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Thread: True wireless Bluetooth earbuds?

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Default True wireless Bluetooth earbuds?

    I listen to music a lot while doing yard work or at the gym, and much prefer not to be tethered to my phone or iPad.

    I'm looking for a set of decent-sounding, true wireless earbuds, preferably inexpensive. My kids use Airpods, but those don't fit my ears very well, and they're expensive. I've used Bluetooth earbuds made by Mpow and Phaiser, which sound fine, but now I'm looking for a pair that a)doesn't have a cord connecting the two earpieces and b) includes a charging unit so I don't need a wall socket every time I want to charge.

    Something like this:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KXCZSQQ

    There are dozens of different brands and models, and I'm sure that they vary in quality.

    Any suggestions?

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    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Did some research a couple of months back and ended up purchasing the Jabra Elite 65t. I bought them for a 3-day hike, but it rained heavily most of the time, so I didn't get to use them much. However, the sound seemed good. I can't offer comparisons, because I haven't used any other bluetooth earphones. SQ didn't match my regular phones, but I never expected it to.

    One nice thing - they "lock" into your ears. With the right size tip they block out sound surprisingly well. They also have a bunch of features including a rudimentary equaiizer and the ability to let him some outside noise when needed. The Apple and Beats products have more - but only with iOS.

    At $149 they're not cheap, but they are less expensive than Airpods (or the Beats model).

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    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    I been researching them lately and have come to the conclusion that in order to get good sound, a comfortable fit in the ears and a reliable Bluetooth connection without dropouts, you have to spend a fair amount of money and even then there can be problems. The Jabra 65t (little brother to the Elites mentioned above) is reviewed often as an excellent value.

    The 3 top units appear to be the Apple Air Pods (gripes are that they look silly and sometimes don’t fit the ear well), the Bose Soundsport Free (big gripes are the left earpiece cuts out frequently, there is considerable lag of the sound to video on YouTube and when using it for phone calls the right earpiece, only, is used) and finally, the just released Powerbeats Pro which already has been reviewed as having frequent drop outs (perhaps that will be fixed or improved with a firmware update).
    Last edited by DaveM; May-12-2019 at 02:23.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Bought a pair of Bluetooth earbuds for my wife. She didn't want to spend much money. So I got a pair for about $30. I don't know who wrote all those wonderful reviews on Amazon, but they were garbage, not even close to working acceptably. Sent them back.


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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Bought a pair of Bluetooth earbuds for my wife. She didn't want to spend much money. So I got a pair for about $30. I don't know who wrote all those wonderful reviews on Amazon, but they were garbage, not even close to working acceptably. Sent them back.
    I've now tried several, and the sound quality varies tremendously. The ones I've liked best are SoundPeats (ASIN B07PV712YZ):

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PV712YZ

    They sound remarkably good for something so inexpensive. The only minor flaw is that you can't control volume via the earbuds, only on the source device.

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    Senior Member Rach Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jegreenwood View Post
    Did some research a couple of months back and ended up purchasing the Jabra Elite 65t. I bought them for a 3-day hike, but it rained heavily most of the time, so I didn't get to use them much. However, the sound seemed good. I can't offer comparisons, because I haven't used any other bluetooth earphones. SQ didn't match my regular phones, but I never expected it to.

    One nice thing - they "lock" into your ears. With the right size tip they block out sound surprisingly well. They also have a bunch of features including a rudimentary equaiizer and the ability to let him some outside noise when needed. The Apple and Beats products have more - but only with iOS.

    At $149 they're not cheap, but they are less expensive than Airpods (or the Beats model).
    I had planned on buying the Jabra elite. They are a great sounding ear bud, a little pricey, but not overboard. What stopped me, though, was how many complaints I have heard from their customer service. From what I gather, their customer service is absolutely nil. If something goes wrong, you are left on your own.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    My quest for the perfect cheap true wireless Bluetooth earbuds continues. And I may have found them:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KW1TNSM

    Over the past several months, I've realized that the Amazon reviews of this type of product are utter crap. I've bought some that have hundreds, even thousands of 5-star reviews, only to find that the product was nothing but junk, necessitating return to Amazon for a refund. After I posted a fairly negative review of one product, the manufacturer emailed me and offered to refund my purchase price if I'd remove the review (I declined, since Amazon had already given me the refund) - which may explain how some of this junk gets such high marks from Amazon reviewers.

    I've found reviews on YouTube to be more reliable; a couple of guys - Gamesky and El Jefe are their handles - who post pretty detailed and seemingly fair reviews. They're a little obsessed with bass, but they also value good sound in general. After watching this review...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzoqAsqpUXU

    ...I bought the Tranya T3's, and am very happy with the sound. It doesn't have every bell and whistle that others may have - no quick charge, no USB-C, no wireless charging - but they sound good and the controls work well. And for $40, I can't really ask for more than that.

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    I’ve got a really good pair of Bluetooth headphones I bought for not too much

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    The airpods aren't the best sounding, and they certainly are useless in loud spaces like on a flight. But I use mine all the time, to the point where I often go weeks without touching my HD650s or Bose QC35s.

    The key to the airpods is that they may not have great sound quality but it's surprisingly decent, good enough to be an enjoyable listen. And they're just so damned easy, convenient and comfortable--they just vanish in the ear, and the fact that they don't block outside noise has its benefits--I feel like it's far safer for walking around city streets and I prefer them for when I might be in a public space.

