Good earphones provide for enjoyable listening not just by playing your tracks with balanced clarity and depth, but also by isolating you from external noises such as traffic and others people speaking.
You might notice that with in-ear models, there are two sound-driver approaches. These are the balanced armature and dynamic designs, and each has its pro and con points. Balanced-armature designs expose crisper details in the middle frequencies but normally don’t deliver the deep bass response of dynamic designs. Dynamic drivers are superb at reproducing bass and typically result in a warm musical presence. The in-ear and earbud-style models reviewed here are all superb examples of the Dynamic-driver type.
Purchasing a set of in-ear headphones is not a flexible process as you usually cannot try a pair without having to deal with the hygiene issues involving something so intimately in use. But if you found some trial samples and are willing to clean as you go, you’ll likely find it makes sense to start by looking at models priced above $50 but no more than $200 in most cases. These small headphone types are normally not as sturdy as over-the-ear models in outdoor use, even if you’re careful with your pair. Over-the-ear types are the more sensible option in most home or indoor situations, so you’re likely better off leaving more of your budget for a full-size headphone by not spending overmuch on fancy earphones.
To help you make a good choice, we’ve listed a few of the better earphones which can serve as replacements for the so-so set you likely received with your Android phone, if at all. The list below are currently the best earbuds for Android in the market today.
|Earbuds||Rating||Frequency response (min)||Frequency response (max)|
|Klipsch Reference R6m||8.4/10||10Hz||19000Hz|
|Sennheiser Momentum M2||9.2/10||15Hz||22000Hz|
|Bose SoundTrue Ultra||8.6/10||20Hz||20000Hz|
|Bose QuietComfort 20||8.7/10||20Hz||18000Hz|
Five Earphones for Androids
Music enthusiasts rarely find the small earbud-style headphones which come with their mobiles to be of the best quality. Apple’s pods are among the better ones, but their controls are specific only to iOS, which leaves those using other mobiles stuck with earphone models which are rarely as good. Many Android phones do not come with any, and even the top-end models which do rarely include a set which knowledgeable users would rate as very good. Thus, you can simply upgrade the quality of your listening experience by simply swapping the existing pair of earphones with one of the better models on the market.
We chose five corded in-ear and earbud models which we believe to be among the best available. These represent the needs of a wide range of users who may differ in their needs for physical or quiet use but would all agree on wanting only the best audio performance and comfort.
Klipsch Reference R6m
The old audio specialist has brought out an inexpensive set of in-ear headphones featuring a dynamic dual-driver design that will please discerning listeners. It offers accurate sound across a wide frequency range with a slight emphasis on bass-rich notes. Four oval-contoured earpieces are provided to tailor its fitting to different ear sizes.
Made of sturdy aluminum and elastomeric materials and relatively light in weight, this model comes in either black or white and has controls for Android, Windows, and BlackBerry mobiles. Its 3-button remote/mic enables users to manage calls and music and is integrated into a standard 48-inch long flat cord that comes in a nice case along with a clothing clip.
Sennheiser Momentum M2 (Android)
Among the more powerful-sounding earphones, this flashy and colorful model has a fine sound quality that balances healthy base with a competent performance in mid-to-high frequencies.
It offers good value for the quality and differs from other in-ear types in that the tip of each earpiece doesn’t need to be inserted deeply to bring decent sound isolation. It may be an appropriate choice for users who can’t tolerate much of anything inside their ears. The Android-compatible version enables control of music playback and sound volumes using in-line controls integrated into the 50-inch cable.
Bose SoundTrue Ultra
This earbud-style model offers good, tonally-balanced audio quality with rich bass, and is built to withstand active use without coming off too easily. Although it is not full sweat-proof, it can be worn by those who are into fitness lifestyle but are unwilling to forego listening enjoyably to their music. To this end, the earpieces have StayHear tips which press small silicone-rubber fins against the outer ear in order to secure their footing.
These kinds of features are normally found in runner-style models which are built to be rugged at the expense of audio performance. But these earphones manage to output great-sounding audio while still remaining comfortable and stable as the user engages in physical activities. Like Sennheiser’s in-ears, the earpieces’ tips don’t need to slide deeper into the outer ear opening to enhance noise insulation, and with some adjustment should be appropriate for finicky ears. The 45-inch cord is slightly shorter than average, but the version with integrated in-line controls and microphone has the usual playback and call-control functions.
