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Shopping for headphones on Prime Day? Here are 9 of the best earbuds on Amazon. — 05/30/2018

Shopping for headphones on Prime Day? Here are 9 of the best earbuds on Amazon.

Sure, they’re small, but that doesn’t mean earbuds are a purchase to be taken lightly.

You’ve probably been listening to music on the go for most of your life. So you know that finding a good pair of earbuds is actually pretty tricky. (I’ve gone through more in my lifetime than I can count.) 

And while picking up a $5 pair in the checkout line is easy enough, you know you’ll just be back again next month (or sooner) for a new pair because they stopped working.

Does that mean all earbuds are crap? No. It’s simply not true that bass, noise cancellation, and crisp sound can only be found in fancy over-ear headphones. Some of us prefer our headphones to be a little more inconspicuous and portable.

Since it’s always good to get a personal recommendation, we did some research and pulled out the best earbuds on Amazon, based on actual customer reviews. We looked at which products have the most reviews and highest star ratings to compile this list, which features the earbuds that the greatest numbers of people have been happiest with.

We’ve also split them into categories: The ones you’ll need a headphone jack or the beloved dongle for, the wireless Bluetooth earbuds that are still connected with a cord, and the truly wireless earbuds that are as discreet as you can get. 

Whatever your preference and whatever your price range, you’re sure to find some that don’t suck. Scroll through to see our top picks.

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Image: Panasonic

The Good

Ergo-fit bud that conforms to your ear • Noise cancellation is better than expected at this price

The Bad

Probably doesn’t have the same sound quality as higher-end options • No remote controls on the cord

The Bottom Line

If you lose your earbuds a lot, or are just on a budget, these are highly-rated.

Panasonic RP-HJE120-PPK In-Ear Stereo Earphones

If you’re not looking for over-the-top sound features and just need a pair to get the job done, these are for you.

You shouldn’t pick a pair of earbuds simply because of an attractive low price, but that’s not to say that quality earbuds can’t be 10 bucks. The Panasonic RP-HJE120-PPK In-Ear Stereo Earphones have a super comfy ergo-fit bud that’s said to conform to the shape of your ear. If you’re not looking for over-the-top sound features and just need a pair to get the job done, these are for you — though some customers also mention that their noise cancellation and bass clarity is pretty impressive for such a low price.

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Image: Symphonized

The Good

Made from genuine wood • Take phone calls • Highly-rated sound quality

The Bad

Not a lot of bad things to say!

The Bottom Line

Many reviewers express surprise that these stylish buds have such great sound quality at such a low price.

Symphonized NRG 3.0 Wooden Headphones

These are just as functional as they are classy, handcrafted from genuine wood that offers up insane natural acoustics.

This pair gives off total “I smoke cigars and sit by the fireplace in a robe” vibes. The Symphonized NRG 3.0 Wooden Headphones are just as functional as they are classy, handcrafted from genuine wood that offers up insane natural acoustics. Deep bass and clear sound is also present, with multiple earbud sizes to seal out background nose. The colorful cord features buttons for volume control, voice commands, and phone calls. Basically, they’re fancy AF and totally don’t look like they’re under 25 bucks — but they are.

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Image: Sony

The Good

Great bass and balance • Highly-rated fit

The Bad

Not a lot of bad things to say!

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for great sound quality at an affordable price, these could be it.

Sony MDRXB50AP Extra Bass Earbud Headset

Bass this bumpin’ is pretty hard to find in earbuds under $100, so these are a good pick.

At a slightly higher price point (but still a steal considering what they can do), the Sony MDRXB50AP Extra Bass Earbud Headset are ace. Interior neodymium magnets give them powerful, equal sound in each ear, and 12-millimeter dome driver units (the metallic things on the earpiece) deliver bass that is truly extra. Bass that bumpin’ is honestly pretty hard to find in earbuds under $100, so if the audiophile in you cares about that, these are your pick.

