Black Friday is still a week away, but the first deals include a wide variety of headphones with solid discounts. We mainly focus on TWS earbuds, but there are some over-ear models as well.
Starting with Samsung, the company is pushing its Shop Samsung app and offering exclusive discounts. The Galaxy Buds FE were already the cheapest in the Samsung TWS line, now they are even cheaper. These sub-$100 earbuds have ANC and multipoint connectivity and promise up to 6 hours of listening time (with ANC on).
Note: When you follow the links to Samsung below, you will be asked if you want the online store or the Shop Samsung app. Choose the app for additional discounts not found in the web store.
The alternative is to get the Galaxy Buds2. They are very similar, but add wireless charging support for the case and 360 audio for the headphones. FE models have wing-shaped tips, which offer a more comfortable and secure fit in some people’s ears.
The Galaxy Buds2 Pro are head and shoulders above their brothers with two speakers: tweeter + woofer in each bud. They also have an IPX7 water resistance rating, which is more reassuring than the basic IPX2 offered by the Buds2 and Buds FE.
Google’s Pixel Buds Pro have always cost less than the Galaxy Buds2 Pro and that remains the case with the latest discounts. These only have an IPX4 rating, but that’s better than the Buds2 (and they’re only $20 between them). The Pixel buds also have better battery life than the Samsung headphones.
The Google Pixel Buds A-Series is a cheaper option (half the price of the Buds Pro). However, instead of using ANC, Google tried to get clever with Adaptive Sound, which tries to mask noise rather than cancel it and doesn’t work as well as it alters the sound: good enough for calls, but noticeably distorts music.
It can be even cheaper: For just $30, the OnePlus Nord Buds 2 have ANC (they promise to eliminate up to 25 dB of noise). It’s obviously not the best, but it’s more than what competitors offer at this price. They have good audio, latency and battery life too.
If you splurge and spend $100, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 have much better ANC and we found them to be quite comfortable. They support LHDC and LC3 codecs for high-quality audio, plus cool tricks like spatial audio.
The Sony WF-1000XM5 have stellar noise cancellation capabilities, much of which is due to the foam ear pads. They’re also physically smaller than the XM4 generation and offer even better audio quality than them (and those were already pretty good).
It’s time for some over-ear models. The Sony WH-1000XM5 have better ANC than their predecessors (although not as good at low frequencies). However, please note that these are not waterproof.
The older Sony WH-1000XM4 still offers excellent ANC and audio quality, plus the new hinge design on the XM5 model is not as comfortable as the previous one. Combine that with the lowest price and this could be the best option for you.
Finally, a pair of gaming-oriented over-ear headphones. Both Sony INZONE models have boom microphones that automatically mute when you twist them away from you. Both can use a wired connection (in fact, the H3s are wired only) for the lowest possible latency. The INZONE H9 also comes with a dongle for a low-latency wireless connection and can simultaneously connect via Bluetooth to another device like your phone. Both the H3 and H9 support 360 Spatial Sound.
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