I have been listening, calling, tapping and pinching myself completely crazy in recent weeks. The result is that we can now make a number of sensible recommendations. Each of the following sets of in-ears made me smile from ear to ear.
The best: Sony WF-1000XM5
It will come as no surprise that I am thoroughly impressed with Sony’s WF-1000XM5. With their fantastic audio quality, excellent tap control, good wearing comfort and excellent noise cancellation, these earplugs can rightly call themselves the winner of this test. You may pay deep pockets for it, but you will get a set of in-ears in return that are not really disappointing in any respect.
Best ANC: Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds
If you are looking for the in-ears with the best noise cancellation, then you will find Boses QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds. They do the best job of silencing your environment, although these earphones are not immune to wind noise. The touch controls work fine enough and the wearing comfort is excellent. The audio quality is also fantastic, with slightly less definition in the high range, but a warmer sound than the WF-1000XM5 from Sony. The fact that the Boses do not emerge as the absolute winner in this round-up is due to their higher price, slightly inferior call quality and the disappointing tweakability of the app.
Strong all-rounder: JBL Tour Pro 2
Not everyone will be willing to spend around 300 euros for some wireless listening and calling pleasure. The JBL Tour Pro 2 is a lot more affordable at around 225 euros and delivers excellent all-round performance. Well, the charging box is on the large side and the earphones themselves are not small, which makes wearing comfort a bit less. However, the audio and call quality are excellent, as are the noise cancellation and transparency mode. Moreover, they continue to play for a long time before they need to be charged. And it is that we are not awarding an originality prize, otherwise the Tour Pro 2 with its beautiful touchscreen on the charging box would have been a serious contender.
Most comfort: Jabra Elite 10
The Elite 10 looks very slick, has an excellent app and holds its own in telephone conversations and voice chats. The audio quality, noise cancellation and transparency mode are not the best, but okay. However, these in-ears are especially notable for their silky soft silicone tips that feel super light in your ear.
Value for money: Nothing Ear (2)
The Ear (2) from Nothing doesn’t really excel in anything, but as the cheapest set in this comparison, you can’t really catch any major mistakes. These earphones also have a very nice app, an excellent transparency mode and support for all the codecs you could wish for. The only real downside is their poor endurance: with ANC turned on, the caps stop working after 3.5 hours.
Value for money: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
Sennheiser earphones are not very nice for calling, because you hear your own voice too muffled. And they may look nice, but they are also quite large, especially the charging box. However, if you are mainly concerned with the audio quality and you find the Sony’s too expensive, then the 170 euro Momentum True Wireless 3 is an interesting option. The earphones deliver a full and solid sound, with dynamics and stereo width that come very close to the WF-1000XM5.
For Apple users: AirPods Pro 2nd Generation (2023)
The updated AirPods Pro have a USB-C connection instead of Lightning and are now also dust resistant. Furthermore, they still look very slick, they are very comfortable and the sound quality is excellent. Moreover, it is a very nice set for making telephone calls. However, we would not recommend these caps if you only have an Android device, because operation via a third-party app simply does not work well. If you walk around with an iPhone or iPad, the AirPods Pro are ideal no brainer. You can also immediately benefit from other new features that Apple introduced in iOS 17 for these buds, such as automatically switching between transparency mode and noise cancellation. We have to say: the audio quality is good, but not as powerful as that of the Boses, Sonys, JBLs and Sennheisers.