Best true wireless earbuds: the best AirPod alternatives around

Update: We've had a chance to try out the Sony WF-1000X true wireless headphones, and we were sufficiently impressed with them to award them a space on our list of the best true wireless earbuds. Sony's earbuds impressed us by packing noise-cancellation technology into their tiny shells, and they're now sitting at number two on the list. 

Best True Wireless Earbuds Buying Guide: Welcome to TechRadar's round-up of the best true wireless earbuds you can buy for any budget in 2017.

Apple AirPods are great if you own an iPhone and don’t mind people calling you “that person who wears those funny Apple earphones”.

For the rest of us, there are plenty of other options. A whole new category of 'true wireless' earphones has emerged, enabling you do away with headphone cables entirely. 

Early models were expensive, suffered from terrible wireless performance and often just didn’t sound good enough. But we’ve picked through the cream of the current crop to bring you the best AirPods alternatives around.

The Jabra Elite Sport are currently the ultimate true wireless earphones for runners and other kinds of athletes. There’s a heart rate sensor on the right earpiece, letting it monitor your exertion level as you exercise. 

A Jabra companion app lets you track your exercise, and you can kick off a workout by pressing a button on one earpiece. Unlike most rivals there are also volume/playback controls on the left earpiece too.

The heart rate tracker is more reliable than most wrist-worn models, as long as you fit the Elite Sport buds properly. And the fit is going to split the audience a bit. 

The Jabra Elite Sport don't perch in your ears, they fill them rather like a custom moulded earphone. As a result sound isolation is excellent and the fit very secure. Some will find it too invasive, though. 

Road runners need to be double-careful about nearby traffic, although they’re excellent at getting rid of terrible gym techno. Jabra offers another solution too. Double-tap one of the buttons and you enter HearThrough mode, which pipes through some ambient sound without ruining your music. This kind of mode often sounds horrible, but it doesn’t here. 

Jabra recently updated the Elite Sport to boost stamina to a better-than-average 4.5 hours peer charge. And while the carry case only offers enough juice for two bonus charges rather than the 10-15 of some others, it’s a very handy little thing: the size of a cufflinks box.

Sound quality is among the best you’ll hear from this kind of earphone. It’s wide and rich, seeming expansive and dynamic enough to do justice to your music. You don’t have too think of these as “just for exercise” earphones.

However, the Onkyo W800BT sound better still. They have better mid-range texture and superior bass control/balance. The higher treble registers of the Jabra Elite Sport also seem a little tamed to our ears, leading to sound that, while good, seems manipulated rather than a flat frequency response.

Read the full review: Jabra Elite Sport

Considering it's still rare to get noise-cancellation in wired earbuds at all, the fact that Sony has managed to pack it into a pair that are not only wireless, but true wireless is very impressive indeed. 

The Sony WF-1000X manage to offer a level of noise-cancellation that's very good for a pair of earbuds. It won't offer the same isolation as a pair of over-ear cans, but if you're after a sleek form factor then the compromise is worth it. 

Beyond the noise-cancellation the earbuds continue to impress. Battery life is an acceptable 3 hours (acceptable for true wireless that is), with a further 6 provided by the charging case, and sound quality is rich and full.

Our only real reservation with the headphones is an occasional spotty connection between the two earbuds themselves (which rarely lasts for as much as a full second), and a lack of volume controls on the earbuds themselves (instead your options are limited to playing, pausing, and skipping your music).

If you're after noise-cancellation and decent sound quality with your earbuds, then the WF-1000X are the way to go. 

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000X

One of the earliest true wireless sets of earphones is still among the best. The Onkyo W800BT arrived to demonstrate these kind of earphones could sound much better than AirPods, and they continue to flatten most of the competition for sound quality.

Richer, wider and with much better stereo separation and ‘air’ than most, these are a truly satisfying listen. The cohesiveness and detail of the mid-range also hugely outclasses most other earphones of this kind. What else did you expect from Onkyo?

