Father’s Day is just around the corner and if you haven’t gotten your dad anything yet, don’t freak out: Both Best Buy and Verizon are offering delivery before the big day. If your pop’s a certified audiophile and would love to listen to his music anywhere he wants but hates cords and distractions, you can get him a pair of noise-canceling true wireless earbuds. Right now, the Apple AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM3 are both on sale with as much as $120 off.
Sony created some of the best (well, actually the best) headphones out there, and its expertise extends to the true wireless domain via the Sony WF-1000XM3. These shiny and relatively new earbuds possess industry-leading noise cancellation, awesome acoustics, fantastic battery life, and the same compelling app-based features we have loved for years. Anything bad about them? Well, they’re practically perfect if you ask us, save for a couple of things: They’re a bit bulky, and they offer no water-resistance.
As mentioned, the Sony WF-1000XM3 are a tad more substantial than your average true wireless earbuds. They are pill-shaped and look like they mean business, which is understandable since these are marketed for commuters and professionals. They come in an even more substantially sized USB Type-C charging case that can still fit most pockets, although your bag would be a better receptacle. The package includes two different tip thicknesses in three sizes each (small, medium, and large), all but guaranteeing you’ll find a pair that’s right for you.
In terms of features, there are very few companies that can really compete against Sony. With noise-canceling off, these earbuds can last up to eight hours, and the charging case can carry an additional 24 hours of backup juice. A quick-charge feature delivers 90 minutes of playback after just 10 minutes of charging. The glossy touchpad along each buds’ exterior allows you to play and pause music, access your voice assistant, and change songs. A longer touch on the left earbud will temporarily shut off noise-canceling to make you fully aware of your surroundings, so you can hear traffic sounds and flight announcements, or order a martini. And you don’t even have to power these earbuds down as they will do it themselves once you remove them from your ears.
Naturally, you won’t get the same amount of noise reduction with the WF-1000XM3 compared to over-ear headphones, but they work great nonetheless. And in terms of sound quality, we have no complaints whatsoever. Powered by Sony’s proprietary DSEE HX engine — designed to upscale lo-fidelity sound for better overall clarity — the WF-1000XM3 provide some of the best sound quality you’ll hear in wireless earbuds. Every music genre sounded majestic: The highs shimmer with clarity, the mids soar and are richly textured, and the basses provide just the right amount of punch. What’s more, the audio is fully customizable using the app, although the default sound preset was already pitch-perfect for us.
For premium sound quality paired with surprisingly effective noise-canceling (too bad you can’t take these to the gym), get the Sony WF-1000XM3 today at Best Buy for $180 instead of $300 — a huge $120 off.
It’s probably pretty obvious that we weren’t all that impressed with the standard AirPods. There are just several other true wireless earbuds out there that offer better value for your hard-earned money. So when Apple announced it was going to release the souped-up AirPod Pro, we were naturally skeptical. Would the company be able to deliver this time and improve on all the areas that the AirPods failed at? The answer is a resounding yes. The AirPods Pro are shockingly good and a huge win for Apple. Their sound quality has improved tremendously, their noise-canceling is spectacular, and they’re extremely comfortable to use even for a long period. The only problem we foresee is their questionable long-term battery life. Right now, you can score the AirPods Pro at Verizon for $220 instead of $250.
Love it or hate it, the AirPods’ golf-tee design is iconic, so Apple didn’t stray too far away from it when designing the AirPods Pro. They just now sport a shorter stem, which brings us to this major concern: Battery life. While the AirPods Pro offer the same battery performance as the standard AirPods (roughly 4.5 to 5 hours of listening time and/or 3.5 hours of call time per charge), we fear that their smaller batteries might not last in the long run. Unlike the Airpods, the AirPods Pro come with three sets of silicone eartips that snap on with a satisfying click instead of sliding onto a little nubbin as so many other in-ear buds require. This change not only offers a more secure and comfortable fit but also contributes to a better bass response.
The AirPods Pro inherit the original AirPods’ controls which means they’re ridiculously easy to operate and, as expected, Siri is always listening and ready to obey your every command. As with most true wireless buds with active noise-canceling, you have the option to either shut noise out or let it all in. Apple calls the latter feature “Transparency Mode” and activating this allows sounds from the outside world to arrive in a very natural way, almost as if you’ve taken the buds themselves out. Noise-canceling is decidedly top-notch and almost on par with what over-ear ANC headphones offer. Last but certainly not least, the AirPods Pro deliver a pretty impressive sonic performance. Their sound signature is terrific, rich in subtle details with some zesty treble, rounded-up by a full-bodied bass.
We tip our hats to the Apple AirPods Pro. These are absolutely the best true wireless earbuds that you can get if you’re an iOS user. Get them for $220 at Verizon today.