Best Earphones, Headphones for Every Budget: Should You Go for Budget Options or Save for Better Ones?

Brands like Nothing, OnePlus, and Oppo are said to dominate the under Rs. 10,000 segment in India.

Best Earphones, Headphones for Every Budget: Should You Go for Budget Options or Save for Better Ones?

AirPods Max are said to be one of the best sounding products from Apple

Earphones and headphones market in India is currently inundated with a plethora of options across all price ranges from brands like Oppo, Nothing, Apple, Sennheiser, and Sony. Even the budget options these days are packed with features like ANC and gaming mode. Notably, the audio market has also shifted towards wireless earphones and headphones in recent times. However, there are still several great wired offerings currently available in the Indian market. Whatever is your preference, you can find a product to suit your needs.

On this week's episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, guest host Pranav Hegde discusses some of the best earphones and headphones available in India with Senior Reviewer Ali Pardiwala and the Executive Producer of Trakin Tech, Ershad Kaleebullah.


What are the best wireless and wired earphones you can buy in India? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Wireless earphones have become a top pick among Indian consumers, with true wireless stereo (TWS) earphones being the most popular choice, says Pranav. He wonders what parameters consumers should consider before judging a wireless earphone. Ali explains that due to the vast number of options across various price points, it gets tricky to pick out the best one.

Pranav then asks whether the ANC and gaming features are effective in wireless earphones at budget or mid-range prices. Ershad explains that obviously, it won't be as good at lower prices and consumers should be looking at spending around Rs. 15,000 to get the best ANC experience. Ali warns that consumers should be aware of budget offerings that market a plethora of features, as they might be doing a half-hearted job on the said features. To this point, Pranav replies that the Realme Buds Air 3 were packed with features, sounded remarkably awful.

The neckband category is dead in India, points out Ershad, and Ali agrees that there haven't been any good neckbands that launched recently. The trio settled on the Oppo Enco M32 neckband as probably being the best offering.

Pranav then enquires about the best budget wireless earphone available up to the Rs. 2,500 mark. Ali says that the Oppo Enco Buds 2 are a decent entry-level offering that comes without ANC. Consumers should not meddle with these entry-level products and go for the Oppo Enco Air 2 Pro, which cost around Rs. 3,500, according to Ershad.

Brands like Nothing, OnePlus, and Oppo dominate the under Rs. 10,000 segment in India, says Pranav. Ershad picks out the Oppo Enco X2 that are fantastically tuned in his opinion. On the other hand, Ali suggests the Nothing Ear 1 is also a great option at this price point. The Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 20,000 range, consists of widely popular options like the Apple AirPods 3rd generation and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, mentions Pranav. Ali recommends the Sony WF-1000XM4 TWS earphones at this price.

Pranav next asks for recommendations in the premium segment. Ershad suggests that users should move to headphones in this range, with AirPods Max wireless headphones being one of the best sounding products from Apple. The Sony WH-1000XM5 wireless headphones are the top pick for Ali in the premium segment. Ershad suggests that wired earphones/ headphones are coming back in his opinion. If the sound is the priority, users should get a pair of in-ear monitor (IEM) headphones. In Ali's opinion, the Rs. 1,700 Moondrop Chu IEMs are better sounding than most Bluetooth earphones.

You can listen to all of that in detail and more in our episode by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above. Don't forget to check our guide on the best ANC headphones and earphones in India, which you can find linked below.

Best Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) Headphones and Earphones in India