Bose QuietComfort 20
These in-ear headphones are very expensive but deliver amazing advances in quiet listening. They are definitely the best noise-cancelling models we’ve tested so far. The technology differs from prior models in the series in that it can discern and diminish nearby speech along with a broader array of environmental noises. Owing to the noise-cancelling function the audio output can sound overly processed, but there’s a depth to mid-low notes and a clearness to mid-highs which can be quite pleasing to listen to for long periods.
Annoying traffic and transit noises are diminished by the circuitry which constantly cancels out most intruding noises. This operation does produce an almost-inaudible hiss, which quieter passages such as in classical music can reveal. This troubles some listeners, although others find the processing artifact can provide for a relaxing backdrop even with no tracks in play. It seems the whispering hiss assists in masking the far more offensive rumbling sounds of planes and public transit.
Bose’s Aware Mode function was quite convenient for quickly turning on and off the noise-cancellation function when needed, and the 20 model we tried featured intuitive playback and volume controls for our Android phones. That said, the bulky module mounted on the long 51-inch cord was a bit awkward to use.
These in-ear headphones are quite pricey but can deliver extraordinary sound in a cool and comfortable style. The dynamic drivers output the kind of naturally nuanced soundstage and even tonal quality which serious musical enthusiasts prefer. Tonal balance was generally pleasant across most music types, although there’s no pretending that these earphones aren’t going to be popular among bass-lovers.
RHA’s innovative sound filters are a minute set of tuning modules screwed into the tips which can be swapped to slightly alter sound profiles according to the listener’s tastes. This ability to swap between audio “profiles” is an innovation we’d like to see in more headphones.
The injection-molded, slick metal shells look very cool. A bounteous number of adapter tips are supplied to tailor the earpieces’ fit to any user, although in our experience the sizing range tends to the small side. The shells weigh slightly more than most others, and due to this, they have fasteners which slide around each ear for a highly comfortable fit. The bonus is that cable noises from the generously long 52-inch cord are much lessened with this type of looping arrangement.
Fitting takes a little time to get right, but once done the earpieces provide a good noise-isolating seal for even better audio quality.
A Pick of The Best
Those searching for a reliable and reasonably-priced pair of earphones for their Android phones should give Klipsch’s Reference R6m their first try. While good options like Sennheiser’s Momentum abound, Klipsch’s in-ear models deliver a solid mix of sound quality, affordability, and sturdy good looks.
Best earphones for the gym and field
Not every pair of earphones is good for use in sports or the gym. Only models which are designed for the stresses of physical activity will last long in those cases, and fancy earphones can be less robust than equally pricey full-sized headphones when worn in such strenuous conditions. For active listeners who want their tunes to rock along with them, we’d recommend Bose’s SoundTrue earphones. The earbud-style earpieces don’t sell particularly well, but their shapes are designed to stay in place however the wearer may move. They may not be truly sweat-resistant, but their stabilizing fins allow fitness enthusiasts to revel in their favorite music wherever they go.
Best earphones for relaxing travel
Those searching for the finest noise-cancelling earphones, ones which can handily outperform mid-range models like the Sennheiser Momentum, will do well to try Bose’s QuietComfort 20. These are simply the best in-ear noise-cancelling headphones available for the money, which you’ll be spending a lot of for a pair. But in turn, these offer a noise-reduced audio performance that is unparalleled, and you will surely have a delightfully quieting experience with these on.
The enthusiast’s choice
Due to the QuietComforts’ aggressive sound processing and the resulting (very slight) artifacts, they won’t be on most audiophile checklists anytime soon. RHA’s T10 is better suited to delivering the kind of audiophile qualities which the most serious listeners demand. It’s expensive but it has comfort, adaptability, and style as good as any while offering unimpeachable audio quality.
The RHA’s modular sound-filtering scheme will tune audio output the way you like. Its drivers’ relatively flat signal response in the lower-mid to high frequencies and the pleasing emphasis in low notes will impress musical listeners. But when the heavy bass is in order, the T10 can readily pack it in with suitably-loaded tracks.