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Image: bose

The Good

Good bass and clarity • Comfortable fit • Good customer service

The Bad

Some reviewers reported the control remote coming apart • Not very loud • Not the most durable

The Bottom Line

These might not last a lifetime, but they provide good quality and customer service will send a replacement pair if yours breaks.

Bose SoundSport wireless headphones

Get the mobility of wireless without the anxiety that comes with untethered earbuds.

These Bose SoundSport earbuds give you the freedom and mobility of wireless earbuds with the convenience and control of a remote. The cord attaching the two buds features a panel for play/pause, volume, and track skipping.
You can wear these while you work out and you won’t have to worry about losing one of the earbuds if it falls out (which it probably won’t because these earbuds feature customizable tips and ear hooks), and these are sweat- and weather-resistant. You get six hours of listening per charge.

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Image: Otium

The Good

Sweatproof • Ear hook for extra security • Eight hours of listening on a charge

The Bad

Some reviews said they stopped working, but got free replacements

The Bottom Line

If you’re willing to bet that your pair won’t stop working after a few months, these could be an excellent deal.

Otium Wireless Sport Headphones

Sweatproof and equipped with a comfortable ear hook, these little guys are perfect for vigorous workouts.

Hey gym addicts: The Otium Wireless Sport Headphones just might be the workout headphones you’ve been waiting for. Sweatproof and equipped with a comfortable ear hook to ensure security, these little guys are perfect for vigorous workouts, running, biking, or anything in-between. The sound quality is also superb — their EDR technology basically means clear bass and no muddied sound, even at its loudest volume. (One customer said they’re even comparable to Beats.) According to the listing, you can fit in eight hours of listening time on one full charge.

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Image: apple

The Good

Sweat- and water-resistant • Active noise cancellation • Transparency mode for hearing environmental noises

The Bad

Pricey • Not always in stock

The Bottom Line

If you’ve got the money, these are a really solid pair of wireless earbuds.

AirPods Pro

With excellent sound quality and active noise cancellation, AirPods Pro are a top pick.

We can’t talk about wireless earbuds without talking about Apple’s AirPods Pro. These babies take the cake when it comes to active noise cancellation, which is not something you can get with just any earbuds. Unlike regular AirPods, the Pros have tapered silicone tips that provide a customizable fit in your ear. Shorter stems also make the Pros a little more inconspicuous. The slim charging case provides more than 24 hours of battery life for extended listening. 
Active noise cancellation is great, but sometimes you need to hear what’s going on outside of your music. That’s where transparency mode comes in. It lets in outside sound, so you’re not walking around cut off from the world around you.

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Image: Bose

The Good

Sweat- and weather-resistant • Excellent sound quality • Includes “find my buds” app feature

The Bad

Bulky charging case • Battery life could be longer

The Bottom Line

If you want the best wire-free option with loss-prevention tech, these could be worth the price tag.

Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless Sport Headphones

With the SoundSport Free, Bose focuses on improved sound and maximum Bluetooth signal.

Want to be completely worry-free during a workout? The Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless Sport Headphones are here to say you no longer have to choose between sound and a fit that stays. For Bose’s latest and greatest, the creators focused on every little technical aspect, from circuits for improved sound to antenna position for maximum Bluetooth signal. Even in a crowded gym, all you’ll hear is your music: Volume-optimized EQ makes music three-dimensional and balanced at any volume. Bose claims these are sweat and weather resistant, and they come with three different pairs of StayHear+ Sport tips for extra comfort and security. If you lose them, you can find them in a second with the “Find My Buds” feature on the Bose Connect app.

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Image: samsung

The Good

Easily control surrounding sound • Comfortable fit • Wireless charging

The Bad

Customer complaints about Bluetooth connectivity • Bulky charging case

The Bottom Line

These highly rated earbuds are great for users who prioritize sound and are passionate about their playlists.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Bluetooth earbuds

Quick Ambient Mode will alert you to important sounds such as oncoming traffic and ambulance sirens.

