January 17, 2017

For the Confused Indian Buyer: Here Are the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones & Earphones

 

The rumors about the disappearing 3.5mm jack in the iPhone 7 have all but been officially confirmed, and if you're one of the many waiting to buy this highly anticipated release, you're probably in a bit of a dilemma. 

So what should you do if you're looking to buy a new pair of headphones now? Even if the next iPhone lacks a headphone jack, it'll surely have Bluetooth capability, so you can future-proof your purchase by going wireless with one of the choices listed below.

In no particular order, here are the best wireless options to choose from.





1. Jaybird X2

Industry Leader in Sports Bluetooth Earphones
Jaybird X2

  • Jaybird X2
  • Jaybird X2

The Jaybird X2 has been termed as "Perfection in Wireless Sound". A favourite of fitness enthusiasts around the world, these Bluetooth In-Ears lead the wireless sport category with best-in-class sound performance.

The X2 is very small, but comes with a massive purported 8 hours of play time. Although they generally last for about 7-7.5 hours or so. They're sweat proof, and are accompanied by a bunch of Comply tips & earfins to provide an optimum fit.

On the design front, it immediately registers as a Jaybird product. While they are geared to be ergonomic, the various small attentions to detail give it a unique touch. For instance, the hexagonal cuts in the earfins, the matte finish with the shining Jaybird logo in chrome, and the vast array of colour profiles, all lend it a look that’s unapologetically Jaybird.

The build is plastic but still quite solid. Jaybird is so proud of their quality that they even went as far as giving a lifetime warranty against sweat-related damage. The fit although comfortable, isn’t perfect, in the sense the earbuds may not make a tight seal and can be fiddly. To address this problem, Jaybird has shipped these with a bunch of eartips which include Comply's memory foam eartips which do the job fairly well.

While there are plenty of similarities between the Bluebuds X and the X2, there are some key differences too. First off, the Bluebuds are glossy, while the X2s are matte. Also, the X2 offers much more colour profiles than its predecessor.

The carrying case has been upgraded too, it's better than the previous one in protecting the earbuds. While signal dropouts were a slight concern with the Bluebuds, the X2s clearly have those issues resolved. Along with improving the battery life and the charge time.

The box is very similar to that of the Bluebuds X. Opening up the side flap will reveal the headphones and accessories. The overall presentation is neat. You’ll find a carrying case, a USB cable and a pouch holding the in-ear “fins” and three X-fit clips.

Coming to the sound, the X2s do complete justice to their claim of being one of the best sounding wireless earphones in the world.

The bass is surprisingly understated, but this quality gives it an overall tonal balance that is exceedingly impressive. Allowing the mids and the highs to truly come to life, and be smooth and crisp respectively.

This is an unusual choice, as most sports earbuds tend to crank up the bass in order to compensate for the loss of sound that occurs due to an improper seal in most sports earphones. Since the X2 provides very effective noise isolation, they can afford to do switch it up. The guitar riffs from rock and metal music do stand out, and that sort of sound in a wireless earphone is a rarity.

Just don’t expect the same pedigree of the RHA T10s, but for a wireless earphone, they are really good with a vast set music genres.



Karthekayan Iyer, Indian Express


""I don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t buy the Jaybird X2. Good things never come cheap – Jaybird X2 is just that one good thing. It sounds great. It’s well engineered, offers premium fit and extremely portable. We can’t ask for more."

 

UPS
Best In-Class Sound
8 Hour Battery
DOWNS
Fit Can Be Finicky

 


Our Verdict:
"The best sounding wireless earphones out there."


 




2. V-MODA Crossfade Wireless

Personalized Premium Wireless Headphones
V-MODA Crossfade Wireless

  • V-MODA Crossfade Wireless
  • V-MODA Crossfade Wireless

Building on the M-100's lauded sound, the Crossfade Wireless elevates that signature sound up a few notches with the aim of being the best wireless headphones in the market.

These headphones upend the notion that Bluetooth headphones sound worse than their wired counterparts, with the Crossfade Wireless sounding as good as the M-100s. The Crossfade Wireless has military grade durability, can be personalized, is very comfortable and can be used both wired and wirelessly.

The Crossfade Wireless looks and feels a lot like the Crossfade M-100, with the same sturdy build quality to compliment the overall artistic design. You can choose from Gunmetal to Rouge, Phantom Chrome, or White Silver, plus customization is the USP here, offering 3D-printed or laser-engraved shields, allowing users to personalize their headphones. On wearing, while they do feel a little bulky after a couple of hours, overall, they’re pretty comfortable.

 

The V-MODAs comes in a stylish exoskeleton case ornamented with a riveted leatherette handle and matching clasps. Inside the case, the headphones come along with accessories: a charging cable, a braided audio cable for plugging in, and surprisingly enough, a carabiner.

The quality of the audio the Crossfade Wireless puts forward isn't up for much debate, it bests its wired sibling, since V-MODA used the same 50mm drivers with some fine tuning to enhance a sound signature that is already a favourite among many.

