Although wireless headphones are relatively new to the market, they have managed to evolve substantially over the last couple of years. They are more than just a trend now, it is becoming a new standard.
The fact that Apple and Google flagship phones do not have a headphone jack, tells you the story. This only means that soon, the wired, tangled headphones will be a thing of the past as other mobile phone makers will follow the trend.
If you are in the market for a new pair of earbuds and are finally ready to cut the cord – you are in the right place as we review some of the best wireless in ear headphones 2018 has to offer.
We have tested multiple various headphones and have shortlisted a handful to suit your needs and your budget.
How do we test?
You may find that the way we do reviews is quite different
- Battery Life
Reviewing wireless headphones is actually a pretty tricky job. Most of the wireless headphones on the market are quite frankly terrible unless you are ready to spend north of $200. The reasons are countless – short battery life, poor sound, connection issues and interference just to name a few. Amongst the many options available today, we have found a couple of gems that seem to be breaking that stereotype and deserve your attention. Below, you will find our shortlist of the best wireless
Best Wireless In Ear Headphones 2018 – Quick Comparison
If you are short on time and not able to go through the detailed description of all the Bluetooth headphones in our review, we have prepared the below table summarizing main Bluetooth headphone characteristics you need to consider before making your decision. If you need a more detailed comparison, you will find another table at the bottom of this page.
|Name||Frequency||Weight||Battery Life||Water Resistance|
|20Hz – 20kHz||0.5 oz||< 10 hours||IP55|
|20Hz – 20kHz||0.63 oz||< 7 hours||Yes|
|20Hz – 20kHz||0.24 oz||< 3 + 6 (case) hours||No|
|N/A||0.8 oz||< 8 hours||No|
|20Hz – 22kHz||0.16 oz||< 8 hours||IPX7|
|10Hz – 22kHz||0.8 oz||< 10 hours||No|
Often, when a bigger company acquires a smaller one, the latter loses some of its mojo, but not this time around.
The company’s mission of pushing the line of making the audiophile grade headphones at reasonable prices has not changed. And the Optoma NuForce BE Sport3 is a great example of it.
The first impressions of Optoma NuForce BE Sport3 are quite positive. The build quality is solid as the headphones are made of quality aluminum and rubber.
Turning the Optoma NuForce BE Sport3 on for the first time initiates a pairing mode, which is a breeze. Holding down the main button for six seconds (until the LED light blinks red and blue) pairs the headphones to your phone or any other compatible device.
The headphones support Siri and Google Now, yet that experience felt somewhat fiddly. To trigger the virtual assistant you need to press the main and volume up buttons at once.
The Optoma NuForce BE Sport3 is IP55 certified making it rain, sweat and dust resistant. Although the headphones have been designed with the ‘working out’ in mind, nothing really prevents a casual, day-to-day use.
The overall audio quality is great, especially knowing that you can get them for under $100.
Finding a good fit at first may feel a little bit awkward, especially if you are using the wing tips, yet once you get used to it the fit feels natural and the headphones simply stay in place even at times of the most intense workouts. In fact, if you are looking for earphones for running that don’t fall out – NuForce BE Sport3 does an incredible job at it also. Getting the Optoma NuForce BE Sport3 to fit your ear properly will also make you realize that the noise isolation is simply spectacular with low-level of sound leakage.
We found the sound quality to slightly favor the bass response, yet not excessively. In fact, we do suggest that bass lovers check these headphones out before looking at anything that has a Beats logo. The highs are also good, prominent and clear.
Battery life demonstrated by Optoma NuForce BE Sport3 is probably as good as it gets in the wireless headphones world. In our testing, they have lasted for over 10 hours in real-life conditions.
As one of the first headphones we have tested, the Optoma NuForce BE Sport3 has set a pretty high bar for others to match. These are not the most sophisticated headphones you will come across, neither they pretend to be. What NuForce have managed to do is to get the key things right – great build quality, amazing sound and incredible noise isolation. In fact, we are so surprised by the sound quality that we believe some of the $200+ earbuds out there will struggle to match it.
