Deal: Snag 15% off Marshall headphones and listen in style

Marshall Minor II wireless earbuds in black on leather surface.

The Marshall Minor II earbuds have brass accents that make the important parts of the headphones pop out from the all-black design.

Marshall, the company whose guitar amplifier you likely imagine when thinking of rock concerts, announced that from now through March 4, 2019, at 12:00 PM CET, it’s offering a 15 percent discount to customers. Just pick your headphones or accessories and then use the coupon code listed below.

The promotion applies to many of the company’s products including the Minor II wireless earbuds, on which our sister site SoundGuys conducted a comprehensive review. These feature an ear loop design similar to that of the Google Pixel Buds, operate via Bluetooth 5.0, and provide 12 hours of constant playback on a single charge.

Of course, Marshall Headphones supplies more than just wireless earbuds. The promotion applies to its entire headphone lineup save for the Major II Bluetooth.

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Rather than listing out what audio products are included, it’s easier to list what’s excluded. Unfortunately, the promotion doesn’t apply to any products found on the site’s Special Offers page. That said, customers are still afforded plenty of options including the Action II Voice. This smart speaker comes with either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant integration and sports Marshall’s signature vinyl covering.

Marshall fans may also apply the 15 percent promotional code to any accessories, including replacement ear cushions, cables, and filters. To take 15 percent off your purchase, use the promo code MARSHALL15 at checkout. This is only valid via the company’s website and may not be applied to previous purchases. What’s more, the offer validity is subject to a product’s availability, and shipping costs may still apply at checkout.

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

JLab Epic Air Elite review: True-wireless earbuds with few compromises

JLab Epic Air Elite: The earbuds surrounded by water on a black table.

The IP55 JLab Epic Air Elite earbuds can withstand both dust and water.

There are few places more appropriate for truly wireless earbuds than a gym, which is exactly where the JLab Epic Air Elite feel most at home. The ear hook design is similar to that of the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100, but these sport a more svelte build. While $150 is substantial, the Epic Air Elite remains more affordable than its comparable competitors.

The full review is available at our sister site, SoundGuys.com.

What is JLab Epic Air Elite like?

JLab Epic Air Elite: The case open with the earbuds placed inside. The removable micro-USB to USB-A cable is detached from the case on a white table.

The charging cable is integrated into the case and is easy to remove for on-the-go charging.

Based on appearance alone, it’s nearly impossible to distinguish the Epic Air Elite from its predecessor the Epic Air. Both feature glossy touch-capacitive panels, a rubberized ear hook shape, and ergonomically angled nozzles. Where the Elite iteration diverges is with its reliable connectivity, a feat for true wireless technology.

The earbuds remain connected without signal skips within the listed 10-meter range, which can be attributed to the Class 1 Bluetooth 5.0 support. While there aren’t many shortcomings of these earbuds, you could cite the lack of high-quality Bluetooth codec support as an issue. In all fairness, these are workout earbuds, not studio headphones, so audio streaming quality likely takes a backseat to bass emphasis, connectivity, and a stable fit.

Due to the malleable ear hooks, stability is excellent. The IP55 earbuds stay secure while running, jumping rope, and during calisthenic exercises. To get the best fit, take a moment to experiment with the array of included earbuds. JLab provides eight pairs, and the wrong size can negatively impact sound quality and fit.

To get the best possible fit and sound quality, take a moment to test out which of the provided ear tips best suit you.

Battery life with these earbuds is excellent as the 2,600mAh charging case provides an additional 32 hours of playback. Standalone playback time for the earbuds is also exceptional at 5.16 hours according to SoundGuys’ objective testing. While the charging case takes up a bit of room compared to others, it can charge your smartphone, justifying the large size. Similar to the JLab JBuds Air, the microUSB charging cable is integrated into the case and wraps around the edge.

Related: Why true wireless connectivity is so bad

How do the earbuds sound?

JLab Epic Air Elite: A woman wearing the earbuds against a black background.

The JLab Epic Air Elite provide a bass-heavy sound, which is often preferred for exercise.

