Windows 11 is improving how Bluetooth devices are displayed on the Taskbar, with a new interactive overview of battery life and options to connect to these devices in an upcoming update.
Since Windows XP in 2001, there's been a constant Bluetooth icon in the Taskbar that would show you options such as available devices, as well as a link to the Bluetooth Settings in the Control Panel.
But with wireless devices more common than ever before in 2022, Microsoft has decided to make the process simpler by replacing this 20-year method with an overview of the devices that are paired to your PC, without having to leave the app or the desktop.
This is yet another example of the company making processes easier for users in Windows 11, but there's still more work to do in this area, with features that macOS users have had for years.
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Connecting to wireless devices has never been as straightforward as connecting to a Wi-Fi network in Windows. Simply adding a Bluetooth section in Settings or the Control Panel felt unnecessary, especially with smartphones and Macs reducing the process to two steps.
The Taskbar in Windows 11 has had a Quick Settings feature since its launch in October 2021, so you can directly access 'Focus' mode, audio settings, and more without leaving the app you were currently in.
With Bluetooth being available in this panel as well, it will be very handy to those who have multiple devices connected to their PCs. This is rolling out to users who are on Windows Insider build 2567 and above. If you've not signed up to be a Windows Insider to help test early versions of Windows 11, this new and improved Bluetooth functionality will hopefully arrive later this year.
It should be worth the wait, especially if you have multiple game controllers or headphones, it can help alleviate the confusion to be given a quick overview of what's not connected, and quickly resolve that.
Having a battery status for each device will be a great help too in reminding users to charge them when needed.
However, there's still more that can be done in this area. Other features such as switching between noise-canceling and equalizer modes for headphones could be a great help, similar to what Apple users have had on their Macs for a few years.
But it's still a great step in the right direction to start with, and a much-needed feature in a time when many of us use Bluetooth devices almost every day for our PCs.
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The best wireless earbuds of 2020 make listening to music on-the-go super convenient – and sound great to boot. Whether you're commuting, heading to the gym, or relaxing poolside on a sunny day, the right pair of earphones will stay put and bring you great quality sound.
You'd be forgiven for thinking wireless earbuds aren't as good as the best headphones – that's because a few short years ago, Bluetooth wasn't the best way listen to your favorite music.
Luckily, times have changed. Thanks to improvements in wireless transmission standards, such as aptX and innovations in battery technology, wireless earbuds are quickly becoming the most popular way to listen to music, and many of the best earbuds feature wireless connectivity.
With so much choice out there, it can be hard to make the right buying decision; we're even expecting more models to come soon, including the AirPods Pro Lite. That's why we've put together this handy guide to the best wireless earbuds you can find today.
Looking to cut the cord completely? Scroll down for our top AirPod-alternatives or head to our dedicated guide to the best true wireless earbuds you can buy in 2020.
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The NuForce BE Sport4 wireless earbuds are that rare find: earbuds that are good for basically all situations, whether you're looking to take them out on a run or just wear them around town.
They're ideal for exercise, although any urbanite will also find their lightweight functionality and impressive sound isolation highly appealing. If you want proof that wireless headphones can now compete with the best of them, look no further.
The Bowers & Wilkins PI3 are the first neckband headphones for the company, and they're a great start. Well-designed, comfy, and simple to use, they sound really good, too.
Thanks to dual drivers, these buds sound fantastic, with crisp highs, lively mids, and plenty of powerful bass. Look past the fairly unremarkable battery life and limited features, and you'll be mostly very impressed by what these offer.
OnePlus is most known for its “flagship killer” phones like the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro,, but the company also makes headphones – the best example of which are the company’s excellent Bullets Wireless 2, which offer an incredible value in the neck-bud headphone category.
In terms of audio quality, they boast a lively sonic presentation and an accurate-feeling soundstage, although bass-heads may want to look elsewhere for headphones that pack a bassier punch.
They're comfortable to wear too, but it's just a shame that they don't have a waterproof rating and the inline remote is so fiddly, because otherwise they could make a decent pair of running headphones.
They may be $ 30 more expensive than their predecessors, but the improved battery life and sound quality makes up for that; it also makes it worth upgrading if you have the originals and are due a new pair of wireless earbuds.
The SoundMagic E11BTs are an extremely capable pair of wireless in-ear earphones, and given their low price, it really is difficult to fault them – the audio quality is fantastic and they look very elegant.
They're comfortable to wear thanks to ergonomically designed eartips and a flat neckband that won’t irritate you while running or working out – and with an IPX4 rating, they should withstand sweaty sessions.
The Jaybird Tarah Pro headphones are wireless sport headphones for the endurance runners, athletes and fitness nuts out there. With a neck cable to keep the earbuds together, they aren’t quite ‘true wireless’, but will be practical for those concerned about dropping and losing a costly earbud in the heat of a race or training session.
As the first in Jaybird’s new ‘Pro’ range of earbuds and aimed at offering higher quality audio and materials, the Tarah Pro will suit anyone not willing to sacrifice audio quality in harsher outdoor conditions or indoor workouts and who don't mind spending a bit more to get a premium product.
Now committed to a yearly refresh of the popular mid-range model, the Jaybird X4 manage to outdo both the previous Jaybird X2 and Jaybird X3 wireless Bluetooth earphones, with an upgraded IPX7 water-resistance rating. Whether you're sweating buckets or running doggedly through the rain, the X4 will be able to cope with it.
The Jaybird X4s also manage to keep the series' surprisingly good sound. These earphones are certainly fitness first, but that doesn't mean the other things people look for in a pair of earphones – you know, like music – have fallen by the wayside.
Jaybird's excellent app also provides easy EQ customization as well as the ability to make your own sound profile, with various ear tip sizes to boot. A great all round choice for runner who don't want to skimp on sound – or be wary of the weather.
Alternatively if you're after an even more premium experience, the Jaybird Tarah Pro earbuds offer higher-quality audio and materials for a somewhat higher $ 159 £139 / AU$ 229 price tag.
Although we're still big fans of the Jaybird X4 headphones, take a look at the Jaybird Vista true headphones further down the list – they're our top pick if you're in the market for a pair of true wireless earbuds.
Beats haven't always gotten the best rap when it comes to audio performance, but the Beats X is trying to set the record straight. The Beats X hence make up for their slightly bassy, confined sound with a rock solid connection and a pairing process that, on iOS devices at least, is as painless as it's possible to be.
If you’re shopping for a no-fuss pair of earbuds that charge in 5 minutes, work well with iOS and don’t mind spending a little extra money on them, the Beats X are for you.
Life is full of compromises, and it's no different with the Bose QuietControl 30. On the positive side you get a level of noise cancellation that comes close to what's offered by the brand's over-ear headphones, but the concession here is on sound fidelity, which just isn’t on the same level as that of other in-ear or over-ear headphones we’ve tested.
There's also that neckband which adds an unfortunate level of bulk to what should otherwise be a slimline pair of headphones.
The PowerBeats 3 running headphones are yet another pair of Beats headphones that aim to keep your tunes pumping all day long – and while we're expecting the Powerbeats 4 to launch this year, the 2016 Powerbeats 3 are still worth considering.
They may come with the high price that is a signature of the Beats and Apple brands, but they offer a lot, especially for Apple iPhone users.
With a 12-hour battery life and a quick charge function that can add an hour of battery life in a few minutes, the PowerBeats 3 should rarely run out of juice in the middle of your commute, or your workout. They’re also ready for all the sweat from your brow, and can even handle a run in the rain.
While they may not top some of the other wireless headphones on this list for features, the PowerBeats 3 headphones will truly shine for major Apple lovers. They feature Apple’s W1 chip, which makes the Bluetooth pairing process with multiple iCloud-linked devices incredibly easy in addition to boosting wireless range.
Considering it's still rare to get noise-cancellation in wired earbuds at all, the fact that Sony has managed to pack it into a pair that are not only wireless, but true wireless is very impressive indeed.
The Sony WF-1000X manage to offer a level of noise-cancellation that's very good for a pair of earbuds – it won't offer the same isolation as a pair of over-ear cans, but if you're after a sleek form factor then the compromise is well worth it.
There may be a few minor problems with these wireless earbuds, but we think Sony has knocked the ball out of the park with the WF-1000XM3; not only are these hands down the best-looking True Wireless headphones out there, but they combine serious noise cancelling tech with fist-pumping musicality.
Cambridge Audio is known for its high-end audio equipment, but until now, hasn’t ventured into the world of true wireless earbuds. Enter the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s: with an outstanding 45 hours of battery life, they combine the brand’s award-winning engineering with the convenience of truly wireless listening.
For a pair of true wireless earbuds, the sound quality offered by the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s is sensational. In fact, it rivals some of the best over-ear headphones, which is all but unheard of for buds of this size.
They may not have the noise cancelation technology offered by the Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Earbuds, but they are $ 100 (around £80) cheaper – and have a superior battery life.
They certainly outperform the Apple AirPods, in all respects apart from the lack of wireless charging case. This is a small price to pay for that exceptional audio quality, though, and we think they represent much better value for money, too.
You may not have heard of up-and-coming audio brand Lypertek yet, but expect to hear a lot from it soon – its Lypertek Tevi true wireless earbuds are among the best we’ve tried, especially given the low price tag.
With USB-C charging, a well-balanced sound, lengthy battery life, and waterproofing, it ticks every box you could ask for, from what are basically a pair of budget buds. The Lypertek Tevi, surprisingly, might just blow you away, punching well above their weight and rivaling buds from some of the biggest audio brands on the planet.
With their stellar sound and build quality, long-lasting battery life and what may be one of the coolest cases we've ever seen, we'd argue that the Klipsch T5s are of the best models on the market right now..
Of course, you're buying a Klipsch product because it features the signature Klipsch sound, which is warm, detailed, and never harsh. Acoustic music is lush and detailed, and the detail extends to the highs as well, allowing the headphones to sing in the higher registers without ever being sibilant.
Battery life is rated at 8 hours per charge with the case giving an additional 24 hours – that means these true wireless in-ear headphones will last you for a long haul flight, no problem.
The Jabra Elite 75t improve upon their predecessors, the Jabra Elite 65t, in just about every way – except for tonal balance.
The headphones and charging case are much smaller, battery life makes an immense jump, catching up to the competition, and the customization features we enjoyed in the 65t remain.
While they don't have the best sound quality and they lacks active noise cancellation, neither stops the Jabre Elite 75t from being a solid pair of true wireless headphones to use, especially if you make frequent calls with your your headphones on. I
Apple has launched its new true wireless earbuds, bringing active noise cancellation, a (finally) much better fit, and an improved design, in a bid to lure more iPhone users into the true wireless fold.
However, at $ 249 / £249 / AU$ 399, they’re pretty pricey too, and as such can’t be called the very best wireless headphones out there.
That said, if you’re an iPhone user looking for some well-fitting earbuds with strong sound quality, you could do a lot worse than the new AirPods – the redesign means they’re far less likely to fall out, and the additional microphones provide strong noise-canceling (particularly when commuting), as well as a useful Transparency mode, which really does let the outside world in.
The sound quality of the AirPods Pro has certainly improved since the previous iteration – there’s a notable emphasis on vocals and bass, meaning these earbuds are better for pop fans than those that enjoy a more natural presentation that lends itself to classical music or more orchestral sounds.
The new PowerBeats Pro true wireless Beats headphones aren't exactly the earbuds analysts have been predicting, sure, but they are something special – they’re supremely comfortable, sound decent and seem to never, ever fall out.
That said, they are – in our opinion – Apple’s best true wireless earbuds to date thanks to small additions like the pressure-reducing micro-laser barometric venting hole, their longer battery life and their superior sound quality. If we had to choose between wearing these and the AirPods around the house or office, these are what we’d wear.
With the TWS50, SoundMAGIC has hit the price/performance sweet-spot, thanks to these true wireless earbuds' fantastic price, comfortable design, great sound, and support for Bluetooth 5.0.
They offer a wide, spacious soundstage, with a good, well balanced presentation, alongside a decent battery life and comfy fit – in short, if you're looking for some cheap AirPod-alternatives, the SoundMAGIC TWS50 are well worth a look.
Sennheiser enters the race with its Momentum True Wireless earbuds. An extension of its reputable Momentum range, these cordless buds offer Sennheiser's trademark high-fidelity audio in a gorgeously sleek package.
You only get four hours of charge in the earbuds, but the carry case will be able to charge them two times over on top of that, giving you 12 hours in total when on the go.
The main thing holding these back is the price: at £259 / $ 299 (about AU$ 400) they're almost double the cost of the Apple AirPods. You do get a range of touch-based controls to stop you reaching for your phone every time you want to skip or pause a track, but the act of prodding things in your ear could be more comfortable – while the volume control is oddly imprecise.
Overall though, Sennheiser's first true wireless earbuds combine style and sound like few others.
Let’s get one thing out of the way – the B&O Beoplay E8 are some of the best-looking and most expensive wireless earphones you can buy at $ 350 / £300 (around AU$ 570).
Audio quality is undeniably excellent, and you can tweak the sound to your liking using the accompanying Beoplay app on Android and iOS.
Even without tinkering around with ToneTouch, the E8 2.0s sounds crisp and clear, with punchy bass frequencies. So, the Bang & Olufsen E8 2.0 truly wireless earphones look great and sound great, although the touch-sensitive buttons are a little too sensitive at times, and there's no active noise cancellation.
However, it's hard to not find these earphones appealing, and if you want your true wireless earbuds to look as good as they sound, they could be the perfect model for you.
With a promising battery life and well-managed bass enhancement over Audio-Technica’s usual neutral sound, the Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW true wireless earbuds have a lot going for them.
They've one of the most complete and well-rounded sound profiles we've seen from true-wireless earbuds, and that's despite the claimed bass enhancement. It's a very enjoyable sound that they make.
However, they are let down a bit by their fit – mileage will vary of course depending on your preferred bud style and the size of your ears, but all will find the fiddly case fit will annoy over time. Still, the quality audio here may be a worthy trade-off.
Wireless earbuds – the focus of this guide – have existed for a while now, basically since Bluetooth was invented. Though battery-powered and not physically connected to your phone, they have a cord connecting both buds – and sometimes a band around the neck too.
True wireless earbuds have no cord whatsoever. While wireless allows us to wear headphones a few feet away from our music players, True Wireless cuts the cord between the earbuds, giving us true freedom. If you're looking to go full wireless, we also have a round-up of the best true wireless headphones, but you'll find our top picks here, too.
Wireless headphones are traditional over-ear or on-ear headphones without the wire – the two earcups are connected by a headband. Check out the best wireless headphones for more.