I have to confess that I always frowned upon the idea of earbuds. I just found it a bit weird and kind of a show-off. “You gotta look cool, you know?” But as the product evolved, gained different designs, and improved its quality and functionality, I have to say I surrendered. It is a good option if you are traveling, comparing to wired earphones or those big headphones.
In this article, I am going to share with you some of the best functionalities for earbuds. Especially if you are an avid traveler and want comfort and functionality. There are options for all budgets and tastes and you will be convinced that earbuds are your best company for the next time you travel. I am also presenting you with technical specificities too so you can consider them as your next best travel gadget investment.
But before we get there, let me ask this:
How much time have you wasted untangling your wired earphones? How many have you broken? Did they get stuck in the armrest when you were trying to get up? Have you tried to sleep wearing big headphones on a 12-hour flight?
If you have gone through any of those situations and anything similar, I feel you. I am sure you want to have a productive trip.
Then, let us understand their history. Where do the earbuds come from?
The evolution of the earbuds
It all started in London, in the Victorian era, with a company called Electrophone. They created a system where their customers could listen to live feeds of performances at the opera houses and theatres in the British capital.
Then, a French engineer called Ernest Mercadier obtained a patent for creating “telephone-receivers that were light enough to be carried on the head”. The headphones.
The military immediately adopted the new technology for belligerent purposes. Throughout 2 world wars, the product has evolved, including a wireless application for espionage and general communication.
But in 1958, we see the first stereo headphones being produced for commercial purposes. The Jazz scene in the US immediately embraced the new technology and consequently, it helped boost the music recording industry.
However, it is not until the 80s that we start seeing an impulse in the popular adoption of headphones and earphones. The launch of the Sony Walkman was a game-changer. Please watch this great ad from 1979.
It is simply brilliant!!
But not until when Apple started selling their Ipods in the early 2000s that the earbuds entered stardom. It was a symbol of status by the early adopters of the new technology. And with the advent and improvements in Bluetooth technology, things are not getting too tangled anymore (pun intended).
Why do you need to travel with earbuds on your next trip?
Wireless earphones are great options for those who want to listen to music on the go without the annoying tangled cables getting in their way. While battery exhaustion can be a problem compared to their over-the-ear counterparts, wireless earbuds shorten the distance between you and the sound, making it a much better experience.
Different sizes do the trick to adapt to your ear.
Compared to over-the-ear headphones, earbuds are easy to carry as they fit into a backpack or bag so nicely. They are usually equipped with a battery pack and box that charge your product while you are not wearing them.
Now picture a noise-free long haul flight where you are the only one comfortably listening to bird chirping sounds, while your fellow neighbor passenger cannot get past the fact that jet engines do produce an incomparable roar. Moreover, most of the products now have functionalities to select and filter in important external sound so you don’t breakfast or other important announcements.
They are very small, discreet, practical, and very light. Despite being hands and cord-free, earbuds usually go away with different gadgets like your phone, computer, and tablet.
Furthermore, they are very stylish and available in different materials and colors. Companies are now investing in very sleek designs, so I am confident you will find one that matches your personal brand.
But, as earbuds are always very close to your ear canal, make sure you are not always blasting your favorite song. Actually, that also applies to other types of headsets.
What to look for when buying earbuds
I am going to give you some specifications about headphones in case you want to get really technical. To be honest, if the product has many reviews from a trusted source, you can comfortably use them as guidance.
Impedance – It is basically the measure of efficiency. Impedance is measured in Ohms (Ω). The more impedance an earphone has, the more power you also need from your audio source. Generally, you tend to have better sound from products with higher impedances. However, you need strong output sources too. So, if you have a low impedance earbud, a low impedance device like your tablet, phone, or computer will be a perfect match.
In terms of impedance, you do not want to go higher than 80 Ohms if your earbuds will connect to your phone. Anything above that, you will probably need a more powerful source like a sound studio amplifier.
Sensitivity – It is just how loud they can go. Avoid exaggerating here as you do not want to be told off when everybody is trying to sleep on the flight.
Frequency Response – It refers to the range of the audio. That helps you select the right type of earbud depending on the music you usually listen to. For instance, you like music with lots of Bass, you look for a low bass frequency product.