You ever replay a song while listening to it because you feel like you’re not giving it the attention it rightfully deserves? Yeah, that will never happen again with the Samsung Galaxy Bluetooth buds. The Samsung Galaxy buds allow you to control the sound around you, so you won’t be distracted by any outside noise, making these great for travel and other times you just want to zone out and feel alone. 
But don’t worry, Quick Ambient Mode will alert you to important sounds such as oncoming traffic and ambulance sirens. And you won’t have to worry about these buds randomly falling out of your ear (or onto subway tracks) — Samsung Galaxy Buds come with three adjustable ear tip and wingtip sizes, so you can comfortably zone out to your favorite tunes without fear of them falling out.

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Image: BEATS

The Good

Great sound quality • Excellent fit • Volume and track controls on earbuds

The Bad

Bulky case • Sounds quality lacks if you do not have the proper seal (use the correct fitting tips)

The Bottom Line

These earbuds will stay in your ears no matter what kind of activity you’re doing.

Power Beats Pro totally wireless earbuds

These earbuds combine Beats quality sound with connivence and comfort.

Beats is known for its quality sound and high performance. Of course these earbuds are no different, bringing you the same sound that you love and your playlist deserves while also offering quality comfort. 
Designed for those on the move, the Power Beats Pro totally wireless earbuds are both sweat and water resistant. And with nine straight hours of listening time these earbuds will last long after you leave the gym. Plus, with the charging case you get up to 24 hours of listening.
Best noise-canceling headphones for blocking out unwanted sounds — 05/09/2018

Best noise-canceling headphones for blocking out unwanted sounds

BEST DEALS ON NOISE-CANCELING HEADPHONES:


Listening to music is so much more than a distraction when you’re alone in public. It can have a profound effect on your state of mind, and it’s the reason we’re willing to spend iPad-level cash on headphones instead of opting for a cheap pair in the checkout line. Listening to music (or podcasts, or audiobooks) can be an integral part of getting through that daily commute or a long flight.

But if the incessant sound of jet engines, distracting chatter of a coworker, or deafening bass of partying neighbors prevents you from reaching that euphoric place — or from just getting your work done — noise-canceling headphones will be one of your favorite adult investment. (And if you’re in the market for a Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Prime Day deal, it’s helpful to learn which devices are the best so when the sales start you’ll know what to buy. Prime Day is just around the corner BTW, so you want to lock down which pair of noise-canceling headphones you want ASAP.)

Do noise-canceling headphones actually work?

There’s a big difference between outside noise being blocked and music simply being loud. Just like not every pair of expensive glasses protect your eyes from blue light, a pair of pricey headphones doesn’t guarantee they have noise cancelation. For instance, the Beats Solo 3 are a great pair of headphones with special features like Apple’s W1 chip, but they don’t offer active noise cancelation. 

Active noise-canceling headphones can electronically remove the sound coming from your surroundings. They work by using internal microphones that listen to what’s happening in the world around you, then inverting the noise and sending it into the loudspeaker. The idea is, both the  output and the input will cancel out, leaving you with near-silence — or the music you want to listen to. Over-ear headphones are also able to create a tight seal around your ear that adds another layer of sound blocking.

In the past, not many earbuds featured active noise cancellation, but now there are plenty of noise-canceling earbuds if you don’t like the bulkiness of headphones. Earbuds can’t get the same seal that headphones can, though, so if you’re a noise cancellation snob, stick with headphones.

What are the best noise-canceling headphones to buy?

Bose and Sony are both top names when it comes to any type of audio, but especially noise-canceling headphones. Both brands feature industry-leading noise cancellation on top of superb sound quality. There are also some other brands and models of noise-canceling headphones worth checking out. We’ve laid everything out for you below.

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Image: bose

The Good

One-touch Spotify access • 11 levels of noise cancellation • Adaptive microphone • Sync with other Bose speakers and headphones

The Bad

Less comfortable than the QuietComforts • Can’t turn off the voice that tells you what’s paired and gives battery status updates

The Bottom Line

With a few minor annoyances, the pros outweigh the cons for these impressive noise-canceling headphones from Bose.

Bose 700 over-ear noise-canceling headphones

The Bose 700s have unmatched sound quality and 11 levels of noise cancellation.

