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Best wireless earbuds for Android
Apple users have the AirPods to cover their in-ear needs, but what wireless earbuds should Android users get? Thankfully, there are plenty of options available for them, too. Whether you’re an athlete, commuter, or general consumer, you’re bound to find something in among our picks for the best wireless earbuds for Android.
Editor’s note: this list of the best wireless earbuds for Android was updated on June 13, 2022, to replace the now discontinued Edifier TWS1 with the TWS1 PRO, add the TCL MOVEAUDIO S600 to the Notable mentions, add a note about finding the frequency response and isolation charts for the top five picks, and include mic samples for the top five picks. We also awarded the Nothing Ear 1 a highlight spot on this list and addressed an FAQ about the Google Pixel Buds Pro.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 is the best pair of wireless earbuds for Android for most people
If you want great noise cancelling, solid sound, and plenty of convenience features, then the Sony WF-1000XM4 is the perfect pair for you. These buds boast a set of features that rival the Apple AirPods, but because they aren’t exclusive to Apple devices, your Android phone can take advantage of them, too.
The earbuds support the LDAC Bluetooth codec, which is crucial for Android devices because AAC doesn’t reliably transmit at higher bit rates on the platform. Many models of earphones only support SBC and AAC, but thankfully the Sony WF-1000XM4 bucks that trend. Plus, the buds have an IPX4 rating, so sweating and splashes won’t harm them.
The microphone in these buds will do alright, but windy conditions and office sounds things will introduce noise to your calls. Overall, you’ll get through phone calls if you make sure to find a calm spot to talk. Take a listen for yourself:
Sony WF-1000XM4 microphone demo (Ideal):
Sony WF-1000XM4 microphone demo (Wind):
Sony WF-1000XM4 microphone demo (Office):
You will have to drop a pretty penny on the WF-1000XM4, but the excellent isolation and ANC along with 360 Reality Audio support definitely help make up for that. And you can always take advantage of touch controls so you don’t have to fish out your phone all the time.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 has the best noise cancelling you can get from wireless earbuds, just edging out the Bose QC Earbuds’ total attenuation with sub-bass frequencies sounding one-eighth as loud as they’d sound without the buds. The memory foam ear tips take care of high frequencies, essentially muting them.
(Click chart to expand.)
The one foible of these earphones is a slightly wonky default frequency response. However, you can easily use the included EQ in the Headphones Connect app (iOS/Android) to lower the bass and mids a bit, if you even notice it at all.
Need good noise cancelling at a great price? Get the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
The Apple AirPods Pro is known for its excellent ANC, and if that’s what you crave on Android too, then the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds delivers it at a good price to boot. These buds take all the noise cancelling tricks Bose is known for, and puts them into a small and portable package. ANC here is best-in-class and renders 250Hz frequencies nearly one-sixteenth their actual loudness. While the high-frequency attenuation isn’t quite as good as Sony’s flagship earbuds, you’re more likely to notice a difference as you toggle ANC on/off on Bose’s earphones than you would on Sony’s.
While these earphones support only the AAC and SBC, they deliver a good listening experience thanks to their noise cancelling chops. And if you don’t stare at your screen all day noticing mismatches between video and audio, you might not even notice anything else. In fact, they have an IPX4 rating, too, so they’ll stand up to workouts and a bit of drizzle. Plus, to add to the more in-ear-focused use case, you get auto play/pause and mono listening (right bud only).
There are both tap and swipe controls, so you can do a lot without ever taking your phone out of your pocket. And stashing the buds in the charging case for just 15 minutes gives them up to two hours of playback time, meaning you won’t have to be without them for very long when on the go. Add to that the fact an EQ now comes as part of the latest firmware updates, and you have a flexible set of excellent ANC earphones to take practically anywhere.
