True Wireless Headphones: Buying guide to choose the best model in 2021

Bluetooth wireless headphones are one of the best-selling technology products thanks to the significant improvement in quality, the stability of connections and batteries that has been experienced in recent times. In this guide, we show you everything to keep in mind before buying a True Wireless headset.

As we have seen, thanks to its design, its comfort or the good sound quality they offer in such a compact size, true wireless or fully wireless headphones have been a revolution in the Bluetooth headphone segment.

Companies such as Apple, Sony or Samsung have bet heavily on the development of such ultraportable headphones, creating a new category that is breaking all sales estimates relegating their wired counterparts to the background.

This boast of different technologies applied to such a relatively new device has made it increasingly difficult to buy the True Wireless headset you really need. In this True Wireless headset purchase guide, we tell you everything you need to know to choose the right headphones for you.

Bluetooth Headphones vs True Wireless Headphones

Thanks to improved audio data transfer via Bluetooth, the eternal dilemma between wired headphones or Bluetooth headsets seems to have been changed by the dilemma presented when choosing between Bluetooth or True Wireless or fully wireless headphones.

A priori may seem that both types of headphones are virtually the same, but there are important differences between them that affect the way they are used and even in their performance.

The headset can be Bluetooth and not true wireless, so it's important to make a differentiation between them.

Conventional Bluetooth in-ear headphones are wireless concerning the emitting device, whether it's your smartphone, music player, TV, etc. However, both headphones must be joined by a cable that is responsible for carrying the electrical signal that transforms into synchronized sounds on each of the headphones.

pTron Bassbuds in-Ear True Wireless Bluetooth 5.0: Electronics

In contrast, True Wireless headphones lack that cable that joins the two headphones, so they are also called fully wireless, because they are not only independent of the device that emits the audio, but they are also independent of the cable. Freedom squared.

This cable was often used to integrate a capsule with playback and volume controls, a microphone, a small internal memory, the battery that powered the device, etc.

Not having that small "extra" space on the cable, it forces it to be integrated into each of the headphones, so in some cases, even some features are lost when opting for a True Wireless headset.

The positive part comes, without a doubt, from the comfort part since having a headset that does not incorporate any cable improves your user experience since they do not move so much because no cable pulls them when walking, running or playing sports.

Ergonomics is important

The priority objective of this type of device is to make the user forget that he wears the headphones on, so comfort and ergonomics are especially important.

The great challenge facing these minimalist headphones is to stay fixed inside the ear with ergonomics as the only method of holding to prevent them from falling off. In this mission, it is essential to use the appropriate pads that fit correctly at the entrance of your ear canal and assume some of that fixation.

They need to fit like a glove in the ear so that True Wireless wireless headphones stay in place means that comfort can sometimes be compromised and users in less time see some fatigue when using them. But this is very subjective and depends on each user.

Manufacturers can only design their devices so that they can settle in the ear without moving, using materials that soften skin contact, such as rubber coatings or non-slip materials for the part that is left in contact with the auditory ward.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless in-Ear Bluetooth: Electronics

As we have already said, manufacturers meticulously develop the inner face of True Wireless headphones to prevent them from moving when using it, so both are equally comfortable and, at least in most cases, should not move while in use.

This makes especially necessary something that, in the time of online shopping, is really complicated: try them before buying them. The shape and sensitivity of the auditory ward are almost like a unique fingerprint, so it's relatively easy for a headset not to be comfortable because of its shape or the materials used, and instead, another model does.

Playback control with touch or button functions

Being able to control the volume or song that is ringing without having to take your phone out of your pocket is one of the advantages of using Bluetooth wireless headphones. But if we've lost the playback control that wired Bluetooth headsets integrated, how do you control them on True Wireless?

This type of headset has changed the awkward hanging capsules on the cable to touch surfaces integrated into the outside of the headset or, in the case of more affordable devices, in the form of built-in buttons.

