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11 best wireless earbuds for noise cancellation, running and phones calls

David Phelan
·2-min read
We tested for audio quality, ease of use, simplicity and battery life  (The Independent/ iStock )
We tested for audio quality, ease of use, simplicity and battery life (The Independent/ iStock )

Wireless headphones set you free from that annoying cable between the headphones and the phone or tablet, for instance, that the music’s coming from.

But true-wireless headphones go one step further and remove the physical connection between each headphone.

These in-ear cans offer the greatest freedom, but have their own limitations. If they’re small enough to sit comfortably in your ears, then they can’t have that much space for a battery, right?

So, the headphones case has a battery inside it to recharge the earbuds when inside it.

Some of the latest in-ears fit snugly in the ear to give a noise-isolating effect while others have an open design which lets in more noise but can feel more comfortable.

Some use electronics to create active noise-cancelling. This is where a microphone on the outside of the headphone listens to the world and then produces a sound to cancel that out. It means you can hear clearly even on a noisy aircraft and can set your headphone volume lower.

Some headphones have neat extras like recognising whether the buds are in your ear or not. So, for instance, with Apple airpods, when you take one earbud out to talk to someone, it pauses the music automatically until you put it back.

Others have a transparency mode which lets in more noise from outside so you can have a conversation without taking the earbuds out (although, honestly, it’s more respectful if you do).

We’ve tested, primarily, for audio quality but also for ease of use, simplicity of set-up, extra features and battery life. Wireless earbuds are also used for hands-free phone calls, so we checked out the efficacy of this, too.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

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