This comparison is part of our True Wireless ANC Headphones theme world. Here you can find our individual tests, guides and the corresponding list of the best. If you don’t feel like studying all the individual tests, you should take a look at this comparison to get an overview.
This comparison is about the true wireless headphones with integrated active noise cancellation that we have tested over the last few months. We have considered the following models for this article:
Fortunately, the days when practically all completely wireless headphones looked like the Apple Airpods are over. Certain similarities between the different headphones cannot be denied, but ultimately there is a suitable model for every taste.
For example, we are impressed by the design of the Earfun Free Pro. The two earplugs are small and inconspicuous compared to other models. The associated charging cradle is actually only slightly smaller than other models, but it looks much more compact than the case of the Sony WF-1000XM4, for example. The in-ears from Sony also appear significantly larger and less subtle in comparison – but this does not have to be a disadvantage.
Those who prefer it to be visually conspicuous should, for example, take a look at the very compact Huawei FreeBuds Pro in Silver Frost. The metallic surface of the two earplugs is definitely an eye-catcher. The EarFun Air Pro with the angular longitudinal bar or the Honor Magic Earbuds in blue are similarly striking.
The restrained Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are also stylish. In addition to the timelessly modern design of the headphones, we particularly like the fabric-covered charging cradle. In comparison, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds appear very loveless and cautiously functional.
The rest of the test field is largely inconspicuous in terms of design. One special feature in terms of design is noticeable. Practically all of the TWS headphones tested so far use padding. This also applies to the Apple AirPods Pro. The reason for this is the better shielding and the fact that the plugs fit into practically every ear. Those who want to use completely wireless in-ears without padding currently have little choice, like the ones that have just arrived at the editorial office Oppop Enco Air. Sony is one of the few manufacturers to use foam instead of silicone for its headphones.
There are practically no differences when it comes to the scope of delivery. Ultimately, all headphones come with three to four different sized ear pads, instructions, the charging case and a corresponding charging cable.
The most important feature of headphones is the sound quality, and this is pleasingly neat with all of the ANC-TWS headphones we tested. Sure, there are differences, but they are much smaller than they were a few years ago. None of the models is bad or even unusable.
Even the inexpensive Tribit FlyBuds NC manage to convince in practice. Warm, rich bass and sensibly coordinated midrange and tweeters ensure a clean, differentiable sound. The models from Apple, Earfun, Honor, Huawei and Xiaomi also ensure high-quality musical entertainment. At least at normal volume. At maximum volume, there can occasionally be a slight tonal imbalance. However, the headphones from this comparison are all well positioned for everyday use.
Only those who have very high demands in terms of sound actually have to dig deep into their pockets. The first-class sound from Sony WF-1000XM4, Bose QuietComfort Earbuds or Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 is only available from just under 200 euros. The main difference to the other models is the perfect coordination between bass, midrange and tweeter in all volume ranges and for all types of music.
Anyone who has special requirements for the codec must pay close attention to the technical data. The Hi-Res audio codec LDAC is only on board, for example, with the Sony WF-1000XM4 or the Sennheiser headphones. Ultimately, most users are more concerned with everyday suitability with standard codecs and, for example, low latency so that they can also use the headphones while watching films or gaming. Models with an AptX codec, such as the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, are best suited here. In practice, however, we were able to determine that most headphones only have a very short delay even without the codec. For an occasional round of CoD Mobile or a few episodes on Netflix, all of the models listed here are suitable.
Unfortunately, good sound is no guarantee of effective ANC. When it comes to active noise suppression, we found some considerable differences in the tests. We found the function of the Xiaomi Mi AirDots Pro to be the least effective. But the noise suppression of the expensive Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 was also disappointing overall. With the Earfun Free Pro, the ANC function is effective, but with these headphones it is noticeably at the expense of the sound quality. This is also the case with some other models, but the effects are significantly less than with the Free Pro.
Basically, it is important to ensure the best possible fit of the in-ears. If the upholstery is incorrectly chosen or the headphones are not inserted correctly, the sound, noise suppression and wearing comfort suffer. If you have problems here and want to make improvements, you should take a look at our guide on the subject of foam ear pads. The tested headphones all fit well if you found the right pad size. The actual wearing comfort always depends on your own ear shape and size.
The setup or coupling works with all models without any problems. Even with the automatic reconnect, none of the headphones gave us any problems.
For operation, practically all manufacturers rely on a touch-sensitive surface instead of classic buttons. In practice, this usually works just as well. However, short delays between entry and implementation sometimes lead to unintentional double entries. This happened to us at the beginning with the Sony WF-1000XM4. The EarFun Air Pro are the only headphones in the test field that do not work reliably here.
Overall, there is hardly any cause for complaint in terms of handling. Of course, there are also outliers here. The Xiaomi Mi AirDots Pro, for example, sit so tightly and deeply in the charging case that they can only be removed with force and instinct. We find the lack of volume control on the headphones just as annoying. If this is not available, as is the case with the Tribit FlyBuds NC or the Huawei FreeBuds i4, the smartphone must first be pulled out of the pocket for each adjustment.
Ideally, the user can use the app to determine which functions he triggers with which commands. However, this only works with the expensive branded devices from Bose, Sony and Sennheiser. The cheaper headphones do not need an individual assignment of the touch surfaces or an app to adjust the sound. If you want to change your sound, you can alternatively use one of the free equalizer apps.
The Apple AirPods Pro play a special role. If you want to enjoy the full comfort of Airpods, you need an iOS device. Android users should therefore concentrate on headphones from other manufacturers.
The different headphones hardly differ in terms of range. All models manage around ten meters in the open. Even the walk to the next room was no problem for all headphones in the test.
The battery life should also be considered when buying. All devices are adequately equipped for occasional music enjoyment, but if you want to use the headphones for longer periods of time, you should take a closer look here. The Xiaomi Mi AirDots Pro only last about two and a half to three hours when noise cancellation is activated before they have to be returned to the charging cradle. It looks similarly poor with the Huawei FreeBuds i4 and the Honor Magic Earbuds. The Huawei FreeBuds Pro and the Apple AirPods Pro last a good hour longer in practice.
The prices of the models mentioned are between 49 and over 200 euros.
If you want maximum sound quality and configurable operation, you have to dig deep into your pocket and invest at least 200 euros. In addition to the best sound, the models from Bose, Sony and Sennheiser also offer the most extensive setting options and therefore above-average handling.
If you make slight cuts in the sound or the operating options, you can also get true wireless headphones with sufficiently good noise suppression and rich sound for less than 100 euros. Our low-budget tip are the generally good Tribit FlyBuds NC, which are inexpensive at 49 euros (test report).