As we say, this is a function that is assigned by each manufacturer and can even vary depending on the model or product range by limiting the functions, so it is advisable to read the instructions for use to know how each model is controlled.

pTron Bassbuds Lite V2 In-Ear True Wireless Bluetooth: Electronics

More affordable models save manufacturing costs by integrating physical rather than tactile buttons, although operation can be equivalent in terms of the variety of actions depending on the number of keystrokes.

More advanced devices have support for Google Assistant or Siri built into the smartphone they're connected to, so you can send voice commands through your headset and run on your smartphone without taking it out of your pocket.

Also, the touch control, these wireless headphones incorporate an interesting function that stops the playback of content when the sensors of the headset detect that it is not inserted into the ear. That way, just take it off so it automatically stops and gets it back when you put them back on.

The Bluetooth version is more important than you think

Just as the octane of the fuel your car uses or the quality of water when making coffee matters, the Bluetooth version used by True Wireless headphones is also critical to getting the best user experience.

The Bluetooth version your headphones use depends on basics such as battery consumption, audio quality, coverage distance, or the ease with which you connect your headphones to your devices.

Bluetooth 5.1 is the latest version introduced in 2019, although the most widespread standard among devices already on sale is Bluetooth 5.0.

This version of the Bluetooth standard was designed with the Internet of Things devices in mind, so it's especially well optimized for power saving. That is, headphones with this version will need less power to transmit the audio data that needs to be played, making better use of every milliamp of their battery.

WeCool Moonwalk M1 True Wireless Earbuds IPX 5 and: Electronics

On the other hand, this Bluetooth 5.0 version doubles the bandwidth available in the transmissions which, together with the development of better audio compression codecs such as Qualcomm aptX HD or LDAC, contributes to improving the quality of the transmitted audio, reducing the difference between high fidelity audio transmitted with Bluetooth or cable.

Also, having the latest Bluetooth standard specification extends the coverage distance and stability in the connection, which quadruples the distance you can be from the audio source before noticing a loss of quality or cuts in the connection.

This also affects the ease of connection, as the latest Bluetooth standards allow you to connect to multiple devices, making it easier to switch devices to, for example, stop listening to music from your smartphone to connect to your laptop without having to resynchronize them.

Double linkage: joint or independent synchronization

Simply dispensing with the cable that joined the two headphones involves a much deeper change than it may seem since not only does it gain freedom of movement, it also assumes that both headphones can be synchronized independently.

There are usually two methods that most manufacturers have adopted: joint synchronization and double synchronization.

Also, having the latest Bluetooth standard specification extends the coverage distance and stability in the connection, which quadruples the distance you can be from the audio source before noticing a loss of quality or cuts in the connection.

This also affects the ease of connection, as the latest Bluetooth standards allow you to connect to multiple devices, making it easier to switch devices to, for example, stop listening to music from your smartphone to connect to your laptop without having to resynchronize them.

Double linkage: joint or independent synchronization

Simply dispensing with the cable that joined the two headphones involves a much deeper change than it may seem since not only does it gain freedom of movement, it also assumes that both headphones can be synchronized independently.

There are usually two methods that most manufacturers have adopted: joint synchronization and double synchronization.

The second method, dual synchronization, is very common among Chinese Bluetooth wireless headphones. Many of these headphones require both headphones to synchronize with each other before linking to the external audio source. Only in this way can they work together and in sync.

Therefore, before pairing these True Wireless headsets with your smartphone, it will be necessary to synchronize the left earbud with the right. To do this, in many cases it is sufficient to press and hold the touch area of both headphones for a certain time. Each manufacturer can configure this sync slightly differently, so it's a good time to review the connection instructions before trying to link them on your own.

Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 with Balanced Sound,14 hrs: Electronics

Why do some True Wireless headsets need this pre-sync? Well, the reason is not that these headphones allow independent connections. That is, each headset can manage its own connection to the sound source. This has several advantages such as reducing the latency that some models might have when increasing the points through which the audio signal had to pass.

