Wireless headphones and earbuds to fit your budget

Wireless headphones and earbuds to fit your budget
Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch may earn affiliate commissions.

Headphones keep us connected to our favorite music, podcasts, and audiobooks. They make sure we don’t drop an important phone call. As our devices ditch the headphone jack and Bluetooth technology improves, more and more people will need to upgrade to something that offers great sound, solid performance, and helpful features.
We’ve tested hundreds of wireless earbuds and headphones, and whether your budget is $30 or $300, we’ve found a pair to fit your needs.
 

Bluetooth earbuds: Skullcandy Ink’d Bluetooth
For the cheapest option that still offers good sound quality, the Skullcandy Ink’d Bluetooth earbuds are the best wireless earbuds under $50. They come with a collar that’s equipped with large control buttons, but it’s so light you’ll forget that it’s around your neck. The Ink’d Bluetooth are comfortable and made to fit all but the largest ear canals. Plus, they’re water-resistant.
The Ink’d Bluetooth’s battery will get you through a full day before it’s time to recharge. During testing, we were able to walk two rooms away from our connected smartphone before experiencing a signal drop.
Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
Workout headphones: Aukey Latitude EP-B40
When it’s time to focus at the gym, there’s no better way to tune out distractions than a reliable pair of earbuds. For a cheap but comfortable pair that can handle casual workouts and a bit of sweat, we recommend the Aukey Latitude EP-B40. They’re the best workout headphones under $50 and they offer more than eight hours of battery life, which is enough for a few gym sessions before recharging.
Silicone tips and wings help with keeping them secured during high-intensity activities. The cable that connects the earbuds is longer than we’d like, but the Latitude EP-B40 are a better option for working out than similarly priced wired earbuds, and they offer good sound quality.
Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald                                                               
Budget Bluetooth wireless: Jabra Move Wireless
For some, earbuds just don’t cut it. The Jabra Move Wireless are the best Bluetooth wireless headphones under $100. They’re ideal for someone who prefers over-ear headphones and doesn’t want to spend a lot of money. The Move Wireless sound almost as good as Bluetooth headphones that cost four times as much—without sacrificing solid basic features like intuitive and easily accessible controls. The Move Wireless’ pivoting earcups and a padded headband add to comfort.
Photo: Rozette Rago
True Wireless: Jabra Elite 65t
If keeping up with the latest tech gear is important to you, you’ve probably already done your research on true wireless headphones. The majority of them are still first-generation models and come with a few kinks. Still, the Jabra Elite 65t perform just as well as standard Bluetooth earbuds—offering great sound, battery life, and comfort—without a wire connecting each earpiece.
The Elite 65t usually block out a good amount of noise, but you have the option of using the mics to hear your surroundings by activating transparency mode. We like that these headphones work with voice assistants (Google Assistant, Siri and Alexa) and they have both track and volume controls. During testing, the Elite 65t’s Bluetooth 5.0 offered seamless and stronger connections than competitors, making calls sound especially clear. For a true wireless workout version of these headphones, we recommend the Jabra Elite Active 65t.
Photo: Rozette Rago
Bluetooth Wireless: Sony H.ear On WH-H900N
If you’re ready to invest in a pair of high-end Bluetooth wireless headphones that come with the best features, we recommend the Sony H.ear On WH-H900N. You’ll get above-average active noise cancelling, long-lasting battery life, a clear mic for voice calls, and, most importantly, a pair of headphones that sound great.
During testing, the H.ear On WH-H900M sounded better than competitors (with or without noise cancelling) and the bass added a noticeable boost that didn’t overpower vocals. We like that these headphones are lightweight, comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and that they come in a variety of colors.
These picks may have been updated by Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch may earn affiliate commissions.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

