So Apple’s delayed the release of their AirPods. Indefinitely. Apparently the wireless earbuds weren’t ready for primetime.
But we found a sound alternative.
In a post-iPhone 7 world*, Skybuds (launched today nationwide) proves that you don’t need a headphone jack — or a cord — to keep the music flowing.
They’re also really, really, ingeniously difficult to lose.
According to Skybuds CEO Jamie Roberts Seltzer, the company was going for “Q from James Bond handing you a gadget” as their design M.O.
They certainly know how to pack a lot of high-tech smarts into a small, unobtrusive package.
There’s a lot of jargon to take in, but if you desire: Skybuds utilize near-field Magnetic Induction (NFMI) connectivity and psychoacoustic algorithms to enhance their sound … but for you, it means they sound pretty good! It’s not going to beat your Bose or Master & Dynamic headset for pure audio quality, but they certainly pack a punch (and clarity) for such a small gadget.
In our weeklong trial run, we found some other things we really liked: the initial setup took all of a minute. Though the buds come with three different fit tips for your ears, ours were snug right out of the box. And once they’re in, they cut a fairly subtle and inconspicuous figure.
The device offers about four hours of listening before a recharge, and you can actually use the buds for calls, thanks to a digital, omnidirectional microphone. You can also manually pause, skip tracks or shift to incoming calls with a button push.
They’re even water-resistant and offer passive noise cancellation. During a rainy Thursday afternoon walk on a busy Manhattan street, we were able to blissfully shut out the outside world, even with the music paused.
The Skybuds app keeps track of your battery levels, and soon it will offer a “Find My Skybuds” feature that’ll make sure you won’t leave these guys behind (but again, they never felt like they were going anywhere … and the Skydock case isn’t too hefty to carry around when you’re not using the buds).
Also coming soon: an “audio transparency” feature that will allow listeners to actually take in more outside noise … in case you sense danger in those quiet Manhattan streets.
That said, we all have preferences, and there are a few other earbuds out there that offer some unique features. A few faves:
For minimalists: By taking out some options (no mic for calls, for example), Earin is giving you a sleeker, more lightweight package — including the charging case, which is just a bit bigger than a Chapstick.
For athletes: Jabra’s Elite Sports offer a variety of ear gel and ear wing sizes, allowing for a more secure fit.. Plus, they come with in-ear heart rate monitor to pair with a fitness app and analyze your workouts.
For leaving the phone at home: Besides its fitness functions (which includes a heart rate monitor and an in-ear voice guide/coach), the Samsung Gear IconX adds 4GB of internal memory, so you can load up on tunes without bringing along your smartphone.
For longer walks: VerveOnes+ offer 12 hours of talk/play time … and they’re colorful, too (which may or may not be to your liking).
For the really colorful: People will definitely know when you’re wearing Phazon ... these crimson/lush/perse/graphite/ashen earbuds were built for workouts. And standing out.