The Non-Apple User’s Guide to Choosing the Best True Wireless Earbuds

Who needs cables? The last couple years have seen loads of true wireless earbuds hit the market, starting with a handful of crowdfunded projects before the Apple AirPods made everyone aware! These little Bluetooth wireless buds don’t even have a cable to connect them, making them super sleek and lightweight.

If you’re an Apple user, well, you’ll probably want those AirPods — the ease of pairing and switching between all of your Apple devices is just too convenient. As usual, Apple has given their customers a lot of reasons to keep things in the family!

But, if you’re an Android user or you’re just not digging the stems on those AirPods, we’re here to help you sift through the other options to find the best true wireless earbuds. We’ll run through everything you might be looking for in a good pair of buds to help you decide which true wireless earbuds are right for you. And, if you don’t see the ones you’re considering, bear with us — we’ll be adding to this guide as we get our hands on more!

Next page: Best audio quality

Best audio quality – Earin

None of the true wireless earbuds have floored us with sound quality. While the Sol Republic Amps Air wow with bass performance, we think overall the Earin buds have the cleanest audio quality. They’ve been tuned nicely for balance, with a warm overall sound and clear highs and mids — just stay away from the bass booster feature, which doesn’t sound natural. We know Earin is planning to launch their second generation soon, so we’ll be looking forward to those!

Earin – $150

Next page: Best connectivity

Best connectivity – Skybuds

Another problem area! In all of our reviews, we had some measure of connectivity problems — one bud cutting out, bad performance in wind, or occasional disconnects from the phone. There’s only one pair of true wireless earbuds that we’ve never experienced connectivity problems with, and those are the Skybuds. Thanks to Alpha Audiotronics’ use of a special connection between the two buds based on tech used in hearing aids, the Skybuds manage to get the one basic headphone thing right — they just play your music, no stutters and no hitches!

Skybuds – $150

Next page: Best for exercise

Best for exercise – Jabra Elite Sport (2nd generation)

This one’s not close. The Jabra Elite Sport buds aren’t the only buds that have fitness features, but these are very difficult to top. The Elite Sport track distance, time, cadence, heart rate, and pace — and do all that accurately! The companion app is really user-friendly and can help you put together a training regimen for yourself, too. Worried about them flying out? They fit snugly and stay in place even when you start sweating. Throw in decent audio quality and battery life that will last a marathon, and you’ve got the perfect running companion.

Jabra – $200

Next page: Best battery life

Best battery life – Jabra Elite Sport (2nd generation)

The original Jabra Elite Sport got three hours of battery life per charge, which put them about on the same level as everything else we’ve tried. The second generation bumped that up to 4.5 hours, which tops the next best options we’ve tried — the LG Tone Free and Skybuds at about four hours.

Granted, all true wireless buds do come with charging cases that usually charge buds at least twice over, but none charge buds quickly. If they die on you, you’ll be without tunes for at least a half hour while they take a nap in that case, which is annoyance you shouldn’t have to put up with.

Jabra – $200

Next page: Best value

Best value – Skybuds

This was a tough one, but at $150, the Skybuds hit just the right notes while remaining among the cheapest options of the buds we’ve tested. We can’t overstate how important it is that we didn’t experience any connectivity problems with these buds — our experience with better-sounding buds was ruined by frequent stuttering, dropped connections between buds, and interference. And, while the Skybuds lack punch when it comes to bass, the audio quality is just good enough to suit us for on the go use. Until the price on true wireless buds starts going down, we’ve got the Skybuds as the best bang for your buck.

Skybuds – $150

Next page: The rest and the ones we’ve got our eyes on

The rest

We’ve reviewed a few more that buds that didn’t quite make it to the top of any of our categories:

Sol Republic Amps Air

The Amps Air were a near miss in audio quality, and if you’re a fan of bass-heavy sound, we wouldn’t blame you if you bumped these up to the top of that category. But, three-hour battery life and some connectivity hitches hold these back a little, and they do lack fitness features.

Sol Republic – $150

LG Tone Free

We really like the clever battery case LG made for the Tone Free — the neckband you see above! Being able to pop the buds on and off the ends of the neckband made it very easy to keep the buds charged (and prevent them from getting lost), but these guys are ultimately sunk by a high price and some of the most underwhelming sound we’ve gotten out of all the buds we’ve tried.

LG – $200

Samsung Gear IconX (1st generation)

Samsung has released their second generation IconX buds since we ran our review, but we haven’t gotten to try them out just yet. All we know is that Samsung had a long way to go from their first attempt — the original IconX were wracked by the worst connectivity problems we experienced by far. It’s too bad, because these are the only ones that actually have built-in storage (4 GB), making them useful even without a phone.

The ones we’ve got our eyes on

We’ve still got a ways to go — here’s our shortlist of the next true wireless earbuds we’d like to try out. See some buds you’re interested in that aren’t on this list? Feel free to get in touch and let us know that you’d like to see them reviewed!

Google Pixel Buds

Bragi Dash Pro

Erato Apollo 7