The mic in the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds is fine, but there is some distortion and audible outside noise. You can take calls with these buds, but office sounds like ringing phones and keyboard clacks will be audible to your listeners. Have a listen for yourself:
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds microphone demo (Ideal):
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds microphone demo (Wind):
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds microphone demo (Office):
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro is great for those already in the Samsung ecosystem
A walled garden can be a cozy place, and Samsung understands that well with the Galaxy Buds Pro. Much like the AirPods Pro with an iPhone, if you already own a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, these earbuds will slot in nicely.
As expected for a pair of polished buds, you get mono listening with either bud. If you don’t have a Galaxy phone, you will lose out on some of these perks, however. Most notably, that means the loss of the Samsung Scalable Codec which works like aptX Adaptive. Still, Galaxy users who already love their phone and want a set of earphones to match will definitely enjoy the Galaxy Buds Pro.
The mic you get in the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro is very good. It cuts down on external noise to some degree, and reproduces voices pretty faithfully. Though you’ll still have background noise making it through to your listeners, far away distractions should be quieted somewhat. Here are some demo recordings of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro:
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro microphone demo (Ideal):
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro microphone demo (Wind):
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro microphone demo (Office):
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro is more durable than the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2, with the Buds Pro boasting an IPX7 rating compared to the IPX2 rating of the Buds 2. Interestingly, the Galaxy Buds 2 has slightly better ANC than the Galaxy Buds Pro and costs less. You don’t get Samsung 360 Audio with the Buds 2, but you do get Wireless PowerShare with compatible Samsung devices and an ear tip fit test—something the Buds Pro lacks.
Read all about how the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro fares against the Galaxy Buds 2 here.
The Jabra Elite 7 Active is good for workout enthusiasts
For Android users that hit the gym hard, there’s the Jabra Elite 7 Active. These earbuds crank up the durability factor to an IP57 rating, so no matter how hard you sweat, they’ll be fine.
And if you’re worried about zoning out too much and missing a set or running into someone, these earbuds’ HearThrough mode along with adjustable noise cancelling will help keep you aware of your surroundings. Alternatively, you can use either earbud for mono listening. You get a tight seal in the ear thanks to their silicone rubber material, so there’s little worry about them tumbling out.
Add to that a battery life of 7 hours, 10 minutes (according to our tests), and practically nothing will stop you. Plus, just five minutes of fast charging gives you 60 minutes of listening time. The one foible is these buds only support the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs, but you likely won’t be staring at your phone during workouts to notice latency issues.
The Jabra Elite 7 has a pretty good mic, with office noise such as keyboards and ringing phones attenuated to a level that likely won’t both anyone on the other end of your calls. Take a listen for yourself:
Jabra Elite 7 microphone demo (Ideal):
Jabra Elite 7 microphone demo (Wind):
Jabra Elite 7 microphone demo (Office):
The Google Pixel Buds A-Series is smart value
If value is your main concern, then the best wireless earbuds for Android in your case would be the Google Pixel Buds A-Series. It makes sense that buds by Google would integrate well within the Android ecosystem, and these do.
Though these earbuds aren’t fancy, you do get in-ear detection, touch controls, and a useful app with EQ presets. A lightweight build and comfortable fit mean that, while these may be more budget buds, they don’t “feel” cheap. You can even take advantage of the IPX4 rating to not worry about errant splashes or drips. Plus, Google Assistant is easy to access via voice commands or by pressing and holding the G logo on the buds, so seamless Android integration can be hands-free, too.
Two small pitfalls do exist, though. One, there’s only SBC and AAC Bluetooth codec support, and two, the Adaptive Sound feature instead of ANC can get distracting. Still, at this price these earphones are a solid Android-tailored pick.
The microphone in the Google Pixel Buds A-Series does cut out wind noise, but it also chops up some words in the process. If you’re in a quiet area, this won’t be a problem, but outdoors or near fans be aware people might ask you to repeat yourself. Listen to the sample below to hear for yourself:
Google Pixel Buds A-Series microphone demo (Non-standardized):
The Nothing Ear 1 is a great alternative to the AirPods Pro for half the cost
In our Nothing Ear 1 vs Apple AirPods Pro article, we break down how these two stemmed sets of buds compare to one another. While the AirPods Pro comes out on top for iPhone owners, the Ear 1 is a great option for Android phone (or iPhone) owners who want a unique design and solid performance for less than $100 USD. Noise cancelling is slightly better on the AirPods Pro than the Ear 1, but neither headset reigns supreme among the likes of Bose, Sony, and even Sennheiser.
