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The Best Headphones for Cycling in 2021

Last updated: 1 month ago
10 min read

Listen to music or podcasts while riding a bike with the best headphones suitable for cycling.

Rating Price Water protection Connection Battery (charging) Mic & Controls More info
Jabra Elite Active 75t Best overall
Jabra Elite Active 75t
4.3
Under $150
IP57
Bluetooth 5.0
7 hours, 20h in case (USB-C)
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4.6
Under $250
IPX4
Bluetooth 5.0
11 hours, 24h in case (Lightning)
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Jaybird Vista Best sound
Jaybird Vista true wireless earbuds
4.4
Under $180
IPX7
Bluetooth 5.0
6 hours, 10h in case (USB-C)
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AfterShokz Aeropex Best awareness
AfterShokz Aeropex
4.6
Under $160
IP67
Bluetooth 5.0
8 hours (proprietary)
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Apple AirPods Pro Best apple
Apple AirPods Pro
4.8
Under $250
IPX4
Bluetooth 5.0
5 hours, 24h in case (Lightning)
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Aukey EP-T31 Best value
Aukey EP T31 true wireless earbuds
4.3
Under $50
IPX5
Bluetooth 5.0
5 hours, 25h in case (USB-C)
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Jlab Audio Jbuds Air Best under $50
JLab Audio JBuds Air True Wireless
4.2
Under $40
IP55
Bluetooth 5.0
6 hours, 15h in case (Micro-USB)
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4.7
Under $60
IPX5
Bluetooth 5.2
7+ hours, 25h in case (USB-C)
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4.4
Under $40
IPX7
Bluetooth 5.0
5 hours, 9h in case (Micro-USB)
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iTeknic IK-BH001 Best battery
iTeknic BH001Bluetooth earbuds
4.2
Under $30
IPX7
Wireless in-ear
24h (Micro-USB)
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Many cyclists can’t imagine going out on their bikes without entertainment.

Headphones give you the option to listen to music or podcasts while cycling.

But not every pair of headphones is good for driving a bike.

Some don’t fit well under a helmet, and some create too much wind noise.

We present the best headphones for cycling in this guide.

We also address questions you may have about the safety, and what makes good workout headphones for a cyclist.

Table of Contents

    Related:

    Best workout headphones

    Best headphones for running

    Best waterproof Bluetooth headphones

    Key Features of Headphones for Cycling

    The key features go far beyond just sound. There is a lot to look out for when buying cycling headphones.

    You need to consider both your listening comfort and your safety. We’ve selected the following features as vital for cyclists.

    Safety

    Safety is paramount, especially for road cyclists who need to hear the world around them.

    Don’t take any chances of not being able to hear background noise like traffic noise and car horns.

    Keep the volume low enough, so you can still hear the oncoming cars. It’s dangerous to do otherwise.

    Bicycle accident with car

    Active noise-canceling headphones are impressive, but shouldn’t be used at the expense of having your wits about you when cycling with headphones.

    Most Bluetooth earbuds and true wireless earbuds don’t totally block out sound, so you should still be able to hear some traffic.

    For peace of mind, though, the best bone conduction headphones keep your ear canals uncovered and the sound vibrates via your cheekbones. Bone conduction technology is an excellent solution for cyclists.

    Is it even legal to wear headphones when riding a bike?

    Stability

    Cycling can be quite strenuous and fast. Whenever there is a lot of movement, we recommend specific sports headphones.

    This means headphones which are designed to stay in place even while you’re active.

    You should be looking mainly at in-ear headphones, as they aren’t overly bulky.

    On-ear and over-ear headphones are generally a no-go (plus won’t fit under a helmet).

    An in-ear design with ear wings or ear hooks that stays in the ears is important for uninterrupted listening.

    Durability

    Replacing headphones every few months because they’ve broken is a pain.

    A durable set of headphones is essential if you are using them for something active.

    You might sweat a lot or get caught in the worst weather conditions. Therefore, at least sweat resistance is essential.

    Therefore water-resistant headphones are a must (look for a high IPX rating).

    They can potentially get scraped or thrown around a bit.

    If you cycle a lot, and on challenging terrains, think about getting some durable earbuds or headphones.

    Wired vs. Wireless

    Choosing wired headphones can save you the hassle of charging but can tangle when moving.

