1 Apple AirPods Pro, the best headphones on the market, all criteria combined
Apple AirPods Pro
This “Pro” version of the AirPods has been deeply redesigned, and for the best because we believe it is the best headphones on the market. On the menu, a sweat-proof in-ear design (a warning to sportsmen and women) offering excellent comfort while avoiding the intrusive side of this format, a high-flying sound reproduction, much richer especially in bass, but also a very efficient active noise reduction and a wireless connection that is as reliable as ever. More compact than the Sony WF-1000XM3, they offer a slightly lower audio quality than the Sony WF-1000XM3, slightly less convenient controls and an average battery life. They are easier to charge, however, thanks to their inductively-charged casing, which compensates for the absence of a USB-C port. Although their price is very high, the AirPods Pro will appeal to those who don’t support in-ear monitors well, as well as to iOS and Android users.
2 Sony WF-1000XM3, the best True Wireless in pure audio quality
Sony hits hard with its WF-1000XM3. Indeed, the Japanese simply signs the best true-wireless of the year. These earphones have it all: an elegant design offering good comfort, a reliable Bluetooth 5.0 connection, low latency, refined audio quality with powerful but controlled bass, an above-average 6-hour battery life, a fast USB-C charge and, above all, impressive active noise reduction. We don’t have much to reproach them for, their main flaws are the lack of sweat resistance (to be avoided for sport therefore), the absence of volume adjustments via the earphones and their high price. However, if you have the necessary budget, there is no need to hesitate, the WF-1000XM3 are now our reference in true-wireless headphones.
3 Jabra Elite 75T, the best True Wireless for sport
Jabra Elite 75t
Jabra is further refining its True Wireless headphone recipe, delivering 75t headphones that are 22% more compact, lighter and more comfortable, without sacrificing the fit, audio quality or reliability of the wireless connection that were the hallmarks of the brand’s previous headphones. What’s more, this new model is splash-proof (IP55 certification), which means you no longer need the Active version to use it for sports, and the battery life is now up to 7.5 hours in the earphones plus 20.5 hours in the case, which is quite sufficient. We’ll just regret the absence of active noise reduction or wireless charging like AirPods, but the Jabra Elite 75t remains a worthy heir to the excellent 65t. So you can go without risk, they are clearly worth the 30€ extra compared to the previous model.
4 Anker Soundcore Life P2, the best value True Wireless headphones at a low price
Anker Soundcore Life P2
Anker Soundcore Life P2 wireless headsets check many boxes, including correct sound and good performance for hands-free calling. There’s no wireless charging, which is understandable at this price level, but you still get USB-C. The autonomy is estimated at 7 hours at moderate volume and count 32 hours with the charging box which is very satisfactory. The earphones have an IPX7 waterproof rating, which means that they can be fully immersed in water to a depth of one meter. They offer without doubt the best price-performance ratio in the Anker wireless range at the moment.
5 Apple AirPods, the best earphones for in-ear allergy sufferers
Apple AirPods (2019)
Although they can’t compete with the best models on the market on the sound side (it’s difficult to get powerful bass with traditional earphones), the AirPods 2019 offer a completely correct audio quality, but above all, these earphones have an extremely reliable wireless connection, with a very satisfactory level of latency. Their induction charger, available as an option, is also very practical and Bluetooth pairing is very simple, even with Android or Windows, contrary to what one might think. On the other hand, touch controls are limited and not always effective, and their lack of isolation can be a hindrance in noisy environments. But their biggest flaw in our opinion is their high price. However, if you can’t stand in-ear headphones, the AirPods 2019 is still the best alternative for you.
For many, the future is wireless audio. While the first headsets and earphones of this kind degraded sound quite a bit and regularly suffered from interference, advances in the Bluetooth protocol now make it possible to achieve completely satisfactory levels of quality and reliability. The LDAC or AptX HD codecs even make it possible to obtain a Hi-Res audio stream from now on. After having lost their jack cable, a source of congestion but also a source of more or less premature death of the devices (it is often the one that gives up first), the earphones finally lose their last wire, the one that connects the two earpieces.
Indeed, many brands offer so-called “true wireless” earphones nowadays. These have the advantage of offering a very good quality/size ratio and greater freedom of movement, so they are an alternative to good old headphones and traditional earphones. In addition, they still come with a storage AND charging box that, if handled properly, ensures that you never run out of battery power. Nevertheless, there are some details to know about this type of device, and the very many models on the market are far from all of them.
Our advice to choose well
For what purpose?
True-Wireless wireless headphones offer greater freedom of movement than traditional earphones or headsets, they are very versatile and therefore very interesting. In the office, at the gym or on public transportation, they adapt to any type of environment. However, you should know that sports headphones have a few specific characteristics, including being sweat-proof.
What audio signature?
Just like headphones, a pair of headphones has its own sound with its own audio signature, its own color. For example, one model may emphasize bass or treble more than another, while some headphones have a more balanced sound. The style of music you listen to will determine your purchase. Choose powerful bass for Hip-Hop or Electro, for example, and more balanced signatures for classical music.
Which format to choose?
The most popular earphones adopt an in-ear format. In other words, they enter the ear canal. If you are not used to using this type of earphone, we advise you to try out the model you are interested in before buying it, if possible, to make sure it suits your morphology. If the earphones are too big for your ears, they will hurt and won’t fit properly. If they are too small, the same goes for the fit in the ears, but you will lose the low frequencies of the sound and be less well insulated. Moreover, some do not support this type of earphones, we advise you if this is your case to opt for a model with a different size.
What controls are required?
Another point, the controls. At the very least, True-Wireless headphones must allow you to put a music in play/pause, and to change the volume, or the song you are listening to. But the best ones allow all three at the same time! Some also offer other functions, such as settings or activation of a voice assistant. Finally, you should also know that because of their format (microphone further away from the mouth), these headphones generally perform less well in a hands-free kit and the controls may be less convenient than with conventional headphones with a remote control on the cable.
What type of wireless connection?
Before the arrival of Bluetooth 5.0, connection with Bluetooth 4.xx was either unstable or had high latency. This is why other manufacturers have used NFMI for the connection between the two headsets, which gives a more stable connection and low latency. However, this system prevents you from sharing your music with a friend. But the arrival of Bluetooth 5.0 and the first headsets that really take advantage of it (some have only Bluetooth 5.0 in their name) have really changed things, offering the advantages of Bluetooth and NFMI without their respective drawbacks.
What autonomy can be expected?
True-Wireless earphones always come with a storage AND charging case that, if you’re careful, you’ll never run out of battery power. Nowadays, you can expect your earphones to last at least 4 hours and to hold 2 or more charges in their case. There is less, there is more, but for us, it is in any case the minimum.