The Apple AirPods received a long-anticipated update this April. In addition to an optional case that supports wireless charging, Apple says it has added a new company-designed H1 chip that will deliver better call quality, improved battery life, faster Bluetooth pairing, and the ability to use the voice-activated digital assistant Siri, hands-free.

But our testers say the second-generation AirPods fall short in the area that counts most: sound quality. Like their predecessors, the new AirPods don't score high enough to earn a Consumer Reports recommendation. In fact, the sound is almost identical to the wired earbuds that come free with iPhones.

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Below you'll find our top picks for true wireless headphones. Before you rush out to buy a pair, though, there are a few factors to consider.

First, none of these earphones produce the highest quality sound, which is the case with almost all portable Bluetooth headphones in our tests, true wireless or otherwise. These models can sound very good, but if you want the highest-quality audio, consider buying a wired model.

These products also have pretty limited battery life compared with traditional Bluetooth headphones, though true wireless earphones tend to come with a carrying case that doubles as a portable charger.

Call and playback controls may come with some compromises as well. Some true wireless earphones are missing certain controls altogether, and when they're included they often operate through touch or tap controls, which can be finicky.

And it can be tricky to get a comfortable fit with true wireless earphones. Some models can feel heavy, and some pairs may work better than others depending on the size of your ears.

With those caveats in mind, here are the best true wireless earphones, recommended by our testers, sorted from least to most expensive.

JLab Audio JBuds Air

The JLab Audio JBuds Air earphones deliver impressive sound quality, beating some competitors that cost more than three times as much.

The JBuds Air have an advertised 3.5-hour battery life and come with a charging/carrying case that will recharge the earphones for an additional two cycles. Other features include support for various digital assistants, three switchable EQ modes to change the tonal balance of the sound, and, according to JLab, water-resistance. (We don’t test that feature.)

Users with small ears may have trouble getting a secure fit with this pair, a problem with most true wireless earphones.

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JLab Audio JBuds Air Stereo headphones

Price: $50

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Anker SoundCore Liberty Air

Anker SoundCore Liberty Air earphones look a lot like Apple AirPods, but they cost about half as much and they have a few notable advantages. Unlike the AirPods, the Ankers have an isolating design that will muffle some outside sound, and, as our tests show, they provide significantly better sound quality.

Additional features include tap controls for calls and playback, the option of using the right earpiece alone for single-ear listening, and support for digital assistants. 

Like the AirPods and most other true wireless headphones, the SoundCore Liberty Air earphones turn on automatically when you take them out of the case for easy Bluetooth pairing. Our testers note that they fit and stay in place easily. (Many other true wireless models pose problems with fit and stay, depending on your ear size.)

According to Anker, these earphones are water-resistant, have a 5-hour battery life, and come with a charging/carrying case good for three additional charges on the go. They come in black or white.

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Samsung Gear IconX 2018

The Samsung Gear IconX 2018 earphones have an integrated fitness tracker and can provide coaching during a run. They also have a built-in digital music player, a nice feature if you want to exercise without your phone. Unlike some other models, however, the Gear IconX earphones aren't water-resistant.

The IconX works well as a regular old pair of earphones, too. Our testers give the model high marks for sound, though it doesn't score quite as high as some other true wireless earphones. The Samsung Gear IconX 2018 earphones have controls for calls, playback, and volume. You can also use these earphones to activate Google Assistant and Bixby, Samsung’s digital assistant, when they're paired with compatible devices.

Our testers noticed that it’s easy to accidentally activate the touch controls, however. And if you have small ears, the IconX may feel a bit too large, according to our testers. But for most users, these earphones should stay in place.

According to Samsung, the earphones have a 5-hour battery life, and the case will give you one extra charge.

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Samsung Gear IconX 2018 Stereo headphones

Price: $100

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Bose SoundSport Free Wireless

Bose’s entry into the true wireless category isn’t a noise-canceling model, like the company’s better-known headphones. Instead, this model makes its mark with comfort. The SoundSport Free Wireless uses a hybrid ear-insert/earphone design, meaning the earpieces seal the ear canals but don’t extend into the ear as far as typical insert models, and they're supported by ear-bowl fittings.

All of that makes them an appealing option if you usually find in-ear earphones uncomfortable.

The SoundSport Free Wireless delivers above-average audio, and it’s rated for 5 hours of battery life. The charging/carrying case will recharge the batteries an additional two times. Bose says the headphones are water-resistant.

This Bose model has integrated volume, music player, and calling controls, and the free Bose Connect app can be used for setting up the earphones and to help find the last location where an earpiece was connected in case you misplace one.

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JLab Audio Epic Air

Another highly rated but more expensive model from JLab Audio is the Epic Air. Its sound quality falls in the same range as the JBuds Air listed above, but its longer battery life may make it more appealing to some people.

It’s rated for 7 hours of battery life—longer than any of the other models on this list—and the Epic Air’s charging/carrying case will provide four additional charges when you’re on the go. The Epic Air also has integrated touch volume, music player function, and call controls. According to JLab, this model is water-resistant as well.

This is the only model on this list that uses ear hooks, which wrap around your ears to keep the earphones secure. Our testers say they work well for people with medium or large ears. But if you have small ears, the ear hooks might not fit right, and the body of the earphones may be too big.

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JLab Audio Epic Air Stereo headphones

Price: $150

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Sony WF-SP700N

Sony brings noise cancellation to true wireless earphones with the WF-SP700N, which do well in our tests for that feature and for sound quality.

The WF-SP700N earphones have controls to turn noise cancellation on or off (or to amplify ambient sound from your environment), as well as toggles for calls and music playback. But there’s no integrated option for volume adjustment. The earphones are marketed as water-resistant.

This model has an advertised 3-hour battery life. The carrying/charging will recharge the earphones twice, and a quick-charging function will give you a power boost when you’re on the go.

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Sony WF-SP700N Noise-canceling headphones

Price: $180

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Jabra Elite Active 65t

The Jabra Elite Active 65t has high-quality audio but costs a bit more than some alternatives. It comes with a few novel features that may justify the higher price, such as the ability to use the earphones with just the right-hand earpiece, and a quick-charge function that will boost your battery for an extra 1.5 hours after just 15 minutes, according to Jabra.

The advertised battery life falls in the midrange of true wireless models at up to 5 hours of operating time. The carrying case will provide an additional two charges.

Other features include music playback, volume, and call controls, and compatibility with smart assistants. A free app adds functions such as a graphic equalizer and a step counter, and the earphones are advertised as water-resistant.

Our testers found that users with smaller ears might feel that the earphones are too large and could have trouble getting a secure fit.

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Jabra Elite Active 65t Stereo headphones

Price: $190

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Inside CR's Anechoic Chamber

On the “Consumer 101” TV show, host Jack Rico and a high school marching band put Consumer Reports’ anechoic chamber to the test to find out what it sounds like when you remove all echoes from music.