The snag is that their wireless performance is not perfect, especially when you compare them to newer cheaper pairs. 

Walking around with them in, you have to put up with occasional blips and some weird drop outs between the master and slave earpieces. 

Other parts of the tech aren’t quite up to some newer pairs either. Battery life of three hours per charge is only worth a shrug, and the charger case isn’t as neat as some. 

We’re not massive fans of the bulbous look either. You can tell the family resemblance with Onkyo’s bigger headphones, but they’re a little large and ungainly. 

Still, if sound quality matters most they are winners regardless.

Jam has made some cracking budget wireless speakers in its time, so we’re not too surprised it has nailed a few elements of the mid-price Jam Ultra wireless earphones. 

First, their design is innocuous in just the right way. They have a tough-looking nylon weave exterior, but don’t instantly attract attention like a pair of AirPods. They’re tasteful, for earphones made by a company called Jam at any rate. 

Wireless performance is also fantastic. Even on the occasional time when there was a bit of interference between the two earpieces, the secondary one simply fades out, rather than cutting out abruptly. 

The Jam Ultra charge case is neat too, and small enough to fit in a pocket. It’s a good job, as the 3-hour battery life isn’t too impressive. 

Sound quality is fair, but we’re disappointed by the leaden, clunky bass. There’s good soundstage width and the Jam Ultra are an all-round easy and full-sounding listen, but they’d be much better without the excess warmth and upper bass gumming everything up. 

If you like your sound bottom-heavy and fat, step right up, though. The price and design are both good.

The Sol Republic Amps Air look a little similar to the Jam Ultra. This is no great surprise as both companies are owned by HoMedics, master of massage products. Tech works in mysterious ways. 

These headphones are far from identical, though. The Sol Republic Amps Air have a scalloped rubberised finish, and the entire back of each earpiece is a big concave button. 

They are among the better-looking true wireless earphones at this price, mainly because they don’t stick out too far and don’t expand sideways too much either. Not everyone will love the ‘urban’ edge that most Sol Republic earphones have, though. 

The Amps Air are “water and rain” resistant according to Sol Republic, which seems to suggest they’ll be fine as long as you don’t wash the apertures under a tap. They use three little power connectors that interface with the charging carry case.

As with a lot of current true wireless earphones, battery life is a pretty dismal three hours. However, the case has enough charge for up to a mammoth 15 refreshes. You can feel the satisfying density of it too: it’s more external battery than carry case. 

Bluetooth signal reliability is very solid, with only very occasional interference. 

The Sol Republic Amps Air sound is decent, but perhaps best suited to exercise or very casual listening. Bass is very powerful, and it’s matched with pronounced but not ear-slashing treble and upper mids. 

It’s a sort of balance, if not audiophile one. The meat of the mids is limited. You get impact and energy, but not an entirely natural or refined take on your tunes. For use at the gym or during runs, the Amps will work well, though. 

The Kitsound Comet True Wireless are about the cheapest AirPod-a-like earphones you’ll find in actual shops. Your other options are ultra-low price Chinese manufacturers we struggle to trust most of the time. 

Most of these won’t get you the solid wireless performance of this Kitsound pair either. While even the most expensive first-wave AirPod imposters tended to suffer from flaky Bluetooth signal, the Kitsound Comet True Wireless are remarkably good. 

It’s a sign the new chipsets behind this kind of wireless transmission are getting much, much better. There are now few cut-outs, and no ugly garbled digital distortion. They work well.

There is a noise bed you’ll notice if listening to podcasts rather than music, though, and sound quality isn’t up to much. Hard-edged, sibilant and thin, we’ve heard earphones bundled with phones sound better. There’s also a sound level mis-match between the earpieces, the right sounding slightly louder than the left. 

We wouldn’t use these as our main earphones. And they don’t have the oomph to make great gym or running headphones either. If you care a lot about sound quality, the Kitsound Comet True Wireless aren’t for you. 

They are also less convenient than more expensive pairs, using little microUSB sockets on each bud rather than a case. Battery life is decent in this class, though, at four hours. 

