The best noise-cancelling earbuds for Christmas 2020

The best noise-cancelling earbuds for Christmas 2020

True wireless earbuds were everwhere in 2020, and more and more manufacturers are adding active noise-cancelling (ANC) to their products. The list of true wireless earbuds with proper ANC technology onboard is still relatively short, but here are the best pairs you can buy today.

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Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Rating

Rating Motorola Moto G 5G Plus

Pros

  • Sober and serious design
  • Sound crushes competition
  • Complete controls
  • Good, but not great, battery life
 

Cons

  • No wireless recharging
  • The ANC falls short of the competition
  • Rigidity in EQ
  • High price

Fans of the legendary German audio brand have been waiting for Sennheiser to dive into the true wireless earbuds with ANC market, and the wait is over. Available since April 2020, our very own Antoine was not disappointed when he reviewed them. The build quality is just as good as we have come to expect from this brand, and feature-wise all boxes are ticked here.

AndroidPIT Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2 case open
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds have ANC on board. / © AndroidPIT

The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2  IPX4, support three high-def audio codecs (although sadly not aptX HD) and sound fantastic. They come in a rather nice carry case covered in fabric and there's a handy smart control app to give you more power over the earbuds' behaviour when listening. They are pricey, but you often get what you pay for in this business.

Key facts:

  • Audio codec: SBC, AAC, and aptX
  • Battery Life: 28 hours (7 hours in the earbuds, 21 hours in the carry case)

Sony WF-1000XM3

Rating

Rating Motorola Moto G 5G Plus

Pros

  • Active noise-cancelling
  • Very good battery life
  • Sound quality
  • Sony app
  • Price
 

Cons

  • No wireless charging
  • No waterproofing
  • Disappointing hands-free car kit
  • No volume control commands

Sony's over-ear ANC headphones are market leaders, and noise reduction is one of the brand's main strengths. It was quite exciting, then, when Sony decided to bring ANC to its true wireless earbuds range. Don't be expecting comparable ANC on the WF-1000XM3 to the WH-1000XM3, but for true wireless earbuds, the former do a good job of reducing ambient sounds around you.

AndroidPIT Sony WF 1000XM3 Close Up 2
The Sony WF-1000XM3 feature ANC technology. / © NextPit

The design will not be for everyone, especially those who favour sleek earbuds or who long for an AirPods-style stem design. They're also reasonable weighty at 8.5 grams compared to something like the Libratone Track Air+. Yet, the QN1e chip in these, a miniaturized version of the QN1 chip found in the over-ear big brothers, makes these the best true wireless earbuds on the market in terms of the quality of the ANC.

Key facts:

  • Audio codec: SBC and AAC
  • Battery Life: 24 hours (6 hours in the earbuds, 18 hours in the carry case)

Apple AirPods Pro

Rating

Rating Motorola Moto G 5G Plus

Pros

  • Very good fit
  • Good sound
  • Very good active noise suppression
  • Very good integration with iOS
  • Compact charging case
 

Cons

  • Only basic functions outside of the Apple Ecosystem
  • Missing volume control
  • Average battery life

It is safe to say that the Apple AirPods Pro are already a huge hit with consumers. Apple addressed a lot of things fans of the product were calling for with the latest iteration of the infamous white earbuds, adding ANC among other new features.

AndroidPIT airpods pro 20
The AirPods Pro are the only choice for iPhone users. / © NextPit

The design and build quality will be familiar to most, but Apple has now added a ventilation duct to prevent that unpleasant feeling of pressure in your ears that you can sometimes get with in-ear headphones. An outer microphone now captures ambient noise and the inner microphone is used to dynamically adjust the sound. Apple says that the sound image can be adjusted up to 200 times in one second, and as a result the active noise cancellation is successful. The AirPods Pro's H1 chip is a huge advantage for iPhone and Mac users when it comes to quick pairing and connection stability too. If you are an Apple user, you really don't need to look past these, and few hardcore fans of the Cupertino brand will.

Key facts:

  • Audio codec: AAC
  • Battery Life: 24 hours (4.5 hours in the earbuds, 19.5 hours in the carry case)

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live

Rating

Rating Motorola Moto G 5G Plus

Pros

  • Original and ergonomic design
  • Solid battery life
  • Good microphone call quality
  • Comprehensive companion application
 

Cons

  • Spotty ANC performance
  • Disappointing and inaccurate audio rendering
  • Not the best option at this price

Samsung shocked us all when the Galaxy Buds Live first leaked. We are still upset that these did not end up being called the Samsung Galaxy Beans, thanks to their unique design, but the Buds Live remain one of the best pairs of true wireless earbuds with ANC available on the market today.