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  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design / Comfort
  • Audio Quality
  • Battery Life
  • Value For Money
  • Good
  • Good design, comfortable fit
  • Multi-point connectivity, good connection stability
  • Pleasant, comfortable, and reasonably detailed sound
  • Decent ANC for the price
  • Bad
  • Occasional issues with touch controls
  • Sound is a bit lacking in attack and drive
Headphone Type In-Ear
Microphone Yes
Connectivity True Wireless Stereo (TWS)
Type Earphones
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design / Comfort
  • Audio Quality
  • Battery Life
  • Value For Money
  • Good
  • Decent design, comfortable fit
  • IP55 dust and water resistance
  • Very good battery life, USB Type-C fast charging
  • Loud, energetic, engaging sound
  • Bad
  • Bass is overpowering, detail is lacking
  • Outdoor call quality isn’t very good
Headphone Type In-Ear
Microphone Yes
Connectivity Wireless
Type Earphones
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design / Comfort
  • Audio Quality
  • Battery Life
  • Value For Money
  • Good
  • Comfortable fit, convenient charging case
  • App and native settings support on Android
  • Good battery life
  • Loud, good sound quality
  • Bad
  • No app support on iOS
  • Sound sometimes feels strained
Colour Black
Headphone Type In-Ear
Microphone Yes
Connectivity True Wireless Stereo (TWS)
Type Earphones
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design / Comfort
  • Audio Quality
  • Battery Life
  • Value For Money
  • Good
  • Looks good, comfortable fit
  • Clean, attacking sound
  • Decent ANC performance
  • Good app with lots of scope for control customisation
  • Bad
  • Average battery life
  • Sounds shrill at high volume
Headphone Type In-Ear
Microphone Yes
Connectivity True Wireless Stereo (TWS)
Type Earphones
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design / Comfort
  • Audio Quality
  • Battery Life
  • Value For Money
  • Good
  • Dual-driver setup, advanced Bluetooth codec support
  • Comfortable fit, good controls
  • Decent ANC performance
  • Very good audio and call performance
  • Superb value for money
  • Bad
  • Average battery life
Headphone Type In-Ear
Microphone Yes
Connectivity True Wireless Stereo (TWS)
Type Earphones
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design / Comfort
  • Audio Quality
  • Battery Life
  • Value For Money
  • Good
  • Excellent design, useful controls

  • Good ANC with two intensity levels

  • Wireless and fast charging

  • Decent app

  • Balanced, detailed sound

  • Bad
  • Charging case is a bit big

  • No voice assistant support

  • Sound falls a bit short on attack and aggression
Headphone Type In-Ear
Microphone Yes
Connectivity True Wireless Stereo (TWS)
Type Earphones
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design / Comfort
  • Audio Quality
  • Battery Life
  • Value For Money
  • Good
  • Comfortable fit, good controls
  • MagSafe wireless charging
  • Works well with iOS, Siri, and Apple Music
  • Good battery life
  • Very good sound quality and performance on calls
  • Bad
  • Expensive
  • Lack of noise isolation can be bothersome
  • Full feature set needs an iOS device to use
Colour White
Headphone Type In-Ear
Microphone Yes
Connectivity True Wireless Stereo (TWS)
Type Earphones
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design / Comfort
  • Audio Quality
  • Battery Life
  • Value For Money
  • Good
  • Good noise isolation and active noise cancellation
  • Very good app
  • LDAC Bluetooth codec support, stable connectivity
  • Entertaining, detailed sound
  • Decent battery life, 
  • Useful extra features
  • Bad
  • Fit feels somewhat precarious
  • Limited customisation of controls
Headphone Type In-Ear
Microphone Yes
Connectivity True Wireless Stereo (TWS)
Type Earphones
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design / Comfort
  • Audio Quality
  • Battery Life
  • Value For Money
  • Good
  • Beautiful, comfortable, and luxurious

  • Best-in-class controls

  • Seamless connectivity with Apple devices

  • Very good ANC and Transparency modes

  • Wide, spacious soundstage

  • Excellent, flexible sound
  • Bad
  • No power button, unpredictable power consumption 

  • Below-par battery life

  • Smart Case is a bit silly

  • Lightning charging port

  • No ANC level adjustment
Headphone Type Over-Ear
Microphone Yes
Connectivity Wireless
Type Headphones
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design / Comfort
  • Audio Quality
  • Battery Life
  • Value For Money
  • Good
  • Looks good, comfortable fit
  • Very good app and features
  • Detailed, well-tuned, flexible sound
  • Impressive active noise cancellation
  • Excellent battery life
  • Bad
  • A bit expensive
  • Does not fold fully, less portable
Colour Black
Headphone Type Over-Ear
Microphone Yes
Connectivity Wireless
Type Headphones
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design / Comfort
  • Audio Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Good
  • Good build quality
  • Detailed, loud sound
  • Tight bass, clean mid-range
  • Excellent for the price
  • Bad
  • Little tricky to wear correctly
  • Slightly harsh treble at times
Headphone Type In-Ear
Microphone Yes
Connectivity Wired
Type Earphones
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Siddhant Chandra
Siddhant Chandra is a Consultant Sub Editor at Gadgets 360. This is his first foray into the tech space, having made the switch from travel. He holds a keen interest in keeping up with the latest hardware and software developments in the gaming industry. After work, you can mostly find him playing CS:GO with his buds, where he has clocked over 3K hours. You can reach him at [email protected] More
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