Poor sound quality would put us off these earphones, but making a true wireless pair this cheap that works very well on a pure technical level ears Kitsound a few plaudits. 

Many of you will not have heard of Uunique before. It normally makes phone cases and accessories, making the Uunique London Freedom True Wireless one of its techiest products yet. 

They are so tech-packed they have more going on than most big-name competitors, actually. As well as true wireless transmission, the Uunique London Freedom True Wireless have active noise cancellation. This is where microphones on the back of the earpieces are used to pipe through inverse sound waves to cancel ambient noise. 

The effect isn’t particularly pronounced, miles off what you get with a Bose set. However, it does seem to attenuate bass noise a little, which is handy for commuters. 

It does have an effect on battery life, though. The Uunique London Freedom True Wireless are quoted as having just 2.5 hours battery life, and in our experience it actually edges closer to the 2-hour mark. Given this low stamina, the battery charger case is a little too large. You’ll need to use it a lot. This plastic puck may look good on a table, but with this regularity of charging we want something that’ll fit in a pocket a bit easier. 

The main black mark on the Uunique London Freedom True Wireless is something else: signal reliability. Cut-outs, blips and momentary loss of signal between the two earpieces are too common. You can improve this a little by moving your phone closer to the main earpiece, and making sure there are no interfering metal objects nearby (your keys), but other sets at the price fare much better. 

Sound quality is decent, with no major skews such as ultra-booming bass or very soft treble. They’re fairly clear, although they are not particularly refined, with a hint of hardness in the upper mids. Detail is only moderate and the soundstage isn’t nearly as wide as the best. 

View iPhone X Face ID get stage fright at its Apple occasion debut

Revision: Apple has commented on situation, exposing that Face ID evidently worked as created, but that Federighi ended up being just locked from the jawhorse considering other folks managing the iPhone X beforehand. Complete details are below.

Just how dependable will Face ID be, the new facial recognition system built into Apple’s brand new iPhone X handset? It might probably require a little bit of fine tuning, if its first at Tuesday’s the big apple occasion ended up being anything to go by, and even though Apple has since commented on the situation, it does not alleviate all our issues.

Being demoed onstage by Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of computer software Engineering, Face ID seemed to have difficulty recognising the administrator so that you can unlock the iPhone X.

You can observe the shaky minute for action on re-run web page for the event’s livestream. It kicks in at only following the one hour, 35 minute and 30 moments point.

New technology, new creases to iron?

The face area ID system uses the iPhone X’s TrueDepth digital camera to ensure only the correct user gets use of the telephone’s innards. And it’s really a multi-tiered system that should allow it to work seamlessly and safely, according to Apple.

A dot projector is employed to create a precise map for the shape of that person in 3D, with 30,000 invisible dots identifying the curves of your mind and features. An infrared camera then checks out that pattern and captures an infrared image, utilising the two information sets to ensure a match regarding software part. There’s also a Flood Illuminator that uses infrared light to aid recognize users at nighttime.

Ended up being one of these simple elements struggling on stage? Whilst the Face ID system did in the course of time pick up Federighi’s features (after having a 2nd attempt), it had beenn’t the right demonstration Apple could have wished for. And, based on our guy on the floor Gareth Beavis in their on the job: iPhone X review, it had been problematic at post-event demo area too.

Apple’s simply take

Yahoo has because got touching an Apple rep whom explained that “people had been managing the product for phase demo in advance and didn’t recognize Face ID was wanting to authenticate their face. 

“After a deep failing numerous times, since they weren’t Craig, the iPhone did just what it absolutely was built to do, which was to need his passcode.” This basically means, “Face ID worked since it was designed to.”

Facial recognition has received a poor rap in security circles previously, having been easy to hack, even though the elimination of Touch ID into the iPhone X makes Face ID’s precision of upmost value.

And offered TechRadar’s very own hands on experience with Face ID, it could not be fully refined even though it don’t fail on stage. But with the iPhone X shipping to customers this November, Apple includes a couple of weeks yet to fine-tune the system.

