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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Why iOS 10.3 requires an extra tap to make a phone call by By Caitlin McGarry





When you install iOS 10.3, if you haven’t already, you’ll notice that there’s now an extra step to make a phone call. Before the update, tapping on a phone number would immediately initiate a call. Now, you have to confirm that you want to dial that number before the dialing begins. There’s a really good reason for this weird change.

According to the Wall Street Journal, an 18-year-old hacker allegedly wrote malicious code that, when tapped, would force your iPhone to dial 911 over and over. The prank led to thousands of 911 calls that overwhelmed emergency response systems in several states. There may have been people trying to reach a 911 operator that couldn’t because of the auto-dialing.

The code worked by exploiting the iOS auto-dialing feature, which is why Apple had to turn it off. Now you have to confirm that you want to make a call before the phone will initiate one.

It turns out that having Apple disable that feature on the iPhone is a whole lot easier than the call centers themselves blocking repeated 911 calls, a form of cyberattacking that could render 911 services unusable. According to the WSJ, each call center is managed by a local authority, not a centralized one, and getting every center on board with a fix would be near impossible.

How to detect a virus on your iPhone or iPad By Mark Jones, Komando.com



Apple gadgets are known for having great security. That's because Apple devices using iOS are built in a way that denies files access to any system directories.
This makes it impossible for Apple users to download third-party applications. It can be inconvenient for users but Apple believes the added security outweighs the inconvenience.

That leads some Apple users to "jailbreak" their gadget. As you might know by now, jailbreaking is a risky way of bypassing Apple's software restrictions on iOS devices, allowing a user to install unauthorized apps and services.

It is a practice that is highly discouraged by Apple since it could lead to security holes that hackers could exploit. In fact, several users have reported that their Facebook, PayPal, and credit accounts were hacked after using jailbreaking tools.

How to detect an infected Apple device

If you did jailbreak your Apple gadget, here are some symptoms that it's infected with a virus:
  • Data usage - One thing you will notice if your gadget is infected with a virus is a large increase in data usage. A virus can eat away at data so you should compare the last few monthly statements from your cellphone provider. If you notice a huge spike in data usage, there's a good chance your gadget is infected.
  • Crashing apps - If you have a virus on your gadget, most likely apps will no longer function properly. They will crash continually while you try using them.
  • Pop-ups - While surfing online with the Safari browser, you might see pop-up ads all over the place. This could be the result of an infected gadget.
Continue reading and we'll tell you how to avoid and remove viruses.

How to update your iOS

Hackers are always looking for ways to infiltrate our gadgets. That's why it's important to keep your operating system up to date.
Whenever Apple discovers a vulnerability in iOS, it sends an update to patch it. Here are the steps to update your iOS:
Go into your "Settings" app and select "General." From there, select "Software Update" and your device will begin to check for updates. Then select "Download and Install."
To get the update from iTunes, connect your device to a computer, open iTunes, and select your device from the menu in your iTunes Library. Select "Summary" and then click on "Check for Update." Finally, select "Download and Update" and wait for the update to sync to your device.

How to remove a virus

If you suspect your iPhone or iPad may be infected with a virus, don't panic. You can easily wipe your gadget and start over with factory settings.
Here are the steps to wipe your Apple gadget:
  • Backup your device and all of the personal data on it using iCloud or iTunes - Click here for detailed steps to backing up your smartphone.
  • Go to Settings >> Tap General >> Tap Reset.
  • Tap "Erase All Content and Settings" to clear all apps and data from the gadget.
  • Restart your device and go through the initial setup steps again.
  • Sync into iCloud when you set up your device and restore your backed up data.
Watch this quick video to walk you through the steps:
You can also attach your iPhone or iPad to your computer and use the "Restore iPhone/iPad" button in iTunes to factory-reset the device. The key to these steps is they clear out all programs on your iOS device, which may have been compromised, and replace them with fresh copies. Your data and files should all be preserved, though you might lose some application settings.

If you suspect that restoring your phone to factory settings didn't do the trick, then feel free to take the gadget to Apple's Genius Bar. They have system-scanning software that detects and removes any hidden files.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Revealed! These laptops offer only HALF the promised battery life By Mark Jones, Komando.com




Computer technology has come a long way since the early days. Super-fast processors and massive storage space are a couple of specs that have been greatly improved over the years.

