Just because the headphone jack is under attack doesn’t mean that you should give up on earbuds. It’s hard to beat the convenience of the best earbuds since you can roll them up and stuff them back into your pocket. You don’t get that kind of utility from over-ears. While the AirPods are convenient, they don’t sound nearly as good. Whether you want wired or wireless, we’ve got you covered with some of the best earbuds currently available.
The products I'm asked about most often are Aftershokz and AirPods. Our reviewers, including myself, have tried several pairs of Aftershokz, and I find the faint buzzing in my skull to be deeply unpleasant. Other reviewers concurred, with verdicts ranging from "I'd rather just not wear headphones" to "I just don't get it." And while many people like exercising with AirPods, we rejected these as well, because they have an inflexible fit and their sound is mediocre. We also reviewed other pairs of buds, like the Tivoli Go Fonico, which look great, sound great, and fit well. They didn't quite make the cut for this roundup due to their poor battery life, glitchy Bluetooth, and puzzling controls.
Smaller earbud type earpieces, which plugged into the user's ear canal, were first developed for hearing aids. They became widely used with transistor radios, which commercially appeared in 1954 with the introduction of the Regency TR-1. The most popular audio device in history, the transistor radio changed listening habits, allowing people to listen to radio anywhere. The earbud uses either a moving iron driver or a piezoelectric crystal to produce sound. The 3.5 mm radio and phone connector, which is the most commonly used in portable application today, has been used at least since the Sony EFM-117J transistor radio, which was released in 1964. Its popularity was reinforced with its use on the Walkman portable tape player in 1979.
This eye mask is ideal for those who want both audio and light blocking to fall asleep. The Sleepace app is also surprisingly useful. It offers white noise and ASMR tracks to help you get to sleep, and lets you set alarms for wake-up audio. Sensors watch for signs that you’ve fallen asleep and stop the audio from playing, as well as tracking your sleep over time so you can see if anything is disturbing your cycle. It’s a lot of utility for an eye mask, and the price is very reasonable too.
Gaming headsets are headphones that have a microphone attached and allow users to speak to other people and hear them with the same device. In fact, gaming headsets have other practical applications as well. You can use them in business or personal situations when you want to speak to people on a computer using a video phone program or social media chat room. Although these work for music applications, they're more suited for conversational clarity.