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Incredibly Wireless

Truly wireless earbuds are nothing short of an engineering marvel, and a handful of brands have built incredible products around this rather liberating premise of going completely wirefree. We pit five of the best to help you decide which one is for you

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RHA True Connect (Rs 14,999)
Scottish hi-fi brand RHA’s first stab at true wireless get a lot right, starting with a comfortable and secure fit and sweat proofing for runners and gym-goers, although the conspicuous stem-design may not be to everyone’s tastes. In use, they’re among the best sounding earbuds in this category, with accurate music reproduction and a slight focus on the treble, without forgetting about the mids and the low-end. The stylish battery case gives the True Connect a full 24 hours of battery life, but the earbuds are let down by the occasional failure to connect to both buds when you pop them in your ears, and you have to return them to the case for them to re-pair.

Apple AirPods 2019 (Rs 14,900 onwards)

They may be virtually indistinguishable from the first-generation AirPods, but it’s about what’s inside that matters. Courtesy the new H1 chip, the 2019 AirPods now connect faster to your devices over Bluetooth and audio latency is lowered, which benefits folks during gaming. Battery life is better, with up to three hours of talk time, and if you’re willing to pay a bit extra for the Qi-compatible wireless charging case (Rs 18,900), you can charge these off your nearest wireless charger. Undeniably convenient and intuitive to use, the AirPods’ instant connectivity and call audio quality will appeal to most iPhone owners, but the second generation doesn’t push the envelope quite as much in terms of music quality or extra features like water-resistance or noise cancellation.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless (Rs 24,990)
Priced higher than its peers, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless redeems itself with arguably the best audio quality in this segment, with a punchy bass, lively vocals and an excellent soundstage, plus support for high quality aptX and AAC/SBC formats. The build quality of the buds and the carry/charging case are premium as well and connectivity is rock solid, with the buds pairing reliably each time you start them up. While they feel bulkier in the ear than the rivals, the fit is comfortable and these buds can be used for short-to-medium durations without any ear fatigue. The price is prohibitive and you really have to want the best cost-no-bar truly wireless earbuds, particularly when you consider the added features you can get for the same price if you’re willing to look at wired or wireless around-the-ear alternatives.

Nokia True Wireless (Rs 9,999)

With the most unique design of them all courtesy its slim cylindrical charging case, the Nokia True Wireless offer respectable sound quality — crisp treble levels and reined-in bass, with an open soundstage — without breaking the bank. They suffer in terms of an average battery life and simply too much background noise during calls, and the charging case design, while interesting, is fiddly and requires a fair bit of effort to figure out. Limited to the SBC standard for high quality audio.

Samsung Galaxy Buds (Rs 9,990)
For the price, the Galaxy Buds are the most impressive of the lot – they offer good design, excellent comfort and intuitive touch controls, even if they reserve their high-quality audio streaming to Samsung's proprietary Scalable codec, available only on Samsung devices. So, while there’s no aptX support, pairing these with a Samsung smartphone gives you AKG-tuned audio, with impressive treble response and bass levels that will please most. The wireless charging case is a plus, as is the lightweight, comfortable fit, but where the Galaxy Buds excel is battery life, with six hours of playback on a single charge

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tushar Kanwar

The author is Technology Columnist and Program Manager in Bengaluru, India

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