Sound quality is good with either pair of earphones too, though the Nothing Ear 1 has a louder treble response which some people may not like. With the Nothing app, you can only choose between a few EQ presets and Apple doesn’t even give you that option. Instead, you’re stuck with Adaptive EQ on the AirPods Pro. Remember, though, you can usually adjust the sound in your music streaming app of choice. We like Nothing’s product because it’s fairly affordable and offers a lot of the same features as the AirPods Pro, like IPX4 rated earphones, a wireless charging case, and touch controls.
The Sony WF-C500 is a reliable all-rounder
If you can’t decide what features matter most to you, don’t want to spend a lot, and can live without ANC, then the Sony WF-C500 is a good set of Android earbuds.
While you don’t get many fancy features, you do get an app with an EQ and 360 Reality Audio to enjoy on compatible streaming services. To make up for the lack of ANC, there’s also pretty good isolation. Tap controls let you start and stop your music and take calls without looking at your phone, while letting you launch your voice assistant, too.
Again, there’s only support for SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs, but that’s true of many more expensive options, too. Likewise, you still get an IPX4 rating, plus comfortable ear tips to enjoy your tunes throughout the day.
The best wireless earbuds for Android: Notable mentions
- Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus: You get many of the same features as the Galaxy Buds Pro at a cheaper price, with the exception of auto-resume playback. If you have a Galaxy device and want to stay within the ecosystem for less money, these buds are worth consideration.
- Beats Studio Buds: Yes, Apple owns Beats, but these buds aren’t quite as exclusive to iPhones as the AirPods. The Studio Buds can quick pair to Android devices and deliver enjoyable sound, so if you want fun, colorful buds, they slide in nicely within that niche.
- Bose Sport Earbuds: These comfortable workout earbuds with auto play/pause and an active EQ are a good choice if you need earphones that stay firmly in place thanks to their unique design.
- Edifier TWS1 PRO: This is the successor to the now discontinued Edifier TWS1. The PRO offers some notable improvements over its predecessor, including USB-C and fast charging. They’re still around $50 USD and now boast Bluetooth 5.2. Note that the older model is slippery, and you may want to keep a firm grasp on this newer rendition, too. Overall, if you want cheap buds with aptX Bluetooth codec support, these fit the bill well.
- Grell Audio TWS 1: Audiophiles who want a to-go headset should get the TWS 1 from Grell Audio, brainchild of the former Sennheiser chief headphone engineer. The frequency response very closely follows our target consumer curve but sound quality isn’t the only thing this headset has going for it: it also has very effective noise cancelling and software features.
- Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless: A solid all-rounder, these buds boast SBC, AAC, and aptX and a decent app along with ANC. These buds are bulky and priced oddly compared to some other options, but they’re straightforward and sound good, too.
- Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3: These noise cancelling earbuds have even better ANC than the CX Plus True Wireless, and you get the same IPX4 rating as the more affordable model. What makes the Sennheiser MTW 3 standout from the CX Plus is its support for aptX Adaptive and wireless charging case.
- Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen): These buds give you an ear tip fit test, which is always handy, ANC, and an IPX4 rating, but only average sound along with middling battery life. Still, they’re sleek and integrate with Android and your smart devices well via the Alexa app.
- TCL MOVEAUDIO S600: This AirPods Pro look-alike has a useful app and ANC. While the noise cancelling isn’t the best, it’s helpful to have and you get an IP54 rating, so these buds can stand up to some pretty tough conditions. They only have SBC and AAC Bluetooth codec support, however.
