Headphones without cables are trendy. The small in-ear models in particular are becoming increasingly popular. Manufacturers have made great strides in terms of sound and comfort. The Stiftung Warentest has examined 32 in-ear headphones in their current headphone test. We present the test results.
In-ear headphones have grown in popularity significantly since Apple’s AirPods. All common headphone manufacturers now offer these small earplugs, which are also called true wireless earbuds. In addition, the Bluetooth headphones are now also available with active noise reduction. So you have peace and quiet while listening to music. In your current test Stiftung Warentest takes a closer look at 32 models. We present the test results and recommend headphones from the test.
Stiftung Warentest has tested around 200 Bluetooth headphones since 2018. In the current “test” edition 10/2021 another 32 models have been added. The test candidates were examined in the assessment categories of sound, active noise reduction, wearing comfort and handling, battery and durability.
In addition, product components such as ear and head pads were examined for harmful substances. It was positive that every wireless in-ear model received a “very good” rating in the pollutant category.
Test winner among the wireless headphones are those Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro with the “test” quality rating “good (1.9)”. The WF-1000XM4 from Sony excellent.
The headphones are on par with the test winner in the most important category of sound Jabra Elite 85t. Both received the best grade “good (1.6)” for the category. The cheapest “good” rated headphones are the Huawei Freebuds 4i. They received the “test” quality rating “good (2.4)” and were able to secure the grade “very good (1.0)” in two categories. The median online price is 78.50 euros.
Noticeable: No model without active noise suppression could achieve a better “test” quality rating than “satisfactory”. At the top are only so-called ANC headphones (Active Noise Cancellation), which block out the noise around you, even when you are not listening to music.
The test result: rich sound and “good” active noise cancellation. The test winner from Samsung received the “test” quality rating “good (1.9)”. Only this model and the third-placed model from Jabra were able to achieve the top grade “good (1.6)” in this test in the most important category of sound. The Samsung headphones scored “very good”, especially in the “interference” sub-category. The in-ears received the worst rating in the comfort and handling category.
Product details: The wireless Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro not only inspire with their futuristic design, but also with their active, intelligent noise suppression. You decide whether you want to hide up to 99 percent of the background noise or choose the ambient mode, which can be set in stages. So you only get what is important to you.
The two-way speaker ensures high sound quality and rich sound for up to five hours of uninterrupted playback. If the ACN and Bixby Voice wake-up functions are deactivated, the fully charged smart headphones provide up to eight hours of continuous power.
The test result: In the test by Stiftung Warentest, the Sony headphones, just like the test winner model, received the “test” quality rating “good (1.9)”. Above all, they can convince with a “very good” battery. For this category, the model received the top rating “very good (1.3)” and was able to trump the test winner. The model received the worst rating in the category of comfort and handling.
Product details: The wireless headphones impress with “good” noise suppression, high sound quality and water resistance. There are also intelligent audio functions and powerful dual noise sensor microphones (two per ear). According to the manufacturer, the maximum battery life is 24 hours. So you can enjoy your favorite music all day long.
With an average online price of 270 euros, the Sony model is not only around 100 euros more expensive than the test winner, but also generally the most expensive wireless in-ear model in the current test by Stiftung Warentest.
The test results: With the “test” quality rating of “good (2.0)”, the wireless headphones Elite 85t from Jabra landed in third place. The in-ear headphones were especially convincing in terms of sound and received the best rating for this category with the grade “good (1.6)”, just like the test winner from Samsung. In terms of comfort and handling, the Jabra model scored “good (2.4)” even better than the first and second place winners. The headphones only received a “satisfactory (2.6)” rating for their battery.
Product details: compact design and maximum control. The inconspicuous Bluetooth headphones from Jabra inspire with the active-noise cancellation, which is fully customizable. According to the manufacturer, six microphones and windscreens have been integrated into the earbuds, which are supposed to ensure precise and clear voice quality when making calls. The headphones are compatible with Siri and Google Assistant and have a maximum battery life of five hours. The headphones are fully charged after about an hour.
The test results: In the test, the Huawei model achieved the grade “good (2.2)” and impressed above all with its “good” active noise reduction. Stiftung Warentest also awarded the grade “good (2.4)” for the most important criterion, sound. The battery was also given a “good” final grade and even “very good” grades for durability and pollutants.
Product details: With an average online price of less than 80 euros, the Huawei headphones are among the cheaper models tested. Of all the wireless in-ear headphones that received a “good” “test” rating, they are the cheapest and the only ones available online for under $ 100. Despite the low price, the Bluetooth headphones can score with “good” sound and a long battery life of up to ten hours. According to the manufacturer, a charging time of ten minutes is usually enough to play four hours of music.
With the newly tested wireless in-ear headphones, the range from “good” to “sufficient” is relatively large. Which headphones are ultimately right for you depends on which criteria are most important to you. Just like the Stiftung Warentest, we recommend them Samsung Galaxy Buds Probecause they provide “good” sound and “good” active noise suppression, which can also be set in stages. We also particularly like their design.
As the name suggests, true wireless headphones completely do without cables and rely on the Bluetooth wireless standard. In contrast to conventional Bluetooth headphones, the two earphones also wirelessly communicate with each other.
In cheaper models, the smartphone usually transmits the soundtrack to an earphone, which then sends it to the other. Sometimes users therefore perceive a slightly asynchronous playback. If, on the other hand, both earplugs connect to the playback device, such problems occur much less frequently.
Wireless in-ear headphones are particularly characterized by their comfort when listening to music. Whether in the office or on the way to work – they are ideal for usage times of a few hours. Thanks to the quick start-up without the hassle of untangling cables, you won’t want to be without the headphones again.
Wireless in-ear headphones come in very different price ranges. While Apple AirPods are the most comfortable, they are clearly subject to the Powerbeats Pro and the Sony counterpart in terms of sound. Inexpensive variants for less than 100 euros fully meet the basic requirements. Once used, users will appreciate the convenience of listening to music without the hassle of cables.