The Indian Gadget Awards is the biggest tech event the country has ever seen, comprising over 40 jury members. These include distinguished tech content creators, publications and experts, who have come together to evaluate 30 awards categories with almost 200 nominees. Here we’ll be looking at the winners for the Best TWS earbuds of 2021 across mainstream and premium segments. 2021 saw quite a new few new TWS launches, and the devices that delivered users great audio experiences while also packing in a punch when it comes to other necessary features found a place in our list of contenders. Then our esteemed jury panel thoroughly tested all the contenders to decide the winners. Here they are:
Best TWS earbuds 2021 — Mainstream
TWS earbuds have quickly developed their own niche and form an important segment of the tech industry today. The budget end of this market has seen engaging competition with newer and better products seeing the light of the day. This category in the Indian Gadget Awards rewards products in this challenging segment that face demand from consumers to provide a decent audio experience, good battery life and a stylish proposition while selling below Rs 5,000. Our panel of 40 judges took their sweet time but we finally have the winners – check them out!
Winner: Realme Buds Air 2
Runner-up: Jabra Elite 2
Check out the full list of nominees for the Best Mainstream TWS earbuds of 2021.
Realme Buds Air 2
Our first nominee, the Realme Air 2 makes it to our coveted awards by ticking all the right boxes and punching above its weight as far as the mainstream TWS segment is concerned. The Realme Air 2 delivers great sound via its 10mm ‘Bass Boost’ drivers and active noise cancellation while delivering 5 hours of battery backup. A full charge comes up in an hour while a quick 10-minute juice up can lend you up to 120 minutes of playback time. Other features like Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, app support, 88ms low latency, dual microphone for noise cancellation and AAC and SBC codec are all packed into a stylish IPX5 certified body.
Jabra Elite 2
The Jabra Elite 2 comes in as a strong contender in the mainstream segment, and brings along Jabra’s ace audio repute. The Jabra Elite 2 utilises 6mm drivers packed inside what Jabra calls ‘noise isolating’ design and deploys a basic level of weatherproofing. Jabra Elite 2 ends up delivering an overall appreciable sound experience with a claimed usage time of up to 7 hours and 21 more hours with some help from the case. These earbuds pack in dual microphone, app support, Bluetooth 5.2, touch controls and Qualcomm aptX and SBC codec support in a lightweight form factor.
Soundcore Life Note E
Soundcore is Anker’s audio oriented sound brand and brings in the Soundcore Life Note E TWS earbuds to cater to the affordable end of the market. The Soundcore Life Note E gets 6mm graphene drivers that deliver a bass-rich sound experience and the aptX codec enables high-quality audio. Design-wise the Soundcore Life Note E adopts a generic style while the charging case which is on the larger size with its 810mAh battery delivers up to 40 hours of listening. Noise-reducing microphones, 6 hours of playback time, Bluetooth 5.0, fast charging and IPX5 certification complete the package.
JBL brings in its audio expertise to this category with the JBL C115 TWS earbuds and delivers an all-around experience in a lightweight form factor. The JBL C115 uses 5.8mm drivers that deliver a well-balanced sound experience while serving 3-4 hours of playback time. The JBL C115 supports Google Assistant or Siri and comes with the practicality of a Type C connector.
boAt Airdopes 501 ANC
The mainstream nominations would be incomplete without a contender from boAt – the boAt Airdopes 501 ANC takes a spot on this list. boAt Airdopes 501 ANC gets 8mm drivers that deliver a wholesome listening experience of up to 5.5 hours taking help from the charging case. A quick 5-minute charge lends 60 minutes of playback time. The boAt Airdopes 501 ANC brings a lightweight albeit traditional TWS earbuds design with IPX4 certification. These earbuds support up to 30dB of ANC while a total of 4 microphones improve to boost the calling experience. Other features include Bluetooth 5.2, in-ear detection, ambient mode, instant wake and pair and a Type C connector that fast charges.
omthing By 1MORE AirFree Pods
omthing By 1MORE AirFree Pods was created with the idea to stand out and stand out it does, both with its name as well as with looks. For starters, the omthing By 1MORE AirFree Pods get 13mm drivers which put it ahead of the others, at least on paper. omthing By 1MORE AirFree Pods boasts a Qualcomm-sourced chipset and also supports cVc 8.0 noise-cancelling technology. The lightweight pair of earphones pack in four microphones, app support, aptX and AAC support as well a Qi wireless charging support. omthing By 1MORE AirFree Pods reports a total playback time of up to 25 hours.
These are the top contenders when it comes to mainstream TWS earbuds. Stay tuned for the results, as the best one out of the lot will be crowned victorious.
Best TWS earbuds 2021 — Premium
When it comes to the premium segment, comprising TWS earphones priced above Rs 5,000, great audio accompanying a ton of useful features, and lots of bells and whistles are of utmost importance. This brings us to one of the most popular and certainly a coveted fraction of the Indian Gadget Awards – the premium TWS earbuds. Our judges were divided, so we have not one but two contestants crowned as joint winners of the Best Premium TWS earbuds of 2021 award.
