They have 30 minutes less battery life than the Stylish too, working for about six hours outside the charging case (which adds another 16 hours of juice). Honestly? That’s still better than Apple’s AirPods, and I’d rather have the more comfortable fit of the new model. Quick charging makes it a nonissue. A 15-minute recharge via the included USB-C cable will get you two hours of juice.

The charging case itself is as plasticky as the last one and doesn’t feel premium at all, but I do like how the rounded design easily slips into pockets and how small it is overall. If a company is gonna save money anywhere on $100 earbuds, it’s the case. The buds themselves are made out of very high-quality materials.

The Music

The ColorBuds support aptX and AAC encoding for higher-quality Bluetooth streaming, which means you’ll get a slightly higher bit rate from all modern phones. That encoding is nice, but it’s an excellent fit that really enables the headphones to sound so great. With a near-perfect seal in your ear canals, you get some of the most balanced sounds I’ve heard from true wireless headphones below the premium tier.

I found them awesome to move around with, in particular, because they don’t suffer from the weird, warbly sound problems that come when headphones are moving around in your ears.

Photograph: 1More

The tuning, which was done by Grammy award-winning sound engineer Luca Bignardi, is excellent. Bass response is low and punchy, but the ColorBuds definitely err on the side of flat, detailed response, rather than energetic club headphones. For my ears, that’s a plus. I like jamming out to hip-hop during workouts, but the combination of movement and tuning often muddies the words. With the ColorBuds, I was able to pick out every element of the sound super well, right on up to Dr. Dre’s synth squeals.

Just like the Stylish before them, the ColorBuds offer a great listening experience for other genres too. I’m a jazz nerd and have recently been digging into the fantastic, calming music of Brazillian singer Rosa Passos. Her soothing alto and nylon string guitar come through the ColorBuds with round detail and crisp dynamics, transporting you to a tropical beach where you don’t have a Covid-era care in the world.

An excellent fit also means they have earplug-like noise blocking, so you won’t hear much of anything that’s going on around you when you’re listening.

Daily Drivers

The ColorBuds are a more comfortable, better sounding version of my previous favorite true wireless earbuds. Sure, they’ve got slightly worse battery life and the controls aren’t as great, but those are really small concessions when it comes to headphones that fit this well.

They’re about $50 cheaper than Apple’s basic AirPods and are better in every measurable way. If you’re after a brand new pair of in-ears, these are what I’d get.