Independent synchronization allows you to optimize the segregation of the audio of each channel more precisely since it is the device itself that sends the right signal to each headset, just as it does with the speakers.

This, in turn, allows you to synchronize true Wireless headphones independently, being able to use only one hands-free to answer calls, and not have to use both and even share a headset with a friend to listen to the same music wirelessly or make calls with multiple callers without being limited by a cable.

Noise-cancelling headphones, the best invention for urban use

One of the main achievements of True Wireless headphones has been the incorporation of active noise cancellation technology into devices with such a small size, something that helps improve sound quality by not having to compete with external noises.

Incorporating this technology involves more components, so noise-cancelling devices tend to be somewhat more expensive than those that don't have this feature.

Noise cancellation is closely linked to the circumaural headphones that cover the entire ear, so it's impressive to check the level of isolation that noise cancellation technologies built into such small headphones get.

Water resistance, much more than isolating components

Would you wear the same shoes or ski clothes as you would for a gala party? Probably not because each situation requires specific requirements. The same is true when choosing devices with a design as thoroughly as True Wireless headphones.

By now all manufacturers know exactly how to manufacture water throw devices so that they can withstand even jets of pressurized water. That's why, a priori, making sports headphones shouldn't be a big effort.

However, its implications go beyond simply isolating components, it can also affect how you connect depending on the degree of water resistance.

For example, sports True Wireless headphones that support sweat or splashes can use a separate sync system. This system consists of each headset connecting directly to the audio source.

As discussed in the sync section, wireless headphones can sync with each other in different ways: independently or together.

Realme Buds Air Bluetooth Headset with Mic: Electronics

Being designed to work in the water poses some additional challenges. Water is a bad wave transmitter, so those sporty Bluetooth headphones designed for swimming can suffer microdesconexions when the headset is underwater during the stroke if they do not use an efficient connection system.

To avoid this, in addition to using an efficient joint connection system with the smartphone or external audio source, a dynamic connection system with optimized antennas is used, in which both headphones communicate with each other to detect which headset is out of the water and it is used to receive the Bluetooth signal.

This headset then sends the information to the headset that is submerged so as not to lose the connection at any time and thus alternate the connection dynamically and in a matter of milliseconds so that the minimum cut or delay is not appreciated.

Autonomy and fast charging, the key to getting the best experience

All the features and features we've seen so far are fine, but without a battery that powers them, wireless headphones are just expensive earplugs.

Therefore, one of the things to keep in mind when buying a True Wireless Bluetooth headset is its battery capacity and, as a compliment, the capacity of its carrying case.

Since the space is very limited, and the weight plays against it, the capacity of this battery is usually about 4 hours on average.

This is a relatively short time of use, so manufacturers have managed so that the inability to integrate a larger battery does not impede having a good user experience.

The headphone carrying case has special relevance in this strategy as it allows you to recharge the headphones anytime, anywhere so you don't have to wait to get home to continue enjoying your favourite music.

HUAWEI FreeBuds 3i - Black Wireless Earbuds with: Electronics

Therefore, when choosing a True Wireless headset, you should consider both the battery life of the headset and the number of additional charges provided by its case.

In addition to extending their range, the cases on some True Wireless headsets integrate fast charging systems that, in just a few minutes, allow you to recover power to run for a couple of hours.

This feature allows you to extend, through short fast loads, the actual usage time. As soon as it takes you to have a coffee, your headphones will be ready to provide you with a couple of hours of entertainment again, rather than having to wait for 100% of the charge to complete.

Who needs a smartphone?

In principle, True Wireless headphones are perfect for pairing with an external device such as a smartphone, AN MP3 player, etc.

However, some models with a marked sporty character include a small internal memory in which you can store your favourite music and play it without connecting them to any other device.