Whether you use the cables or choose to go wireless, the audio isn’t going to be compromised. There’s bass, lots of it, but it well complements the highs and the overall presentation is wide and detailed. The soundstage succeeds in rendering a near 3D representation of the audio. Overall, you’ll have no complaints regarding the audio reproduction, it’s warm and detailed and well presented to deliver a pleasant musical experience.

There are better wireless headphones out there, but for the price they’re at, there are very very few competitors. Just understand that they're a little bulky and the battery life could be better.



Ryan Waniata, Digital Trends


"V-Moda’s Crossfade Wireless boast booming bass that puts Beats on notice."



 

UPS
Sound signature identical to Crossfade M-100
Very Durable
DOWNS
Bass might not appeal to Purists
Not collapsible

 


Our Verdict:
"The well-built V-Moda Crossfade Wireless should be the one you should get if you're looking for a premium wireless Bluetooth headphone."


 





3. Beats by Dr. Dre - Powerbeats Wireless

Bass Heavy Earphones from the Apple Stable
Powerbeats Wireless

  • Beats by Dr. Dre - Powerbeats Wireless
  • Beats by Dr. Dre - Powerbeats Wireless

With Apple taking over Beats, loyalists now have a fantastic option with the Powerbeats Wireless. These come with a bass heavy sound that is signature to all Beats headphones.

Does the Powerbeats Wireless have an iconic design that would attract eyeballs? Absolutely.

It’s not often that you come across a product that is known more for its design than its functionality. With the Powerbeats Wireless', build quality is impeccable, there are no flimsy bits, and it’s all tightly engineered for a solid overall feelThese earphones also have a no-slip grip RemoteTalk™ control that is compatible with iOS devices.

Fit it and forget it should be the mantra for any sports gear, but achieving a tight seal is an issue here. Although Beats claim it’s designed so on purpose to keep the ambient noise flowing in and the performance will not take a hit, irrespective of the fit. Despite Beats’ claims unfortunately, there is perceivable sound loss if a proper seal isn’t achieved, and if you try to force them to do that, the earphones could get uncomfortable.

Nevertheless they are lightweight and grip decently well

There’s one thing where Beats always strike the right chord, it's in the presentation. From the thick packaging to the striking colour combinations, the decorative presentation of the headset to even the design of the hard carry case, it looks premium. The headphones come with a few different sizes of silicone eartips. Among other things are a USB connector and the aforementioned Beats embedded hard carry case.

It’s all about the bass. But did you expect anything else from Beats?

Of course not, bass heavy sound and Beats go hand in hand, which is not a bad thing in this case. Since there are issues with getting a perfect seal, the added oomph somewhat compensates for the loss of sound.

It is foolish to expect the finesse of a Jaybird X2 like audio quality from the Beats. But while the former takes a different approach by focusing on the treble to extract detail, the Beats has an overall sound signature that takes a fun ‘V’ shape sound, that's big on bass with recessed mids to give the lows the centre stage of every music.

EDM, Hip-Hop and Disco Pop sound very good but might not be ideal for more subtle genres of music such as country, soft rock or Jazz.

Those who are loyal to the Beats brand will still find a lot to like here. The audio might not be great, but it will get the job done for the most part.



David Carnoy, CNET


"While it's a bit overpriced, the Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless is among the best wireless sports earphones."



 

UPS
iOS Specific Remote
Very Lightweight
DOWNS
The heavy bass impedes the clarity
Design might not be comfortable for anyone

 


Our Verdict:
"Beats will please those looking for a flashy set of headphones that provide a prominient bass and iPhone specific features."


 


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4. MEElectronics - Wave

Pocket friendly Wireless Headphones
MEElectronics - Wave

  • MEElectronics - Wave
  • MEElectronics - Wave

MEE Audio has built its reputation for delivering quality audio at an affordable price. The Wave is an impressive attempt at retaining that status.

The Wave is well suited for an active lifestyle. The on-ear cushions are intricately designed to provide comfort and stability, and it'll get the job done fairly well.

The Wave is an attractively designed headphone, though the plastic build is a bit of a letdown. Then again, truth be told, you’re already getting more than you pay for. The corners that have been cut aren’t readily visible due to the pleasant aesthetics and the Wave is quite a comfortable pair of cans than can be easily worn for long hours.

Noise isolation however is mediocre at best. Like most on-ear headphones out there, this shortcoming is expected. Sound leakage also may be an issue.

The Multipoint Technology is also a nifty trick that lets you pair it with 2 devices at the same time, and the 24 hours of battery life is impressive at this price.

In fact, with the features it offers at the price, it does put the likes of BOSE and Beats to shame. The inbuilt mic also does a good job at handling calls without any disturbance or drops.

Sound primarily leans towards the bass end of the spectrum. The mids are recessed, but the highs are clear and bright without being harsh. Kind of like a fun V-shaped sound signature that would keep most audiences happy (apart from the purists). Soundstage and instrument separation aren't ground breaking, but for a wireless headphone, they're good.