  • Battery life:
    Up to 20 hours
  • Bluetooth range:
    33 feet
  • App-connected:
    Yes
The Bose 700s are top tier. They feature 11 levels of active noise cancellation. The sound quality is the excellence you expect from Bose, and the headphones’ microphone has unrivaled voice pickup, so people on the other end of your calls will hear you and not the passing cars or windy background.
These headphones have built-in voice assistants for music, navigation, weather, and more controls. The coolest feature, though, is that if you’re using an iOS device, you can tap and hold the right earcup and it will resume your last Spotify session without you having to pull out your phone and open the app.

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Image: bose

The Good

Flawless noise cancelation • Highly-customizable sound settings • Impressive battery life • Light and comfy

The Bad

Fewer controls and customizations than Sony • Not great at switching between multiple devices

The Bottom Line

The QuietComfort 35s supply some of the best sound and noise cancellation money can buy.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

The QC 35s are the archetype for ANC headphones and constantly adapt to your surroundings.

  • Battery life:
    20 hours wireless, 40 hours wired
  • Bluetooth range:
    30 feet
  • App-connected:
    yes
Bose, the veteran of noise-canceling tech, is universally recognized —even by people who couldn’t care less about fancy audio. The Quiet Comfort 35 II headphones hold down the fort as the best on Bose’s roster and some of the best you can buy period
The second generation of the QC 35 are the product of over 30 years of perfecting ambient noise blocking. The Action button lets you switch between settings (low for windy environments or high for things like voices, crowds, or engines), and the headphones continuously measure and react to protect against unwanted noises. Seriously, the silence is sublime. The addition of Alexa lets you use voice commands to control music, receive texts, or read notifications without having to look at your phone. 

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Image: sony

The Good

Alexa and Google Assistant built in • Special features for flying and ambient sound monitoring • App offers tons of customization • Touch controls directly on the ear pieces

The Bad

No multi-device support • Headband is creaky

The Bottom Line

Sony’s superb noise-cancelation and top-tier smart features give Bose a run for its money.

Sony WH1000XM3

Sony’s most intuitive headphones are Alexa-enabled and have a great high altitude feature.

  • Battery life:
    30 hours
  • Bluetooth range:
    33 feet
  • App-connected:
    yes
Noise cancellation isn’t one size fits all, and Sony’s flagship headphones are especially clutch for traveling. The 1000XM3 headphones automatically detect the noise in your environment and balance the blockage accordingly. The HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1 chip is apparently four times more powerful than that of the 1000XM2 (which was already really good). Frequent flyers will appreciate the atmospheric pressure optimizer, designed to nix droning sounds at high altitudes.
You can control stuff without getting your phone out, too. Hovering over the right ear cup lets you control songs, volume, and microphones for phone calls. One standout feature is Quick Attention mode, which lets you hear background noise (like an announcement in the airport) without completely stopping your music. Touching the ear cup is also how you access Google Assistant and Alexa.
If you’re constantly mishearing song lyrics, this is the clear, punchy audio you’ve been waiting for. While Bose tends to be more neutral, Sony’s signature sound is rich, boomy, and takes details to the next level. 

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Image: bang & olufsen

The Good

ANC mutes everything • “ToneTouch” audio customization • Chic design • Super wide Bluetooth range

The Bad

Older model • Sound quality lessens with ANC turned on

The Bottom Line

Denmark’s superstar audio brand gives us a rare pair of genuinely stylish headphones that sound great, too.

B&O Beoplay H9i

These luxe headphones were carefully crafted with rich looks outside and rich sound inside.

  • Battery life:
    18 hours
  • Bluetooth range:
    121 feet
  • App-connected:
    yes
Bang & Olufsen didn’t come to play with the H9i headphones. They actually sport a stylish design and feature noise cancellation that deserves just as much hype. Their on-ear design won’t make you look like you’re always on your way to deejay somewhere.
In addition to looks, the H9i headphones are armed with stellar active noise cancellation, getting you the next best thing to muting the outside world. Bass, treble, and mids will come in crystal clear, but the “ToneTouch” section of the app lets you adjust music with options like warm, excited, relaxed, and bright. Remove your headphones to trigger the proximity sensor and pause music completely, or use the Transparency Mode button to lower volume and quickly tune into your surroundings.