- Design 80%
- Features 70%
- Sound 80%
- Battery Life 100%
- Value 90%
|Great and consistent fit|
|Incredible battery life|
|Great sound quality|
|Class-leading noise isolation|
|Neon color range may not be for everyone|
|Siri and Google Now integration need improvement|
The earbuds have initially been designed for sports and they do a perfect job at it. At the same time, the design ended up being so versatile that you could also use the headphones for everyday use.
Jaybird X3 is not the cheapest option out there, but one well worth the money if versatility is what you are after.
In essence, Jaybird X3 is not a completely brand new pair of headphones, it is rather an X2 with multiple improvements across the board.
The improved headphones are also released with a $50 cheaper price tag compared to its predecessor. It comes with multiple rubber and foam ear tips and once you found the right combination for your ears, they sit tight in your ears ready for any workout activity you throw at them. The good fit also ensures that great amount of ambient noise is blocked, in fact, we think it could be a little too much. The carry case is a step back compared to X2 as it now represents a carrying pouch rather than a solid case. The pouch though contains a clip that allows the headphones to be attached to your shirt.
Just like with Optoma NuForce BE Sport3, the Jaybird X3 provides a slightly boosted bass response, yet it does not feel overwhelming. The sound produced maintains a good balance across the frequency range with fine details resulting in a deep, rich and dynamic sound experience.
One aspect which Jaybird got wrong in our opinion is the charging system as it uses a specially designed charging clip. We can see this being a good idea in theory as it improves the water resistance, yet in practice, it has achieved quite the opposite. Carrying the proprietary cable with you on a daily basis is a nuisance, which may become a frustration if you lose it. On the flip side, this design has allowed Jaybird to offer a one year warranty for sweat-related damage.
Another bonus feature is the ability to customize your audio experience using the MySound app that you can download to your phone. We never felt a need to change the factory settings as it came quite balanced out of the box. The changes that you make to the sound profile are directly saved to the headphones and would persist with any device you pair them with.
The battery life has also been improved compared to X2, yet it still is inferior to the outstanding longevity of Optoma NuForce BE Sport3.
- Design 80%
- Features 80%
- Sound 90%
- Battery Life 70%
- Value 90%
|Smooth, lively and at the same time punchy sound signature|
|Jaybird MySound mobile app|
|Compact and helmet-friendly design|
|Good passive noise isolation|
|Can pair with multiple devices simultaneously|
|Proprietary cable/clip for charging|
|Fiddly at first to get the perfect fit|
This trend has been started by the release of Apple AirPods and now we are seeing other headphone makers joining the competition.
Although the competition for the truly wireless niche is not as hot as other headphone niches, the Sony WF-1000X has managed to establish itself as a strong contender amongst best of the best.
The earbuds connect to each other wirelessly using the tiny antenna located in the translucent front section of the headphone piece.
The design of Sony WF-1000X is surprisingly subtle as it mostly sits in your ear. There are two classic types of ear tips that come in the box – silicone and sponge. It does not take too long to pick the ear tip that suits you best and once you have them on, they feel really light. In fact, they feel so light that at times you forget that you are wearing them. The fit for me was perfect and although these earpieces are not designed for sports, no matter how hard I shook my head they stayed in place firmly.
The WF-1000X has demonstrated an amazing connection quality and signal reliability which is second to only Apple AirPods.
In terms of audio performance, the Sony WF-1000X was a revelation for me. I quite frankly did not know that the wireless earbuds could sound so good. I would even go as far as saying that some of the wired sets are no match for them. It is the first pair of wireless headphones that I did not feel that I had to compromise of the sound quality over convenience.
The WF-1000X is the first and only example in my experience which demonstrates that you could have both – a total freedom of movement and an exceptional sound quality.
The tonal balance is typical to Sony where all frequencies are presented in a natural, non-exaggerated way. The sound is so detailed, precise, balanced and textured that it emerges you and brings a whole new level of experience never seen in wireless headphones before.
Not only the WF-1000X can be praised for their sound quality but also their ability to cancel the noise. The earbuds come with Adaptive Sound Control, which I was hugely skeptical about, but as the practical test showed – it works like magic! In short – this feature adapts to the environment you are in and adjusts the sound and noise levels to provide the best experience possible. For example – in quiet space, the ‘Staying’ mode is engaged where noise cancellation is on, but letting voice through. When walking on the street – the ‘Walking’ mode is triggered letting in some selective ambient sounds and allowing you to hear cars. When on the train, the ‘Transport’ mode is engaged putting the noise cancellation level at 100%.
