For Workouts, Personal Assistance and More
Ditch the Cord with These 8 Wire-Free Headphones
Completely wire-free earbuds are a more complicated endeavor than wireless earphones (like Bose QuietControl 30 and Jabra’s Sport Coach), which are becoming ubiquitous. Wire-free headphones aren’t tethered together, so the earbuds need to be synced with your smartphone and with each other. While the first wire-free Bluetooth earbuds date back to 2014, the announcement of Apple’s AirPods has really fired them into the mainstream. The buds below represent the best completely wire-free options. Just stay alert: misplacing one can be a costly mistake.
Gear IconX by Samsung $200
If you’ve bought into the Samsung ecosystem, you’ll want to keep it that way with the IconX. The buds have 4GB of internal memory that can hold up to 1,000 tracks, meaning you can leave your phone far behind. Additionally, they have a built-in fitness and heart rate tracker.
The Dash by Bragi $299
The Dash set is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. The earbuds have 4GB of internal storage good for 1,000 songs, and a fitness tracker built in, like the IconX. But for the extra $100, the Dash will get you a slightly better waterproofness rating and a marginally better battery life.
Elite Sport by Jabra $250
The Elite Sports are workout-specific earbuds, sweat-resistant and boasting IP67-rated waterproofness. They have a heart-rate monitor, VO2 Max fitness testing for accurate endurance measurement and a built-in motion sensor that automatically counts your reps. It’s compatible with iOS and Android, and will be available exclusively at Best Buy stores on October 30, 2016.
Sound by Human Inc. $400
Human Inc.’s Sound earpieces cup around your ears, and instead of buttons, interface with trackpads and swiping hand gestures. They can function as traditional Bluetooth earbuds, but they also can amplify and attenuate ambient sounds. Additionally, when the earpieces are magnetically linked together, they project sound as would a Bluetooth speaker.
VerveOnes+ by Motorola $250
The VerveOnes+ are an updated, waterproof version of Motorola’s original VerveOnes. These have an IP57 waterproof rating and three to four hours of battery life. They’re solid workout earbuds, though unfortunately they lack internal storage.
Here One by Doppler Labs $300
The Here One system works like traditional Bluetooth headphones, but it also connects to a number of virtual assistants, like Siri, Google Now, Alexa or Cortana. Essentially, its main selling point is making all your phone’s functionality available through your headphones. Here One further distinguishes itself with Doppler’s Here Active Listening technology, which allows wearers to isolate specific frequencies (via mobile app) and adjust their volumes.
AirPods by Apple $159
As you know by now, when Apple announced the iPhone — and the death of the traditional headphone jack — they also announced these. If you’ve always stuck with EarPods, these are a no-brainer. But they’re not water resistant, so working out with them isn’t recommended.
True Wireless Earbuds by Earin $199
These were one of the first truly wireless headphones, debuting in 2014. Today the brand claims to have hundreds of thousands of satisfied retail customers. The headphones boast solid audio with two dedicated amps, and a competitive battery life (approximately 3 hours).