You can even get a light-weight laptop that is faster and more powerful than what you would have found in a bulky desktop in the early 1990s. The battery life of a laptop has also made major strides. At least that's what some manufacturers would like us to believe, but are they being honest?

Are laptop manufacturers exaggerating battery life?

When you're in the market for a new laptop, hard drive capacity, processor speed, system memory (RAM) and battery life are some of the major factors that help make your decision. It turns out that several of the top manufacturers are exaggerating its laptop battery life.

A recent study by Which? shows that many of the top manufacturers are overstating the amount of time its battery will last between charges. In some cases, the estimated battery life was almost double what the actual battery life was.

Over the past year, Which? tested 67 laptop models from seven manufacturers. Researchers completed these tests by draining the battery from full charge until it died, at least three times for every laptop. Testing involved browsing the internet over Wi-Fi and watching movies until the battery shut down.

Out of the seven laptop manufacturers tested, Apple was the only one to meet expectations. In fact, Apple exceeded its battery life expectation of 10 hours by lasting an average of 10 hours and 15 minutes. Here is a comparison chart of each company's claimed battery life versus its actual battery life.

AppleAcerAsusDellHPLenovoToshiba
Claimed battery life10 hours7 hours 53 minutes10 hours 12 minutes9 hours 15 minutes9 hours 48 minutes6 hours 41 minutes7 hours 58 minutes
 Actual average battery life10 hours 15 minutes5 hours 59 minutes6 hours 53 minutes5 hours 12 minutes5 hours 2 minutes4 hours 34 minutes4 hours 45 minutes
As you can see from the chart, Dell and HP were the worst offenders. Both companies' actual battery life fell well short of its claims.

In response to this study, Dell told Which?, "It's difficult to give a specific battery life expectation that will directly correlate to all customer usage behaviors because every individual uses their PC differently. It's similar to how different people driving the same car will get different gas mileage depending on how they drive."

HP said setting selections like screen resolution will impact battery life, making it different for each user.

Here are some specific model test results:
  • Apple MacBook Pro 13 - Claimed battery life: 10 hours. Actual battery life: 12 hours
  • Dell Inspiron 15 5000 - Claimed battery life: 7 hours. Actual battery life: 3 hours 58 minutes
  • HP Pavilion 14-al115na - Claimed battery life: 9 hours. Actual battery life: 4 hours 25 minutes
  • Lenovo Yoga 510 - Claimed battery life: 5 hours. Actual battery life: 2 hours 7 minutes
Battery life probably isn't the ultimate feature that you're basing your purchasing decision on, but it is good to know how companies stack up. Start by finding the best features that fit your needs and go from there.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sunday, March 26, 2017

How to protect your privacy on neighborhood sites like Nextdoor By Kevin Downey, Komando.com




 Everyone's talking about Nextdoor. It's the social networking site that brings back good old-fashioned neighborhood chatter between your neighbors across the street and you. It puts you in touch with folks down the block and even people a few miles down the road.

It's reminiscent of simpler times that you might remember when your neighbors and you actually spoke. That was before we all disappeared behind our digital devices. Nextdoor is also like Facebook, where you can scan through your contacts' posts and photos, and you can post your own messages and photos. Only, Nextdoor limits your communication to people who live close to you.

You might alert those neighbors to prowlers you spotted in the neighborhood. Your neighbors might recommend a good plumber or mechanic. They could also tell you about yard sales or appliances they're giving away. Or you can alert them to a stray dog you found.

It sounds great and in many ways, Nextdoor is a great, new social media site that you should check out. (Read our tips to navigate Nextdoor here.) However, as we mentioned last week, Nextdoor has a dark side. Actually, it has a few dark sides that you must know about.
Note: This is one of the reasons we're constantly telling you how important it is that you protect your home with a 24/7 monitoring service. Consider beefing up your home protection with a security system from our sponsor, SimpliSafe. It requires no drilling to install so you can set it up in 15 minutes in any house, apartment or garage. Even better, it doesn't lock you into an expensive monitoring contract, so you save big money. Click here now to find out why SimpliSafe is the perfect alarm to protect you and your family, and get $50 off when you use promo code KIM.

Online bullying

When you're using Nextdoor, it's hard not to notice that it's not as well monitored as sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Instead of online bullies being quickly silenced, on Nextdoor, they can rattle on and on, and on, with seemingly little or no monitoring.

Note: You'll be shocked by content that Facebook isn't deleting.

In fact, it's not unheard of for Nextdoor bullies to take their harassment offline, too. That's scary when you realize that many members post their exact street address on the site.

