7 earbuds fit for your new iPhone 7

Audeze Sine on-ear headphones with Lightning cable
Audeze Sine on-ear headphones with Lightning cable

Apple provides a pair of Lightning EarPods with the new iPhone 7. The bundled Lightning-to-3.5mm headphone adaptor also lets you use your existing earbuds with the phone.

If you are thinking of switching to the new interface, here are the few Lightning headphones that you can buy right now.

LIGHTNING HEADPHONES

Audeze Sine on-ear headphones with Lightning cable

$849

Audeze has embraced the Lightning interface, with two models available from the Apple Singapore online store.

The company claims the Sine is the first on-ear headphones to use planar magnetic technology, which is said to produce clear and accurate sound. Its closed design ensures that folks around you will not be disturbed by your music.

Embedded in the headphone's Cipher Lightning cable is a microchip that functions as a digital-to-analog converter (DAC), amplifier and DSP to produce high-quality 24-bit audio. The cable also integrates an inline remote and a microphone for calls. Included is a 3.5mm cable that lets the Sine work with non-Lightning devices. But using it means you will not be using the Sine's DAC.

Audeze EL-8 Titanium Closed-Back Headphones

$1,299

The Audeze EL-8 Titanium has many of the same features as the Sine on-ear headphones, such as the built-in processing circuitry in the Lightning cable and the use of planar magnetic technology.

But the aluminium EL-8 Titanium is designed by BMW's Designworks. Its premium silver- and-black finish and audio quality probably justify its higher price.

Philips Fidelio M2L

US$200 (S$272) from Amazon

Even before Apple removed the 3.5mm audio jack from the latest iPhone, early adopters could already buy a Lightning headphone. But not from Apple.

Last year, Philips was the first to launch a pair of Lightning headphones. The classy-looking Fidelio M2L has a leather headband and can be folded flat for storage.

It is equipped with 40mm neodymium drivers and a 24-bit DAC. In our review, we said the Fidelio was impressive - when playing classical tracks - with a "dynamic and full-bodied delivery".

The Fidelio is no longer sold in Singapore, but you can still buy it from online retailers like Amazon. It is also cheaper now, compared to the original retail price.

WIRELESS HEADPHONES 

Going wireless is the other option for those with a new iPhone, though the downside is the need for charging. Here are some of the latest models.

Bower & Wilkins P7 Wireless

$599

British audio firm Bower & Wilkins has introduced a wireless version of its P7 over-ear headphones.

Made from high-end materials such as aluminium and sheep leather, the P7 Wireless has memory-foam earpads that should provide a comfortable fit.

To ensure the best audio quality over a wireless connection, the P7 uses the aptX audio codec, which has better compression than regular Bluetooth.

However, there is no indication from Apple that the iPhone 7 supports aptX, though the P7 should still work with the phone.

The company claims that the P7 can provide 17 hours of wireless play, which, if true, would be very impressive.

Philips Metalix Pro SHB5950

$129.90

Announced at the CES tradeshow in January, the ultra-light Philips Metalix Pro headphones look sleek with its metallic finish.

It comes with 8mm drivers said to produce big bass while the in-ear design blocks out ambient noise.

Its rubber neckband can be easily hidden under a shirt collar and comes with controls for music playback and phone calls.

The Metalix Pro will be available at major electronics stores within the next two weeks.

Bose SoundSport

$239

For those who prefer to exercise to the beat, the Bose SoundSport that we tested recently is a good choice.

The earbuds fit snugly with the help of fins that keep them in place. We found the sound performance to be excellent, with a warm feel.

If you can wait, Bose is expected to launch the SoundSport Pulse soon, which adds a heart-rate monitor that works with Runkeeper, Endomondo and other fitness apps. Pricing for the Pulse has yet to be announced.

TRULY WIRELESS HEADPHONES 

For those who cannot wait till late October for the Apple AirPods ($238), there are two alternatives that are as cable-free (and easy to misplace) as the AirPods. While these Bluetooth headphones lack the AirPods' unique features like the ability to conjure Siri with a tap, they do have other tricks up their sleeves. Unlike the AirPods, they also work with non-Apple devices without losing any functionality.

Bragi Dash

US$299 (S$407) from store.bragi.com

The Bragi Dash is not just a pair of earbuds. It is at the forefront of a new genre dubbed "hearables" that integrates fitness tracking features into headphones.

Like the recently-reviewed Samsung Gear IconX, the Dash has a bunch of sensors that can estimate the distance of your run and your heart rate. A recent software update lets the Dash synchronise with the Google Fit and the Apple Health Kit platforms.

The Dash also recognises gestures, such as shaking your head to reject a phone call. Short and long taps are used to navigate the music stored in the earbuds, which can work as a standalone music player. Its 4GB internal storage can fit around 1,000 songs.

Bragi recently launched a second wireless earbud, called The Headphone, that appears to remove the fitness tracking smarts. In other words, it directly competes with the AirPods, especially at its pre-order price of US$119.

Earin wireless earbuds

$349 from truewireless.sg

The Earin wireless earbuds are even tinier than the Apple AirPods. At 3.5g, they are almost weightless and resemble a pair of in-ear headphones, but without any wires.

To achieve this design, some compromises have been made. There is no microphone, for instance. The Earin's tiny 60mAh battery is good for just three hours of stereo music playback, but takes 70 minutes to charge.

When not in use, you can charge the Earin in an attractive silver capsule made from a single block of aluminium. It won't prevent you from losing the small earbuds, but its built-in battery provides three earbud charges before it, too, needs to be replenished.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2016, with the headline 'Earbuds fit for your new iPhone '. Print Edition | Subscribe