Christmas tech: wireless ear buds to set your music free

Ditch the wires completely. Just don’t lose a bud.

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

Ready to ditch wires altogether? If you prefer in-ear headphones but still want to go wireless, you could go for one of the various sets of wireless ear buds that are now available.

AirPods Pro
AirPods Pro

Apple Airpods Pro

€279

I liked the idea of the original AirPods, but they never really fit me comfortably for any length of time. The AirPods Pro, however, are a whole different ball game. So what has changed? the Pro version has active noise cancelling, customisable fit with swappable silicon tips, and they are water resistant. They sound better than the originals, and you can still use your Hey Siri commands. Plus the case charges wirelessly, an added extra if you bought the first gen AirPods. Just be careful you don’t lose one.

apple.com

Samsung Galaxy Buds
Samsung Galaxy Buds

Samsung Galaxy Buds

€159

The Samsung Galaxy Buds may not have active noise cancelling, but they have such a good fit you may not be too bothered. The buds are compact and with the swappable silicon tips, you can find a good fit for even the smallest of ears. The buds come with a touch panel on each bud that controls e verything from virtual assistants – Bixby, Google Assistant or Siri, depending on your phone – to hanging up on calls or pausing your music. Using the app, you can also customise by using the tap and hold gesture to control access to the quick ambient sound mode, volume and Bixby. Designed to work best with Samsung phones, they will connect to other bluetooth enabled devices, even the ones from rival Apple.

harveynorman.ie

Huawei Freebuds 3
Huawei Freebuds 3

Huawei Freebuds 3

€179

Huawei’s version of Apple’s AirPods are a real option for Android users. They have a similar design to the original Apple bluetooth earbuds, with an open fit rather than a close fitting silicon bud. They also have noise cancelling, which is can be hampered at times by the open fit - you won’t get as effective noise cancelling as you do from the AirPods Pro, for example. But you do get great audio on calls, and wireless charging. Plus these are more in the price range of the original AirPods, which is cheaper than the upgraded Apple version.

Carphonewarehouse.ie

Sony WF-1000XM3
Sony WF-1000XM3

Sony WF-1000XM3

€250

The Sony WF-1000XM3 are the second attempt at cracking the bluetooth ear buds market for Sony, and it appears to have learned a few things. They are the first to include active noise cancelling, and it works well. In fact, almost everything about these ear buds work well. Even though the buds don’t use the AptX codec, you can’t fault the sound, and the Bluetooth 5.0 connection is fairly solid, apart from a hiccup here and there. There’s an app that lets you customise the sound, opting for vocal boosting, tweaking the bass or treble, or changing what each touch control can do. It’s a handy thing to have, although not essential. Fit-wise, they should be comfortable on most people, although they are a little on the larger side and can feel a bit like they are protruding slightly too much.

www.sony.ie

Bose Soundsport Free
Bose Soundsport Free

Bose Sound Sport Free

€200

When it comes to sports, you want two things from your headphones: that they don’t tangle you up, and that they stay put. the Bose Sound Sport Free will fulfill both those requirements. Designed to stay put even during the toughest of sports, they use a combination of a silicon tip and flexible fin to make sure they won’t be shaken free of your ear mid-workout. And like most Bose products, they also sound pretty great.

Battery-wise, the buds will last for five hours of use on a single charge, comparable to the other earbuds here, and the case will add 10 hours to that.

bose.ie