Ameya DalviDec 29, 2022 17:19:55 IST
It is that time of the year when we reflect on things gone by. Today we focus on the best true wireless earbuds that launched this year across various price brackets. Other than sound quality, which was obviously given the highest weightage, we have also factored in features like active noise cancellation (ANC), battery backup and more. All things considered, here are the best TWS earbuds of 2022.
Best TWS earbuds of 2022 under Rs 20,000
We have two products in this budget that deserve the honour, starting with probably the first major audio release of 2022.
Generally the products released at the start of the year are often forgotten by the end of it, but not these Sony earbuds. The Sony WF-1000XM4 set the bar so high that literally nobody could surpass it in almost 12 months. The performance remains a cut above anything we came across south of Rs 20,000 this year, with a warm and detailed sound output that works well across most genres of music and visual content.
Add to that Hi-Res codec support, a good companion app and impressive battery life, and we have a solid all-around product. But one aspect that shines through even more is the active noise cancellation which is the best among TWS earphones under 20K to date. A few missing features like multi-point support were added recently through a firmware update, making the product more complete. Factoring in all of that, the Sony WF-1000XM4 is easily the best pair of TWS earphones of 2022.
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro
The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro is a close second and matches the Sony feature to feature. It probably would have been a tie had the company not reserved a lot of goodness for just Samsung phones including 24-bit audio support. Despite that, it is an excellent pair of earphones that’s more ergonomic and a few thousand bucks cheaper than the Sony too. The sound quality is detailed with a very good soundstage and separation.
The Galaxy Buds2 Pro employs dual drivers in each earbud, and the tuning by AKG really sparkles. The ANC is among the best in the business at the moment, and the ambient/transparency mode is quite natural. If you own a Samsung phone or plan to buy one, these earbuds are the best that you can get. Even otherwise, they are comfortably among the best of 2022 for those looking for a premium experience.
Best TWS earbuds of 2022 under Rs 15,000
There was a clear winner in this segment and absolutely nothing else came close given the performance and value that the Oppo flagship offers.
Oppo Enco X2
The Oppo Enco X2 didn’t just need to battle the competition but also had to surpass the high standards set by its illustrious predecessor in every department. The latter was probably the harder test, but these TWS earbuds passed with flying colours. The warm and detailed sound output is a treat to the ears and the feature list of this product is longer than any of its competitors in this price bracket. Little surprise that it just waltzed into this list.
The dual driver setup and Dynaudio’s tuning is a great combination that handles the three major frequency ranges quite well with tight and punchy bass, detailed midrange and sharp highs. Support for high-end codecs like LDAC and LHDC 4.0 over Bluetooth 5.2 helps in providing higher bandwidth for high-bitrate sound. Add to that support for multi-point, and good ANC that can reduce the ambient sounds up to 45 dB and we have a product that’s hard to beat in this budget, and it has stayed that way.
Best TWS earbuds of 2022 under Rs 10,000
As weird as it may sound, we came across nothing great in this budget this year that deserved a place in this list. So we decided to leave it empty. A hint for TWS earphone manufacturers to fill this void next year.
Best TWS earbuds of 2022 under Rs 5,000
Just like the top budget class, we have two products in the sub-5K segment that are so evenly matched that it’s hard to pick a clear winner. So we have included both.
OnePlus Buds Z2
While the OnePlus Buds Z2 was a more than decent product at launch, it probably wouldn’t have featured in this list the way it was. In terms of features, it was pretty good with the likes of ANC, wear detection sensors, impressive battery backup and customisable controls better than any prior OnePlus earbuds. But the sound was distinctly V-shaped with ample bass and sharp highs. The mids suffered as a result, with noticeable auditory masking. There was no way to alter the sound profile then.
That changed in the second half of this year, when a firmware update not just provided new sound presets, but also the ability to create your own sound profiles using a multi-band equaliser. Thanks to that, one could make the OnePlus Buds Z2 sound way better than before. With the most important box ticked, it automatically became worthy of being in this list of the best of 2022.
Realme Buds Air 3
Realme set out on a mission a couple of years ago to ‘democratise ANC’, or in simpler words, make ANC affordable and available for the masses. While their age-old Buds Q2 is still going strong in the sub-2K segment, the Realme Buds Air 3 is the current pinnacle of ANC for the company. And it works great, way better than what one would expect from earphones priced at 4K. It cuts down on the hum of an AC or the whirr of a fan when indoors, and significantly reduces traffic noises and human chatter in public transport.
The Realme Link app has been a big plus for the audio products from the company, letting you customise the sound and controls among other things. As for sound output, though on the warmer side, it is fairly balanced and more importantly, enjoyable across a variety of tracks. Features like wear detection sensors and robust battery backup add to the value quotient of this already well-price pair of TWS earbuds.
That completes our lineup of top TWS buds for this year. We now look forward to some of their successors and competitors in 2023. If they manage to dislodge some of these products from their respective thrones, it would truly be music to our ears.