Winner: Apple AirPods 3 and OPPO Enco X (Joint winners)
Check out the full list of nominees for the Best Premium TWS earbuds of 2021:
OPPO Enco X
The OPPO Enco X starts off the premium nominations and for good reason – it packs in quite a few lucrative features packed inside a stylish yet subtle design. The OPPO Enco X dishes out a wholesome sound experience via its 11mm dynamic drivers and 6mm membrane drivers. The AirPods Pro derived design makes the silicone-tipped earbuds a comfortable fit and also accentuate the earbud’s ANC features. Other features include a dual-core chip, Dynaudio tuned audio, four microphones, touch controls and IP54 certification. 5.5 hours of playback comes in from a single charge with up to 20 hours of extension with some juice from the case. The case gets a Type C connector as well as Qi wireless charging compatibility.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds lineup spawns our next contender – the Galaxy Buds Pro. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro inherits a design derived from its other stablemates and utilises a mix of finishes to advance its style quotient. The AKG-tuned internals consist of an 11mm woofer driver assisted by a 6.5mm tweeter that allows for a 2-way speaker system. The rubber tips further the ANC experience and also feature Ambient Sound and Noise Detect. With ANC on, the Galaxy Buds Pro offer 5 odd hours of playback time while a quick 3-minute charge can lend you additional 30 minutes of listening. Charging takes place via a Type C connector or wireless charging. Other features include support for SBC, AAC, and the Samsung Scalable Codec, Dolby Atmos support, Bixby Voice and an IPX7 rating.
Jabra Elite 85T
Jabra is a promising audio-centric brand whose products are globally recognised and the Jabra Elite 85T goes the way to solidify that image in the premium end of the TWS market. The Jabra Elite 85T starts off with a stylish but subtle design language that house 12mm drivers and a total of six microphones. The Elite 85T, like others in this segment, offers ANC and uses four of the six microphones to achieve a digital noise cancelled environment while the rubber tips enhance this experience. The Jabra Elite 85T is well known for its all-rounder listening experience and balanced sonic texture. The Jabra Elite 85T posts a playback time of 5.5 hours with 25 hours of total playback time via some help from the charging case. The Elite 85T quick charges within 15 minutes which lend an extra 60minutes of playtime and charging is enabled by a Type C connector or Qi wireless charging. Other features include Bluetooth 5.1, app support, IPX4 certification, 2 device connection and support for AAC and SBC codecs.
Apple AirPods 3
AirPods are a no brainer for Apple users and also happen to be one of the most popular tech products of all time. A much-anticipated update came through in the form of the AirPods 3 which brought about a new-AirPods Pro inspired design and some other upgrades. Apple’s AirPods 3 sees updates in the sound department which produce a balanced sound experience, though these are devoid of one vital feature – Active Noise Cancellation. The AirPods 3 brings to the table a new IPX4 rating, Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking and a new skin detection sensor. The AirPods 3 claim a playback of time of up to 6 hours and charging takes place via a Lightning Cable or a Qi/MagSafe compatible charger. Amongst other features, the AirPods 3 gets Bluetooth 5.0, touch controls, Adaptive EQ and most importantly a cohesive software experience with other products from the Apple ecosystem.
OnePlus Buds Pro
OnePlus takes its audio game forward with the introduction of the OnePlus Buds Pro and rightfully so. The OnePlus Buds Pro makes it to our nominations with a premium design and feel while packing in new-age features like ANC and wireless charging. The OnePlus Buds Pro gets 11mm drivers that deliver a detailed and clear sound experience for a claimed playback time of 38 hours. Warp Charge support lens 10 hours of playback time with just 10 minutes of charge while an alternative charging method via a Qi wireless charger is also available. The OnePlus Buds Pro clears out 40dB of sound via its adaptive ANC and also supports high-quality AAC and LHDC Bluetooth codecs. Other features include – Bluetooth 5.2, IP55 certification, Type C connector and noise-cancelling microphones.
Nothing Ear 1
Nothing Ear 1 took the market by storm with its futuristic minimal design and now makes it to our list of nominations. The hype starts with the transparent design language that subtly shows the internals of the TWS earbuds while there are silicone tips for snug fit in the ear. On the inside, 11.6mm drivers push out decent sound and also feature ANC which boosts the experience. The Nothing Ear 1 lasts 5 hours on a single charge while the charging case lends it a total of 34 hours. Other features include – Google Fast Pair, Find My Earbud, IPX4 certification, Qi wireless charging compatibility, touch controls and Bluetooth 5.2.
Google Pixel Buds A
The Google Pixel Buds A comes into our nomination list with a minimalistic design and offers a good audio experience. The Google Pixel A makes for a viable option for Android users as it stays true to the design aesthetics seen across the platform. There are 12mm drivers and spatial air vent that work in conjunction to deliver a decent sound experience. The Google Pixel Buds A also gets Adaptive Sound, a software trick to compensate for the absence of ANC. The rest of the Pixel Buds A gets all the features one would come to expect – an elaborate companion app, 5 hours of playback time with a 15-minute quick charge extracting up to 180 minutes of music, Bluetooth 5.0, AAC and SBC codec support, Type C connector and IPX4 certification.
LyperTek PurePlay Z7
The last one but not the least – LyperTek PurePlay Z7. LyperTek PurePlay Z7 ticks many of the right boxes when it comes to premium TWS earbuds. LyperTek PurePlay Z7 gets a hybrid triple driver set up packaged inside a traditional-looking TWS earbuds design but looks premium nevertheless. This pair of earphones offers 10 hours of playback with a seven times extension when using the fabric finished charging case. LyperTek PurePlay Z7 however misses out on ANC and the earbuds depend on the physical temporary seal created by the silicone tips and a snug fit. The LyperTek PurePlay Z7 also features an IPX5 certification, app support, manually controllable EQ, wireless charging, Type C connector and a low latency Bluetooth connectivity.
The above earbuds deliver the performance one would ask for at this end of the market while also looking stylish and packing in all the other necessary features. Keep an eye out to find out which TWS takes home the crown.