If you care more about sound quality than any other aspect of wireless earbuds, in our minds, that makes you an audiophile. But just because you’re in search of the best sound, that doesn’t mean you should have to spend a fortune — especially when Cyber Monday deals are here are there are great earbuds to be found at a variety of prices.
To that end, we’ve rounded up five wireless earbuds that, even at their regular prices, offer sound quality that is better than the competition. Now that they’re steeply discounted, they’re an even better value.
Earfun has carved out a reputation for itself as one of the best values in the wireless earbuds world, and that’s when the company’s products are regularly priced. At $50, the Air Pro 2 are as close to a no-brainer as it gets. They deliver exceptionally clear sound, something that usually takes a hit once you start going under $100. But in typical Earfun fashion, they also offer tons of other great features like active noise cancellation (ANC), transparency mode, wear sensors, wireless charging, and surprisingly good call quality.
Battery life is also more than adequate, with up to seven hours per charge in the earbuds and a total of 34 hours when you include the charging case. Need them for workouts? With an IPX5 rating, a bit of sweat or rain won’t bother them at all.
Edifier’s NeoBuds Pro proved to be one of the real surprises from the past 18 months, proving that you can get fantastic audio quality for under the $200 mark. Now that the white variant of these buds are on sale for just $90, they make the under-$100 mark.
These buds use a hybrid driver design that marries a dynamic driver for low-frequencies and a balanced armature (B.A.) driver for the mids and highs. When we originally reviewed them, we were amazed at how good they sounded, and that was before Edifier updated them with support for Sony’s hi-res LDAC Bluetooth codec. Now that they have it, they’re likely going to sound even better if you have an Android phone and a source of lossless digital audio.
The NeoBuds Pro aren’t big on extra features — you won’t find wireless charging, wear sensors, or Bluetooth multipoint — but they have very good ANC and transparency. At this price, they’re a steal.
1More is another brand that may not enjoy the kind of recognition that Sony, Bose, or Apple gets, but its wireless earbuds have been impressing us for years. When the Evo debuted, they made us rethink the sub-$200 category in terms of sound quality. These small and comfortable earbuds have exceptional audio thanks to that same hybrid driver architecture we saw in the NeoBuds Pro.
It’s a design usually reserved for more expensive, wired in-ear monitors, which makes the Evo part of very small group of wireless earbuds that have adopted this design. In conjunction with the Evo’s support for the hi-res Sony LDAC Bluetooth codec, it makes the Evo a joy to listen to, with big and bold bass that never interferes with detail or depth.
Sometimes, you just want top-notch sound, with as few bells and whistles as possible. That describes the Technics EAH-AZ40 perfectly. They’re incredibly compact, making them comfortable to wear for long periods, and they sound like they should cost twice their regular price of $148. At the Cyber Monday price of $110, they’re a true budget audiophile option.
There’s no wireless charging and no wear sensors. They also don’t have ANC, but their passive noise isolation is excellent (thanks to that small size). With your choice of two transparency modes, however, you’ll be able to hear your surroundings easily whenever you need to. Technics has an excellent companion app for customizing touch controls, and the AZ40 can let you talk to either Alexa or your phone’s native voice assistant.
Bluetooth Multipoint is super handy for keeping two devices connected simultaneously, and their IPX4 rating makes them capable of handling a sweaty workout. Battery life is also very good at seven and a half hours per charge and 25 hours total with their case.
With most of our picks above, there are pros and cons, but with Sony’s superb WF-1000XM4, it’s pretty much all pros. These earbuds deliver truly world-class sound with an immersiveness that impresses everyone who listens to them. They’ll do an incredible job with iPhones, but if you use Android, the LDAC codec availability helps render lossless, hi-res tracks in even greater fidelity.
Sony is known for its ANC, and the XM4 do not disappoint. They’re among the best for killing off those annoying background sounds, whether on a bus, on a plane, or just walking busy streets. Their transparency mode is also very good, and it can be triggered automatically when the earbuds sense you’re speaking.
Wireless charging, top-notch battery life, an IPX4 rating, wear sensors, and (as of November 2022) they now have Bluetooth multipoint, leaving you with almost nothing to be desired.
Our only caution: They’re on the big side, so if you have small ears, you may want to look elsewhere.
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