The JLab Epic Air Elite earbuds are as you’d expect workout earbuds to sound: bass-heavy. JLab provides listeners with three EQ options: JLab signature, balanced, and bass boost. Even with the balanced mode activated, which is the default preset, the low-end is audibly exaggerated.

That said, even with the emphatic bass emphasis, mid-range frequencies remain distinguished. There’s a bit of auditory masking as clarity isn’t the greatest, but again, this is forgivable since most listeners are using these earbuds to stay pumped during a workout, not to appreciate the nuances of a classical piece.

Perhaps the only disappointment regarding audio reproduction has to do with the treble response. If your music library contains a lot of cymbal crashes and violin solos, you may be surprised by how difficult it is to perceive treble frequencies with these earbuds.

Should you buy the JLab Epic Air Elite?

JLab Epic Air Elite: Top-down image of the earbuds with a Nintendo Switch controller in the bottom right corner of the image.

Listeners benefit from Class 1 Bluetooth 5.0, facilitating a 30-meter connectivity range.

Those interested in spending a bit more on workout earbuds but feel intimidated by the Bose SoundSport Free’s $200 price tag will enjoy these. Battery life and connectivity are stellar, and while the physical appearance may not be eye-catching, it’s discreet and sophisticated for the workout variety. If you’re enticed by these but feel it’s not worth spending $100-plus on exercise ‘buds, then the company’s Fit 2.0 may be more financially viable. Ultimately, though, the JLab Epic Air Elite is a great compromise with few compromises.

Next: Best workout earbuds 2019

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

The best earbuds under $50

Cheap earbuds: Close-up of RHA MA390 earbuds on a wooden beam.

The best cheap earbuds are the RHA MA390.

Cheap earbuds litter city streets and occupy gas station walls, making them more ubiquitous than AirPods. Although we’re riding out a wave of wireless and true wireless earbuds, wired alternatives still have their place in our ears and in our bags. The problem with having so many options is that there is a lot of junk out there, making it a bit harder to find the gems. That’s why we’ve curated a list of the best of what’s around as you gear up for some last-minute holiday shopping.

If you have a moment, we implore you to read the in-depth list at SoundGuys, which provides greater insight to those interested.

You may like the Best of Android 2018: the best audio

Best all-around: RHA MA390

Cheap earbuds: RHA MA390 earbuds on wooden table with one earbud in background dangling over iPod Classic (silver).

The in-line microphone isn’t the best quality, but it works.

Reasons to consider the RHA MA390:

  • Despite the ~$30 price, the RHA MA390 sports aluminum housings, emulating a premium feel.
  • You’re allowed virtual assistant access via the integrated one-button microphone and remote.
  • The low-end frequencies are emphasized and reinforced by the solid seal created by dual-density silicone ear tips.
  • Listeners are afforded a three-year warranty.

Best workout: Creative Outlier One

cheap earbuds: Creative Outlier One on a wood surface.

Athletes who want to save some money on a good set of wireless earbuds will like the Outlier One.

Reasons to consider the Creative Outlier One:

Best wireless: SoundPeats Engine

Best earbuds under $50: SoundPeats Engine earbuds on black box with vase in left half of the image.

The SoundPeats Engine Wireless earbuds support aptX and aptX LL, and the magnetic housings are useful when not listening to the buds.

Reasons to consider the SoundPeats Engine:

Best durability: Shure SE112-GR

Cheap earbuds: Shure SE112 earbuds on white background.

These earbuds feature a boosted low-end.

Reasons to consider the Shure SE112-GR:

  • Shure, a legacy audio company, has been around for decades, and its SE112 earbuds feature the company’s bass-heavy house sound.
  • Stress relievers at the Y-splitter and descending from the earbuds are well-reinforced.
  • Despite the lack of a stiff ear hook component, these earbuds are meant to be worn around the ear. This mitigates microphonics, the phenomenon of cable vibrations traveling up to the earbuds.

Best bang for your buck: Panasonic Ergo Fit

Cheap earbuds: Red Panasonic Ergo Fit on white table.

These are great for listeners who just want cheap earbuds that work.

Reasons to consider the Panasonic Ergo Fit:

  • These earbuds usually retail for less than $10 and are available in 15 colorways.
  • The angled nozzles promote a more comfortable fit.
  • Sound quality for the price is surprisingly good.
If you’re still looking, check out the full article for excellent alternatives and detailed information concerning how we chose and tested the awardees.

