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How to select truly wireless earphones

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Written by Nandagopal Rajan
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Updated: August 2, 2020 1:04:31 pm





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With Amazon Prime Day just around the corner, a lot of us are looking at buying truly wireless earphones at a steal. Yes, the new genre of audio devices are becoming the rage, also become the price points are coming down as time passes. The segment, in a way created by the Apple AirPods, now have options from almost every serious phone and audio brand. But choosing one is not that easy, especially since most of the customers cannot try them on before buying. So here is a primer that will help you select a good pair of truly wireless earphones for your requirements.

What are truly wireless earphones?

Truly wireless earphones are, as their name suggests, earphones that have no wires at all, either to connect to the source or among themselves. These depend on Bluetooth technology and most of the new ones adhere to the latest Bluetooth 5.0 standard. All models come with a charging case which charges the earphones and also has a battery to charge them later on the move.

You get what you pay for

Truly wireless earphones are now priced anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 30,000 depending on the brand and features. The audio quality and features are directly proportional to the amount of money you are will to dish out.

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Issues in cheaper truly wireless earphones

In the lower end, the audio quality is not that great. So if you are really finicky about your audio experience then you will have to push your budget to at least around Rs 6,000. Also, connectivity issues are common in the more affordable devices. Often the earphones lose pairing with the phone and among themselves. This can be quite frustrating as often you will struggle to get the two earphones to sync among themselves. Also, the battery life is not that great in the cheaper models.

Pro Tip

Some of the more affordable models do not have a battery in the charging case and just clear the earphones. The smallest models are those with no or very small backup batteries. These models are best avoided.

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The right fit

One of the most important aspects to keep in mind while buying truly wireless earphones, is their fit. Since this is something that has to stay on your ears, the fit is crucial. So read reviews about the fit before you buy a model online. The on-ear models, like the first AirPods, don’t have silicone tips and might not stay comfortably in all ears. A lot of the newer models offer a lock method where you put them in your ears and turn it a bit for a perfect fit. The best models are those what are lightweight and forgotten soon after you wear them. A lot of models come with silicone loops fins to help keep them in place, especially when you are on a workout.

IPX rating

Like their fit, also keep the IPX rating in mind. You should get at least a sweat-proof model (IPX7 rating) if you are getting something that you will use in jogs and workouts. You can ignore this aspect if you are getting something primarily for work, or to enjoy music in your lounge. Also, a good IPX rating means your earphones are also protected against dust.

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Take care

Given the very nature of the product, truly wireless earphones are prone to falls, with or without the case, and hence susceptible to damage at any point in their life. So it makes sense to invest in a silicone cover for the case — these are available online for the more popular models. Also, if you drop a pair on the ground, be careful not to step on them while searching for them.

Noise-cancellation

Some of the top-end models now offer noise cancellation, which is a great feature for those working from noisy homes, or offices. However, this feature will cost you more. Also, keep in mind that models with noise cancellation tend to drain the battery faster. If going for a model with noise-cancelling, look for those that offer transparency mode so that you are not completely cut off from your surroundings.

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Pro Tip

Switch off noise cancelling when the environment is not really noisy. This will let you save battery for longer.

*Audio quality:* Audio quality will be better in models that are priced more because they will be able to offer better drivers and features like noise-cancelling and equalisers. Also, the larger models tend to be better at audio quality because they have more space for larger drivers. Since these models are literally in your ear, your tolerance levels for something that is not that great quality will be lower.

*Microphone:* Since these are models you will tend to wear for longer durations, you will also be making a lot of calls using them. Hence get earphones that have a good reputation for microphone quality. The smaller model has to literally stretch to get to the voice, and tend to have poorer microphone quality. So a model that protrudes a bit towards the region of your mouth will offer better call quality.

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