Skullcandy aims upscale with two new headphones

Skullcandy aims upscale with two new headphones
Skullcandy has always been an odd brand. Aimed at a younger, hipper audience, the headphones always featured wacky graphics and a lower price point. Now, facing competition from multiple players, they’ve decided to step up their game in terms of quality and style.
Their two new models, the noise-cancelling Venue and the bass-heavy Crusher 360, are designed to hit the Bose/B&O/Sony quality point while still maintaining a bit of Beats styling. The Venue are the most interesting of the pair. They are true over-ear noise-cancelling headphones that cost a mere $179 — more than $100 less than Bose’s best offerings.
The Venue’s noise cancellation was excellent, as was the sound quality. The headphones were solidly built and last for two five-hour flights, a first for me when it comes to wireless or wired noise-cancelling headphones. Usually in almost every model I’ve tested I’ve had to charge or change the battery after about eight hours. This is a vast improvement.
As for audio quality, I was quite impressed. Having heard earlier Skullcandy models, I went in expecting tinny sound and muddy bass. I got neither. What I got was a true sound without much modification and very nice noise cancelling. In short, it did exactly what it says on the tin.
One peeve is the size of the headphones and the case. Most headphones can fold up to a smaller package that is unobtrusive when it hangs off your back or sits in your lap. These headphones come in a massive, flat case that is not imminently portable. If you’re used to smaller, thinner cases, this might be a deal breaker. That said, the price and sound are excellent and the Venue is a real step up.

Then we have the Crusher 360. These are also well-made headphones that collapse into a slightly smaller package than the Venue. They also offer what Skullcandy calls Sensory Bass and 360-degree audio. What that means, in practice, is that these things sound like a bass-lover’s very effusive home theater system on your head.
The Crusher, like the Venue, is wireless and lasts about 30 hours on one charge. They don’t have noise cancelling, but what they do have is a set of haptics inside the ear cups that essentially turn bass events into wildly impressive explosions of sound. You can turn this feature up and down using a capacitive touch control on the side of the headphones and, if you’re like me, you probably will be using that feature multiple times.
How do they work? Well, the bass these things pump out is almost comical. While I don’t want to completely disparage these things — different ears will find them pleasant if not downright cool – the Crushers turn almost everything — from a drama to a bit of dubstep — into a bass-heavy party. I used these on another flight and heard every single bang, boom and bop in the movies I watched and, oddly, I found the added bass response quite nice in regular music. If you like bass you’ll like these. If you don’t, then you’d best stay away.
The headphones cost $299.

Skullcandy isn’t the audiophile’s choice in headphones. That said, their efforts to improve the brand, product and quality are laudable. I avoided the company for years after a few bad experiences and I’m glad to see them coming back with a new and improved set of cans that truly offer great sound and a nice price. While the Crushers are definitely an acquired taste I could honestly recommend the Venue over any similarly priced noise-cancelling headphones on the market, including Bose’s businessperson specials. These headphones aren’t perfect, but they’re also not bad.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

Review: The V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless headphones look and sound beautiful

Review: The V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless headphones look and sound beautiful
Damn. These are good looking headphones. The V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless could be the best looking headphones available. Better yet, they sound good, too.
As the name suggests, this is the second generation of this series of headphones from V-Moda. The drivers are different and the company improved on the build quality. The originals were already one of my favorite headphones and the followup is even better.

