Unless you are buying the LG V20 (Rs34,000; Amazon.in), which bundles premium Bang & Olufsen earphones, chances are you won’t be at all impressed with the earphones that are handed over with your newest smartphone acquisition. In fact, some phones don’t even ship with earphones. And this at a time when phones come with powerful hardware that enhances music playback.

Here are some of the best earphones for different usage scenarios

Block out the noise

Earphones now offer very robust noise-cancellation capabilities, which are useful if you regularly find yourself in very noisy environments, such as airports.

Sony h.ear in NC
Sony h.ear in NC

Sony h.ear in NC

Rs9,990 (MDR-EX750NA)

www.sony.co.in 

It is easy to summarize the MDR-EX750NA—this hi-res earphone reproduces lots of bass and has noise-cancellation (NC) capabilities too. It has two microphones, which work in tandem to reduce ambient noise and drive the Artificial Intelligence Noise Cancellation feature. It has large, 9mm audio drivers, and offers 16 hours of NC battery life.

Bose QC20
Bose QC20

Bose QC20

Rs25,200

www.boseindia.com

The current-generation QC20’s noise-cancellation battery, which lasts around 16 hours on a single charge, is between the 3.5mm connector and the earbuds. The StayHear + eartips are among the most comfortable across all earphones. The unmistakably detailed Bose sound is music to the ears.

Musical purity

‘Flagship killer’ earphones offer excellent specs and performance while costing about half as much.

Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear

Rs5,499

www.amazon.in

The very powerful earphones handle bass as well as vocals better than most similarly priced rivals. Even at high volumes, the typical Sennheiser sound signature will remain unmistakable. The only downside is that the mid-range frequencies are a bit less vibrant. The red colour option looks amazing. 

Fitness companions

Rugged earphones that can handle rough usage as you jog, run or work out in the gym. 

Bose SoundSport in-ear
Bose SoundSport in-ear

Bose SoundSport in-ear

Rs10,013

www.boseindia.com

Those who are regular about their fitness routine would appreciate the attention to detail in the SoundSport in-ear. The TriPort technology balances the low and high frequencies brilliantly, and you hear pristine detailing. It can take a lot of rough use. Available in bright colours, including Energy Green, Neon Blue and Power Red.

Heavy on bass

Many music enthusiasts prefer more pronounced lower-range frequencies, or bass, in their music. 

V-Moda Forza Metallo
V-Moda Forza Metallo

V-Moda Forza Metallo

Rs10,990

www.headphonezone.in

Made of forged CNC metal also used in aircraft, the Forza Metallo are water-resistant and military-grade tested. The 5.8mm drivers are the same as in the Forza earphones, and use the Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicon (BLISS) fittings in each ear. These hi-res audio- capable earphones are ideal for up-tempo music.

Money no bar

If you love your music and money is not a constraint, these could be an option.

Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H3 ANC
Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H3 ANC

Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H3 ANC

Rs19,990

www.beoplay.co.in

This is the BeoPlay H3, but it comes with the noise-cancellation feature. Inside the unibody aluminium housing sit 10.8mm audio drivers. The 23 ventilation holes in each earpiece, for a wide soundstage, bear testimony to the attention to detail. Frequencies are well distinguished, and the adequately powerful bass doesn’t overshadow the mid frequencies or vocals.

Wireless flexibility

The new trend of ‘look ma, no wires’ has caught on with earphones too, with many users experimenting with the idea of cutting the cord. 

Leaf ear
Leaf ear

Leaf ear

Rs2,199

www.leafear.com 

Affordable wireless earphones aren’t always worth your money, but Leaf Ear is a refreshing exception. Available in blue, red, green and black colours, the lightweight yet solid build is impressive. The sound is very balanced too, with adequately powerful bass and clear vocals throughout. The battery lasted through around 9 hours of music playback each time. 

Apple AirPods
Apple AirPods

Apple AirPods

Rs15,400

www.apple.com/in

Put the new AirPods next to your iPhone and they’ll pair automatically, as they will with all iOS and MacOS devices linked to your iCloud. There are optical sensors that know when you’ve removed AirPods from your ear, and music playback is paused. The AirPods have a battery life of up to 24 hours, thanks to the charging case.

*Prices may vary.

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