While they started out as somewhat of a gimmick, Bluetooth earbuds have become all-but ubiquitous for everyday use. To begin with, the audio quality was almost always poor, but thanks to increasing development in Bluetooth standards as well as codecs like aptX, wireless earphones are now some of the best available.
Regardless of whether you’re interested in the increased range of motion you can achieve by cutting the cable or are turning to Bluetooth audio because your phone has ditched its 3.5mm audio jack, you’re in luck! All the best consumer brands – Jaybird, Plantronics, Apple, Jabra and more – are lending their weight to the cause so we can keep listening to top-notch audio, cable-free.
While the neckband-style wireless earphones have had their popularity cemented, the likes of the Apple AirPods and other truly wireless Bluetooth earbuds have changed the game once more. Don’t worry, we’ll explain the differences shortly.
It can be tricky to choose a pair with so much variety out there, but thankfully TechRadar has been painstakingly reviewing these earbuds over the years and have a solid idea of what’s worth the dosh. On this page, we’ll take you through the best wireless, Bluetooth earphones on the market right now so you can find exactly what you want.
- 1 Best true wireless earbuds in Australia 2020 at a glance
- 2 Best Bluetooth earbuds in Australia 2020 at a glance
- 3 Wireless earbuds vs true wireless earbuds
- 3.1 The best true wireless earbuds
- 3.2 1. Sony WF-1000XM3
- 3.3 2. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
- 3.4 3. Beats PowerBeats Pro
- 3.5 4. Jabra Elite 75t
- 3.6 5. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
- 3.7 6. Apple AirPods Pro
- 3.8 7. Apple AirPods (2019)
- 3.9 The best wireless earbuds
- 3.10 1. NuraLoop headphones
- 3.11 2. Jaybird Tarah Pro
- 3.12 3. Bowers & Wilkins PI3 Wireless Headphones
- 3.13 4. Jaybird Tarah
- 3.14 5. Beats X
Best true wireless earbuds in Australia 2020 at a glance
- Sony WF-1000XM3
- Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
- Beats PowerBeats Pro
- Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
- Jabra Elite 75t
- Apple AirPods Pro
- Apple AirPods (2019)
Best Bluetooth earbuds in Australia 2020 at a glance
- Jaybird Tarah Pro
- Bowers & Wilkins PI3
- Jaybird Tarah
- Beats X
Wireless earbuds vs true wireless earbuds
Before we dive too deep down the rabbit hole, we should cover the whole true wireless vs wireless discussion happening in the audio world right now.
Wireless headphones have existed for some time now, basically since Bluetooth as a standard was invented.
For years they went largely unrecognised by the audio community because Bluetooth, despite being ultra-convenient, didn’t do the best job transmitting music at a high enough resolution. That changed with the advent of aptX – a codec that allowed for higher bitstreams at lower latency.
While aptX was changing the game for the whole of the audio community, audio manufacturers were working on an entirely new form factor: True Wireless.
True Wireless Headphones have no cord whatsoever. While wireless allows us to wear headphones a few feet away from our music players, True Wireless cuts the cord between the earbuds, giving us true freedom.
This round-up primarily focuses on the former, but, if you’re looking to go full wireless, we also have a round-up of the best true wireless headphones to help you live that cord-free lifestyle.
The best true wireless earbuds
Sony’s fabulous WH-1000XM3 noise-cancelling headphones have gotten a true wireless counterpart, and they’re every bit as solid as their over-ear siblings.
With state-of-the-art noise-cancelling, a crystal clear yet warm audio signal, and an impressive 24-hour battery life (when using the ANC and recharging with the case), these earbuds are worth every dollar spent on them. They also avoid the foibles of many other non-Apple true wireless buds by establishing a connection between each bud and your device individually, thus dodging the sometimes flaky signals that result from a single primary bud having to connect to both your device and a secondary bud.
Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM3
Sennheiser has pretty much knocked it out of the park with these wireless earbuds, offering great noise cancellation alongside smart looks and stunning sound.
The sound quality, battery life, and design of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are truly brilliant – and they’re a really good alternative to the Sony WF-1000XM3, particularly if you prefer a more flashy design to adorn your ears.
We did find that those with smaller ears sometimes find them a little uncomfortable, however, and their high price just stops them from beating the Sony WF-1000XM3.
Read more: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review
For those rocking an iPhone, the simplicity of pairing with the AirPods was a joy, but now you can have that same ease-of-use but with true wireless earbuds made to be pumped at the gym.
With one of the most secure fits to date, the PowerBeats Pro are sure to stay in your ear when you’re sweating it up, and the IPX4 resistance makes sure that sweat won’t break your buds. The sound is typically punchy, as is the style of Beats, and very suitable for modern electronic, hip hop and similar genres. In most ways, these are in improvement on the AirPods, and even feature the same smart H1 chip that helps with pairing and allows for on-board Siri communication.
Read the full review: Beats PowerBeats Pro
The Jabra Elite 75t improve upon their predecessors, the Jabra Elite 65t, in just about every way – except for tonal balance.
