16. *Final thoughts*

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Nicole Nguyen / BuzzFeed News

Easy Bluetooth syncing (as long as you have an iPhone), a fantastic mic for calls, and exceptional case design are where Apple’s untethered earbuds shine.

But for the $159 price tag and limited functionality, you’re better off waiting for second-generation AirPods, and opting for a different wireless pair in the meantime. My current pick is the $130 Jaybirds X3, which aren’t cordless (a cable connects the two wingtip buds), but have incredible sound and excellent range, and are sweat-proof, comfortable, and lightweight.

If you must have a wireless, cordless earbud, I don’t have a good answer for you yet. I like the $150 Bragi Headphone so far, because it’s more comfortable, fits better, and is more understated than the AirPods – but the company is currently having issues with shipping and delivery. The $300 Dash is a waterproof fitness tracker in addition to a Bluetooth headset, which is cool, but the connection quality isn’t consistent (read our entire review for more). In my testing, the Samsung Gear IconX was light and sounded great, but battery life kind of stunk. There’s also the not-yet-released Here One earbuds that I haven’t tried yet (more on those to come!).

Apple — and other Bluetooth earbud makers in the space — haven’t nailed ~truly wireless~ hardware just yet. The premise of wireless earbuds is attractive (weightless audio, the freedom of being wire-free), but it’s still a nascent technology and, unless you’re an early adopter who’s used to dealing with kinks in first-generation products, you’ll be disappointed.


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