    Some cyclists don’t mind wires, especially if you’re cycling on a stationary bike (when movement is more uniform).

    Even so, wireless headphones have come a long way in recent years and have a lot to offer to active people, including cyclists.

    Key features of wireless headphones:

    • Not getting in the way since there are no wires, perfect freedom
    • You can keep your music device (smartphone) in a bag instead of attached
    • Often sweatproof or even waterproof
    • All have convenient controls and microphone for phone calls
    • You need to charge them regularly

    Obviously, the lack of cable is the main plus point, and so is the fact that you don’t have to have your music device attached.

    You can keep it in your backpack if you like. Also, you can use voice control on some of the headphones we’ve reviewed for even easier control.

    Battery and Bluetooth

    If you are going down the wireless route, think carefully about what battery lives will suit your biking routine.

    You don’t want the lithium battery to die in the middle of a tour, especially if you like to cycle long distances.

    Nonetheless, the Bluetooth connection is reliable enough to make sure the sound is constant with no interruptions.

    How to Choose Headphones for Cycling

    Choosing the right headphones for cycling is a case of matching up your own unique needs to the type of headphones on offer.

    While some features such as good sound quality and stability are essential, different cyclists may prioritize different functions.

    How do Cycling Headphones Differ?

    One of the key differences when finding headphones for cycling is that the priority may shift from sound to stability.

    Having a good quality of sound is important but useless if you are wearing true wireless earbuds and they keep falling out.

    Cycling headphones don’t tend to come in over-ear or on-ear models, and they need to be able to fit under helmets.

    Depending on how your bike helmet fits, make sure you can comfortably fit under a pair of in.ear headphones.

    Normally, you will be looking for in-ear headphones/ear buds.

    They don’t get in the way as much, and there is less chance of getting them sweaty. Earbuds are also less bulky and therefore more comfortable for sports.

    Consider Where (and How) You Will be Cycling

    Being able to hear is always important for cyclists. However, in some areas, it may be even more vital.

    If you often cycle around busy traffic, open-ear wireless bone conduction headphones could be useful since they don’t block the ear canal.

    If you are more of a leisurely cyclist, you might be able to pay a little less attention to the high tech functions some headphones have.

    For instance, if you cycle on a static bike or just slowly around local villages, then wired workout headphones may be fine.

    Cycling in streets

    If you cycle for long periods of time and need headphones you can rely on for constant music while cycling, go for Bluetooth headphones with longer battery life.

    If you are a tour cyclist, you might be on the go for long periods of time, and your headphones should be able to keep going as long as you can.

    As you can see, knowing how to choose sports headphones for cycling is a case of establishing which features you think will be important for you.

    Use these features as a guide when looking at the sports headphones below. We’ve selected 8 models of best cycling headphones.

    Best Headphones for Cycling

    1. Jabra Elite Active 75t

    true-wireless Best true wireless
    Jabra Elite Active 75t wet

    The best headphones for most cyclists.

    Jabra Elite Active 75t Bluetooth earbuds are the top choice for avid cyclists.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 20h in case | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h 20min + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, BT-CVSD, mSBC | Water-resistance: IP57 | Features: EQ, "find my buds" feature, ambient aware
    • Reliably stable during movement
    • Comfortable for hours thanks to smart ergonomics
    • Fully waterproof with IP57 (IPX7)
    • Great sound quality with equalization
    • HearThrough awareness mode (useful for runners, cyclists…)
    • Competitive battery life at 7 hours per charge (+20h in case)
    • Perfectly designed physical controls
    • High build quality
    • Tiny soundstage (all sounds come from the middle of your head)
    • Pricier than most alternatives
    • Only right earbud can be used as mono

    Jabra Elite Active 75t Bluetooth headphones have bass-boosted sound reproduction, but it can be equalized in the Jabra Sound+ app. It works well for all types of music, though modern, bassy genres work best.

    Great ambient sound mode awareness is the reason why the Jabra Elite Active 75t make the top of the list.

    Although they have a good noise isolation, you can use them with the HearThrough mode. The 4-microphone system picks up the ambient sound and diverts it to you.

    And the physical controls are easier to use than touch controls, especially if you’re wearing cycling gloves. The microphone also works for hands-free phone calls or giving a command to your favorite voice assistant.

    With 7-hour battery life and full water and dust protection, you’re getting high-quality build for toughest terrains like mountain biking.