The headphones and charging case are much smaller, battery life makes an immense jump, catching up to the competition, and the customization features we enjoyed in the 65t remain.
While they don’t have the best sound quality and they lack active noise cancellation, neither stops the Jabra Elite 75t from being a solid pair of true wireless headphones to use, especially if you make frequent calls with your headphones on.
Read the full review: Jabra Elite 75t review
It’s Bose’s second attempt at a set of true wireless headphones, and the QuietComfort Earbuds are leaps and bounds better than the older SoundSport Free. Not only is the design a lot better, but the noise cancellation is also exemplary. Sound quality is also really very good – albeit a touch less bassy as compared to Sony – with superb clarity. They’re incredibly comfortable and well balanced too, despite their bulky form factor.
Read more: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review
Apple’s most recent true wireless earbuds bring active noise cancellation, a (finally) much better fit, and an improved design, in a bid to lure more iPhone users into the true wireless fold.
However, at AU$399, they’re pretty pricey too, and as such can’t be called the very best wireless earbuds out there.
That said, if you’re an iPhone user looking for some well-fitting earbuds with strong sound quality, you could do a lot worse than the new AirPods – the redesign means they’re far less likely to fall out, and the additional microphones provide strong noise-canceling (particularly when commuting), as well as a useful Transparency mode, which really does let the outside world in.
The sound quality of the AirPods Pro has certainly improved since the previous iteration – there’s a notable emphasis on vocals and bass, meaning these earbuds are better for pop fans than those that enjoy a more natural presentation that lends itself to classical music or more orchestral sounds.
[Update: The Apple AirPods Pro have been given a hefty firmware upgrade, which allows for Dolby Atmos spatial audio, bringing immersive 3D sound to your true wireless earbuds.
There’s also a new auto-switching feature means that the AirPods can now “magically switch over between devices”, detecting automatically which device you are using.]
Read the full review: Apple AirPods Pro review
The second generation Apple AirPods, the AirPods (2019), aren’t quite the AirPods 2 we were hoping for, but they still boast some cool features.
They still sport the iconic design of the original AirPods (a good or bad thing depending on your point of view), and sound quality hasn’t changed at all. The bulk of the upgrade comes from the new H1 headphone chip, which improves connectivity and battery life, and allows for a new ‘Hey Siri’ voice activation feature.
The AirPods (2019) also come with an optional wireless charging case, which means you can use a Qi-compatible charging mat to power the case, rather than sticking a cable into the Lightning charging port in the bottom of the case.
Like their predecessors, they are super easy to pair, but they are very much optimised for using with iPhones and are somewhat pricey.
Read our full review: Apple Airpods (2019)
The best wireless earbuds
NuraLoop boils down the essence of the company’s first product, the Nuraphone, into a much more compact, rugged, and affordable package, and doesn’t lose much in the process.
The star of the show is its adaptive audio technology, which automatically determines a listening profile for the user and feeds them well-balanced, lush sound as a result.
On top of this, features like active noise-cancelling, social mode, an IPX3 rating, Immersion mode, a great battery life, and the ability to attach an analog cable for 3.5mm headphone jacks makes this pair of wireless earbuds truly shine.
Read more: NuraLoop headphones review
While Jaybird has consistently offered some of the best bang-for-your-buck Bluetooth ‘buds, the sport-centric company’s first foray into ‘Pro’ territory proves that they’re not just for the conscious.
Improving on almost everything that made its predecessors great, the Jaybird Tarah Pro offers excellent sound (tweakable via the simple Jaybird app), great comfort and fitting options, and all the conveniences you’d come to expect in the ultimate pair of wireless in-ears, such as a 14-hour battery life, magnetic driver housings, and a rugged design.
Read our full review: Jaybird Tarah Pro
The Bowers & Wilkins PI3 are the first neckband wireless earbuds for the company, and they’re a great start. Well-designed, comfy, and simple to use, they sound really good, too.
Thanks to dual drivers, these buds sound fantastic, with crisp highs, lively mids, and plenty of powerful bass. Look past the fairly unremarkable battery life and limited features, and you’ll be mostly very impressed by what these offer.
Read the full review: Bowers & Wilkins PI3 Wireless Headphones review
While we’ve put the Pro version in at first place, the budget alternative offers an equally compelling package for a different reason.
Weighing it at around half the price of the Tarah Pro, these trimmed-down buds offer much the same core experience (excellent and customisable sound with a rugged, sports-centric design) as their more expensive brethren. You will be losing a considerable amount of battery life (down to 6 hours) and some of the niftier features, but if you’re conscious then the discount will more than make up for it.
Read the full review: Jaybird Tarah
There will always be those who are ready to complain about the sound performance of Beats headphones, but the inclusion of Apple’s proprietary W1 chip has been a boon for the strength of their wireless connectivity.
Functionally that makes these wireless earbuds a joy to use (with Apple products, at least), just don’t expect the most detailed or broad soundstage. If you’re shopping for a no-fuss pair of earbuds that charge in 5 minutes and don’t mind spending a little extra money on them, the Beats X are for you.
Read the full review: Beats X
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