(Pocket-lint) — The EE Pocket-lint Awards is in its 19th year, celebrating the nominations across 20 categories from the best flagship phone to the best speaker.
All of the devices and products nominated have been reviewed by us in full over the last 12 months and there are some brilliant contenders across the board.
The Best In-Ear Headphones 2022 category looks at the best sporty, true wireless and neckband headphones we have reviewed.
The shortlist nominees for Best In-Ear Headphones 2022 are:
You can click on each of the products above to read our full reviews on each nomination, which will give you an idea as to why they have been nominated, or read our short verdicts of all six nominees below.
For a first effort, the UW100 are an astonishing achievement by Astell & Kern, dropping in right at the top of the marketplace for those who crave elite sound quality.
If you can’t live without active noise cancellation, they might not be for you, but we think it’s a worthwhile sacrifice for the pristine sonic performance on offer. They are a very easy pair of earbuds to recommend.
Apple AirPods Pro 2
For Apple users, there is no denying the absolute convenience offered by Apple’s AirPods range, and the noise-cancelling AirPods Pro 2 bring with them improved sound quality, better noise cancelling and Adaptive Transparency for the first time, plus a boosted battery life too, offering 30 hours of ANC playback.
Convenience has improved even more here in the second generation too, now you can charge them on the Apple Watch charger, plus touch controls for volume adjustment make it easy to pump on the volume on the go. A superb pair of wireless headphones that iPhone users should definitely have on their shortlist.
The Fidelio T1 earbuds might be on the larger side compared to the competition, but they hold their own by offering a superb blend of high-end audio performance and convenience.
Balanced armature drivers combine with a 10mm dynamic driver in each ear to present some of the finest wireless audio performance around. The signature is neutral with great spacing, but there’s still that deep, throaty bass response when needed. For audio purists who have dismissed true wireless buds in the past, Fidelio’s debut entry is worth a closer inspection.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
Sennheiser has updated its flagship earbuds in style with the Momentum 3, with plenty of small improvements that make the overall experience a fantastic one. That it’s managed to do so while also cutting the price is even more impressive — and gives them an even greater edge on the competition.
These earbuds look nicer, are more comfortable and still sound just as great, with better ANC than before and a very solid software experience. Anyone looking for a reliable set of earbuds should certainly consider these very closely indeed.
Shure Aonic Free
The Shure Aonic Free won’t be for everyone. They’re on the large side and bring with them very few features, so if you want the bells and whistles, you will need to look elsewhere.
However, there’s no doubt that they sound phenomenal and the isolation on offer really does beat out a sub-par active noise-cancelling (ANC) system any day of the week. With a good app to accompany, including customisation options, if you’re looking for a great-sounding set of earbuds and don’t mind the larger size then Shure’s onto a real winner here.
Sony Linkbuds S
The Sony LinkBuds S are a great set of true wireless headphones. They’re a little on the quiet side, so you might have to pop the volume up a little higher than you do with some rival headsets, but overall, there’s a lot here that you’ll find in the 1000X models — but at a more agreeable price.
With a great feel, plenty of comfort and great sound quality (with support for LDAC for devices that support it), the Sony LinkBuds S are up there with some of the most attractive headphones at this price.
How the Pocket-lint Awards judging works
The winner for the Best In-Ear Headphones category is decided by the Pocket-lint team, along with a panel of expert judges from publications across the industry. Following the scoring process, the Best In-Ear Headphones winner for 2022 will be announced at an in-person event on 30 November 2022 in Central London, along with the winners from the other 19 categories.
A Product of the Year winner will also be announced, chosen from the winners of the 20 categories and a winner of the EE Superfast Award, will also be revealed at the event. We will be announcing the results on the Pocket-lint Twitter handle as they unfold on the night so keep an eye out there.
Writing by Verity Burns. Editing by Britta O’Boyle.