    Jabra Elite Active 75t review

    Check related: Best bass earbuds

    2. Beats PowerBeats Pro

    trophy Best bass
    Beats PowerBeats Pro outside

    Best bass headphones for cycling.

    For a fully free wireless experience with powerful bass, the PowerBeats Pro are a no brainer for every cyclist.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 12mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type:: In-ear | Battery Life: 11h + 24h in case | Range: 33ft – 10m | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Under 1h + quick charge – Lightning | Mic & controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: Ear hooks, H1 chip, volume controls on both sides
    • Deep, punchy bass that energizes modern music (slight V-shaped signature)
    • Great battery life with quick charging (we got over 11 hours out of them)
    • Perfect stability for working out
    • High build-quality and nice materials
    • Sweatproof, but can’t be submerged
    • They get slightly uncomfortable after 30 minutes
    • Pricey
    • Large charging case
    • No way to turn them off without the charging case
    • Mids sound a bit subdued

    PowerBeats Pro are the best bass headphones for those who want deeper and stronger lows in music. The Bluetooth headphones have an emphasis on bass and treble which results in a fun V-shaped signature.

    Even though they have ear hooks they should fit nicely under a helmet for most people. Bare in mind they might generate some wind noise, despite a good noise isolation.

    They’re lightweight and completely cord-free which makes it impossible to entangle. The fit is highly secure and doesn’t require adjustments.

    To protect sports earbuds against weather, they have an IPX4 water resistance rating for rain and sweat protection. And, since you’re a busy person, you can make phone calls or give voice commands from your bike with built-in mics on each side.

    With quick-charging capability, you will get around 11h per charge (24h with the case), and charging takes less than 1 hour.

    Beats PowerBeats Pro review

    3. Jaybird Vista

    trophy Best sound
    Jaybird Vista true wireless earbuds on a wooden log

    Best Bluetooth headphones for cycling with the best sound quality.

    If you like to listening to music on your bike, do it with one of the best sounding true wireless earbuds out there.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 6h + 10h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC (with JBS1 chip) | Water resistance: IPX7 | Features: Ear fins, EQ, "find my buds" feature
    • Comfortable fit
    • Excellent stability, even with small ear fins
    • Good Bluetooth 5.0 connection
    • Robust build quality
    • IPX7 rating and MIL-STD-810G standard
    • Superb sound quality (after EQ)
    • Proprietary silicone ear tips
    • Treble stays grainy, even after EQ
    • Annoying notifications when opening the app

    To get the best sound quality out of these, you need to use the mobile app’s EQ. You can tweak the audio output just the way you want to, from super bassy to almost neutral. Regardless of what you do, the bass stays punchy, with a natural-sounding midrange.

    You don’t have to worry about Vista’s durability since they come with both IPX7 water-resistant housing and MIL-STD-810G military standard of ruggedness.

    With the packaging, you get 3 different silicone ear gels, with two-sized ear fins. Since they only rest in front of the ear canal, we found them to be incredibly comfortable, with a secure fit during various activities.

    Six hours on a single charge is good enough for a decent run, with an additional 10 hours from the charging case. The latter can also be used for quick charging the earbuds, with a 5-minute charge providing an extra hour of playback.

    Jaybird Vista review

    4. AfterShokz Aeropex

    trophy Best awareness
    AfterShokz Aeropex

    The best bone-conduction headphone for cyclists.

    It’s a vital requirement to hear ambient noise with biking headphones. The AfterShokz Aeropex open-ear wireless bone conduction headphones leave your ears free while still providing clear sound.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: Bone conduction transducer
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: Bone conduction | Battery life: 8h | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h – Proprietary cable | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC | Water resistance: IP67 | Features: Moisture detect alert, EQ, multipoint
    • Stable fit for all types of sports
    • Perfect environment awareness due to open-ear design
    • Lightweight (almost 30% lighter than Air)
    • Waterproof and dustproof (IP67)
    • Good battery life (8 hours)
    • Improved bass response from previous models
    • Vibrating transducers might be annoying
    • Sound quality is suffering (compared to regular earphones)
    • Lack of bass

    The sound clarity is respectable, and the frequency response is great, for bone-conduction headphones. They are currently the best bone conduction headphones for sound.

    Bone conduction technology has been invented to allow you to hear ambient noise. The sound vibrates through facial bones, leaving the ear canal free. Of course, that means you don’t get any noise isolation.

