TECH BUYER’S GUIDE, July 2022 – Best headphones tested and compared on sound, price and build quality by the experts at Tech Magazine
PHONES | HEADPHONES | LAPTOPS | TABLETS | HEALTH TRACKERS | WIRELESS SPEAKERS | GAMING | TVS | ACCESSORIES
The impeccably balanced Sony sound with top-rated noise cancelling and a bunch of novelty features all comes at a hefty price, but you’ll never regret paying it. R6000
We especially like the fuss-free nature of these cans that offers no USB or surround-sound effects but just get on with the job of delivering great sound and long-term comfort across games, music and movies. R1 200
Our favourite true wireless buds have been upgraded with more refined soundstage, better quality on voice calls and much-improved battery life while keeping the great shape that made them easy to handle and wear. R2 500
4. Edifier X3
These budget true wireless buds outplayed several competing pairs of buds costing far more. The carry case is slightly flimsy, but the overall fit and specifically the well-balanced and detailed sound quickly won us over. R1 000
These buds were a delight, from the proper rumbling bass ending in a well-balanced sound, to the physical control buttons, which we prefer over touch sensors. For the price, these are an unbeatable budget buy. R300
How to buy wireless earbuds
True wireless earbuds have rapidly become the standard for smartphone users on the go. TW buds have become smaller and lighter and will now play for many hours on a single charge. They’ve also become far more affordable. Some of the best buds cost less than R1000, but look and sound fantastic. In the budget category, some new brands have appeared, and we will help you figure out if you’re ready to try something new.
CONTROLS: Most TW earphones use sensors in the left and right bud for tap controls. With a series of taps and swipes, you can skip tracks, adjust volume, take calls and even call up Google Assistant without fishing your phone out of your pocket. However, touch controls can be spotty, and we prefer physical buttons.
CONNECTIONS: Reliable Bluetooth connectivity is also paramount in true wireless buds, because there are two ways for your music to get interrupted: breaking the connection between the buds, or breaking the connection with the phone. Support for Bluetooth 5.0 is a strong advantage as it maintains connections better and uses less battery.
CARRY CASE: The carry case for your buds doubles as a battery-powered charging dock. Make sure this is a satisfying ergonomic shape that doesn’t make removing the buds a struggle and that doesn’t sit awkwardly in your pocket.
CANCEL NOISE: Some buds now include active noise- cancelling tech, but ANC is not typical on budget earphones. Passive noise cancelling refers to the seal created by the silicone tip on the bud that seals the ear canal against noise in your environment.