What you should consider before buying cheap earbuds

cheap earbuds - Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100: The earbuds in the case, which lays open, and flanked by two faux greenery pieces.

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 retails for $149.99 and includes more features than the products listed.

  • A cogent seal is an easy way to improve sound quality. If you can’t get a good seal from the included earbuds, investing in third-party ear tips is an easy, long-term solution.
  • Premium materials are usually the first to go. That said, the Outlier One still includes IPX4 water-resistance for running and exercising.
  • A bass-heavy frequency response is common, and often preferred, when it comes to cheap earbuds. If you’d like to EQ the sound, most phones allow users to do so.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

cheap earbuds - Woman wearing Aukey 7.1-Channel RGB gaming headphones.

Writers at SoundGuys respect that audio is both subjective and objective. In turn, they apply this philosophy to their reviews.

 
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SoundGuys is Android Authority’s sister site, and the writers often cross-over to cover topics on this site. No one on the SoundGuys team benefits from partnerships or referral purchases. Individually, each writer at SoundGuys has multiple years of experience keeping tabs on the consumer audio domain, informing their review and reporting styles. To get a more in-depth understanding of the inner workings, feel free to visit the SoundGuys ethics policy page.

See also: best cheap gifts under $25

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

Everyone seems to be making high-end headphones except Google

Microsoft Surface Headphones Microsoft

  • Microsoft released a set of high-end wireless headphones at the end of 2018.
  • Now, both Apple and Sonos are reportedly also making premium over-ear headphones.
  • Why don’t high-end headphones made by Google exist?

In October last year, we found out that Microsoft had secretly developed a set of high-end over-the-ear headphones which eventually hit the market as Microsoft Surface Headphones. The noise-canceling cans are intended to directly compete with the industry-standards of the Bose QC35 and Sony WH-1000XM3.

Today, we’ve heard two new rumors regarding high-end headphones from major tech companies. The first is not-so-surprising, which is that premium speaker manufacturer Sonos is planning to release a set of headphones that will also likely compete with Bose’s and Sony’s flagships. Those could launch sometime in 2020.

Second, we heard a more surprising rumor, which is that Apple might be dipping its hat into the premium headphone market by releasing a pair of Apple-branded cans. This is surprising because Apple paid $3 billion for Beats in 2014 and has sold that brand’s products in its own stores and elsewhere ever since. In essence, a set of Apple headphones would place the company in competition with itself.

Editor’s Pick

Microsoft entered the ring last year, and now Sonos and Apple are likely getting into the premium headphones game, too. Meanwhile, general electronics companies like TCL are branching out into the budget and mid-tier market.

This all begets the question: where’s Google?

Granted, there are already two sets of Google headphones: the Google Pixel Buds and the Google Pixel USB-C earbuds. However, neither of these products would be considered high-end and neither have the premium aura that only over-ear, noise-canceling, totally wireless headphones can give. It also should be said that the Google Pixel Buds, in particular, didn’t get the greatest reviews.

The headphone market is crowded, yes, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping Apple. So why would it stop Google?

Google might not see any reason to get into the already-crowded premium headphone market, but this news from Apple and Sonos might force its hand, so to speak. After all, Apple’s iPhone revenue isn’t where the company would want it to be, so it needs new products to bring in new cash. If Apple makes a big push with a set of headphones that carry the Apple name, Google might have no choice but to respond if only to keep parity with the world’s most successful company.

Editor’s Pick

When you think about it, though, a set of premium Google headphones would likely do very well, especially if Google baked-in Google Assistant. And I’m not talking about having fast-access to Assistant on your phone through the headphones — I’m talking about Google Assistant working with the headphones even if your phone isn’t connected. Over-ear headphones would likely be big enough that Google could feasibly put enough hardware inside to make them kind of like a smart speaker you wear on your head.

That’s just an idea, but it does show that just because the premium headphone market is crowded doesn’t mean Google couldn’t offer something truly enticing.

What do you think? Would you buy a pair of Google-branded over-ear ‘phones if they were similarly priced to something like the Bose QC35? Let us know in the comments.

