Choosing the best true wireless earbuds in 2019 is a bit of a tough process.
We have been getting sent lots of these wireless earphones that have no cables and we have quickly come to realize that most of them aren’t everything they are claimed to be.
I will be completely honest in my opinion of the current state of true wireless earbuds and within this buyers guide I will only recommend those that I feel truly usable like the latest Huawei Freebuds 2 Pro (I personally use these) and others in this guide below.
Most tech sites write these sort of articles to generate ad revenue but then I also notice that they list earphones that they have never actually tried just to slot it in at a certain price point. I wont be doing that here because at the end of the day if I don't want you to get ripped off.
Companies need to make these sort of products better and there is no point in being an early adopter if the earphones don’t sound as good, feel as good, or last as long as a similarly priced set of Bluetooth headphones with a connecting wire or neckband.
There are a very few good truly wireless earbuds on the market right now but there are some amazing ones that I have enjoyed testing over the past few months and I am starting to see what all the fuss is about. Having no cables is a very freeing and hassle free experience so lets get on with the list of the 10 best earphones on the market in 2019..
True wireless earbud technology is not yet where it needs to be!
OK so there are a good products on the market but for the most part there is a whole host of re branded Chinese OEM junk. These are an absolute waste of your money.
Let me explain. Ever since apple released the Airpods other companies have jumped into the market with barley passable products to get a slice of the action. There are all sorts of issues with these earphones ranging from poor connectivity, short battery life and the sheer size of them.
In this list we want to recommend wireless earbuds that actually work. However, unlike other headphone and earphone review sites we have actually tested all these earphones. We are going to call out the ones that you should not buy as well as the earbuds you should buy. Why are we doing this? Well a lot of people who don’t know better are buying these things from brand name and amazon ranking and thinking they must be good, when really aren’t.
I want you to have the best earphones possible for your money so if I think something has issues I’m going to let people know. Top tip, numerous tech and review sites have relationships with a lot of these companies and really hold of on negativity where it is actually, in many cases.
Audiophile On will always take the side of the readers even if that paints us in a bad light with brands. This site is for the benefit of the readers and not those companies. If a company want a positive review, them make a good earphone….its that simple.
Now onto why many true wireless earphones suck it really comes down to size. Companies are trying to fit a whole lot of tech in a very small space and in doing so are running into issues. Just know for the most part you will get much better sounding, fitting and performing bluetooth earphones if you go for a neckband style models Unfortunately, we are at the early stages of this type of product and we do expect it to advance rapidly over the next few years but for now be careful when making your purchase
Things to consider when buying truly wireless earphones and earbuds
Ok so there are a few areas that really stand out when buying this type of earphones. None of the earphones I have tested to date are perfect but if you can find a good balance in these areas you should have a very good user experience.
SIze & Comfort
First of all you want something that fits. A lot of true wireless earbuds are massive and barley fit inside the ear. Apple got this right on the Airpods by hanging the battery and receivers from that weird looking pole that hangs down from your ears. Other companies for some reason decided to build outwards and that meant wide profiles and poor balance. Overly bulky earphones will be hard to fit, especially if you have small ears and the distribution of the weight at the back end makes them kind of hard to keep in place if you are doing anything more strenuous than sitting still.
Over the past year i have tried around 30 pairs of wireless earbuds and 90% of them have sounded absolutely shocking. Not just bad by audiophile terms but in the way that anyone could notice the sound is horrible. Weak and thin bass is the most common thing and is often combined with a drawn out shrill overall sound.
The other fault I see is a lack of volume. Some of these earphones just do not get loud enough to make your music sound enjoyable. It can be quite frustrating to have your volume limited, I want earphones that can go a little up from my usual listening volumes and I dont’ want to be running my earbuds at 100% due to the obvious drain on the batteries resources.
Please just connect (aka bluetooth connectivity weakness)
Finally you have the pairing issues. Yes some companies have actually sent me earphones where one of the earbuds lags slightly behind the other during playback. For the record they get really mad when we refuse to write a review or recommend them to our readers.
At this point our response has been pretty standard. If you want a good review of your headphones just make good headphones. Do not just do the bare minimum and expect a positive reaction.
I would expect a normal set of Bluetooth earphones with a cable to get between 8 and 20 hours depending on how big of a battery they can accommodate. In my experience battery life on truly wireless earphones is still quite bad ranging from 2-3 hours on most units when playing back at moderate volume. That is improving and with advancements in fast charging and wirless charging we are seeing more suitable numbers and reduced charge times.