Sound quality may not be the best in this list. However, the plethora of functions it offers definitely makes up for it, making it the most value for money proposition in this list.



Tech in the Bathroom


"These Headphones are a beast! They get five stars from me. Beautiful design, studio quality and tons of bass, what else could you ask for?"



 

UPS
Value for Money
24 hour battery
DOWNS
Plastic build 

 


Our Verdict:
"If you're looking for a pair of wireless headphones in a budget, these are perfect for you."


 





5. Jabra - Sport Pace

Affordable Workout Companions
Jabra - Sport Pace

  • Jabra - Sport Pace
  • Jabra - Sport Pace

The Jabra Sport Pace is the latest budget offering from the Scandinavian Sports Wireless specialists. The earphones provide claim to be sand, dust, sweat and rain resistant and come with a reflective coating for added visibility at night.

You’ll spot the headphones as soon as you open the box, similar to MEE Audio's presentation. An inner box sits beside the cardboard holding the headphones with two additional pairs of ear gels and a micro USB charging cable.

The design can be best described as ‘No Nonsense’. And rightfully so, this isn’t a high end product and it does not try to imitate or be like one. But what it offers beneath its fairly busy-less design is a sturdy build.

Jabra has been in the wireless earphone business for some time, they have earned a reputation for the impeccable build in all their products. Although venturing into an affordable earbud, they still choose not to compromise on the build, which only ups their reputation.

These earbuds aren’t small, they do have some heft, which might be a turn-off for some, but it does make it rather secure. All points are towards a long lasting ,well built product, and that’s commendable especially considering the price.

The use of BT 4.1 makes sure that tracks aren’t skipped. Also the battery charges fairly quick. But the battery lasts for barely over 5 hours, which can make constant charging a hassle.

Given the way they fit, the lows are delivered powerfully. There is a somewhat slow quality to the bass response, but these still do a fine job with metal and other similarly aggressive music. The Jabra Sport Pace could use a bit more treble and some high mids.

They follow the same suit as that of the Beats. Rock and hip-hop are reproduced well, but still probably aren’t the best choice someone looking to find a balanced sound.

Simply put, the Jabra Sport Pace is for fans of big bass, still these Jabra earbuds will deliver, if a comfortable Bluetooth earphone is primarily what you're after. And for the price, they're probably the best wireless earphones out there.


Derrick Miyao, Android Guys


"If you enjoy the fitness lifestyle and enjoy listening to music, the Jabra Sport Pace Wireless earbuds are for you. They offer incredible sound quality, simplicity by removing your cord, added visibility if you are an outdoors buff and a wireless method for talking on the phone. They offer an incredible value and I highly recommend them to you."



 

UPS
Powerful sound
Resistance to external elements
DOWNS
Bass might be too much for some
Limited accessories

 


Our Verdict:
"Like the MEElectronics Wave, this model is perfect for users on a budget looking for a bass happy sound."


 





6. Sony - MDR-XB950BT

Wireless Headphones with Bass Boosters
Sony - MDR-XB950BT

  • Sony - MDR-XB950BT
  • Sony - MDR-XB950BT

These Bluetooth headphones are the successors to the celebrated MDR-XB920 headphones. Sony has taken its extra bass series wireless with the XB950BT while adding a bass boost function.

The MDR-XB950BT looks very similar to any other headphone in the MDR series. The matte black finish with streaks of red give these headphones a touch of elegance & class. There are bits and pieces of metal here and there, but the overall build is primarily plastic. But nevertheless, it's solidly built by the Japanese giant.

The paddings are plentiful and overall comfort and ergonomics hasn’t been compromised. The best part is the sound isolation, which is very impressive. The headphone comes with a 1.3 meter long cable for wired use, along with a micro USB cable for charging.

The audio performance is a mixed bag. There are some kinds of music where it excels in while with a few others it doesn't sound that impressive. The selling point for the headphones, the extra bass with the Electro Bass Booster, is without a doubt impressively good. But there’s a catch to it, the bass boost distorts nearly all other genres of music. Modern pop music, or hip-hop songs on the other hand sounded clear and punchy, which is the targeted demographic here. All in all, not a bad sounding pair of cans. The Sony MDR XB950BT is one of the better headsets in the XB family, if not the best.

The battery life is superb and for the price, and it has a lot going for it. Preferably not the choice for purists though.


Gopal Sathe, NDTV Gadgets360

"The Sony MDR XB950BT is one of the better headsets in the XB family - it is clearer than many of its siblings, but it can still turn up the bass with the press of a button if that's what you want."

 

UPS
Bass, bass and lots of bass
Long battery life
DOWNS
Bass can drown out mids and highs

 


Our Verdict:
"If you're a bass head looking for something that'll blow your mind, then go for the XB950BT."


 


If you liked this article, you may also like: Apple's Move to Ditch the Headphone Jack May Be About Royalties Rather Than Hi-Res Audio

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