This is an extra convenience when it comes to playing sport as not only do they offer you maximum freedom of movement by dispensing with cables but also allow you to leave your smartphone in the locker or at home without giving up your music while you train.

Which one's better? True Wireless Headset Purchase Guide

The spectacular rise of True Wireless headphones has flooded the market with such products, becoming one of the preferred options for users looking for headphones to listen to music on their smartphone.

This means having a huge variety of different models and prices to choose from. Each with its own style and features. A decision we make won't be easy for you to make.

To help you in the choice, we show you the most representative models belonging to a wide price range. Here are some of the best True Wireless wireless headphones at the moment.

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods are probably the main ones responsible for the huge boom that fully wireless headphones have experienced, although it has taken three versions to achieve a truly mature product. Something we could discover in his analysis.

Apple's latest Bluetooth headphones maintain the same "cane" design that has accompanied AirPods since their wired version, although in this new True Wireless version they have evolved to improve design and ergonomics with rubbers and materials that best fit the user's ear.

Apple AirPods Pro: Electronics

Improvements are not limited to the design section, as Apple's True Wireless headset also incorporates audio quality improvements thanks to the H1 chip that controls and processes the sound to be played on the headset.

Sony WF-1000XM3

Sony was one of the pioneers in the development of True Wireless headphones, especially for use as sports accessories for the great freedom of movement they bring.

The Sony WF-1000XM3 was the ones that opened the way to noise cancellation on such compact devices, achieving considerable insulation and really good sound quality.

Each headset has a touch zone that accepts different volume and playback controls, as well as support for Google Assistant or Siri, as well as very good integration with your smartphone thanks to its app.

Panasonic True Wireless RZ-S500

Panasonic has also not hesitated to get on the wave of fully wireless Bluetooth headphones with the True Wireless RZ-S500model, a minimalist bet that comes to offer incredible autonomy of use and very good sound quality that we were able to discover when it went through our analysis table.

Each of Panasonic's RZ-S500 headphones features 8mm neodymium controllers that provide good coverage for the most severe and sharp frequencies, showing flatter media behaviour. This makes it perfect for listening to electronic or rock music.

They also have touch control on each headset, allowing you to change songs or turn up the volume, although it is based on a series of already established gestures that cannot be customized by the user.

Samsung Galaxy Buds

The Galaxy Buds were born out of the need for freedom required by athletes. The new Galaxy Buds version of these Samsung True Wireless headphones incorporates important new features.

Among its greatest virtues is a brutal battery life that allows you up to 12 hours of uninterrupted use and an additional charge in its carrying case, being able to recharge them by Qi wireless charge with your smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Mystic Black: Electronics

In terms of sound quality, the Galaxy Buds provide a very good sound experience, delivering crisp sound and convincing bass.

Realme Buds Air

Realme has reached the Spanish market as a real hurricane sweeping price and performance with its smartphones. Bluetooth headphones are no exception and realme also dare with them.

The Chinese brand bets on a format similar to that of the original AirPods, with which it bears similarity in both the headphones and the design of the case, but with a huge difference in its price.

With just over 4 grams each headset, Buds Air realms are very light in everyday use, helping to minimize fatigue that can lead to the fact that there are no interchangeable pads.

The operating range is about 3 hours and can be extended up to 13 hours of combined use, interspersing charging periods inside the case that supports up to 4, 5 loads.

Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones 2

Xiaomi already has several models of Bluetooth wireless headphones in its catalogue, thus covering a whole range of prices and features. In this case, we will focus on the latest True Wireless Bluetooth headphones that the Chinese manufacturer.

As far as autonomy is concerned, the Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 allow 4 hours of uninterrupted use with a single charge its battery, a figure that goes up to 14 hours combining it with its charging case.

It supports Bluetooth 5.0 standard and high compression codecs, providing simple pairing and good audio quality. Also, it has touch controls and its optical sensors detect if you are wearing them to start and stop playback.

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