Apple's revamped Powerbeats Bluetooth workout earphones take what was great from the firm's true wireless earbuds and add a cable, longer battery life and cheaper price. Powerbeats replace the older, more expensive Powerbeats 3, with redesigned ear hooks, cable guides and Apple's H1 chip, which simplifies Bluetooth connectivity and gives them all the AirPods-like features Apple's headphones have with iPhones. The design of the Powerbeats is pretty simple. Each earphone's body has an earbud sticking out of one side with a traditional silicone ear tip that twists into your ear canal. The other end has an hook that loops over the back of your ear, holding it in place and neatly guiding the cable backwards rather than in front of your ear like its predecessors.
The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless earphones are supplied with a choice of four eartips and a semi-hard carrying case. With the disappearance of the headphone jack from some smartphones, it looks like we're being pushed towards using wireless headphones and earphones. For many people, wireless is a question of convenience but for others the thought of limited battery life and poor Bluetooth performance makes them wary about giving up the quality of wired headphone sound. Well, perhaps the launch of Sennheiser's new Momentum In-Ear Wireless earphones may help overcome some people's reluctance for a wireless solution. These new earphones are designed around a wearable neckband that contains the electronics and battery for powering the earphones.
Bose first brought its active noise-cancelation technology to its earphones with its QuietComfort 20. Until then, ANC headphones were bulky affairs. The closest you'd get to compact was if they collapsed down small enough to be jammed into your carry-on bag. The earphones, with their inline controls and combination battery pack/ANC hardware, were compact enough to tuck into a hip pocket. Other companies followed Bose's lead, introducing similar hardware of their own.
This post was published in partnership with Wirecutter, the site devoted to finding the best gear and gadgets. Every product is independently selected by the Wirecutter team. We update links when possible, but note that deals may expire and are subject to change. If you buy something through our links, Slate and Wirecutter may earn an affiliate commission. After our tests of 26 sets of true wireless in-ear headphones, the Jabra Elite 65t is the only pair we wholeheartedly recommend. We found that most totally wireless earbuds remain a first-generation technology with a few kinks to work out--every other pair we tested had flaws in fit, functionality, convenience, compatibility, or a combination of all four. But the Jabra Elite 65t performed as well as or better than standard Bluetooth earbuds, with the added convenience of a totally cable-free experience. The Jabra Elite 65t is the first set of true wireless earbuds that we actually love because they sound great, they're comfortable, and they give you all the experience you expect from standard Bluetooth earbuds, with the bonus of no wires. Unlike many other true wireless earbuds, this pair has both volume and track controls as well as the ability to trigger your digital assistant. The four-microphone array works well to keep your voice sounding crystal clear over phone calls. The Elite 65t earbuds block out most outside noise but have a transparency mode so you can choose to hear your surroundings. Their five-hour battery life per charge is at the higher end of listening time between charges for this category--but still far shorter than the life of standard Bluetooth earbuds.
The Beats Flex are Apple's latest neckband Bluetooth earbuds, and bring many of the fancy features of its AirPods to headphones costing just one third of the price. The new Beats cost £49.99 and replace the £129 Beats X as the firm's cheapest wireless earbuds, sitting below the £129.95 In the world of true wireless Bluetooth earbuds, the older-style neckband models typically occupy the cheaper end of the market. They have wires connecting the earbuds to each other but Bluetooth to the phone. The Flex earbuds are well designed with a balanced fit featuring two pods either side of a flat, semi-flexible cable that rests on the back of the neck. The earbuds are then connected to the pods via further flat, flexible cables.