NEXT: USB-C audio is dead

Deal: 1More dual driver headphones now just $45.99

1More Dual Driver Headphones

If Santa didn’t bring you a new pair of headphones this Christmas, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. After all, you’re going to need some crystal clear sound to face that commute on Monday.

The 1More dual driver headphones might be just the thing. These high-powered, in-ear headphones are a perfect balance of top engineering and affordability, especially while this deal lasts.

The real selling point of these buds is the dual driver technology. Most headphones just use one driver, which is often an inadequate compromise between highs lows. The result is often distortion and loss of detail.

The 1More headphones split the workload across two specialized drivers. One is a balanced armature driver for sizzling clear highs, and the other is a state-of-the-art graphene driver for perfected definition and deep bass.1More Dual Driver Headphones

There are a host of other nice touches to these headphones too, such as Kevlar braided cable for extra durability.

1More dual driver headphones at a glance:

  • Upgraded drivers deliver an extremely accurate listening experience with unsurpassed clarity.
  • Aluminum alloy body comes with a Kevlar core braided cable for lasting durability and resilience.
  • Oblique-angled ear fittings naturally match your ear canals for added comfort.
  • Convenient in-line controls allow you to control volume, select songs, and take calls.
  • New and improved L-shaped 3.5mm plug provides added security and durability.

The 1More dual driver headphones have a retail value of around $60, but there’s a tasty promotion right now over at Tech Deals. Until Saturday, you can get the headphones for just $45.99.

The deal will be over before you know it, so don’t miss out. Hit the button below to find it.

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links. To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AAPICKS HUB.


Looking for a new phone or plan? Start here with the Android Authority Plan Tool:

This smart tool lets you filter plans by phone, price, data tiers, and regional availability. Stop overpaying for cell service you hate and a phone that you’re tired of. Use our Compare Phones & Plans tool to fully customize your mobile experience and painlessly transition from one carrier to another!

Price drop! Ventura wireless headphones now under $45

The Christmas sales start earlier every year, and we’re not complaining. We’ll continue to pick out the choice deals you might like, including the Ventura wireless headphones.

These $99 phones from Trndlabs are $49 at Tech Deals right now, but you can do even better than that with our promo code.

They won’t deliver in time for Christmas, but since you’re probably buying them for yourself anyway, who cares. You’ll need a long-lasting and stylish pair of headphones to get you through the long winter months ahead. At this price, the Ventura headphones are a solid choice.

What Tech Deals is saying:

The Ventura Wireless Headphones offer absolutely everything you want out of Bluetooth headphones. Boasting a high-end, leather black-on-black design, the adjustable band and chrome-like accents will complement any outfit. With 40mm drivers and a Bluetooth range of up to 10 meters, these headphones deliver sound and function at the top of their class.

Ventura wireless headphones at a glance:

  • Wear comfortably all day thanks to cushy, soft foam ear cups
  • Pair with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop and move wirelessly
  • Control the volume, change tracks, and accept or reject calls with the concealed controls
  • Listen for longer with 10 hours of nonstop playback time

To get the best value on the Ventura wireless headphones, follow the link to Tech Deals and stick the headphones in your basket. At the checkout use the coupon code MERRY15. The total price you’ll pay is just $41.65.

Remember, the promo code expires on Christmas day, so don’t hang about. Hit the button below to find the deal.

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links. To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AAPICKS HUB.


Looking for a new phone or plan? Start here with the Android Authority Plan Tool:

This smart tool lets you filter plans by phone, price, data tiers, and regional availability. Stop overpaying for cell service you hate and a phone that you’re tired of. Use our Compare Phones & Plans tool to fully customize your mobile experience and painlessly transition from one carrier to another!

The 1More Stylish TWS are affordable alternatives to the Apple AirPods

1More Stylish TWS true wireless earbuds.

Android device owners have another alternative to Apple’s AirPods with audio device company 1More’s Stylish TWS. The Stylish TWS are 1More’s first pair of true wireless earbuds.

In terms of design, the Stylish TWS are in-ear earbuds with circular silicone hooks that help them stay in your ears. The earbuds include three different sized ear tips and silicone hooks just in case the installed ones don’t fit.

