The best headphones and earphones of 2021 come from a diverse list of brands, covering different fits and styles as well as different price segments. However, a quick look at our list will show you that most of our picks are true wireless earphones (TWS), showing how popular this type of wireless headset has become. That said, our list also includes options for other design styles, including over-ear headphones, neckband earphones, and our favorite pick among the less common but still popular audiophile category.
As before, we have handpicked our picks across various price segments, paying close attention to value-for-money as a key buying factor. Interestingly, most of the options here also include Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) as a feature, which shows how accessible and commonplace the once premium technology has become. Here are our top picks among headphones and earphones for 2021 in India.
Best overall headset of 2021: OnePlus Buds Pro
Our pick for the most impressive headsets of 2021 is the OnePlus Buds Pro, the company’s newest true wireless earphones. Priced at Rs 9,999, the OnePlus Buds Pro is way ahead in comparison to the budget options in terms of features and performance. Though an impressive overall package, it’s the fun, energetic sound that really helps these earphones stand apart, and makes it easily the best pair of true wireless earphones you can buy under Rs. 10,000 now.
Although the charging case looks a bit plain, and some features like Dolby Atmos only work when the OnePlus Buds Pro is paired with a OnePlus smartphone, the overall experience is pretty much the same and good across the source devices. The design and quality of Active Noise Cancellation is also good, making it the standout headset for 2021.
Best premium wireless headphones of 2021: Apple AirPods Max
One of our top picks for 2021 is one of the most expensive wireless headphones you can buy right now. Apple AirPods Max available in India for Rs. 59,900. Although very expensive and essentially built in and best suited for use with iOS devices, these headphones deliver a premium experience in every way, including design and comfort, active noise cancellation quality, ease of use and connectivity, and Quality is included. Sound.
As with other Apple AirPods products, the AirPods Max is best suited for use with Apple devices, with connectivity features and a Lightning charging port only really making sense for users who have an iPhone — or perhaps an iPad or Mac. Computer too. Apple’s Smart Case that comes bundled with the headphones is also a little silly in its design, but the AirPods Max makes up for its flaws with great design and comfort, very good active noise cancellation, and great sound powered by Apple’s adaptive EQ technology. makes for. , This is a premium headset like no other.
Best wireless neckband earphones of 2021: Realme Buds Wireless 2
Although wireless neckband-style earphones are much less common these days, there are some interesting options that offer significant value for money such as the Realme Buds Wireless 2. Price Rs. 2,299, the Realme Buds Wireless 2 offers a lot of features for the price, including active noise cancellation, app support via the Realme Link app, Google Fast Pairing, and support for the LDAC Bluetooth codec. This makes it a full-featured wireless headset with great sound for the price.
Although the design isn’t quite as sophisticated as we’d expect, the cables are a bit long, and the battery life which is pretty average, the sound quality and feature set makes up for these minor shortcomings. While many may prefer the convenience and comfort of the True Wireless form factor, the Realme Buds Wireless 2 offer excellent value and sound quality for those wanting to go with the traditional neckband style.
Best Starter Audiophile Earphones: KZ ZSN Pro X
It’s hard to come by a pair of earphones without any real flaws, but the KZ ZSN Pro X is exactly that. This pair of wired audiophile earphones is priced at Rs. 1,899, and offers beginner and budget audiophile buyers an excellent listening experience for the price. The unique styling, detachable cable, expansive sound, and ease of use with compatible source devices and DACs make it a worthwhile piece of kit.
There’s really nothing to complain about the KZ ZSN Pro X, a great headset to consider if you’re on a budget and want good sound quality. It works particularly well for high-resolution audio, so if you’re just getting started with Apple Music’s high-resolution audio tracks, this is the ideal headset for under Rs. 2,000.
Best earphones for Android users: Google Pixel Buds A-Series
Just as the AirPods are built and optimized for iOS devices, the Google Pixel Buds A-Series offer a similar experience with Android devices. 9,999, the Pixel Buds A-series works well with Google Assistant, and uses Google Fast Pairing to connect the earphones to your Google account on Android. The earphones sound good, are comfortable, and provide decent performance with music and calls.
Although you can use the Google Pixel Buds A-series with non-Android devices, the user experience falls short in terms of features and capabilities. The lack of active noise cancellation is also a major drawback here, especially considering that the earphones have a proper in-ear fit, and similarly priced options have ANC. However, it’s a headset that’s well equipped for use with Android, and is one of our top picks of the year for that reason.
Best Affordable True Wireless Earphones of 2021: Realme Buds Q2
Although the foundation for affordable active noise cancellation in earphones was laid in 2020, it was in 2021 that we saw some really impressive options that once offered premium technology, at a reasonable price. For this reason the Realme Buds Q2 is our top pick among affordable true wireless earphones; 2,499, this headset offers ANC, app support, good sound quality, fairly good battery life and excellent value for money.
We found the soundstage to be a little narrow, a little tinny, and the low-latency mode a little unimpressive, but the Realme Buds Q2 gets it right in the cases that matter, especially in offering plenty of bang for your buck.
Best looking earphones of 2021: Nothing Year 1
In our opinion, the best-looking true wireless headset launching in 2021 is the Nothing Ear 1. Although it costs Rs. was launched in 5,999, the earphones are now available for Rs. 6,999. However, they’re still good value for money, thanks to nice features like active noise cancellation, app support, and Qi wireless charging, in addition to excellent visual-design and modern styling.
The sound is balanced and detailed, and the excellent design extends to the charging case as well. There are a few issues, including a lack of voice assistant support, and a somewhat inadequate attack and drive in sound, but the Nothing Ear 1 scored big on its design and features, making it a worthwhile pick among several launches this year.