    This is great for cyclists who can hear what is on the road while wearing headphones. 8 hours of playtime is pretty good for all kinds of cycling tours, even if you go on longer journeys.

    The Bluetooth is highly reliable, so you can keep your device tucked away in your bag.

    AfterShokz Aeropex review

    5. Apple AirPods Pro

    trophy Best Apple
    Apple AirPods Pro on the case

    Best biking headphones for iOS users.

    Feature-packed AirPods Pro are a great choice if you already own an iPhone.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h + 24h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h + quick charge – Lightning | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: ANC, Transparency mode, Dolby Atmos
    • Sound better than original AirPods
    • In-ear fit that’s suitable for moderate exercise
    • Effective noise cancelling and isolation
    • Seamless user experience with iPhone/iOS
    • Sweatproof with IPX4 certification
    • Expensive even among premium alternatives
    • No built-in volume controls
    • Cheap lid mechanism on the charging case

    Despite the impressive features, the sound quality leaves lots to be desired. Audio reproduction is not bad, but it’s not exciting either. You can expect a very balanced sound, with a slightly emphasized treble.

    Pro version of the AirPods is a significant upgrade over the classic ones. They offer better noise isolation due to their silicone ear tips, but they also support some of the features regular AirPods aren’t able to.

    The first thing is active noise cancellation (ANC), which works fantastically. However, as a cyclist, you are probably more excited about the Transparency mode. It helps you hear the ambient sound without taking your earbuds off.

    See more of the best noise cancelling earbuds with transparency mode.

    They come with IPX4 water-resistance rating, which is more than enough to protect them from sweat.

    Apple AirPods Pro review

    Most Affordable Headphones for Cycling

    Here are the top picks for biking headphones under $60.

    6. Aukey EP-T31

    dollar Best value
    Aukey EP-T31 true wireless earbuds

    The best value for money in-ear biking headphones.

    You can pay less for a pair of earbuds and get good audio quality and secure fit.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 7mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h + 25h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless charging | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: Multipoint, mono mode, Qi charging, auto play-pause feature
    • Good sound quality
    • Low latency for watching video and mobile gaming
    • Small, non-protruding housing
    • Many extra features
    • Good battery life
    • Some connection problems
    • Noticeable lack of dynamics due to compression

    The Bluetooth headphones sonic response is reasonably balanced but with a hint of bass boost to make the midrange slightly warm. While dynamics won’t impress you, they’re at least nice and clear across the frequency spectrum.

    EP-T31 are incredibly tiny compared to other true wireless headphones. If your fingers are too big, you might have some difficulties placing them in the ear canal.

    Because they sit flush with the earlobes, the wind noise is minimal. That makes them suitable for fast sports activities, like riding a bike. If you want to hear more ambient sound, you can also choose to use only one earbud.

    Audio latency is also kept to minimal, providing a more pleasant video watching and mobile gaming experience. Despite their low price point, they support both Qi wireless and USB charging.

    Aukey EP-T31 review

    For a bit more money see the best headphones under $100.

    7. Jlab Audio Jbuds Air

    dollar Best under $50
    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air

    Best true wireless earbuds under $50 for cycling.

    Keeping the cycling helmet on with a strap and then getting the wires somewhere in between can be complicated. The Jlab Jbuds Air Bluetooth headphones don’t have any of these problems.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 8mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 6h + 18h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Under 2h – USB-A (attached) | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IP55 | Features: Rubber sleeves
    • Good water protection IP55
    • Stable fit suitable for sports
    • User-friendly magnetic design
    • Good sound quality for the price
    • Annoying physical controls (Air Icon have touch controls)
    • Can become uncomfortable after prolonged time for small ears
    • Phone calls require the right earbud

    The sound quality is the most average aspect of the Jbuds Air. You get the sound you can expect from cheap earbuds. It’s good for the price and for listening during activity, but you won’t win any award.

    Find more of the best earbuds under $50.

    Like mentioned before, the design of these wireless earphones is much more convenient to wear under a cycling helmet. The earphones don’t stick out of the ears too much, so it’s easier to fit them.

    Now, you get almost 6 hours of battery life per charge. The charging case is small enough to fit into a smaller pocket. And, if you get caught in the rain, neither sweat and water damage shouldn’t occur – IPX5.