NextPit samsung galaxy buds
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are certainly a unique design. / © NextPit

Whilst the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live do not excel in any one particular area - the ANC is fine but not amazing, they sound quality is good but not great, the battery life is fine but not the longest on this list, etc. - the one thing you can't deny is the fashion statement you are making when you opt for these earbuds over the competition. In terms of design, the Galaxy Buds Live are kind of out on their own, and that could be the tipping point for many.

Key facts:

  • Audio codec: AAC and SBC
  • Battery Life: 29 hours (8 hours in the earbuds, 21 hours in the carry case)

Huawei FreeBuds Pro

Rating

Rating Motorola Moto G 5G Plus

Pros

  • Good ANC
  • Fantastic bass performance that is not too heavy
  • Excellent battery life
  • Comfortable design
  • Can be connected to two devices simultaneously
 

Cons

  • Huawei AI app needs working on
  • No iOS app
  • Poor call quality

If you are looking for long battery life from your paid of active noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds, then the Huawei FreeBuds Pro are certainly worth a look. The design is very Apple AirPods-like, but the FreeBuds Pro have smaller, square stems and are available in black - something Apple does not offer.

NextPit Huawei Free Buds Pro headphones
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro feature an interesting, boxy design. / © NextPit

The lack of a high-end audio codec is a shame, but for most people, these will still sound more than good enough for listening to music on the go and watching YouTube videos etc. Battery life is one of the main advantages of the Huawei TWS earbuds, with the total run time coming in at up to 30 hours.

Key facts:

  • Audio codec: AAC and SBC
  • Battery Life: 30 hours (7 hours in the earbuds, 23 hours in the carry case)

Libratone Track Air+

Rating

Rating Motorola Moto G 5G Plus

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Secure fit
  • Good sound
  • Effective ANC with dynamic adjustment
 

Cons

  • Touch input limited to two functions
  • Wearer recognition in need of improvement

Libratone has built a strong reputation amongst those who report on the mobile industry and the Track Air+ could be seen as the brand's biggest innovation. When we reviewed these back at the end of 2019, our man Shu thought they were better than Apple's AirPods.

AndroidPIT libratone track air plus 5
The Libratone Track Air+ are the best ANC earbuds for Android users who like the AirPods-style design. / © NextPit

The design is all about wearing comfort, and at 5.6 grams per earbud, the Libratone Track Air+ are very lightweight. They also come with IPX4 certification against water damage. Most of all, though, it's the clever ANC that impressed us. Not only do you get active noise cancellation, but the microphones in the earbuds can also be used to bypass passive noise reduction, meaning that a double-tap on the touch-field and your music disappears discreetly and you can perceive your surroundings again.

Key facts:

  • Audio codec: AAC and aptX
  • Battery Life: 24 hours (6 hours in the earbuds, 18 hours in the carry case)

Mobvoi Ticpods 2 Pro

True wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation don't have to cost a fortune. The budget pick on our list comes from the Chinese brand, Mobvoi. We've been impressed with the true wireless efforts from this company over the last couple of years, and the Ticpods 2 Pro offer an affordable way to get into ANC on your true wireless earbuds.

In terms of ANC, the Ticpods 2 Pro feature dual-mic noise cancellation sensors on both earbuds They're also great for calls, as the mics focus on your voice and tunes out ambient noise. There are no rubber tips on these though, so you won't benefit from any passive noise cancellation as you would with some other in-ear headphone designs.

Key facts:

  • Audio codec: aptX, AAC, and SBC
  • Battery Life: 24 hours (4 hours in the earbuds, 20 hours in the carry case)

What are your favourite true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation? Share your tips in the comments section below.

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4 comments

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  • Wow, great!


  • Apple AirPods are the way to expensive but look dope.


  • How is the ANC of the Libratone Track Air+?

    I have both the Sony WH-1000XM3s and the Sony WF-1000XM3s. The ANC on the WFs is not as good, but is adequate for my use. The bigger difference in sound quality, I'm sure, is due to the drivers, but suspect a good amount is the use of AAC. That codec is really not optimal from an Android phone and the LPAC codec in the WH is measurably better. I've had good results from other headphones I use that have the APX HD codec so I'm wondering if I wouldn't be happier with the Libratone Track Air+....


    • David McCourt
      • Admin
      • Staff
      9 months ago Link to comment

      It's good, but don't expect anything on the level of the Sony WH-100XM3. The ANC microphones in the Track Air+ can also be used to bypass passive noise reduction, though, and can fade your music in and out as they do so - pretty cool.

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