Battery life is the only real flaw we found with WF-1000X as it only lasts 3 hours on a full charge. The docking station is able to hold an additional charge for 6-hour use. This makes it 9 hours in total with two charges in between.
- Design 90%
- Features 90%
- Sound 100%
- Battery Life 60%
- Value 80%
|The best sound quality ever tested in wireless headphones|
|Adaptive Sound Control, noise cancellation|
|Reliable and solid Bluetooth connection|
|Carry case doubles as a charger|
|Very modest battery life|
|Carry case is a little flimsy|
In fact, they are the first new Beats headset created under Apple’s ownership.
So, should you expect an Apple-like quality paired with the Dr. Dre. sound signature?
Not exactly, the BeatsX took a more conventional approach favoring the balanced over the bass-focused sound, yet let’s take one step at a time.
The headphones come with a lightening charger cable which makes them Apple-centric, at least for the time being.
You will also notice that pairing with iPhone is a breeze since BeatsX is only a third device to feature an integrated W1 chipset from Apple. This chipset allows the devices to pair almost instantly and have a faster and more stable connection. Using Siri on iPhone featured the fastest, close to instant connection speed, which gives BeatsX a unique selling proposition. Don’t get me wrong, you can use those earbuds with Android devices too, yet the experience is not as streamlined or rich.
The battery has a solid life of up to 8 hours, yet what really stands out is the Quick Charge feature, which adds 2 hours of play time on a 5-minute charge.
As for the sound quality – it sounds a little less Beats-like. You still have sufficient levels of bass, yet it is not the same deep signature Beats bass. You won’t find shimmering highs and sparkling mid-ranges with BeatsX either. The overall sound is a lot more balanced and I would normally say that in a nice sense, but with Beats it is different. In fact, it feels strange saying that Beats headphones have a balanced sound palette with highs, mids and lows being on the same keel. So if you are a bass lover – this is probably not a headphone for you (we can’t believe we are saying this).
- Design 80%
- Features 80%
- Sound 60%
- Battery Life 80%
- Value 70%
|Comfortable fit, great for daily use|
|W1 chip allows for better and faster connection with Apple devices|
|Decent battery life|
|Quick Charge feature|
|We expected a better sound quality with more character and energy|
|The cable is too lengthy|
|A little too expensive for what they are|
|Akward pairing with Android devices|
|Android users may not appreciate the need to carry a lightning cable around for charging|
We have also received multiple requests to review the budget line wireless speakers and we thought this to be a perfect opportunity to do it.
We did not have any expectation when unboxing the ActivBuds S-250 as they are the cheapest pair of earbuds in our review.
We were genuinely surprised when we have discovered the build quality to be solid and the headphones quite rugged overall.
The Senso ActivBuds S-250 are using Bluetooth 4.1, which ensures a better, faster and more reliable experience at a distance of up to 10 meters.
In terms of the sound quality, the ActivBuds S-250 have packed rich lows with clear mids and highs providing a balanced sound experience across the board. It is not a premium grade sound, but one that is usually found in more expensive middle range earbuds.
The noise suppression is easily the best we have seen in this price range as the earbuds come with a CVC 6.0 noise cancellation technology. In practice, they get the job done quite well, as listening to the music or podcasts whilst walking down the crowded street provides a great experience with only little external noise coming through. In fact, I believe the balance to be quite right as you do not want to be completely isolated.
The headphones also come with a clip to help you manage the cable. Although it works, the design is not as nice or practical as the one that comes with Jaybird X3. The cable tends to rub on clothes and pull the earbuds to the side.
Testing the battery life, we have managed to get over 8 hours of play time from a single charge. This is an exceptional result shared by much more expensive headphones in our review. Moreover, it comes with a Quick Charge feature that allows the battery to get completely charged in 1.5 hours.