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    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    I have been evaluating both high and lower end true wireless earbuds for both top-quality sound for classical music and podcasts.

    For classical music sound in order of best:
    Sony WF-1000XM3 $225: great sound, very comfortable, active noise cancelling (but IMO, contrary to some reviews, noise canceling is not even close to Sony or Bose over-ear headphones), reliable connectivity, not the easiest to pair with other sources the way Apple AirPods can so I keep them paired to my main CM source.
    Bose Soundsport Free: $200: wonderful sound, comparable to the Sony (maybe bass is a little fuller), larger and more bulky than the Sony, but comfortable nonetheless, reliable connectivity, fairly easy to connect to other Bluetooth sources.
    Creative Outlier Air or Gold:: $80-100: (best value for great CM sound) very good-excellent sound, comfortable, very long battery life, reliable connectivity, but not quite as easy to pair quickly with other sources so, like the Sony, I keep it paired to my main CM source.

    For Podcasts:
    Jabra 65t: $150: very good sound for podcasts (only so-so for CM), can listen with one bud in right ear which I do when driving (perfectly legal btw), big asset is the ability to stay paired with 2 different sources at the same time, connectivity is immediate and reliable when you remove them from the case. If these had the CM sound quality of the 3 above, they would be my faves!
    Apple AirPods: $150: good sound for podcasts (rather poor for CM), comfortable, can listen with either ear alone, quick, easy, reliable pairing to any Apple iPhone/iPad, but not simultaneously like the Jabra, IMO they look quirky and fall out easily if you move your head or look down quickly. Still, they’re good for podcasts or great for a quick connection to hear something, say on TC, or YouTube.
    Last edited by DaveM; Oct-17-2019 at 22:03.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    The airpods aren't the best sounding, and they certainly are useless in loud spaces like on a flight. But I use mine all the time, to the point where I often go weeks without touching my HD650s or Bose QC35s.

    The key to the airpods is that they may not have great sound quality but it's surprisingly decent, good enough to be an enjoyable listen. And they're just so damned easy, convenient and comfortable--they just vanish in the ear, and the fact that they don't block outside noise has its benefits--I feel like it's far safer for walking around city streets and I prefer them for when I might be in a public space.
    I actually want to block as much ambient sound as possible. I use earbuds in two situations - on planes, and at the gym, where I'm trying to block out as much of the irritating music that is played over the loudspeakers as possible. I really don't understand why gyms still insist on playing music, when 90% of the people working out are listening to their own devices, and all the piped in music does is make them turn up the volume and risk their hearing. If I'm anywhere else - walking on the street, in the house, whatever - I listen with speakers.

    The other problem I have with the Airpods is that they're ridiculously expensive.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    A survey of recommended earbuds costing less than $50:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK28jMd0mLs&t=0s

    I've actually tried four of these (not the JBL's), and would certainly recommend the Bomaker, Tranya, and SoundPeats. The Earfuns sound fine, but the controls are maddeningly idiosyncratic.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    A survey of recommended earbuds costing less than $50:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK28jMd0mLs&t=0s

    I've actually tried four of these (not the JBL's), and would certainly recommend the Bomaker, Tranya, and SoundPeats. The Earfuns sound fine, but the controls are maddeningly idiosyncratic.
    And it looks like the Tranya T3's are even cheaper on Black Friday:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KW1TNSM

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    Senior Member Couchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    I actually want to block as much ambient sound as possible. I use earbuds in two situations - on planes, and at the gym, where I'm trying to block out as much of the irritating music that is played over the loudspeakers as possible. I really don't understand why gyms still insist on playing music, when 90% of the people working out are listening to their own devices, and all the piped in music does is make them turn up the volume and risk their hearing. If I'm anywhere else - walking on the street, in the house, whatever - I listen with speakers.

    The other problem I have with the Airpods is that they're ridiculously expensive.
    I have the Jabra Elite 65t Active. I wear them mostly at the gym and they work well, don't feel like they are going to fall out. They are also sweat-resistant. They are a lot like earplugs and can take some getting used to. They definitely block out external sound. They actually have an option to pass external sound to the speakers if you don't want to be totally isolated from your surroundings. You can turn this on or off. I find they hold charge quite well, like the airpods, the case charges them. I leave them in my gym bag and only charge them periodically. It's my phone battery which dies before the airbuds do, the bluetooth is quite draining.
    Last edited by Couchie; Nov-30-2019 at 05:56.
    Doch dieses Wörtlein: und, -wär' es zerstört,
    wie anders als mit Isoldes eignem Leben wär' Tristan der Tod gegeben?

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    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    I actually want to block as much ambient sound as possible. I use earbuds in two situations - on planes, and at the gym, where I'm trying to block out as much of the irritating music that is played over the loudspeakers as possible. I really don't understand why gyms still insist on playing music, when 90% of the people working out are listening to their own devices, and all the piped in music does is make them turn up the volume and risk their hearing. If I'm anywhere else - walking on the street, in the house, whatever - I listen with speakers.

    The other problem I have with the Airpods is that they're ridiculously expensive.
    How do you listen to speakers on the street?

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