From wired headphones to neckband headphones to true wireless earbuds, the way we listen to music has changed a lot over the past few years.Of course, it was Apple who made the TWS earbuds mainstream with its AirPods line.
In fact, this market is growing so fast that you can now find earbuds in every price range.But how much should you actually spend on a pair of earbuds?What features can you expect?What was the experience like?How about the sound quality?
Earbuds under $30: Wireless tech on a budget
For under $30, you can find entry-level wireless earbuds.If you just want to get away from fumbling around with wired headphone cables and don't have high demands on sound quality, then this price is for you.The build quality of earbuds at this price is substandard, as they are usually made of cheap plastic.
Some users have reported connection issues when pairing the earbuds with their phone, depending on the brand you choose.So if you're on a budget but still want good sound quality, wireless earbuds aren't the best option.Instead, you should opt for IEMs over similarly priced earbuds for significantly better sound, more durability, and a detachable cable.
It's important to note that you should stay away from off-brand earbuds.While their low prices seem to offer great value, they tend to be unreliable.Also, if your earbuds ever break or stop working, you'll have a hard time finding answers in the seller's customer support.
$30-$50 earbuds: durable and waterproof
Between $30-50, most improvements usually come from build quality, not sound (though some models vary).The highlight of this price range is that some models will offer an official IPX7 water resistance rating. An "X" in IPX7 means the earbuds haven't been rated for dust resistance, so it's probably not a good idea to take them to the beach.
But you can still take your earbuds to the gym without worrying about them getting damaged by sweat.They can also handle rainwater or accidental spills.In terms of latency, it's less about price and more about the Bluetooth codecs your earbuds support.
$50-$100 Earbuds: ANC and Transparency
While you'll likely find them for cheaper, features like Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode typically start in the $50-$100 price range.You can expect better sound quality where the bass doesn't overpower the mids and highs, but it will depend on how different audio brands adjust their headphones.
At this price, you can also expect multipoint connectivity, which means you can keep your earbuds connected to both your phone and your laptop at the same time, switching seamlessly between the two.Some brands also offer a dedicated app to customize the EQ of your earbuds.
Earbuds for $100-$200: AirPods and more
In the $100-$200 price range, you can choose from security options that won't surprise you, like Apple and Samsung.For $129, you can get the AirPods 2nd generation or the Galaxy Buds 179.For $XNUMX, you can get the AirPods XNUMXrd generation or the Galaxy Buds Pro.
According to reviews, these earbuds have better sound and microphone quality, which means the person you're talking to will be able to hear you more clearly.Besides Samsung and Apple, you can also find good options from Sony, Sennheiser, Bose, Beats, and other well-known brands.
Earbuds over $200: No compromises
For over $200, you get the best of the best.Everything put on the earbuds will be carefully designed by audio experts and product designers.In other words, the goal here is to remove all the compromises people typically face with wireless earbuds.
What is the result?You get the best build quality, the best microphone quality, the best connectivity, and superior sound quality in terms of clarity, soundstage, and audio imaging.As of this writing, the $279 Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds are widely regarded by reviewers as the best wireless earbuds money can buy.
How to choose the right earplugs for you
Unfortunately, it's impossible to give a completely objective opinion on how much you should spend on wireless earbuds because they are so diverse.Sometimes a pair of $30 earbuds sound better than $70 earbuds for no apparent reason other than personal preference.
That said, there are three important questions you should answer before buying wireless earbuds that can help you make a more informed decision.
1. What are your hearing preferences?
The first thing you need to do before buying earbuds is to determine your listening preferences.Since hearing is a personal experience, there's no guarantee that expensive earbuds will sound much better than budget earbuds.
To help with this, you should understand the sound signature, read earbud reviews, and watch comparison videos.But the best way to check if a pair of earbuds sounds good is to try them out for yourself.
2. How often can I buy new earplugs?
If you've been saving up for those expensive earbuds you've always wanted, we've got some bad news for you.Wireless earbuds have one major problem: battery health.Eventually, the lithium-ion battery in your earbuds will degrade, resulting in increasingly poor battery life.
This means that in order to continue enjoying high-end sound, you're going to have to buy new earbuds every few years, which isn't very pocket friendly (or environmentally friendly).Battery life and degradation is one of the main reasons wired earphones are better than wireless earphones because the former has no battery and can last for many years, saving money.
3. Do you need ANC and transparency mode?
ANC and Transparency Mode are two common characteristics of mid-range and premium earbuds.While they are indeed very useful features, you have to be realistic about your needs before buying one.
For example, if you spend most of your time at home, you won't need as much ANC as someone who commutes a lot or has an active lifestyle.In this case, the passive noise isolation provided by the earbuds is sufficient to reduce unwanted sound.Also, enabling Transparency Mode is a lot more cumbersome than just taking off the earbuds!
How much should you spend on earplugs?
There's no standardized benchmark for judging how good a pair of earbuds sound, or how much they're worth, so the best way to judge them is to try them out for yourself.
Unlike a more standardized smartphone or laptop, earbuds vary widely from brand to brand.Some brands don't offer ANC for $100 but sound great, while others offer tons of features for under $50 with terrible sound.So, you should do careful research before deciding to buy.
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