Gadgets: Wireless is the hot earbud these days—with good reason

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Earbuds or headphones make great gifts for yourself or a loved one during the holiday season. Every year, out of curiosity, I search for "headphones" on Amazon and this year I got more than 90,000 results. Obviously there's a lot to choose from and it gets confusing. Keeping your budget in mind, here is a bunch of great choices and some specific features on each.

True wireless is the hot earbud these days and with good reason. With true wireless, you get a pair of cordless headphones that work together to pick up audio from your device via Bluetooth.

Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 have the company's audiophile 7 mm dynamic drivers to deliver exceptional hi-fi sound. Clarity, highs, lows—everything is crystal clear. Controls for the great looking Momentums are built into the earbuds and work with a companion app. The right side controls music choices and the left is used for hands-free calls. Mic holes are in each ear and voice assistants can easily be accessed. An attractive cloth-covered USB-C storage/charging case is included for two additional charges, which can give you up to 12 hours total. An LED light is on the side of the case so you know how much power is left. Each earbud has a fitted slot in the case, so once it's dropped in, the charging starts. The earbuds are IPX4, splash resistant. $249.95 is the holiday sale price

Jabra's Elite 75t true wireless earbuds with a 6 mm speaker size, have a 7.5-hour battery life from a single charge and when you add in the included portable storage fast USB-C charging and easy open case you'll get up to 28 hours of tunes. The new Elite 75t earbuds with Bluetooth 5.0 have a comfortable and secure shape, ensuring they stay in place. Along with the great sound, including perfect clarity and bass, music can be customized to your specific listening choices with the Jabra Sound+ app's customizable equalizer. Workouts are perfect for these, with their IP55-rated durability and splash-proof resistant construction and volume controls on the earbuds. Each earbud has a pair of microphones for handsfree calls. $179.99

Creative's Outlier Air earbuds are a great entry for the true wireless shelves with a $79.99 price tag. With solid sound out of the 5.6 mm graphene drivers, described by Creative as audio reproduction for detailed highs, well-balanced mids, and immersive bass. Other features include Bluetooth 5.0, IPX5 water-resistant construction and up to 30 hours of total playtime with the included capsule sized, pocket charging case, which has a slide out tray and LED indicator lights. Handsfree calls and access to voice assistance work perfect. $79.99

Anker Innovations' brand new Liberty Air 2 true wireless earbuds are have a stick form appearance, making them very similar to the popular AirPods Pro but with a price tag of less than half. Built with Bluetooth 5.0 with Push and Go pairing technology and up to 28 total hours of playtime with the included Qi wireless charging case, it's easy to keep them in your ears. The sound is solid with Liberty Air 2's diamond-coated drivers giving you perfect sound and a solid amount of bass. With HearID Technology, they map your hearing sensitivity at multiple frequencies, and then analyze the results to give you a personalized sound. Full touch control, 4 microphones for crystal clear calls and ergonomic ear tips make these a great choice. $99.99

The Flye Sport Fit from Braven are rugged wired Bluetooth earbuds which give you 12 hours of audio on a full charge and have a unique charging (and storage) pouch for 36 additional hours of playtime. If you're in a rush for sound, a BurstCharge will give you an hour of playtime with just a five-minute charge. A Reflective Braided Cable connects the earbuds and has inline control. The sound is great and connects to two devices simultaneously. An IPX5 waterproof rating makes them splash-proof. $59.99

House of Marley's Exodus ANC over-the-ear active noise cancelling headphones have it all. The earth-friendly audio maker Marley is famous for amazing looking products and the Exodus ANC continues that tradition. These are constructed with pristine craftsmanship of certified ash wood, stainless steel, and recycled aluminum. But what you hear out the memory foam ear cushions, with 50 mm Hi-Definition drivers inside, is a powerful and clear sound with deep bass for a smooth and perfect balance. Controls for volume, selections, handsfree calls are on the headset and with a quick charging USB-C connection, you can get 6 hours of playback on a 15 minute charge. With ANC off, you'll get 80 hours of use, when its on the battery life is 28 hours. $249.99

The ZVOX AV50 noise-cancelling headphones featuring AccuVoice and advanced noise cancellation technology are a deal. With AccueVoice technology, when you're watching TV the headphones boost voices and reduce unwanted background noises. Fortunately I do not have hearing issues, but I still used the function and I was able to tone out the world even more during a football Sunday. In a nutshell, it just seemed like the announcers voices were crisper, which was obvious when I took the headphones on and off. ZVOK points out they are ideal for shows with poorly recorded dialogue or extremely loud special effects. They can be used with or without the noise cancelling to remove low-frequency noise. When its on, the AccuVoice is turned on. Listening to music playlists were great with sharp clarity. The lightweight headphones also fold up nicely and fit in the included hard and padded carrying case. regular price of $149.99 but during the holidays, buy 1 for $119.99 or 2 for $199.99

©2019 Gregg Ellman
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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