Drivers – They create the sound coming from your device. So, the stronger the drivers are, the better or clear the sound is.
Again, user reviews can be a good source of information. Always check them before any purchase.
Best Earbuds in 2021
There are so many earbuds now in the market with different prices, designs, and brands. Below are some options based on the top sellers and most recognized brands. Read the description and click on the links for more details.
This is one of Samsung’s top range products with a fantastic immersive experience. You can easily switch noise canceling and ambient sound on and off. The Conversation Mode Voice Detect function instantly switches from Noise-Cancelling to Ambient sound when it hears your voice. Like when you are at a cafe and tell the barista your order. Consequently, NC automatically turns off when you speak. It works well for flight and airport announcements too.
It has an embedded mic allowing you to take calls. With the Dolby Head Tracking™ technology, it places you into the center of your favorite video, movie, or TV show. The intelligent motion-tracking sensor pinpoints the sound direction, enabling a sense of realism in your listening experience.
It is amazing! Check it out!!
This is a good option, with 86% of customers rating the product as either 4 or 5 stars. They have battery power that lasts up to 13 hours, and it takes only 15 minutes of charging to get almost 2 hours of use. It contains a nice feature to help you locate them based on the last time they were used. The Ambient Aware function controls how much surrounding noise you let in. Consequently, you can listen to on-street traffic, catch flight announcements, and hear when your kids or coworkers call out to you.
It is a very popular option. See for yourself.
Bose has a fantastic brand, and I am a big fan of their products. They are a bit “orthodox” in their design but the quality of their products is superb. They claim these earphones are “the world’s most effective noise-canceling” earbuds. They are comfortable to wear because the surface that touches your ear is made of soft silicone.
They can play for up to 6 hours on a single charge, and their charging case provides up to 12 more hours of battery life. Bluetooth works within 30 ft. of your device. When you are on calls, the microphone system rejects most of the noise around you. Compatible with iOS and Android.
You won’t go wrong with it and you are getting a fantastic product.
Check it out!!
This is a good option if you are a sporty person and also want to use the earbuds to run, workout, etc. It is weather and sweat resistant, and its battery life can last for 5 hours. You should be covered for your 5K Bi-weekly run or your cross-country flight. These ones do not come with noise-canceling, but they still give you a fantastic sound experience. They come in white, blue, and white colors and are a really good choice.
Theses products offer good value for money. Click below to find out more.
These are very cool ones. Not only for the design and colors, which are blue, black, and orange but due to the fact they connect with Alexa. They are great for sports activities and are also water-resistant.
Moreover, their batteries last up to 9 hours with noise-canceling activated. But recharge them for only 10 minutes for a full hour of music. They automatically adjust to ambient and have an extra bass feature, which is good for either classical music or and hip-hop.
It is one of the top range products from Sony. Check it out below!!
These earbuds have great value for money with beautiful aesthetics in the classical dark and light grey Sony colors. They are compatible with iPhone and Android phones and include noise-canceling and ambient mode functions. They allow you to control the interference of external sound while in use. They are also sweatproof and their total weight is about 45 grams, making these earbuds very comfortable to wear.
I am a big fan of their color scheme and sound quality.
See for your self below.
If you buy an Apple product, you will probably get a great design and top-notch service. These earbuds offer active noise cancellation and transparency mode for connecting with the ambient surrounding you more efficiently. Additionally, they come with three different sizes of silicone tops for a customizable fit.
They are easy to set up for all your Apple products but for other devices, setting everything up is not as smooth. But it is relatively painless. Moreover, it has quick access to Siri.
This is a best-seller.
Check it out!!
This is the next product in Apple’s line and has good value for money too. For me, the main difference is that it comes with a fixed design, and therefore, you will not have the silicon tips from the Pro version. You may get a bit more noise from the external ambient but still with amazing performance. It has very similar functionalities to its counterpart like automatic on/off function, quick access to Siri, double-tap to play or skip forward.
It is a great choice.
There are few options in terms of price and design. I have to say that I am really drawn to the aesthetics, but I give you my suggestion based on functionalities beyond being an essential product for you to take on your next trip. Check the links below.