your ear if you have both in. Audio playback will resume once you put said bud back in your ear. They'll also work independently of one another and unlike some older true wireless earbuds, you don't have to worry about which bud is in your ear as they both connect to your phone independently.
The case is made of a nice felt material and is small enough to fit in most pockets. The earbuds are mainly plastic but have a nice metal touchpad for touch controls. You'll get multiple ear tip sizes in the box to help with fit and comfort. The buds are lightweight and super comfortable, even after long periods of time.
- Solid battery life all around
- Excellent sound quality
- USB-C charging case
- Comes with multiple ear tips
- Buds are mainly plastic
- No volume control on the buds themself
- Lacks wireless charging
Best Sound Quality
If you're looking for the absolute best sound quality in a portable package, look no further than the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2.
Best Over-Ear: Sony WH-1000XM3
The WH-1000XM3 make the list as the best over-ear for several reasons. They're compact and fold, which means they'll be easy to travel with. They also feature class-leading ANC, which is equally as great for traveling. Comfort wise, the WH-1000XM3 are excellent. The headband and ear cups are made out of leather and the clamping force isn't too strong, so it doesn't feel like they're squeezing your head.
But the biggest reason it makes the list as best over-ear headphone is that it supports all the major Bluetooth audio codecs (SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX-HD, and LDAC). Pair this with your Galaxy Note 10 or Galaxy Note 10+ and you'll get the absolute best sound quality over Bluetooth. The sound itself is a bit heavy on the bass, which is great for bass heads. The mid-range is balanced, and the treble is recessed quite a bit. This means that female vocals, tambourines, hi-hats, and bells will sound muted. Fortunately, you can adjust the sound with a basic EQ in the Sony Headphones Connect app, which is available on Android and iOS.
The WH-1000XM3 feature hands-free Google Assistant. So just say the trigger word and she'll be able to answer any of your questions as if you were asking your phone the questions. Any questions that require the Assitant to search the web will obviously require you to pull out your phone.
In terms of battery life, the WH-1000XM3 is superb. They last up to 30 hours on a single charge and charge over USB-C. When it comes to charging, they feature fast charging capabilities. This means that a 10-minute charge will give you up to five hours of listening time. The only real downside with the WH-1000XM3 is that as soon as you plug them in to charge, you can no longer use them wired or wireless.
- Long battery life with fast charging
- Customizable sound quality
- High fidelity Bluetooth audio codecs
- Great comfort
- Class-leading ANC performance
- No simultaneous charging and listening
- Bass heavy sound isn't for everyone
Best wireless sound around
With the combination of high fidelity Bluetooth audio codecs and customizable sound, the WH-1000XM3 deliver some of the best wireless sound around.
The Note 10 and Note 10+ don't have 3.5mm audio jacks, and that sucks. But we all knew it was going to happen eventually as all flagship smartphones are headed in that direction. Fortunately, Samsung has already created a pair of truly wireless earbuds to help with the transition, the Galaxy Buds+. Once you have a pair of headphones that were built to work with the phone you have, you won't want to go back. It doesn't help that the Galaxy Buds+ are also a great pair of buds with long battery life, wireless charging, and more.
Now that Samsung is starting to ditch the jack on their phones, even more headphone manufacturers will make the push towards wireless headphones. Hopefully, with Samsung on board the 3.5mm audio jack-less train, we'll continue to see even more innovation in this space.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Peter Cao is an audio enthusiast at heart. He started with expensive "use at home" only headphones that required expensive amps to even hear a sound. Nowadays, he's downsized to Bluetooth headphones and earbuds.
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