- Design 60%
- Features 80%
- Sound 80%
- Battery Life 80%
- Value 90%
|Great sound for the price|
|Waterproof, IPX 7 certified|
|Quick Charge feature|
|May feel too bulky for some ears|
|Some customers find issues with pairing and connection stability|
We have previously used the wired cousin – Forza Metallo and were very impressed with the results.
Is the wireless version just as impressive? Let’s find out.
The earbuds look stylish, as you would expect from a Milan based designer brand.
The headphones come in a hexagonal box in black and Lambogini orange colors.
The build quality is great as the whole set feels like one solid piece. The headphones are made of quality materials such as anodized aluminum and premium quality plastic and rubber bits.
The Forza Metallo Wireless is by far the most comfortable pair of earbuds we have ever tested. The neckband is designed to fit seamlessly underneath your collar, which vibrates when your phone rings. This feature may seem unnecessary at first, yet it has proven to be very useful for reducing missed calls. I guess it depends on the personal use, but most of my calls are missed when my phone is on silent, sitting on my desk. With Forza Metallo Wireless around your neck – it is almost impossible to miss a call now. I think V-Moda may have just found a great solution to a common problem!
Comming back to the comfort, it is well beyond of just how it feels in your ears, the ergonomic design is felt throughout the whole product. The buttons on the controller have an amazing tactile click found in Apple products, there are no moving or wobbly bits and everything just feels really solid.
The Forza Metallo Wireless has 2 control modules, one on each side of the cable. The left module has a button to power on the headset, yet the right module is responsible for volume control and other functions. Each module has a built-in noise-canceling microphone. The microphone tandem registers the voice with an exceptionally crystal clear quality. In fact, the quality was so good that the people on the other side of the line did not realize I was using the headset rather than the phone.
Although Forza Metallo Wireless does not have an official IPX certification, the company claims the earbuds to have a nano-coating which repels water and sweat. This makes the headphone a viable option for working out. In terms of the reach and connection strength, the Forza Metallo Wireless left us with a bag of mixed feelings. The connection seems to be stable when you stay within 10 feet from the phone, yet when you push the distance to 15 feet or have a wall in-between the sound starts to skip and lag.
The battery life is another strong side of Forza Metallo Wireless as it is very comparable to Optoma NuForce BE Sport3, our battery life benchmark. A single charge can give you up to 10 hours of play time and sometimes, even more, depending on your usage patterns. In addition, you get a QuickCharge feature adding 2 hours of use with a 15 minutes charge.
The audio experience is right amongst the best in the class. The highs are very clear and the bass is deep and punchy. Although the mids are also clear and can cope with almost anything you throw at them – they are not exactly rich.
- Design 90%
- Features 80%
- Sound 80%
- Battery Life 90%
- Value 70%
|Stylish Italian design|
|Clear, detailed and rich sound|
|Solid and balanced bass|
|Average wireless performance with occasional blips|
|Mid-range is a little plain and characterless|
|A little too pricy|
|Optoma NuForce BE Sport3||Jaybird X3||Sony WF-1000X||BeatsX||Senso ActiveBuds S-250||V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless|
|Frequency Range||20Hz – 20kHz||20Hz – 20kHz||20Hz – 20kHz||N/A||20Hz – 22kHz||10Hz – 22kHz|
|Weight||0.5 oz||0.63 oz||0.24 oz||0.8 oz||0.16 oz||0.8 oz|
|Battery Life||< 10 hours||< 7 hours||< 3 + 6 (case) hours||< 8 hours||< 8 hours||< 10 hours|
|Operating Range||< 10 meters||< 10 meters||< 10 meters||<12 meters||< 10 meters||< 10 meters|
|Ear Tips||7 pairs||6 pairs||8 pairs||4 pairs||3 pairs||8 pairs|
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Charge My Headphones?
How Long Does It Take To Charge Earbuds?
Can I Use WIreless Headphones with My iPod?
Why Do I Hear White Noise In My Earbuds?
- Stay within a 10-meter range from your device.
- Ensure there is nothing blocking the signal between your headphones and your device.
- Avoid proximity to microwaves, other devices and Wi-Fi.
- Keep your headphones and your device on the same side of your body.
- Ensure your headset and your device are sufficiently charged.