As with any budget item, there are downsides. For the SoundBuds, it’s the fact that the battery only lasts about seven hours. For commuters and athletes that might not be a problem, but if you’re a marathon music listener, you might want to think twice. Still wary about buying a budget product? Anker offers an 18-month warranty plus easy-to-reach customer support.
Audiophiles generally agree that if you’re passionate about music, and you have a listening space that is relatively free of outside sounds, nothing beats a really good set of open-back headphones. As far as we’re concerned, you won’t find a set of open-back headphones that manage to combine superb sound quality and a reasonable price than the Sennheiser HD6XX/HD650. To be clear, these are not exactly the same models. The HD6XX is a run of the HD650 with a lower price from Massdrop, and a few physical changes, but when it comes to their audio chops, they’re identical.
“These headphones look amazing,” raved one of our testers. “The cool color options, the understated earbud design, and the substantial rubber casing are all great for athletes and runners.” One reviewer also loved their high-quality build. These earbuds’ fit, however, wasn’t a highlight: “These earbuds fit so snugly that it's uncomfortable and affects the sound quality,” reported one tester. Our reviewers also wished that these earbuds could be charged via USB. Lastly, its full sound had both pluses and minuses, according to one tester: "There’s a satisfying fullness and richness to them that will give fans of electronic music a certain satisfaction," he said. "But the heavy-handed use of bass seems to swallow up a lot of the detail."
The Sennheiser HD 650 headphones have an over-ear, open-back design. You’ll feel immersed in your music, and all of it will come through crisp thanks to a 10Hz-39,500Hz frequency response range and reference-class design. You’ll want to make sure you have a quiet listening area though, as the open-back will let external noise in and let your audio out.
These headphones sound amazing and cater well to virtually all genres of music. They have an open-back design that reproduces audio remarkably well and creates a spacious, immersive soundstage. These headphones deliver a crisp and detailed representation of instruments and vocals without sounding too sharp and have a very balanced, honest sound overall.
Students appreciate the convenience offered by wireless headphones. Research your essay or fill out your study guide without being confined to your computer chair, or listen to some tunes and relax in your bed after a busy day of class. Call friends and family members back home without dealing with excess cords, or catch up on local happenings by listening to online news.
“The Surface Headphones offer the most unique take on physical controls, allowing you to customize the noise canceling and volume at the twist of an ear cup dial,” revealed one of our testers. Other highlights, according to our reviewers, include a “refreshingly simple and sleek” design and “very substantial” build quality. The negatives? One of our testers thought the sound quality “isn't really befitting of the price point.” However, one of our reviewers noted, “Much like Apple's AirPods, these headphones shine when paired with other Surface devices.”
Convenience isn’t where it ends though; Samsung has enlisted their longtime audio partner AKG to tune the speakers on these headphones, meaning you should get decent, thoughtful frequency response. There are the standard AAC and SBC codecs involved here, but Samsung is also adding in their Scalable Bluetooth compression, which should provide better response for the wireless transmission of audio. There’s an Ambient Sound control mode for staying alert to your surroundings, intuitive touch control, and even the ability to wirelessly charge the 58mAh internal battery alongside the 252mAh battery case. You can pick up the new Galaxy Buds in black, white, or a sportier yellow.
Available in four color options for $300, these wireless earbuds include a swanky chrome charging case that comes with a secondary pouch for safekeeping (yes, the case can get scratched up if you leave it in a bag). The case, with its built-in chargeable battery, gives you an additional three charges (it charges via USB-C). These have support for AAC and aptX and have an extended range of more than 20 meters, according to Master & Dynamic.
Anker is known more for its value headphones, but it's trying to step into more premium territory with its Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro earbuds, which carry a list price of $150. From a design standpoint, they share some similarities with Sony's WF-1000XM3, although this model doesn't have active noise-cancellation. Anker says they have large 11mm drivers combined with Knowles Balanced Armature, with up to 8 hours of battery life on a single charge (32 total hours of playtime with the case) and noise-cancellation microphones to help reduce ambient sound so callers can hear you better. They charge via USB-C and also support wireless charging.
The Elite Active 65t come with three sets of silicone tips and feature an ergonomic design that guarantees a good seal, which is a big reason we prefer them to other true wireless models. With outstanding comfort and excellent passive noise isolation, you get the most out of every note, and you can also lower the volume for less ear strain. Overall sound quality is solid, and sound comes through clear and balanced, with a punchy bass response and a surprisingly dynamic treble range.