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If you’re a gamer, a headset might seem like the go-to choice to wear while playing. But earbuds have their advantages over headsets, both when you’re gaming on a PC or tablet at home, or while you’re on the go.
For starters, they’re generally more affordable and have plenty packed into their small size. These buds are designed with powerful drivers to produce deep bass, balanced mids and shimmering highs, with the goal of bringing out pure, crisp sound from your favorite games.
While some work better than others on different consoles and devices, a good pair of wireless buds should pair with pretty much everything that has Bluetooth. The built-in mic matters too, especially if you’ll be playing collaborative games with others.
Fit is another factor. Most buds will come with a few different options of rubber tips and grips, to find what best matches the shape of your ear. The better seal you can form, the more immersed you’ll be in the audio. And even if it fits perfectly while you’re sitting still, keep in mind that the more you’re talking and shouting (either at your teammates or at the game itself), a loose-fitting bud can fall out at the worst times if it isn’t in there securely.
Along with forming a snug fit in your ears, ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) is another big perk if you want to totally block out any distractions and focus solely on the game. Most buds give you the option to switch it on or off, and the boost of decreased distractions is instantly noticeable. Some buds now even have a third hear-through option, where you can keep track of your surroundings via the bud’s microphones. This comes in handy to stay alert and safe while enjoying your game, particularly for mobile users outside and on the move.
These four pairs will deliver big sound directly to your ears, immersing you in the game and enjoying it on a whole new level.
1. Razer Hammerhead Gaming Earbuds (2nd Gen)
The Hammerheads’ sound is deep and satisfying, with strong 10mm drivers, and these can multi-task for music, exercise and calls throughout your day.
There’s a designated low latency game mode, which means you’ll face minimal lag times with your gaming audio while paired to a Bluetooth device.
These gaming earbuds also feature Active Noise Cancelation (ANC) to keep background noise low for a more immersive gaming experience and are powered by Razer Chroma RGB, which means you can customize the lighting on these buds to any color you want (with millions to choose from). We particularly loved this stand-out feature, as well as the upgraded battery life which went up to five hours on a single charge even with RGB lighting on — a big upgrade from their predecessor. Get more than 30 hours with the included charging case.
2. HyperX Cloud Mix Buds
HyperX is known for its over-ear headphones but the brand just released its first-ever Bluetooth-compatible wireless buds.
The Cloud Mix Buds have Bluetooth built-in and also come with a USB-C dongle, allowing you to connect these buds to your smartphone, PC, PlayStation 5 console and even your Nintendo Switch — I had no trouble connecting these earbuds to any of my devices. You won’t be able to use these wireless earbuds with Xbox though, so make sure to pick one of these wired gaming headphones instead.
Battery life is the best feature of the Cloud Mix Buds, lasting about 33 hours in total. I was able to game around two to three hours every day for a week without having these buds give out on me. That said, if you are using the low latency mode on these earbuds, prepare for battery life to drop faster.
The sound quality is pretty decent on HyperX’s new buds. Whether I was replaying Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy or listening to some music on my smartphone, the 12mm drivers delivered bass and vocals that were both crisp and clear. There’s no noise cancellation mode though, but you can adjust the equalizer through the NGENUITY software app. Through the app, you can also modify what the touch controls do from playing or pausing your music to activating voice assistance.
The fit is quite comfortable, and you’ll get three sizes of silicone ear tips allowing you to customize your fit. I do suggest finding your fit before you take these buds on the go as otherwise, you may notice them falling quite easily out of your ears.
All in all, the Cloud Mix Buds deliver strong battery performance, decent audio quality, and quick connectivity, making them a strong choice for casual gamers.
3. Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless Earbuds
If you were a fan of Jabra’s last generation, the 75t, these new ones prove that it’s only gotten better. The 85t features improved ANC that does an excellent job of reducing surrounding noise, as well as a hear-through mode to keep an ear on everything going on near you. But even without ANC, the oval-shaped ear tips do a nice job of securing the buds in while keeping unwanted sound out.
The case is conveniently compact and well-built, snapping shut tightly and providing a charge as well as an indicator light on the front. Unlike other cases, these can stand upright while charging, with the port on the back instead of the bottom. They can also charge wirelessly through Qi technology, which is super convenient instead of searching for the charging cable every time.
Three mics per bud, six total, pick up every nuance in your voice clearly. With ANC on, these last about 5.5 hours, or up to 25 with a fully charged case.
Once paired with a device (or two devices at one time, a refreshingly great feature), the Jabras pick up right where they left off, instantly connecting you back up as soon as you take them out of the case. You can also set your own EQ, along with other personalization options, in the free accompanying Sound+ app.
They’re rated IPX4 but probably best to keep these inside, and save the rainy-day jogging for the Jabra Active 75t.
4. Bose QuietComfort Noise-Cancelling Earbuds
These gaming earbuds combine style, elegance and stellar noise-cancellation, built in mind for people always on the go. Since they also feature noise-rejecting microphones, your speech will sound loud and clear when you’re amidst a Fortnite tournament with your friends. You can also use these earbuds for more than just gaming — wear them on your daily run, trip to the grocery store, or while commuting to work. Since they’re IPX4 rated, they’ll be able to withstand light rain, sweaty workouts, or even the occasional accidental splash in your home.
The soft silicone fit is pretty comfortable, although some people did note that they might not fit the best for smaller ear canals (If you’re worried about fit, stick with the Galaxy Buds Pro). That said, these earphones do have 5.1 Bluetooth connectivity, staying connected even if the wearer is 30 feet away, which means you’ll never miss a beat, even while you multitask. You’ll also get six hours of battery life on a single charge, with enough juice in the charging case for an additional 12 hours of listening time.