Audiophile On’s 2019 True Wireless Earbud Buyers Guide
Comfort - Excellent
Sound Quality - Good
Battery Life - 5 Hours plus included portable charger
Recommendation - Buy
Apple not the first company to introduce true wireless earphones to the world but they are one of the first to make a solid working product. They are expensive for what they are but the best solution we have found to date.
A couple of drawbacks do however exist. The Airpods are traditional earbud style earphones and as a result do little to block out external noise.
Secondly the styling in the ear is a bit odd looking at first but as we are seeing more and more people wearing them in 2018 the kinda start to look normal.
Comfort - Average
Sound Quality - Good
Battery Life - Not good
Recommendation - Junk... Do not buy
These earphones are truly the definition of a company releasing an unfinished product. The WF1000X was a complete wast of time for us because quite simply it doesn't do anything well.
So frustrated was I by the bad sound, dropouts, nightmare setup, poor batter life and weak noise cancelling that I often wanted to rip them out my ears and throw them against a wall. I think in future models Sony will get this product down to a tea but right now they are just not worth your money.
Jabra Elite Active 65t
Comfort - Excellent
Sound Quality - Excellent
Battery life - 5 hours plus and extra 10 from battery
Recommendation - Very good - Buy
The Jabra Elite Active are my favorite set of wireless earbuds for a number of reasons. Whilst not perfect they do everything to a higher standard than the majority of their competition.
Comfort is excellent with their ergonomicly curved earpieces and the low profile design feels very well balanced. The app is a bit quirky at times but has a number of usefull features and the sound quality is some of the best we have ever tested in this format. Without a doubt the class leaders right now.
Optoma Nuforce Be Free5
Comfort - OK
Sound Quality - Average
Battery Life good - 16 hours with charger
Recommendation - Don't Buy
The Optoma Nuforce Be Free5 on paper is dripping with features. Long battery life with the included charger, APTX support and a IPX5 waterproof rating. The comfort is OK despite the earpieces having some significant bulk on them. One problem however comes with the sound. They are very thing on the bass and the midrange is somewhat veiled. The second issue we came accross was multiple and consistent dropouts and we arent the only ones. Plenty of our readers got in touch complaining about this issue so we couldnt with sound mind reccomend them. A promising start and if it could be sufficiently refined it will be an excellent earphone in time.
Bose SoundSport Free
Comfort - Excellent
Sound quality - Above Average
Battery life - 5 hours
Recommendation - A decent buy but Jabra Elite 65t are better
There was a lot we liked about the Bose Soundsport free earphones and whilst we would recommend them I don't personally like them as much as the Jabra elite.
Sound was good and they actually managed to display some decent bass response but detail was lacking. The highs are nice and smooth and its one of the few earphones on test that displayed clarity here.
Comfort is up there with the best thanks in part to the companies Truegrip ear tips that keep them well seated in the ear canal. We did have issues with the left earpiece cutting out at times though and looking online it seems others have experienced similar (although occasional) dropouts.
JBL Free Truly Wireless Earphones
Comfort - Above average
Sound quality - Average/Below Average
Battery life - 4 hours with extra 20 from charging case
Recommendation - Don't buy - Far to prone to drop outs
The JBL Free have recently been slashed in price and whilst they didn't blow us away in our tests they offer reasonably good value for money if you must own a fully wireless set of earphones.
However these by far had more drop outs than any of the other earphones on this test and over time it got pretty frustrating.
They have a nice shape to them that sits comfortable in the ear and are fairly light weight. Sound is thin and lacking bass but it does come across clearly.
Huawei Freebuds 2 Pro
Basically Huawei ripping of the Airpods
Earbud vs in ears will polarize some consumers
Recommendation - Buy - Good bang for buck
Oh look it Huawei back knocking off their favorite brand once again. These things look very much like apples own earbuds and that’s actually a very good thing because these are cheaper and worked very well in our testing.
We have a full review of the Freebuds coming up but in shot they have decent sound good range and are very comfortable so they get the thumbs up from us.
True wireless earphones are a great concept but still need time to mature. I feel that far to many of these styles of earphones have been released just to meet a deadline and not because they actually improve the user experience. If I was going to buy any it would either be the Apple Airpods, Huawei Freebuds and or the Jabra Elite. That is if I had to chose. In reality I wouldn't use any of these as they are significantly outperformed dollar for dollar by Bluetooth and wireless earphones with neckbands. Its certainly an area I will continue reviewing and looking into in the future but right now they just don't enhance my user experience to justify the expense.