Which Set of True Wireless Earbuds Is The Best For Making Phone Calls?

Credit: Beats

It’s one thing to listen to audio playback on true wireless earbuds, it’s quite another to use them to answer a phone call. Our reviews usually focus on the former, so we threw a dozen sets of true wireless earbuds in a bag and put them to the test to see which one provided the best audio quality - both indoors and outdoors.

Our indoors test was about hearing what the best-case results for the earbuds sound like. We recorded our samples in a quiet part of the office and behind closed doors.

By contrast, outdoors test was about seeing how each set of earbuds fared in less than ideal conditions. We recorded near (but not directly next to) a main road in the middle of the day. There was also a bit of wind involved, which you can hear in the samples. The kind of experience you'd get if you chose to make a call while you walked down a street during the day. Again, the idea here is to show how each set of earbuds fares in less than perfect (but not uncommon) scenarios.

You can listen to our samples below to hear what each one sounds like. The idea here isn’t just to determine which earbuds is the best but also to give you a better idea of whether it’s actually worth spending more to get that slightly-better microphone.

None of the below come anywhere close to the fidelity you’d get out of a studio mic but some are noticeably better than others.

Jabra Elite 65t - RRP $299

Credit: Jabra

Indoors

Outdoors

You can read our full review of the Jabra Elite 65t here.

Samsung Gear IconX (2016) 

Credit: Samsung

Indoors

Outdoors

Note - the original Samsung Gear IconX are more-or-less discontinued but I wanted to include them here to highlight the difference in microphone quality between them and their 2018 counterparts.

Samsung IconX (2018) - RRP $299

Credit: Samsung

Indoors

Outdoors

You can read our review of the 2nd gen IconX earbuds here.

Plantronics BlackBeat Fit 3100 - RRP $239

Credit: Plantronics

Indoors

Outdoors

You can read our full review of the Plantronics BackBeat 3100.

Sony WF-SP700N - RRP $299

Credit: Sony

Indoors

Outdoors

You can read our full review of the Sony WF-SP700N here.

Sony WF-SP900 - RRP $499

Credit: Sony

Indoors


Outdoors

You can read our full review of the Sony WF-SP900 here.

Sennheiser Momentum TW - $500

Credit: Sennheiser

Indoors

Outdoors

You can read our full review of the Sennheiser Momentum TW here.

Huawei Freebuds - RRP $199

Credit: Huawei

Indoors

Outdoors

You can read our full review of the Huawei Freebuds here.


TicPods Free - RRP $159

Credit: Mobvoi

Indoors


Outdoors

You can read our full review of the TicPods Free here.

Jaybird RUN XT - RRP $279

Credit: Jaybird

Indoors

Outdoors


JBL Free X - RRP $199

Credit: JBL

Indoors


Outdoors


AXUM Gear (2nd Gen) - RRP $189

Credit: AXUM Gear

Indoors

Outdoors

Cygnett Freeplay Earbuds - RRP $129

Credit: Cygnett

Indoors

Outdoors

You can read our review of the Cygnett Freeplay here.

Havit G1W - RRP $79

Credit: HAVIT

Indoors

Outdoors

You can read our full review of the Havit G1W here.

Our Verdict

As you might expect, we generally found the microphone quality went up as the RRP of the earbuds in question did. However, all the same, very few of the options truly impressed us when it came to sound quality.

If you're looking to do some serious recording, I wouldn't be choosing any of the above over a more conventional microphone. Still, we came away particularly surprised with the TicPods (which sound great considering their price) and a little disappointed with Huawei's FreeBuds (which sounded more mediocre than we expected). Hopefully, the rumored second-gen FreeBuds bring with them significant improvements.

Credit: Jabra

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Fergus Halliday
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