Each earbud features a multi-functional button near the back. The left earbud’s button lets you play, pause, skip, and rewind your music. The right earbud’s button lets you answer, hang up, and decline incoming phone calls.


1More is known more for sound quality than design, however. To that end, the Stylish TWS feature 7mm dynamic drivers for sound quality and a MEMS microphone to block out environmental noise in phone calls.

Editor’s Pick

Unfortunately, the Stylish TWS will only last two and a half hours at 50 percent volume. The included charging case provides an extra seven hours of listening.

The price makes it easier to deal with the mediocre battery life. You can pre-order the Stylish TWS at the link below for $99.99. You can pick up the earbuds in black or gold, with pink and green color options coming soon.

Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 review: Take it to the pool or the streets

There are a few salient categories of true wireless earbuds: the AirPods wannabes, the cheap but good stuff, and the sporty variants. The Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 falls into the third division and includes IP57-certified earbuds with a 740mAh charging case. If you can overlook the bulky design and high price, it’s the ideal union of durable and functional.

Full review available at our sister site, SoundGuys.com

What is Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 like?

Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100: The earbuds in the case, which lays open, and flanked by two faux greenery pieces.

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 retails for $149.99.

Like the beloved Plantronics BackBeat Fit, the 3100 model is built to endure. The IP57 rating denotes dust- and water-resistance, while the malleable ear hooks promote a secure, comfortable fit. Each earbud houses a holographic panel but they differ in functionality: the left one is touch-capacitive and permits volume adjustments. The right one, on the other hand, lacks touch capabilities but allows for playback and call control.

Editor’s Pick

Since the carrying case houses a substantial battery, its frame, too, is large. Quick charging is afforded whereby 15 minutes of charging provides one hour of playback, and the case provides two extra charge cycles to the to the 3.72 standalone battery life. Be aware, though, of how the earbuds are returned to the case: the exact, textured cutouts look nice but make it too easy to place the ‘buds in without initiating charging.

Although the BackBeat Fit 3100 affords a slew of comprehensive controls, listeners can’t access virtual assistants from the earbuds.

Working out with the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 takes some getting used to, but I found it to be a pleasure. As a consequence of the Ambient Aware ear tips — which promote safety by keeping the listener aware of her surroundings — a seal isn’t formed, mimicking the feeling of a precarious fit. Granted, the ear hook design is effective at keeping things stable. Unfortunately, what’s not as stable as I’ve come to expect from Plantronics products — like the Voyager 6200 UC — is connectivity: stutters sporadically occur when outdoors.

Related: Why true wireless connectivity is so bad

How do the earbuds sound?

Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100: A woman wearing the earbuds in profile view to show the size.

Although the earbuds protrude quite a bit from the ear, stability isn’t compromised.

They sound fine. As is the case with workout earbuds, sound quality takes a backseat to durability and functionality. Bass frequencies receive a hefty amount of emphasis, but much of it goes unheard due to the ingress of external noise from the non-existent seal. Pushing the earbuds against my ear canal results in an audible exaggerated low-end, but doing so during a workout is just impractical.

Vocals and treble frequencies maintain an audible presence, but it’s nothing emphatic. Highs are especially difficult to differentiate during a song occupied by more than two instruments. Generally speaking, detail and clarity are lacking too. At first read, it may seem I’m knocking the audio quality, but that’s not the case. Given the context of how the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 will be used, the sub-par audio quality is forgivable and can be understood as a repercussion of the Ambient Aware benefit: continual awareness of one’s surroundings.

Should you buy the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100?

Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100: A top-down image of the right earbud next to the open and empty carrying case.

While the precise cutouts are a nice touch, users must be aware of how the earbuds are placed to initiate charging.

If you’re an avid aquaphilic or outdoor enthusiast in the market for true wireless earbuds, the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 stands as a smart and safe choice. The controls are easy to command and the ‘buds stay in place, even if it doesn’t always feel like they will. Connectivity is disappointing, but only because the company usually outshines the competition when it comes to Bluetooth stability. Unfortunately, this is the main plague of true wireless earbuds and something competitors and Plantronics alike will improve upon as the technology advances.

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.