    Plus, you only pay $50 and can control music and make calls with onboard buttons and built-in microphone.

    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air review

    8. EarFun Free Pro

    EarFun Free Pro true wireless earbuds

    Budget noise reduction earbuds with quality sound

    They have a low profile, are easy to use, and let you hear ambient mode, which is suitable for cycling.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.2
    Driver size icon Driver size: Dual composite dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 25h in case | Wireless range: 50ft (15m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless charging | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: ANC, ambient aware, ear fins, mono mode, touch controls
    • Excellent sound quality for the price
    • Natural, dynamic audio performance
    • Punchy bass with good extension
    • Great comfort and stability
    • Stable connection with Bluetooth 5.2
    • Long battery life
    • Many useful extra features
    • Decent active noise cancelling effectiveness
    • … but not the best ambient mode
    • No mobile app or built-in EQ presets
    • Flimsy charging case

    EarFun’s sound performance is genuinely surprising for the price tag. It’s very dynamic, with good detail and soundstage. Although they’re far from neutral, Free Pro make for an excellent listening experience.

    These earbuds have a relatively small housing that doesn’t protrude much. Therefore, wind noise isn’t that big of an issue. Mic is also fairly resistant to the wind, providing decent call quality.

    Longer ear tips and small ear fins that you get in the box provide a secure fit. That way, you can be sure you don’t lose them while cycling.

    Also, a slightly longer ear tip ensures better noise isolation that is further improved by active noise cancellation. ANC performance is similar to the best budget noise cancelling headphones.

    With Bluetooth 5.2, even the connection is stable enough, regardless of where you store your transmitting device. Also, with up to 8 hours of playback, you take them on long rides.

    9. Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo

    Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo true wireless earbuds

    The best value earbuds for cycling.

    Liberty Neo’s are proving you don’t have to pay a lot of money to get great value in-ear headphones.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h, 9h in case | Charging: 1.5h + quick charge – Micro-USB | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water-resistance: IPX7 | Features: Ear fins
    • Very comfortable
    • Ear fins provide secure fit
    • Reliable Bluetooth 5.0 connection
    • IPX7 water resistance
    • Good sound quality with graphene drivers
    • Pretty decent build quality
    • The charging case seems a bit flimsy
    • Charging via micro USB
    • Bass isn’t very agile
    • Physical controls are annoying and only support basic commands

    The sound can make all but the most demanding users satisfied. Punchy bass with the natural-sounding midrange. The treble stays smooth and clear of sibilance. They work great with the most popular genres.

    These are very lightweight (only 5.5g per earbud) and comfortable to wear.

    They come with 4 pairs of silicone eartips 3 different rubberized ear fins, that lock them firmly into place. Once in your ear, you have to shake your head really hard to make them fall out.

    No matter how much you sweat or get surprised by the pouring rain, you can rest assured these biking headphones can survive anything. They have IPX7 water and sweat resistance and can survive water jets straight into them.

    The Bluetooth connection remains strong, even when putting one brick wall between your transmitting device and earbuds.

    Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo review

    10. iTeknic BH001

    trophy Best battery
    iTeknic BH001 wireless Bluetooth buds with magnets

    Best headphones for bike riding on a budget with a monster listening time (24h).

    If you cycle for long periods of time, such as cycling tours, you need a battery that can match your needs.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: In-ear | Battery life: 24h | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h – Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes, inline | Bluetooth codecs: n/a | Water-resistance: IPX7
    • Best-in-class battery life (up to 24 hours)
    • Comfortable and stable fit
    • Cheap price
    • Pleasant, balanced sound
    • Big casing protruding out of the ears
    • Not a lot of bass (more balanced)

    Though not groundbreaking, headphones deliver a decent sound quality for a set of affordable Bluetooth earbuds. 10mm drivers producing plenty of volume with no one bothering with sound leakage.

    24-hour battery life is three times as long as any other options on this list. It is an impressive feature, and if you spend long stretches on the bike, this can be valuable. They charge via a Micro-USB cable.

    The wireless headphones come with different sizes of internal ear hooks and silicone tips, so you can choose the ones which best fit your ears. There’s also an inbuilt mic for making and receiving calls and control buttons.

    Plus, they’re affordable and fit reasonably well, even though the buds are bigger. With them you receive a small travel pouch.

    iTeknic BH001 review