Test Drive Gadget Reviews with Bill and Phil

Wireless Earbud Madness

We have been fans of Bluetooth wireless earbuds that will pair with our phones for some time, but it seems that lately the wireless earbud genre has skyrocketed in popularity. 

Bill & Phil

Probably the main driving force behind this frenzy is the fact that major phone vendors (mainly Apple, Samsung and Google) have been dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack from their new phone models, so users have been forced to look for alternatives to the traditional wired headphones.

Secondly, the quality of the some of these wireless earbuds has increased dramatically over the past couple of years. Now it is quite common to see folks with their wireless earbuds at the gym, on the sidewalk, at the airport and even in the office. But now, with many manufacturers getting in on the action, there are so many options that you might be confused about which is the best bang for your buck. While we haven’t tried every wireless earbud on the market, between the two of us, we’ve tried out quite a few. Here are some of our favorites.


These are the next generation of Apple’s original AirPod earbuds. The AirPods Pro will outsell all of the other buds in this review combined because of the popularity of the Apple iPhone. They are expensive, but worth it. They will make you forget how you look with white things hanging out your ears. They fit great, and your iPhone’s app will even tell you when you have picked the right tips and the perfect fit.

They are vented to avoid the “stopped up” feeling when you have earbuds in your ear. They feature a new design, active noise cancellation and improved sound quality, and they’re water- and sweat-resistant. They also have a “transparency mode” that allows you to hear outside sounds when you are riding your scooter. The sound quality is better than, or at least on par with, the sound quality of all the earbuds on the market.


We love Bose sound, and these small Bose speakers for your ears do not disappoint. Although the $199.95 price point for the SoundSport earbuds is at the top end of the scale, the quality of the sound from these earbuds is definitely at the top of the scale as well. In addition to sounding incredible, these earbuds have one of the best fits in terms of staying in place and not falling out. In addition, they are sweat-proof, meaning they are a terrific addition to take with you to the gym. You get about five hours of playing time on one charge, and the handy storage case will recharge the buds up to two times.

Of all the earbuds we have tried, these are probably the most compact and least conspicuous pair to wear in your ears. This can be important if you don’t want to appear too geeky when working up a sweat at the gym.

About the only thing we wish we could change about the Bose SoundSport earbuds is the size. They are just a little bit bulky in the ear — it’s not really uncomfortable so much as really noticeable when you have them on. We don’t care so much as long as the sound is good — and the sound is really, really good.


While Samsung’s entry into the wireless earbud market can be paired with any smartphone via Bluetooth, the integration is really tight with Samsung’s Galaxy phone lineup. The Galaxy Buds are priced below Apple’s popular AirPods at $149, but we really don’t think you sacrifice much, if anything, in sound quality by going with Galaxy Buds. We like Galaxy Buds not just for the superior sound but for the great fit and cosmetic appeal. They nestle very securely in your ear with customizable wing tips and ear tips to get the perfect fit.

Of all the earbuds we have tried, these are probably the most compact and least conspicuous pair to wear in your ears. This can be important if you don’t want to appear too geeky when working up a sweat at the gym. The battery life is great and the storage case doubles as a recharging unit. If you have a Galaxy phone, you can actually recharge your earbuds by placing them on the back of the phone. With the Galaxy Wearable app, you can adjust how much ambient noise you wish to hear through the earbuds, which can be useful when you’re walking or running in a city environment.


Amazon recently introduced a new option with its Echo Buds. These earbuds are probably most similar to the Galaxy Buds in terms of how they look and fit, but they clearly are not in the same league with the other earbuds we have tried in terms of sound quality. They are priced a little lower at $129, which is still a little pricey, in our view, for the sound quality that the Echo Buds offer. It’s not that the sound quality is terrible — it’s just that when you compare them with AirPods, Bose SoundSport or Galaxy Buds, there is a noticeable drop-off in quality.

Of course, the Echo Buds name suggests a tie-in with Amazon’s other Echo devices and popular Alexa voice assistant technology. With the Echo Buds you have Alexa listening for voice commands. So, if you are so inclined, you could be working out at the gym or navigating public transportation in a busy city and still be able ask Alexa to do things for you hands-free, like playing the next tune or giving directions to a restaurant.