There exists a good chance that is not even close to final computer software at this very early phase, meaning Apple might have perfected the system by the time it reaches customers.

Safety in a increasingly-connected world is just a growing concern, even among the list of casual technology fan and, in many ways Apple has set elevated requirements for itself by developing the ever-reliable Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Here’s hoping it irons from Face ID creases, such that it can determine the ones inside our furrowed brows.

Apple has discontinued Apple Watch Series 2

Apple has discontinued the Apple Watch Series 2 and you can no longer buy it.

It is replaced by the new Apple Watch Series 3 that is offered in two versions, a pricier one with cellular connectivity and a cheaper one without it, plus the Apple Watch Series 1 remains available as the most affordable option.

Here are the prices for the models that are currently available:

  • Series 3 Sport 38mm GPS | Cellular: $330 | $400
  • Series 3 Sport 42mm GPS | Cellular: $360 | $430
  • Series 1 Sport 42mm: $280
  • Series 1 Sport 38mm: $250

Notice that the Cellular option retails for $70 more than the GPS-only version of the Apple Watch Series 3.

The Apple Watch Series 1 prices is now set at $250 for the 38mm size and $280 for the 42mm version.

Which one of these do you think is the best value for the money?

Will my iPhone 7/Plus case fit the new iPhone 8/Plus? Apple thinks so

The new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus come slightly taller, wider and thicker than their iPhone 7 and 7 Plus predecessors. The differences, however, are a fraction of an inch, so if you have been wondering whether your old case will fit the new phones, it probably will, at least according to Apple’s official accessory page. We just took a peak, and there the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus cases are listed as compatible with the 7 and 7 Plus. Oh, the joy. 

Not only Apple’s, but also all third-party wrappers from Otterbox and others are also listed as compatible with both phone generations, so if you have been thinking of keeping your favorite case you now have on your iPhone 7, and upgrading to the iPhone 8, for example, you will probably be able to fit the new phone in the old case without the help of a heat gun.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come with smaller batteries, sizes revealed

The Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come with smaller sized batteries than earlier generation iPhones, and the iPhone 8 Plus in particular comes with the smallest battery ever used in a Plus-sized iPhone. The information comes from a listing of the new iPhones with Chinese regulator TENAA.

Interestingly, Apple says officially that the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will last as long as previous iPhones and this is likely due to the more efficient Apple A11 Bionic chip.

Here are the newly-revealed iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus battery sizes:

So… what is the reason for those smaller battery sizes? Is it an attempt to make a thinner phone? Is it the new glass back and wireless charging that take up more space? We can only guess, but the reduced battery sizes are a fact.

Another curious detail that the listing confirms is the amount of RAM in the two new iPhones: 2GB of RAM in the iPhone 8 and 3GB of RAM in the iPhone 8 Plus.

This is far from the amount of RAM you get with most high-end Android phones that ship with 4GB or 6GB of the stuff, but keep in mind that Apple’s iOS is a different architecture that is a little bit better in handling those resources.

Google Pixel XL 2 passes through the FCC, won’t support T-Mobile’s 600MHz LTE network

In a curious choice of timing, Google decided to unveil the release date for its next generation of Pixel phones yesterday, just a day after Apple’s iPhone 8/X event. That’s just marketing 101, really — Google is simply using the opportunity to remind people that there are high-end options outside of Apple’s ecosystem.

And whether it’s a coincidence or not, today we’ve got another piece of news regarding the Pixel 2 series — the Pixel 2 XL, to be more precise. Namely, the device just passed through the Federal Communications Commission’s certification process.
Though one wouldn’t be able to tell it just from reading the publicly available paperwork: unlike with the smaller, HTC-made Pixel 2 which was certified about a month ago, the Pixel 2 XL docs have been carefully scrubbed of any revealing information this time — sorry, folks! In fact, the only reason we know this is the Pixel 2 XL is the model number, G011C, which was leaked back when LG was revealed as the manufacturer.
But there is one piece of info buried inside users in the U.S. might find interesting: unlike the LG V30, the Pixel 2 XL does not support T-Mobile’s brand-new 600 MHz LTE frequency, as the required band 71 isn’t listed in the documents. This, however, will only be bad news for people living in rural areas, as the rollout won’t reach major cities until at least 2020.

