Let’s Find The Best Earbuds
I’ve tested six in all. Two of these will be our winners. One will be designated for riding and the other will be designated for off-bike use. HOWEVER; both have music and call management capability.
The latest tech has automatic pairing, wireless charging in the case (good for 3-5 charges of the 'buds for on-the-go use) with the case itself good for charging on a wireless charging pad, and automatic powering-on and -off when taken out of or put back in the case. All the cases fit easily into a pocket (or purse) and all the cases charges with a Min- or C-USB cable.
First, let’s review criteria...
Direct, in-the-ear-canal listening. Helmet speakers lose so much to distortion and noise. You do wear your helmet when riding, right? Hope so.
Can put/pull the helmet on over earbuds. Most of the earbuds were pulled or knocked loose when getting the helmet on. The only ones that stayed put were those with ear hooks. But, even those pulled loose (sometimes) when taking off the helmet.
Ignore the phone calls when riding. Listening to music is one thing, but talking on the phone while riding is a definite no, no, and no. It’s just too much of a distraction, thinking about what you say and hear. Your life is worth more. So, when riding, its music-only (although all tested well for making and receiving calls).
Transparency. This feature lets you hear just enough of your surroundings so you’re aware of sirens honking horns, etc.
Active Noise Cancellation. This wasn’t as important as I thought it would be. Noise isolation worked as well for riding, and didn’t bulk up the earbud hardware any.
Bluetooth/Pairing. All had good range, with a minimum of 10-12 feet distance, and all paired automatically.
Price. When I saw that the newest, hottest AirPods Pro 2 retailed at $249, I wondered if Las Vegas and breakfast were included at that price.
Sound quality. To test frequency, range, and the audio quality, I used several YouTube.com videos, starting with the TXH we hear before a movie:
Conclusions. AirPods by Apple are a nice status-y symbol, but nobody will see what you have under your helmet if they worked with a helmet. I’ve tried them, but pulling a helmet over them just doesn’t work. Besides, you can do much more with $249 than spend it for AirPods. That’s true on or off the bike, as you’ll read down below.
For your hard-earned money, here’s your on-bike winner:
Now, to the off-bike winner. While the earhook design winner works just as well off-bike as on-bike, some people like a different look and/or sound ability when off-bike. That's where the BE60 fits in (pun intended). Its got all the latest tech built-in, with really superior sound ability. We tested it with the above Audio Test Links, and the results just blew us away!
Look Familiar? Well, it’s not from Cupertino, if you understand the reference. Although it has Active Noise Cancellation, Deep Bass Immersive Sound, wireless charging; pretty much all the features of the Airpod Pro 2, but without the hefty $249 price.
I’ve personally tested each of six sets of earbuds for quality, features, and performance. These two blew me away, and, while I’ll offer these two here, I’ll go the extra mile and price these below $90.