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Five Affordable True Wireless Earbuds... But Which Pair Is Right For You?

This month I’ve looked at five affordable pairs of true wireless Bluetooth earbuds all costing less than $100. There’s are some great models on the market right now and some star performers. These days you get a lot more for your money and it’s hard to buy a bad pair of earbuds.

Best For Android ­– Cleer NC Roam

The Cleer NC Roam are an affordable pair of true wireless earbuds that offer ANC (active noise cancelation) which is a great feature for blocking out unwanted sounds like aircraft engines or a train running over tracks.

The Cleer NC Roam earbuds support SBC and aptX audio codecs which make them great for use with Android devices. Lack of support for the AAC codec that Apple uses means they may not so good when used with iPhones or iPads. That said, these earbuds sounded pretty good even on the basic SBC codec.

The batteries of the Cleer NC Roam offer five hours playtime on a single charge, plus two complete extra charges in the storage case. The earbuds come with a selection of different sized ear tips and they are also waterproof to IPX4 standard, sufficient for withstanding drizzle or a bit of light rain.


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There are two beamforming microphones inside the Cleer NC Roam for clearer phone calls and for sampling unwanted noise. Cleer produces a free smartphone app that can be used to adjust the EQ of these earbuds as well as customizing the controls and noise-canceling function.

The Cleer NC Roam have a dynamic and punchy sound with a tone that is well balanced and with good volume levels. If you want a pair of ANC earbuds for use with your Android smartphone or tablet, these could be your best bet.

Price: £59.99 / $59.99 / €59.99

More info: cleeraudio.com

Best All-Rounder – Tronsmart Onyx Apex ANC

The Tronsmart Onyx Apex ANC are an excellent pair of true wireless earbuds with support for Qualcomm’s excellent aptX Adaptive codec as well as the AAC audio codec that Apple iOS devices use.

Powered by Qualcomm’s superb QCC3040 chip, the Onyx Apex ANC use the latest Bluetooth 5.2 protocol and include cVc 8 technology for reducing any noise picked up by the four built-in microphones. The quad mic arrangement is great for making phone calls, video chats, plus giving commands to a favorite voice assistant.

The sound from the Onyx Apex ANC is biased towards the midrange and treble, despite using a large 10mm diameter driver that Tronsmart describes as being big on bass. There is plenty of bass but it’s not a thick and muddy tone. The Onyx Apex ANC produces a neutral and detailed sound that suits most music genres. There’s a smartphone app available for customising the Onyx Apex.

The ANC function also works well at blocking out continuous low-frequency sounds like HVAC systems or road noise. It’s not as effective at canceling noises as a pair of over-the-ear headphones like Sony or Bose, but it’s not bad at all.

The battery life of the Onyx Apex ANC earbuds is up to 24 hours with the backup charge in the storage case. The earbuds can play continuously for up to six hours on a single charge. Great value for money.

Price: $49.99 / £49.99 / €49.99

Five Affordable True Wireless Earbuds... But Which Pair Is Right For You?

More info: www.tronsmart.com

Best For Fashion Conscious – Xiaomi Redmi Buds 3Pro

The Redmi Buds 3Pro from Xiaomi are likely to appeal to fashion conscious consumers because they look so cute and beautiful. They partner well with Xiaomi’s Android smartphones and look stunning in their gorgeous grey flip-top storage case. The earbuds have touch controls with an opalescent jewel style.

The Redmi’s ANC function is pretty effective at blocking out annoying sounds that might otherwise spoil the music. This is especially surprising when you see how small these little earbuds are. They really suit people with smaller ears. The charging case supports USB-C and wireless charging while the earbuds support the AAC codec that’s used in Apple’s iOS devices and newer versions of Android.

The Redmi earbuds can play for up to four hours on a single charge and there’s another 14 hours of backup charge in the earbuds’ storage case, probably enough for a week of commuting or working out.

The Xiaomi Redmi have a pleasant and neutral sound, but they could possibly do with a bit more volume in nosier surroundings, even when the ANC function is engaged.

Price: $79.99 / €69.99 / £69.99

More info: www.mi.com

Best for iOS – EarFun Air Pro 2

The EarFun Air Pro 2 are a great pair of earbuds with a sound that I love. They are loaded with features that you’d normally only expect to find on more expensive earbuds. As with all the earbuds listed here, the EarFun Air Pro 2 are supplied with a selection of silicone ear tips in a range of sizes for a great fit.

These earbuds include six microphones which are used for both sampling sound to be cancelled by the hybrid ANC circuitry and for picking up the user’s voice when making phone calls and video chats.

The batteries in the EarFun Air Pro 2’s storage case holds up to 27 hours of backup charge. The charging case can be charged using a USB-C cable or a Qi-compatible wireless charging mat. The earbuds can play for up to seven hours on a single charge.

Sporty types will appreciate the EarFun Air Pro 2’s IPX5 waterproof rating while the single earbud mode is useful for keeping just one earpiece in an ear for taking calls. The ANC function offers a reduction up to -40dB and works well for an earbud design. Earbuds with ANC are usually not as effective as over-the-ear headphones.

The EarFun Air Pro 2 are fitted with 10mm titanium composite drivers that produce a wonderfully clear and detailed sound with a well-articulated and fulsome bass. The sound these earbuds make is very pleasing indeed.

Price: $79.99 / €69.99 / £69.99 (25% discount with code EFAP2ANC)

More info: www.myearfun.com

Best For Budget Conscious – Back Bay Tempo 30

The Back Bay Tempo 30 are a stunning little pair of true wireless earbuds featuring a compact and well-made metal storage case that can hold up to 32 hours of charge. The earbuds will play for up to 9 hours on a single charge but there’s no wireless charging function, although that’s not a surprise at this price point.

Although there’s no ANC function with the Back Bay Tempo 30 earbuds, this is more than made up for in the volume levels that the Back Bay Tempo 30 offer. These earbuds are very loud with a sound that’s exciting and dynamic for the money. There are High Bass and No-Lag movie modes available for people who want more bass or who want to watch movies without sync issues.

With other features such as waterproofing and noise-canceling microphones, these cute earbuds are available in Black or Rose Gold colorways and offer exceptional value for money. I love their punchy sound which is lively and dynamic sound with volume levels that blow most other earbuds away.

If you want a great value pair of true wireless earbuds and you don't need the ANC function, these earbuds have a sound that’s going to get your feet tapping no matter what the music. The Back Bay Tempo 30 are a great choice and offer excellent value for money.

Price: $39.99 / £39.99 / €39.99

More info: www.backbaybrand.com

UPDATE June 6, 2021: The price of Tronsmart Apex was reduced to $49.99.

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