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Image: bowers & wilkins

The Good

Included carrying case • ANC modes based on environment • B&W’s spacial sound is just as great wireless • Impressive Bluetooth range

The Bad

Not comfy for long periods • Fold awkwardly

The Bottom Line

Get the B&W quality you expect with the convenience of wireless connectivity.

Bowers & Wilkins PX

These are classy AF and offer some of the best-in-class ANC, particularly in outdoor settings.

  • Battery life:
    22 hours wireless, 33 hours wired
  • Bluetooth range:
    98 feet
  • App-connected:
    yes
Bowers & Wilkins has been on that speaker game since the 1960s, mastered wired headphones first, then brought the expertise to wireless noice-canceling headphones with the PX
If you’re concerned about Bluetooth headphones sounding inauthentic, know that the PX headphones have angled units that are derived from the P9 signature — one of B&W’s most beloved wired headphones. It’s the solid performance you’d expect, surrounding your ears with super roomy, powerful audio. Rock and electronic music particularly shine here, but softer vocals may leave you wanting more.
Spacial sound will have you in the zone, and the eminent noise blocking of the PX headphones will ensure that distractions are prevented at all costs. The tunnel vision (er, sound) is achieved by using sensors to adapt to your surroundings and customize the type of blockage, made even more specific with noise-cancellation modes like “flight,” “city,” and “office.” The buttons take some getting used to, but sound can also be controlled with the PX app or by lifting up the ear cups.
The physical design also deserves some kudos. Large headphones can quickly cross into obnoxious territory, these have a sleek aesthetic. An included carrying case is always a bonus, but it’s even better when it’s this nice and protective (and not a dinky drawstring bag.) Unfortunately, the PX headphones are known to get tight after bouts of long wear. 

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Image: beats

The Good

Connect via Apple W1 chip • Tons of color options • Volume and play controls on ear piece • Impressive Bluetooth range

The Bad

Audio controls are touch rather than buttons, making them hard to see • Other brands have better sound quality for similar price

The Bottom Line

The Pure ANC is reason enough to purchase, but iPhone users will kill for that W1 chip connection.

Beats Studio3

The only Beats with noise cancellation do an impressive job and have an impressive color selection.

  • Battery life:
    40 hours pure ANC off, 22 hours pure ANC on
  • Bluetooth range:
    100 feet
  • App-connected:
    yes
Beats by Dr. Dre get hyped up by audiophiles and casual listeners alike, and the Apple-owned company nailed noise cancellation with the Beats Studio3 model.
For iPhone users, Apple’s W1 chip is the one major advantage Beats have over all other over-ear headphones. Any headphones with the chip will skip pairing and automatically connect between any devices signed into your iCloud account. The chip also sees improved connections over distances and improved battery life — some walls or a few flights of stairs won’t cause your music to flinch, and 10 minutes of charging gets you three hours of listening.
There’s a reason you can’t get on public transportation without seeing a pair of these, and it’s not just because of the clout that comes with Beats. The Pure Noise Cancellation uses microphones that continually scan your environment and block low-frequency sounds, putting a soundproof bubble around you even in the loud-as-shit subway. The Pure ANC also analyzes how your headphones fit and adjusts the sound to prevent leakage.
Beats are known for that EDM subwoofer sound, but the Studio3s have turned it down (thankfully) for a clearer, more balanced presentation. Apparently, the speakers measure and calibrate audio up to 50,000 times per second to minimize distortion and achieve accurate timing. Beats’ punchy signature sound is definitely still present, and it’s more of a surround-sound feeling than ever.

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Image: plantronics

The Good

Responsive ear cup gestures • Impressive battery life, even in wireless mode • Well-designed controls

The Bad

Annoying sound effect when you put them on • Uncomfortable after long wear • Noise cancellation doesn’t compare to more expensive pairs

The Bottom Line

The ANC isn’t perfect, but the Pro 2 headphones are still a steal and last a full day on one charge.