On the other hand, this means LG isn’t just slapping a new shell on an old phone and calling it the Pixel 2 XL, but is instead producing it independently — so we might just see some cool surprises once the duo is finally unveiled.

Oh, and about that release — it’s coming next month, on October 4th — so mark the date on your calendars. We already know a fair bit about the two Pixel 2 handsets, including some real-life photos of the smaller one, so to get the full info make sure to check out our rumor round-up.

You might need a $50 charger and a $25 cable to use Fast Charge on Apple’s new iPhones

Apple’s iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are the first crop of iPhones that support fast charging, a feature sorely missing on all previous iPhone models.
But you might need to separately purchase a $50 wall charger and a $25 cable in order to use the new feature.
Initial information points out that the new iPhones will ship with a traditional, slow charger and a Lightning to USB-A cable.
For fast-charge, though, you will need one of Apple’s USB-C chargers (the cheapest one is priced at …

Huawei G10 with dual front and rear cameras to be unveiled on September 22

Huawei is set to announce an intriguing new phone before the end of the month. The handset in question is called the Huawei G10 (sold as Maimang 6 in China) and it is set to break cover on September 22. 
The manufacturer recently uploaded a poster for the event on Chinese social media website Weibo. The image shows a handset with an extra tall stature, and for a good reason. The G10 will pack a 5.9-inch 1,080p “EntireView” display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. It’s worth pointing out that the upcoming Mate 10 Pro will also sport such a full-screen display …

Apple’s Face ID demo on-stage fail might not have been a Face ID fail at all

Probably the single most important new feature of the iPhone X, its Face ID that users will use tens or hundreds of times to unlock their phones every day, had failed.
At least that’s what most people thought when Apple’s Craig Federighi went up on stage to give the first official iPhone X demo to millions of viewers.
“Unlocking it is as easy as looking at it and swiping up,” Federighi said and picked up the phone. “And, you know…”
And viewers knew that something was wrong because suddenly …

Nokia 9 spotted on GFXBench with Snapdragon 835, Android os Oreo

HMD worldwide is getting ready to launch another flagship Nokia smartphone, if sightings of this Nokia 9 on various benchmarking websites can be thought. Based on the latest sighting, the Nokia 9 is operating on Android 8.0 Oreo and will also be running on the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor.

Although it isn’t surprise that the latest flagship SoC from Qualcomm willpower the Nokia 9, HMD Global is apparently testing the Android 8.0 Oreo improvement currently on its future flagship smartphone. This might be a hint your Nokia 9 will be establishing with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the field. This will be in accordance with HMD’s vow to keep its phones current so that as near stock Android as you are able to.

To recall, the Nokia 9 is spotted on benchmarking sites several times currently, exposing a handful of important specifications towards upcoming Nokia flagship smartphone. The Nokia 9 is anticipated to have a 5.2-inch Quad HD display or more to 6GB RAM, even though some rumours also claim that the device could have 4GB RAM. The interior storage space is being pegged at 64GB and 128GB, for the moment.

Nokia 9 to feature bezel-less design 

The Nokia 9 can also be likely to feature a minimal design with very slim bezels. Sketches and renders of this phone which have been released hint at a incredibly slim bezels on the top and bottom, while in the sides, the device is almost bezel-less.

Regarding optics, the Nokia 9 is expected to include a double camera set-up with dual LED flash plus fingerprint sensor put underneath the two digital camera sensors. Some rumours suggest that the Nokia 9 will feature the exact same digital camera sensors found on the Nokia 8. But is expected to price  €749 whilst the Nokia 8 ended up being coming in at  €599.