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Wireless earphones are small, compact, and don’t have the most tangled dread – wires. That makes them popular and convenient today. Apart from that, features like Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Ambient Noise give them an edge over others. Ambient Noise is also known as headphone transparency mode. It helps you focus on listening to songs and podcasts by canceling out the ambient sounds. That’s quite useful when jogging or walking in a public area which has a lot going on.
Until a few years ago, Ambient Sound was only available in a handful of wireless earphones. Things have changed for the better, and this feature is now available in almost all premium wireless earphones. The best part is that you can enable it with a tap of the button (or touchpad) on the earphones.
Here are our recommendations for the best wireless earbuds with the ambient sound feature.
Let’s check them out. But first,
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1. SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDS PRO
The ANC feature works its best seal the ear canal to remove any noise and distraction. The degree of ANC is customizable and you can select one depending on your preference. The Ambient Sound feature can be turned on/off right from the touchpads on the earphones, and this is a huge plus.
As long as you find the right fit, the Galaxy Buds Pro is comfortable to wear even for long periods. The best part is that the IPX7 waterproof rating makes them suitable for the gym, and the lightweight nature helps its cause. The compact charging case is the cherry on top.
Last but not least, the audio delivery is balanced. While you may not get a thumping bass, but it gets the job done. At the same time, it comes with added perks like wireless charging, voice detect, and spatial audio.
2. SONY WF-1000XM3
The Sony WF-1000XM3 is not a discreet looking pair. And you can attribute that to it’s slightly dated design. Nevertheless, the buds are lightweight and are comfortable to wear. One of the main highlights is that Sony ships six pairs of ear tips (form-based and silicon-based), and they add to the comfort in the long run.
They pack touch-based controls, and the companion app can customize them. Like most ANC earphones, the battery life is on the shorter end. You will get around 5-6 hours of constant playback time before the buds need a top-up on a single charge. Thankfully, this can be taken care of by the charging case, capable of providing up to three charge cycles.
The WF-1000XM3 has a few limitations. This pair of earphones don’t have a dedicated IP rating and lacks support for wireless charging. You can enable the ambient noise with just a tap. Also, the soundstage is quite impressive.
3. AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-ANC300TW
The ANC is almost in the tunes of Sony’s WF-1000XM3. The companion app allows several customizations, and the ability to switch the levels of ANC and Ambient Noise is probably one of the highlights. Both these options give you the flexibility to pick the noise level (or no noise) as per the scenario at hand.
However, not all is hale and hearty. With ANC, the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC300TW lasts for only 4.5 hours, with the charging case providing around 13 hours as a backup.
4. JABRA ELITE 85T
The app comes with pre-built soundscapes, which means you do not need to open your music app separately if you want to listen to white noise or rain sounds on loop.
The only drawback is that the Elite 85t comes with physical buttons. Now, when most wireless earphones are moving to touch-based buttons, the physical buttons seem a bit of a downer. On the upside, the buttons are soft to press and do not jam into your ear canal when pressed.
The battery life is decent for earphones with ANC. On a single charge, they will last around 5.5 hours with ANC, and you can buy around 2 more hours if ANC is disabled. While the battery life is considerably decent, they are shorter than the Sony WF-1000XM3’s duration.
But, the attribute that leaps up is its instant connection process. They connect as soon as you open the case and put the earphones in your ears.
5. SENNHEISER MOMENTUM TRUE WIRELESS 2
The folks at the What Hifi state that the Momentum True Wireless 2 delivers an impressive soundstage and can be compared to the likes of Sony WF-1000XM3 or the much-popular Apple AirPods Pro. Now, that’s something, right?
At the same time, the ANC quietens the environment so that you can pick every detail in your favorite songs. You can enable ANC and ambient sound feature using the buttons.
The Momentum True Wireless 2 walks the line between large earphones and discrete earphones like the Galaxy Buds Pro. Well, they do protrude less from your ears, but aren’t entirely invisible once you prop them up.
That said, it brings an attractive package for the price, and if you want to listen to great music with clear vocals and music, you shouldn’t miss this one.
If you’re looking to switch to wireless earbuds for the first time, one factor that might be holding you back is that you’d have to charge them. Wired earbuds and headphones have the advantage of drawing power from the audio source and as such, don’t have a battery or need recharging. With wireless, that’s not the case.
Even worse, many of the earbuds on the market have pathetically low battery life in the four to six hours range. If you listen to a lot of music, that battery is going to drain real quick. Going from never charging your audio device to charging it every few days or more is a huge adjustment.
To remedy this problem, we’ve rounded up great earbuds with some of the best battery life you can find. They won’t take away from the pain of having to recharge them, but at least you won’t have to do it as often. All of these earbuds have eight hours of total battery life or more.
JLAB AUDIO’S EPIC2
The Epic2 sport earbuds are just about everything you could want out of a Bluetooth headphone. They come with an abundance of different size silicone tips to ensure a good fit, built-in remote and microphone, are water-resistant with an IPX5 rating, sound great and have phenomenal 12-hour battery life. That’s practically unheard of among Bluetooth earbuds. Lauren Goode of The Verge named Epic2 earbuds the best wireless headphones for running and complimented the comfortable fit and extraordinary battery life.
12-hour battery life is practically unheard of among Bluetooth earbuds.
Most importantly, the Epic2 earbuds won’t entirely break the bank. They sell for $99.99.
If you already began your search for wireless earbuds, you probably came across the Jaybird X2s at some point and for good reason. The X2s are known in the wireless world as some of the best Bluetooth earbuds especially for athletes. They ship with both silicone and foam tips, have a lifetime warranty for any damage from sweat and include ear fins for a secure fit. On the topic of battery life, the X2s offer eight hours and plenty of Amazon reviewers have attested to that.
While the list price for the Jaybird X2s are $149, you can find them on Amazon for only $99.
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PLANTRONICS BACKBEAT FIT
The BackBeat Fits are the coolest-looking sport earbuds to me for some reason. I really love the simple design and really thick wire, which should be durable and far less prone to tangling. The controls are oddly placed on the earbuds themselves rather than on an inline remote as with the Epic2 and X2, but perhaps you might prefer this. They boast an impressive water and dust-resistance rating of IP57 as well as eight-hour battery life, on par with the Jaybirds.
Okay, so Apple AirPods don’t technically get at least eight hours of battery life on their own. The charging case is so impressive though that I think they deserve the final spot on this list. When AirPods debut at the end of October, Apple promises five hours of playback. But the included storage case charges the AirPods when they aren’t in use for up to an additional 24 hours, which is remarkable. So you could tuck these AirPods away for 10 minutes at the gym, pull them back out and have more battery life than you did before.
Unfortunately, AirPods aren’t exactly made for athletes without a cable between them. At $159, they’re positioned to be the most expensive option on this list when they arrive. If battery life is your top priority and you can wait for the release, the 24-hour AirPods are top-notch.