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

These Bose alternatives will surprise you with functional smart features and energetic sound.

  • Battery life:
    24 hours
  • Bluetooth range:
    30 feet
  • App-connected:
    yes
Every pair of noise-canceling headphones is either really nice and $300 or really shitty and $50. There is usually no in between. The exception: the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 headphones. They’re a fantastic value alternative to Bose and Sony that won’t require you to give up decent specs.
The second generation BackBeat Pro headphones use sensors to detect when you’ve removed them, which will trigger the music to stop. Switching between devices is easy, the Bluetooth aptX HD connection is flawless, and button placement is extremely sensible. There’s even a switch for ambient noise mode to hear what’s around you without completely shutting ANC off — a convenience you’d usually only find in premium competitors. 
The ANC won’t freeze every nearby voice, but it’s definitely enough to get you through a loud city commute or studying through construction outside your window. The sound is fun and energetic (albeit bass-heavy), with slightly muted highs for pleasant extended listening sessions. And if you won’t be using them all day, every day, you could easily get a week’s worth of use on one charge.

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Image: apple

The Good

Portable • Pair seamlessly with Apple products • Three sizes of silicone tips • Sweat and water resistant

The Bad

Active noise cancellation can’t compare to headphones • Ear tips might be uncomfortable after extended wear • Microphone picks up surrounding sounds on calls

The Bottom Line

AirPods Pro provide good sound quality and noise cancellation without the bulk of headphones.

AirPods Pro

If you prefer earbuds to headphones, the AirPods Pro provide good noise cancellation.

  • Battery life:
    4.5 hours (up to 24 hours with charging case)
  • Bluetooth range:
    30 to 60 feet
  • App-connected:
    No
While the original AirPods did not have noise cancellation, the AirPods Pro do. The silicone tips create a seal while the internal microphone counteracts outside noise to bring you active noise cancellation in a pair of wireless earbuds. You won’t get the same level of ANC or the same sound quality as headphones with larger speakers, but the AirPods Pro are seriously impressive and portable.
Holding down an earbud’s stem activates transparency mode that lets you hear outside noise if you need to be aware of what’s going on around you. You can also play/pause music and skip or go back to songs by squeezing the stem. When you open the AirPods Pro’s case, they should automatically connect to your iPhone, which adds a nice level of convenience. 

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Image: bose

The Good

Great for sleeping and the gym • Decent noise-cancellation for the size

The Bad

Not wireless • Rechargeable battery isn’t replaceable

The Bottom Line

Bose manages to pack powerful noise cancellation technology into compact buds that refuse to fall out.

Bose QuietComfort 20

You’ll be wowed by the oomph of these inconspicuous noice-canceling buds.

  • Battery life:
    16 hours
  • Bluetooth range:
    N/A
  • App-connected:
    no
If you prefer earbuds to over-ear headphones, the Bose QuietComfort 20 headphones are an option that tune out your environment while staying inconspicuous. We know, we know — they’re not wireless and they have to be recharged. But you get great sound quality and don’t have to worry about losing them the way you would with wireless earbuds.
Noise cancellation this downsized is achieved by housing two tiny microphones in each compact bud. All four work together to pick up external sound, constantly determining the proper amount of low tones required to tune things out. Though over-ear headphones have a size advantage by covering the entire ear, the snug fit of the StayHear+ tips do a good job of keeping out distractions. There’s an “aware” button to let you partially tune into the outside world, plus a button to totally turn noise-cancellation off. Once the rechargeable battery dies, they pretty much just work like regular headphones.
Kickass speakers were squeezed into the earbuds as well. Sound is smooth and relatively dynamic for how small the buds are, and the quality gets an extra boost when the NC is on. They use Bose’s Triport technology, which uses little vents and holes to act like ports on a speaker, giving the illusion of deeper bass inside the headphones. Cover one with your finger and you can hear the difference.