Here’s what I like:
The build quality of these headphones is superb. The V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless headphones feel like they’ll last a lifetime. I have headphones from Bose, Definitive, Denon, Shinola, Audeze and more and none look or feel as good as these. They’re comfortable. Even on my large head, they fit nicely and I’m able to wear them for hours at a time without issue.
The headphones sound great, too. To be clear, they’re not the best sounding headphones available, but the sound is on par for the price. The sound stage is full and wide with great separation between the channels.
The V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless are most comfortable with the mid tones found in rock, country, jazz and pop. That’s not to say low and high tones are absent; they’re present but not noteworthy. The headphones are balanced nicely with a preference to sounds in the middle of the range.
I always use a few tracks to test headphones. Save Tonight by Eagle-Eye Cherry is one of them. The track is mixed in a way that produced a narrow soundstage. On headphones the audio can be either muddled or clean. On these headphones, it’s closer to clean but not perfect. The lyrics come across clear while the instruments are a bit blended. 4 Non Blondes’ What’s Up sounds fantastics. You can hear the strumming of the guitars and feel the emotion of the band. The Cranberries’ Linger is more of the same. It’s just lovely on these headphones.
The wide soundstage is put on display for Look At Me Now. Busta sits in the middle and his lyrics flow in the middle while the beat comes in from the sides. Reproduced correctly, it’s an immersive experience and these headphones do it correctly. Meek Mill’s Dreams and Nightmares is another great example. These headphones put Meek in the center of the stage while the piano tracks sits on the side of the stage. The headphone’s tuning makes the track a stunning example of properly tuned headphones.
These headphones get loud. They’re among the loudest headphones I’ve tested. And since the headphones lack active noise cancelation, that’s a good thing. I’m pleased to report, there is very little distortion when the headphones are at their max volume.
Wireless battery life is excellent. V-Moda claims 14 hours. I used these headphones for several days and never found the bottom of the battery. That’s good enough for me.
Here’s what I don’t like:
The headphones lack on key feature: They keep playing when taken off. That’s a big no-no and an unfortunate miss from V-moda. It’s not a dealbreaker, though. These are wireless headphones and therefore they have a limited battery life even though they have great battery life. Such headphones need to have the ability to stop playing audio when removed from the head.
Bottom line:
The headphones are available in several colors through retailers or buyers can use V-Moda’s customizer to build a custom pair. Want a set of headphones with 14k gold plated side plates? That’s an option though it adds hundreds to the cost. Platinum headphones? That’ll cost $26,000.
I love the V-Moda Crossfade II Wireless headphones. These are great headphones and I whole heartily recommend them. At $350, they punch above their weight class. These are solid headphones with a build quality that seem like they’ll last longer than other options.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

Anker’s Spirit earbuds are wireless and waterproof

Anker’s Spirit earbuds are wireless and waterproof
Anker, a battery maker turned accessory house, recently released the $39 Spirit X earbuds under their Soundcore brand. Aimed at runners and other heavy sweaters, the earbuds are completely waterproof under the IPX7 rating, a classification that means it can stand up to 1 meter of submersion.
What this means is that you get a surprisingly cheap and rugged set of workout earbuds that you’re not afraid to get a little dirty.
I tested a pair and found them quite nice for running. The rubber ear hooks kept them in place and the sound quality was not horrible, especially compared to my previous pair of Philips corded headphones. The sound quality, while a bit muffled, is what you’d expect from a standard pair of sports headphones, and the rubber earbuds stayed in place quite nicely. The company claims the headphones have a 12-hour battery life, which is about right — I used them for a few days and saw little change in the battery level.
A small flap on the bottom of the control bar hides a micro USB port for charging and there are three buttons — volume up, track advance and volume down. There are no voice prompts, but there is a built-in microphone for calls.
These are not swimming headphones. The IPX7 rating means they’ll stand up to sweat and rain but not a few dozen laps in the pool. An aqua-phobic nano-coating keeps the drops out of the inside of the headphones and should let you keep trucking long after other headphones have rusted out.
Long thought of as a bargain Amazon brand, Anker is expanding its reach and understanding of the market. By building inexpensive gear for those who don’t mind a slight trade-off in audio quality, they’ve hit an interesting spot in the headphone market. While this won’t beat your high-end over-ear headphones with all the trimmings, sometimes a $40 pair of daily wear earbuds is all you need.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

Apple could be working on AirPods-like over-the-ear headphones

Apple could be working on AirPods-like over-the-ear headphones
 According to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Apple Insider, Apple could be working on a brand new pair of wireless headphones for later this year. While the company already owns Beats, those over-the-ear headphones could be sold under the Apple brand. It seems like the AirPods are a success, and the company wants to capitalize on this market. The new headphones would feature the same convenience… Read More

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

In 2018 the headphone jack is a rare beast

In 2018 the headphone jack is a rare beast
 The wireless industry is currently rolling out the latest and greatest at Mobile World Congress. Nineteen phones were announced around this industry event including the latest from Samsung, Sony, Nokia and LG. These are the phones that the manufacturers will push on consumers in 2018. The 3.5mm jack is available on the vast majority of the phones though the 3.5mm jack should only be… Read More

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch