BEST PREMIUM HEADPHONES: YAMAHA E700A
By: April Glover
Yamaha is the jack-of-all-trades in the consumer electronics industry, and the Japanese company has outshined rivals in the audio department too with the E700A over-ear headphones (above). The device comes with internal microphones which constantly measure your ear canal and listening condition, ensuring pure reference sound for the ultimate listening outcome. For $500 – a hell of a lot cheaper than Apple’s $899 AirPods Max – you also get advanced ANC, an 8 Hz – 40 kHz frequency response for unrivalled sound and 35 hours battery life on a single charge. It’s equipped with Siri and Google Assistant and can be controlled by an app, too. Over-ear headphones may not be in style, but Yamaha nails it with the E700A.
BEST PREMIUM EARBUDS: SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDS PRO
By: April Glover
Samsung launched the next-generation Galaxy Buds Pro alongside the S21 series, meaning the earbuds were a little buried in the smartphone press. Not to be outdone by anyone or anything – even itself – Samsung ensured the Galaxy Buds Pro are a stylish, comfortable, ergonomic and high-performing audio product. The buds can filter out 99% of background noise with ANC, and thanks to custom-built 2-way speakers with sound by AKG, the 360-degree audio is outstanding. They also have an IPX7 water rating, Bixby voice assistant and easy control through the app – including the all-important bass boost. For $349, these buds are a worthy AirPods rival.
BEST AFFORDABLE EARBUDS: MARLEY CHAMPION TRUE WIRELESS
By: Jake Nelson
Retailing for $99.95 at JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman, one big selling point for audio brand House of Marley’s Champion true wireless earbuds is that they’re not just economical – they’re eco-friendly.
Made from renewable bamboo, natural fibre composite, and recycled silicone, the buds also include a braided charging cord made from 99 per cent post-consumer recyclable polyester, and come in fully recyclable plastic-free packaging.
All that plus IPX4 waterproofing, USB-C quick charging, and eight hours battery life (20 with the included case) make these buds a great green buy.