Although Cambridge Audio is best known for high-end audio equipment and other products, the British company has expanded into wireless earbuds. The Melomania 1 was its first offering. They are among the most high-quality wireless earbuds available. However, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus is a worthy upgrade.
It puts many other earbuds to shame in terms of audio performance, battery life and ease-of use. The design of the Melomania 1 Plus isn’t too different from the Melomania 1 but there has been a significant improvement in audio performance. It offers a level of clarity and detail that rivals the best over-ear headphones.
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TCL is well-known for its Roku-powered TVs that are high-quality and high-value, but it has entered the headphones market in recent years. Although I was not impressed by its older models, the Moveaudio S600 has excellent sound quality and active noise cancellation.
It also offers decent battery life (upto 6.2 hours with noise cancellation on and up to eight hours with it off) with three additional charges from its charging case. The headset’s performance in voice calls was decent but not up to the AirPods Pro. Wireless charging is available in the charging case.
These cases are geared more towards Android users, as TCL makes budget Android phones. They also feature Google Fast Pair. They work well with iPhones, and TCL’s companion application is available for Android and iOS (where you can adjust the sound and touch controls). These earbuds are compatible with the AAC audio codec, but not aptX. They automatically pause music when you take the earbuds from your ears.
They are IP54 splash- and dirt-proof. Although the stems are slightly long, the earbuds fit comfortably. I used the largest eartips to achieve a tight seal. There are three colors available for the S600. The AirPods Pros are a step above the regular AirPods that you will find lower down on this list.
Although they are more expensive, you get better sound quality and comfort due to the inclusion ear tips. It reduces street noise to a background hum that is easy to ignore. This is what active noise cancellation does.
This improved sound quality is worth a mention. The AirPod Pros are typical Apple and have a neutral tone balance, rather than a lot of bass. Nothing stands out more than not fitting in with overall sonic cohesion. However, noise cancellation can cause some distortion to the sound quality.
Although the Sony WF-1000XM3s sound much better, iPhone users will want to try these wireless earbuds. The Sony WF-XB700 is a great option for anyone looking for wireless earbuds that are more affordable and sport-friendly. The battery life is reasonable at 18 hours, with nine hours of use from the buds and nine hours from their case.
They also have an IPX4 rating, which provides protection against water splashing (but not the case). They are not easy to put in, and it takes some time to secure them. However, once they are in place you will almost forget about them except for when you need to use each button to control them. WF-XB700 is part of the company’s Extra Bass range.
They are tuned to emphasize low-frequency response rather than provide a neutral sonic equilibrium. Their low-end is meaty, but it doesn’t overwhelm the mid and high frequencies. You’ll find a good punch, pleasing agility, and a nice tautness to it. You could get a lot worse for the same price as some rivals, which boast more detail and subtlety.
The charging case’s bottom has one Lightning port and a button at the back that allows you to enter Bluetooth pairing mode. The magnets that seal the lid make the case stand out. To secure the earbuds, magnets are also found inside the case. Only the LED light at the front of the case that allows charging and pairing is visible between the AirPods original and new AirPods (2019).
You would need to open the case to view it as it was on the inside. When using Apple AirPods, the case is essential. It’s easy to lose or misplace the Apple AirPods if you don’t bring it. The original design and build have not changed, so we did a fit testing video. It’s as easy as taping connect on the card on your iOS device to connect to it.
Connecting to one device will also allow you to connect to all devices on your iCloud account. My iPad Air was connected to the internet and music did not skip once during testing (except when I was testing range, but that does not count). All of iOS’s cool features and sensors are available to you.
You can use one earbud to pause music and place it back in your ear to resume the music. The new AirPods also have an H1 chip, which is more recent than the W1 chip. This allows you to use the “Hey Siri” phrase to activate your voice assistant hands-free. If you need to get more juice from these batteries, you can turn it off in the settings. Apple claims the battery can last for 5 hours with a single charge.
However, our objective testing didn’t show that it could. At 75dB, we found that the Apple AirPods can playback for 4 hours and 7 minutes using the AAC codec on an iPhone X. The H1 chip appears to provide 21% more life than the original version of Apple’s wireless earbuds.
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Although this may seem like a substantial increase, it’s only about 30 minutes more battery life due to the small power cell. I have noticed a strange thing after a few months of using Airpods. AirPods still don’t sound great, they don’t look good and some of their features drive me crazy. Yet, I find myself returning to the AirPods.
Apple’s candy-cane headphones have so many positives that, despite their flaws, I can overlook them. They are easy to pair and comfortable enough to wear for hours. Sometimes. The AirPods are a lesson in compromises. They’re loose and easy to wear, but I’m unable to hear my podcast if the train is too loud.
Although I love the fact that I can pop one bud out of my ear and music will pause, I find it annoying that when I hold the bud in my hands I accidentally tap on the side to start the music again. Although they are simple, I find it hard to change the volume without my phone or Siri. It’s great that there aren’t wires! It is a pain that they can’t be taken off and wrapped around my neck.