Hold up! Something’s different:
Some of our picks’ frequency response and isolation charts were measured with our old testing system. We have since purchased a Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test fixture (and the appropriate support equipment) to update our testing and data collection. It will take a while to update our backlog of old test results, but we will update this review (and many others!) once we’re able with improved sound quality measurements and ANC performance plots. These will be made obvious with our new chart aesthetic (black background instead of white).
Thank you for bearing with us, and we hope to see you again once we’ve sorted everything out.
What you should know about Android earbuds
When buying wireless earbuds for your Android phone, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are the main features and design elements that deserve some scrutinizing prior to you hitting the “buy” button.
Wha are Bluetooth codecs, and which ones matter for Android?
A Bluetooth codec determines how your source device (smartphone) transmits audio to your wireless earbuds. e what get sound to your headphones from your device. To oversimplify it, a codec transforms digital signals in the device into wireless signals and then finally turns that back into sound in your headphones. If that sounds like a bit of an adventure, that’s because it is.
For that reason, it takes computing power and time to do all those tasks. As a result, latency may result where video and audio fall out of sync. And Android is particularly unreliable when it comes to latency. For all these reasons, it helps to pick headphones with aptX, LDAC, or Samsung Scalable codec support if you want visual and audible components to remain in step. Coincidentally, these are also the codecs to look for if you’re worried about sound quality over a Bluetooth connection.
These codecs are much more reliable on Android devices, but the last one only works with Samsung Galaxy devices. However, if you aren’t bothered by latency, then it likely won’t matter as much.
Not every pair of wireless earbuds will come with a mobile companion app, but if you want to extend the utility of your earbuds, it’s worth it to invest in a headset with an app.
Because there is no direct equivalent for the Apple H1 chip on Android (Samsung Galaxy phones aside), a lot of the experience of using true wireless earbuds on your Android device comes down to the app. For that reason, we often recommend you install it and take some time to get familiar with it.
Apps usually let you control how the voice assistant functionality works, EQ your music, change settings, update firmware, and much more. Updating firmware is especially important because that often means new features or fixes to annoying quirks.
Plus, sometimes, the app for your buds is also the app for other things, like Alexa. In that case, if you’re already the broader ecosystem, more things can work together.
If you really, really can’t stand having a manufacturer’s app on your phone, though, you could EQ with third-party apps and then just live with whatever firmware version you happen to like, but we don’t usually recommend this approach.
Why is the battery life so short for true wireless earbuds?
You may have noticed that all these wireless earbuds have rather limited battery life when compared to over-ear headphones, for instance. And unfortunately, that’s likely not going to change any time soon.
Physics, that thing which governs all our lives, mandates that smaller batteries won’t last as long. Furthermore, that means earphones have a limited overall lifespan. It’s for these reasons manufacturers include charging cases with their true wireless earbuds. There’s not much you can do about that, but you can do some things to keep your battery as robust as possible.
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When it comes to choosing the best wireless earbuds for Android, we make sure to subject each product to a battery of tests so we can present frequency response and isolation charts to you, along with standardized microphone samples and battery life information. We then use this data to inform our reviews and score products accordingly. We then discuss what products may be worthy of being on this list of the best wireless earbuds for Android and take a vote.
The process doesn’t end after we publish the best list, though. We keep our eyes and ears open for new and noteworthy products coming down the pike to keep you up to date on exemplary products.
Frequently asked questions about wireless earbuds for Android
On July 21, 2022, you’ll be able to pre-order the Pixel Buds Pro for $199 USD but Google’s debut ANC wireless earphones aren’t available yet, precluding them from making our list of the best wireless earbuds for Android. Not only will the Pixel Buds Pro have ANC but Google is also decking the headset out with transparency mode, so you can hear your surroundings while keeping the buds in. Later this year, the Pixel Buds Pro will also support spatial audio.
Well, you can, but it won’t be a great experience. Apple locks down their buds experience to work with the iPhone, and using the AirPods on an Android phone means no automatic switching, no EQ, no app, no easy pairing, no control over ANC (for the Pro model), and more. It’s a pretty lackluster time, before even considering you only get the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs.