• The best wireless headphones for your new Note 10 and 10+

    The Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ are the first flagship smartphones from Samsung that ditch the 3.5mm audio jack. This means your pre-existing wired headphones won’t work and you’ll need to find other headphones, probably wireless (unless you’re a fan of dongles). The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are a solid pair of wireless earbuds and will provide the best experience with your Note 10 or Note 10+. Here are some of the best Bluetooth headphones for Note 10 and Note 10+ to consider.

    Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

    Samsung made the Galaxy Buds Pro as an answer to its own shortcomings in past earbuds’ designs, but only in the sense that they offer more features and performance than others did. The Galaxy Buds Pro are premium true wireless earbuds that can work well with any Android phone, and that is especially true when it’s a Samsung handset.

    When you first get a pair of Galaxy Buds Pro, you just open the case and unlock your Samsung smartphone. A card will appear prompting you to pair with the earbuds. With that done, they then easily pair to all of your other Samsung gadgets, including your tablet. No need to go into your phone’s settings or enter pairing mode. You’ll also get Bixby, if you’re into what Samsung’s voice assistant can do for you.

    These are Samsung’s first earbuds to include active noise cancelation (ANC), of which there are two settings (high and low), plus four Ambient mode settings. Voice Detect utilizes both features when you start talking by turning on Ambient mode and lowering the volume of the audio you’re listening to so you can hear the conversation. Another new feature is 360 Audio, which uses Dolby Head Tracking technology so you hear virtual 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound for any content that’s coded for it — typically movies and TV shows, but not music.

    Samsung also upped the ante on call quality, clearing up calls even further than it already had. The only thing you might have to deal with is the touchy touch controls because they can be sensitive to accidental taps anytime your fingers get near them. And, as before, you can use one earbud on its own in a mono mode if you want to just keep it handy for callers

    With bigger drivers and all the other tech inside, these buds take a step back on battery life. You will max out at up to five hours per charge when ANC is on — eight hours if you keep it off. The included case gives you another three charges, and you can plug in via USB-C or on a wireless charging pad. In a pinch, you can also use the back of the Galaxy Note 10 or Note 10+ as a charging pad. A quick five-minute charge through USB should get you up to an hour of playback.

    Pros:

    Bigger sound
    ANC and Ambient mode
    360 Audio for virtual surround sound
    Wireless charging and USB-C charging
    Fast pairing with Samsung devices

    Cons:

    Lower battery life than before
    Finicky touch controls
    Needs custom EQ

    Best Overall
    Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

    $200 at Amazon $200 at Best Buy

    Samsung’s consummate Pro

    Samsung did a lot for the Galaxy Buds Pro, especially when it comes to the extra features that make them so easy to listen to.

    Runner Up: Samsung Galaxy Buds+

    The Galaxy Buds+ are a great example of what it’s like when your earbuds are built by the same company that built your smartphone. While the Galaxy Buds+ work with other Android devices (even iOS to a certain extent), they work best when paired with a Samsung smartphone.

    When you first get the Galaxy Buds+, just open the case, unlock your Samsung smartphone, and a prompt appears to pair them. The pairing process is streamlined and applicable to other Samsung gadgets, including your smartphone or tablet. No need to go into your phone’s settings or enter pairing mode. Bixby is also in there if that’s your preferred voice assistant.

    Like other true wireless earbuds, they require a charging case to charge. This also means the Galaxy Buds+ work independently. Yes, you can have just one in your ear at a time and effectively double your battery life. The buds themselves get 11 hours while the charging case will net another 11 hours of listening time. Once the charging case is dead, you can recharge the case with either a USB-C cable or place it on a Qi-compatible mat — including the back of the Note 10 or Note 10+. The case isn’t too large, either, and will easily fit in normal jean pockets.

    One feature the Galaxy Buds+ entirely lack is ANC. Most vendors making earbuds these days are adding support for it, but you’d have to get the Buds Pro for that if you want a Samsung pair. However, the Galaxy Buds+ offer good passive isolation, blocking out a decent amount of noise without having to crank the volume up. You could always turn up the volume to help reduce noise, but be careful not to go too high.

    Pros:

    Wireless charging and USB-C charging
    Fast pairing with Samsung devices
    Long battery life
    Ambient sound mode
    Great color options

    Cons:

    No ANC support
    No Ambient mode

    Runner Up
    Samsung Galaxy Buds+

    $150 at Amazon $150 at Best Buy $150 at B&H

    Puts the "true" in true wireless

    The Galaxy Buds+ are great at being convenient. They’re everything you’d come to expect from a set of true wireless earbuds.

    Best ANC Buds: Sony WF-1000XM3

    The Sony WF-1000XM3 have industry-leading ANC for a set of wireless earbuds, let alone true wireless ones. They block out an impressive amount of low rumbles, such as engine noise, but also mid-range noises such as talking and fan noise.

    You’ll also get hands-free Google Assistant. This means that you’ll be able to access the Assistant by simply saying "Hey Google" or "OK Google". What’s great about this feature is that it works when either bud is paired to your phone so you don’t have to worry about which one has the feature and which one doesn’t.

    The charging case will get you an additional 19 hours of battery life and charges over USB-C. Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging here. For the buds themselves, each bud gets six hours of battery life (either on their own or together in a stereo pair).

    Unfortunately, there’s no way to get both earbuds to have the same touch gestures. By default, the left bud is reserved just for the ambient sound mode, and the right ear cup houses all of your media controls. There’s an option in the Sony Headphones Connect app to reverse these, but there’s no more customization beyond that. This means you’ll have to cautious about which earbud is connected if you plan to use only one earbud. The case itself is relatively large. If you’re the type of person who likes to place your earbuds in your jean’s coin pocket, these definitely won’t fit in there.

    Pros:

    Great Battery life on both case and buds
    Hands-free Google Assistant
    Great ANC performance

    Cons:

    Touch controls specific to L/R earbud
    No wireless charging

    Best ANC Buds
    Sony WF-1000XM3

    $228 at Amazon $178 at Walmart

    Sorry, can’t hear you

    The WF-1000XM3 have class-leading ANC, which is their biggest selling point. Sound quality and battery life are also exceptional.

    Best Workout Buds: Jaybird Tarah Pro

    Looking to work out but don’t want to carry a charging case around? The Jaybird Tarah Pro are your best bet. With up to 14 hours of battery life on a single charge, you’ll be able to run a marathon before the battery runs out. While the battery life is great, they use a proprietary connector for charging, so you’ll need to make sure you have enough juice for your day or carry the cable with you if you’re low on juice.

    In terms of sound quality, the Tarah Pro are excellent. There’s a small boost in the upper bass which means you may hear some distortion. The midrange is great with a small recession, which can equate to vocals taking a backseat. The treble is above-average here. It’s mostly balanced with a small low-treble recession. This means that the sound may be a bit darker than some other earbuds out there.

    The earbuds don’t have that many smart features despite being wireless earbuds. They have physical controls on either bud and can activate your digital assistant of choice (Bixby or Assistant depending on which you have set up). There’s no auto-pause feature when you remove a bud and there’s no hands-free voice assistant, either.

    As workout earbuds, these are super comfortable for long-term use and are also water-resistant so you’ll be okay if things get intense and you start sweating. They’re only IPX2 rated though, which means you won’t be able to run in the rain or anything. The Tarah Pro come with several ear tips in the box so fit shouldn’t be an issue.

    Pros:

    Excellent sound quality
    Exceptional battery life
    IPX2 water resistance

    Cons:

    Proprietary charging cable
    Could be more water-resistant

    Best Workout Buds
    Jaybird Tarah Pro

    $130 at Amazon $130 at Best Buy

    Intense listening sessions

    The Jaybird Tarah Pro have excellent sound, battery life, and sweat resistance. Just don’t lose the proprietary charging cable.

    Best Bass Buds: Plantronics Backbeat Go 410

    Bass heads, the Plantronics Backbeat Go 410 are right up your alley. The amount of bass boosted, most bass heads will be super happy. For the rest of the sound, the mid-range is balanced and even, and the treble gets a sizable boost as well, giving the Backbeat Go 410 a fun sound that most will enjoy.

    In terms of battery life, you’re looking at eight hours with ANC and 10 hours without ANC. Their ANC performance is decent but won’t compete with more premium over-ear headphones. But with only a two-hour difference in battery life, you might as well keep ANC on.

    Comfort-wise, the Backbeat Go 410 are decent. With the amount of bass they push though, you’ll want to take a break every few hours to let your ears breathe. They become extremely uncomfortable after a few hours of use.

    While these don’t have smart features of any sort, they have basic support for Google Assistant. They work similarly to other headphones with a multi-function button. You’ll need to simply tap and hold the button to summon the Assistant.

    Pros:

    Fun bass and treble-heavy sound
    Good battery life
    Decent ANC performance

    Cons:

    Bass affects long term comfort

    Best Bassy Buds
    Plantronics Backbeat Go 410

    $59 at Amazon

    Powerful sound

    The Plantronics Backbeat Go 410 feature solid, bass-heavy sound with long battery life, though you may need breaks in between.

    Best Budget True Wireless: SoundPeats TrueFree

    The SoundPeats TrueFree are a great pair of earbuds for the price. They pack a strong bass-heavy punch and are suited for genres such as EDM, hip-hop, or rap. You’ll also get a solid three hours of battery life. While not the best battery life around, they get the job done. Luckily, since they’re true wireless earbuds, they also come with a charging case that’ll give you 3-4 additional charges which makes up for the lower battery life on the buds’ side.

    One oddity the charging case has is that it doesn’t have a lid. You simply place them in the case and the buds sit flush with the body. Fortunately, the buds and the case are lightweight, so you shouldn’t have issues lugging them around. Plus, I’d take a charging case without a lid over having a charging case that’s larger because it has to accommodate a lid.

    The TrueFree come with a few additional ear tips, so finding tips to fit your ears shouldn’t be an issue. The buds have a single-button design that manages play/pause, calls, and skipping forward and back. Unfortunately, they don’t have support for volume control so you’ll need to use the volume buttons on your Galaxy Note 10 or Note 10+.

    Pros:

    Strong, bass-heavy sound
    Multiple charges with charging case
    Single multi-function button

    Cons:

    No volume control
    Charging case doesn’t have a lid
    Could have better battery life

    Best Budget True Wireless
    SoundPeats TrueFree

    $30 at Amazon

    Affordable true wireless earbuds

    True wireless earbuds don’t need to be expensive to be good and the SoundPeats TrueFree are a great example.

    Best Sound Quality: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

    The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 buds, at their core, were built for sound quality, which is expected coming from the company. They have a slightly boosted bass, but otherwise, their sound is mostly balanced. The Momentum True Wireless 2 also offers excellent dynamic range and a solid soundstage given that they are a set of true wireless earbuds.

    Battery life is solid. You’ll get seven hours of listening time, and the included charging case gives you an additional 21 hours, totaling 28 hours. Once the case is dead, you can charge it back up over USB-C. Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging here.

    The Momentum True Wireless 2 include some smart features. Just like most other true wireless earbuds, they pause when you remove one bud out of your ear if you have both in. Audio playback will resume once you put said bud back in your ear. They’ll also work independently of one another and unlike some older true wireless earbuds, you don’t have to worry about which bud is in your ear as they both connect to your phone independently.

    The case is made of nice felt material and is small enough to fit in most pockets. The earbuds are mainly plastic but have a nice metal touchpad for touch controls. You’ll get multiple ear tip sizes in the box to help with fit and comfort. The buds are lightweight and super comfortable, even after long periods of time.

    Pros:

    Solid battery life all around
    Excellent sound quality
    USB-C charging case
    Comfort
    Comes with multiple ear tips

    Cons:

    Buds are mainly plastic
    No volume control on the buds themself
    Lacks wireless charging

    Best Sound Quality
    Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

    $250 at Amazon $250 at Best Buy $250 at Walmart

    Superb sound

    If you’re looking for the absolute best sound quality in a portable package, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are it.

    Best Over-Ear: Sony WH-1000XM4

    The WH-1000XM4 make the list as the best over-ear headphones for several reasons. They’re compact and fold, so they’ll be easy to travel with. They also feature class-leading ANC, which is always a plus when traveling. Comfort-wise, the WH-1000XM4 are excellent. The headband and ear cups are made out of leather and the clamping force isn’t too strong, so it doesn’t feel like they’re squeezing your head.

    But the biggest reason they make the list is they support all the major Bluetooth audio codecs (SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX-HD, and LDAC). Pair this with your Galaxy Note 10 or Note 10+ and you’ll get the absolute best sound quality over Bluetooth. Like their predecessor, the sound itself skews a bit toward the bass, whereas the mid-range is balanced, with a recessed treble. This means that female vocals, tambourines, hi-hats, and bells will sound muted. Fortunately, you can adjust the sound with a basic EQ in the Sony Headphones Connect app, which is available on Android and iOS. And if you want more bass, use the "clear bass" slider to ramp it up or tamp it down.

    ANC performance is better than it was with the WH-1000XM3, and you also can now pair with two devices simultaneously, letting you listen to music on one device and take calls on another. They also improved call quality, making any conversation much clearer and smoother.

    The WH-1000XM4 feature a hands-free Google Assistant. So just say the trigger word and she’ll be able to answer any of your questions as if you were asking your phone the questions. Any questions that require the Assitant to search the web will obviously require you to pull out your phone.

    In terms of battery life, the WH-1000XM4 is superb. They last up to 32 hours on a single charge and charge over USB-C. With fast charging, plug in for a quick 10-minute charge and you get up to five hours of listening time. The only real downside with the WH-1000XM4 is that as soon as you plug them in to charge, you can no longer use them wired or wireless.

    Pros:

    Improved ANC and call quality
    Long battery life with fast charging
    Customizable sound quality
    High fidelity Bluetooth audio codecs
    Great comfort

    Cons:

    No simultaneous charging and listening
    Bass-heavy sound isn’t for everyone
    Pricey

    Best Over-Ear
    Sony WH-1000XM4

    $348 at Amazon $350 at Best Buy $348 at B&H

    Best wireless sound around

    Combining high-fidelity Bluetooth codecs and customizable sound, the WH-1000XM4 deliver outstanding performance.

    Bottom line
    The Note 10 and Note 10+ don’t have 3.5mm audio jacks, which has now become the norm, rather than the exception. Fortunately, Samsung has a pair of true wireless earbuds to help get used to that in the Galaxy Buds Pro. It’s often a good thing when you have a pair of headphones that were built to work seamlessly with your phone. It doesn’t hurt that the Galaxy Buds Pro are also a great pair with long battery life, wireless charging, and more.

    Now that Samsung has all but ditched the headphone jack on its phones, even more headphone manufacturers will get in on the action. That means both innovation on the higher end and competitive features and pricing on the affordable side.

    Credits — The team that worked on this guide

    Peter Cao is an audio enthusiast at heart. He started with expensive "use at home" only headphones that required expensive amps to even hear a sound. Nowadays, he’s downsized to Bluetooth headphones and earbuds.

    Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar.

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