With almost all smartphone manufacturers not named LG dropping the headphone jack, now’s the perfect time to get true wireless earbuds. While they can never replace over-ear headphones in terms of sound quality, not everyone wants to be encumbered with a pair of heavy wireless cans. Besides being extremely portable, true wireless earbuds nowadays boast better-than-ever audio tech inside their tiny bodies, resulting in improved audio processing, virtually zero dropouts, and voice assistant integration. Some are even sweat-proof so you can rock it out in the gym, and offer noise-cancellation which is perfect for commuters. The Amazon Echo Buds tick all these boxes (they’re our choice for the best true wireless earbuds for 2020) and right now they’re on sale on Amazon, as are the Jabra Elite 65t and Sony WF-1000XM3. Save as much as $40 when you get them ahead of Presidents Day.
— $90, was $130
Want top-of-the-line features without having to pay a top-of-the-line price? Then the Amazon Echo Buds are the true wireless earbuds for you. With a killer combination of cutting-edge technology and low cost, these buds deliver good sound quality, effective noise cancellation, sweat-resistance, and hands-free access to Alexa. Any downsides? Well, battery life is far from stellar, and there’s no touch-based volume control. Shortcomings aside, they’re our choice for the best true wireless earbuds for 2020 and are genuine value for your money.
Amazon decided to go clean and simple with the Echo Buds’ design – no unnecessary protrusions or dangling stems, just a rounded shape that provides a very secure yet comfortable fit. The Echo Buds attach to three sizes of silicone ear tips and three sizes of ear fins, which are called “wingtips,” ensuring that you’ll find a pair that will fit your ears perfectly.
For some divine reason, Amazon was able to make the Echo Buds remain tethered to any device 100% of the time. We never experienced any signal dropouts, even in crowded places where there are definitely other Bluetooth devices competing. Even Apple’s custom H1 Bluetooth chip was never this unflappable. Another major highlight is the Echo Buds’ onboard ANC (Active Noise Cancellation), developed by Bose, which works really well. With ANC on, the low hum of machinery, like the AC or fridge, were totally canceled, while traffic noises and conversations were significantly reduced. We weren’t able to test it on an airplane – the ultimate traveler’s test – but we have a feeling it would work well if perhaps not as spectacularly.
Featuring a three-mic array that does an impressive job of recognizing your voice, you can summon Alexa for hands-free operation. You can also use Siri or Google Assistant if you want, but only Alexa can be used hands-free for now. Finally, for control, you tap on or long-press the exterior of the Echo Buds. You’ve got the usual media playback controls (play/pause, skip forward/back) but there’s no way to adjust the volume. At least you can ask Alexa to do it.
The sound quality is good. For the price, we didn’t really expect it to compare with the pricier Sennheiser Momentum or Sony WF-1000XM3, but the Echo Buds deliver a pleasant, clear sound that’s very satisfying nonetheless. And if you don’t like the default sound preset, which tends to be bass-heavy, you can customize it using Alexa app’s EQ settings. Finally, battery life is mediocre at just five hours for normal music playback and a paltry three to four hours with ANC on.
With an impressive number of features for such a relatively low cost, you won’t find better value for your money than the Amazon Echo Buds. Get them for just $90 instead of their normal retail price of $130 on Amazon – that’s $40 off. And as an introductory offer, Amazon has thrown in a free 3-month Audible trial when you order the Echo Buds today.
— $115, was $150
We were so impressed with the Jabra Elite 65t true wireless earbuds that we think you’re better off buying them instead of the AirPods. Their connection is reliable, they offer excellent passive noise isolation, their battery life is impressive, and most importantly, they sound great. These earbuds have a shape that has a cool futuristic appeal. They are bulkier than most true wireless earbuds, but they fit the ears quite well and have three interchangeable silicone ear tips that significantly reduce ambient noise.
The Elite 65t come with a compact and an easy-to-pocket charging case that can top up the buds for about five hours at a time, and 10 hours more before you need to go hunting for a USB port or wall charger. When they’re inside the case, LEDs on the exterior flashes red or green, depending on how much juice they’ve got.
The Elite 65t have an IP55 dust and water rating, which means they can easily handle sweaty workouts and even the occasional splash of water. The Elite 65t also boast a solid wireless connection, a problem that plagues many wireless earbuds. Most importantly, these buds sound phenomenal, with deep and punchy bass and splendid mids and highs, and you can completely customize the sound via Jabra’s Sound+ app.
The Jabra Elite 65t are solid true wireless earbuds that are more rugged than AirPods, making them ideal for the athletically inclined. They normally retail for about $150, but take advantage of this deal and get them for just $115.
– $198, was $230
Sony has created quite a name for itself making some of the best (well, actually the best) headphones out there, and its expertise extends to the true wireless domain via the WF-1000XM3. These shiny and relatively new earbuds possess industry-leading noise-cancellation, awesome acoustics, fantastic battery life, and the same compelling app-based features we have loved for years. Anything bad about them? Well, they’re practically perfect if you ask us, save for a couple of things: They’re a bit bulky, and they offer no water-resistance.
As mentioned, the Sony WF-1000XM3 are a tad more substantial than your average true wireless earbuds. They are pill-shaped and look like they mean business, which is understandable since these are marketed for commuters and professionals. They come in an even more substantially sized USB Type-C charging case that can still fit most pockets, although your bag would be a better receptacle. The package includes two different tip thicknesses in three sizes each (small, medium, and large), all but guaranteeing you’ll find a pair that’s right for you.
In terms of features, there are very few companies that can really compete against Sony. With noise-canceling off, these earbuds can last up to eight hours, and the charging case can carry an additional 24 hours of backup juice. A quick-charge feature delivers 90 minutes of playback after just 10 minutes of charging. The glossy touchpad along each buds’ exterior allows you to play and pause music, access your voice assistant, and change songs. A longer touch on the left earbud will temporarily shut off noise-canceling to make you fully aware of your surroundings, so you can hear traffic sounds and flight announcements, or order a martini. And you don’t even have to power these earbuds down as they will do it themselves once you remove them from your ears.
Naturally, you won’t get the same amount of noise reduction with the WF-1000XM3 compared to over-ear headphones, but they work great nonetheless. And in terms of sound quality, we have no complaints whatsoever. Powered by Sony’s proprietary DSEE HX engine — designed to upscale lo-fidelity sound for better overall clarity — the WF-1000XM3 provide some of the best sound quality you’ll hear in wireless earbuds. Every music genre sounded majestic: The highs shimmer with clarity, the mids soar and are richly textured, and the basses provide just the right amount of punch. What’s more, the audio is fully customizable using the app, although the default sound preset was already pitch-perfect for us.
For premium sound quality paired with surprisingly effective noise-canceling (too bad you can’t take these to the gym), get the Sony WF-1000XM3 today for $198 instead of $230 – a cool $32 off. And if you order via the Amazon Rewards Visa Card and get approval, you can get an additional $50 off instantly, bringing the price down even further to $148.
Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.
- The best noise-canceling earbuds for 2021
- Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch review: Thumping bass, delicate looks
- The best headphones for 2021
- The best AirPods Pro alternatives
- Samsung Galaxy Buds+ vs. Amazon Echo Buds