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Best wireless earbuds and headphones for Samsung – CNET


A few years ago, the iPhone lost its headphone jack. Now Samsung’s left the 3.5mm audio jack off the new Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus — and didn’t include a USB-C headphone adapter — which means a dongle won’t do any good and Note 10 owners will be looking to go the wireless route. Popular Apple-centric models like Beats Powerbeats Pro and Apple AirPods and work just fine with the Note 10. But everyone is familiar with those accessories, so in this roundup, we’re highlighting models that are more platform-agnostic or even have a slight Android tilt — making them perfect Note 10 headphones.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony hasn’t been much of a player in the true wireless (AirPods-style) headphone arena, but the launch of its new WF-1000XM3 may change that. While it’s not cheap at $228, it’s the best-sounding set of truly wireless earbuds at this price, matching and perhaps even exceeding the sound quality performance of pricier competitors from SennheiserBeatsMaster & Dynamic and Bang & Olufsen. It also has a feature that those earphones don’t have: active noise cancellation. So yeah, these are some of the best wireless earbuds for Samsung devices, offering amazing sound quality.

Its only drawback is that they aren’t rated as being sweat- or water-resistant. That said, I’ve used this set of bluetooth airbuds for a light workout at the gym without a problem. There’s an Android smartphone version of the companion app (Sony has its own line of own Android phones). 

The earphones use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC but lack aptX support.

Water-resistantNo (lacks IPX certification)

Read our Sony WF-1000XM3 review.

Read moreBest cheap true wireless earphones

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Juan Garzon/CNET

The Galaxy Buds (around $128 or less) are the third iteration of Samsung’s Android-leaning answer to the Apple AirPods lineup. Lightweight and compact, these Samsung Galaxy buds they fit my ears fairly securely, have decent battery longevity — 6 hours on a single charge at moderate volume levels — and their fast charging case is relatively small. On top of that, you can charge these wireless earphones via USB-C or wirelessly on any Qi-enabled wireless charging pad or the back of the Note 10, which has the same PowerShare feature found in Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 modelsAlso, the storage case for the Samsung Galaxy buds looks like a futuristic egg, which is cool.

Although they’re called Galaxy Buds, they do work with non-Samsung devices, including other Android and iOS devices as well as Bluetooth-enabled computers. But some of the features, such as Automatic Sync (an easy pairing feature) and Ambient Aware Mode, only work with Android devices running Android 5.0 or higher with 1.5GB of RAM or more.

Water-resistantIPX4 (splash-resistant)

Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Jaybird got off to a bumpy start in the world of true wireless — that’s “AirPods-style headphones” — when it released its Jaybird Run workout headphones back in October 2017. That model, updated to the wireless in-ear Jaybird Run XT last year, was well designed but had some small performance issues that held the wireless earbuds back from being great. But its wireless successor, the Jaybird Vista (cue the Windows Vista jokes), includes design, battery life and performance improvements that make it the device I’d hoped the Jaybird Run would be.

At $180, the Jaybird Vista with its bigger battery is a little more expensive than it should be, but it was one of the better true wireless headphones to hit the market in the past year. These AirPods alternatives will especially appeal to those looking for a more discreet set of totally wireless workout headphones that offer full waterproofing. A companion Android app allows you to tweak the sound.

Water-resistantIPX7 (fully waterproof)

Read our Jaybird Vista review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you’re someone whose ears are a good match — and fit — for the AirPods, Apple’s true wireless headphones do have some small performance advantages, particularly when it comes to call-making. But these Anker Soundcore earphones have sound quality as good, if not better, than the Apple AirPods, and they fit my ear better — and more securely. In short, as long as you’re OK with a noise-isolating design, the Soundcore Liberty Air true wireless earbuds are an excellent AirPod alternative that happens to cost half the price of the former device. They’re also sweat-resistant so you can run with them. Hello new workout headphones.

Normally $80, Amazon currently lets you clip an instant coupon to save $20.

Water-resistantIPX5 (can be hit with a sustained jet of water)

Read our Anker Soundcore Liberty Air review.

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Juan Garzon/CNET

Bose has its new Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. It’s an excellent choice for a full-size noise-cancelling pair of wireless headphones, but we still rate the Sony WH-1000XM3 slightly higher, partially because you can get it for $100 less than the Bose. While it lists for $350, it’s frequently on sale for $300. Like the true wireless WH-1000XM3, there’s a companion app for Android. Not to mention, the audio quality on these earbuds is excellent.

Some users have complained that the touch controls don’t work in cold weather. Presumably, Sony will fix that flaw in the M4 version of these wireless headphones whenever the next version is released. 

Water-resistantNo (lacks IPX certification)   

Read our Sony WH-1000XM3 review.

More headphone picks: 

Originally published earlier this year.

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