There have been reports of Nextdoor bullies calling other members and harassing them. How can you feel safe when people who don't like you call you at home, or walk right up to your front door?

There have been instances of Nextdoor bullies contacting other members' jobs to reveal embarrassing or hurtful information about them. One Nextdoor bully, for instance, called a realtor's manager and started harassing her with emails and phone calls. Why? It was another realtor trying to damage her competition's reputation.

That's outrageous and frightening. However, don't panic. There are ways to keep your Nextdoor bullies away.

The first step to staying safe is really important. Do not put your street address on Nextdoor.

To ensure that your street address isn't visible to Nextdoor members: Click on the down arrow by your profile picture >>Settings >> Privacy >> Show My Address to Neighbors As.

You'll have two choices. You can show them your street address, including your house number, like 321 Main Street. Or you can just display which street you live on, like Main Street.

Second, make sure you alert your neighborhood's Lead to another member's harassment. However, be careful. Do not rely on only your neighborhood Lead to solve your problem, especially if you're being threatened.

As Nextdoor states: "Neighborhood Leads do not work for Nextdoor and are not compensated in any way. They are simply neighbors like other members, who have been granted additional capabilities to help their neighborhood run more smoothly." Those extra privileges include things like redefining neighborhood boundaries or nominating a new Lead.

Third, if you feel that you're in danger, immediately contact your local police.

If you are in danger, you can report it to Nextdoor after you've called the police.

How to Report a Safety Concern: From any page on Nextdoor, click the down arrow by your Profile picture in the upper-right corner >> Help >> Managing Your Privacy >> scroll down to Privacy and Safety >> click on Contact Us (three-quarters down the page) >> choose Privacy and Safety Concerns >> Report a Safety Concern >> choose No, I'd Like to Contact Nextdoor Support.

Privacy

On a social networking site that asks you to post your real name and your home address, your Privacy is an immediate concern.

It's important to note that Nextdoor, like many sites, reassures users that it will not share or sell your private information to anyone. However, there is a huge loophole that you need to be aware of.

When you register with Nextdoor, you're giving the site permission to access a lot of your information. In fact, Nextdoor spells this out pretty clearly on its Privacy Policy. Take a moment to read through it, ideally before you sign up with the site.

"We collect information from you, when you give it to us directly or give us the OK to get it from another source. For example, when you register for Nextdoor, you voluntarily provide your name, profile photo, email address, and similar information."

If you register for Nextdoor using your Facebook credentials, you're giving Nextdoor permission to access information from that site about you.

Nextdoor can also track your physical location.

"If you want to allow us to show you where you are on your neighborhood map, to tag your posts, photos and events by location, to verify your address (where available), or to display activities and Content that may be relevant to your current location, we may ask your permission to access geolocation information from your mobile device."

Nextdoor also collects information about the computer, smartphone and other devices you're using to access the site.

Plus, when you invite your neighbors to join Nextdoor, whether it's providing their email address or their home address, you are giving that information to Nextdoor. That's how Nextdoor is expanding to five or more new neighborhoods every single day. That's great, as long as you're comfortable sharing other people's information with Nextdoor.

Fortunately, you have a few options when it comes to restricting Nextdoor's access to your personal information. These include:
  1. Simply, don't sign up in the first place.
  2. Manage your Personal Profile settings (click on the down arrow by your profile photo >> Your Profile).
  3. Delete your Nextdoor account from your computer (steps for iOS and Android vary slightly from these): Click on the down arrow by your profile picture >> Settings >> Account >> Deactivate Your Account >> tell Nextdoor why you're leaving >> Deactivate.
If you feel that your privacy is being violated on Nextdoor, or you're concerned about it, you can email Nextdoor at Privacy@Nextdoor.com.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

300 million Apple users at risk of hacks unless Apple pays ransom By Mark Jones, Komando.com



The advent of the smartphone has made it possible to conduct the business of life on the go. With these handy gadgets, we can store important documents, family photos, daily planners and have face-to-face conversations with the help of apps like Skype and FaceTime. Very impressive!

They have become such an important part of our daily lives it's hard to imagine what we would do without them. Unfortunately, millions of iPhone users are at risk of having their devices wiped at the hands of hackers.

Why your iPhone could be at risk

A group of hackers calling themselves the "Turkish Crime Family" claims to have gained access to a massive cache of iCloud and Apple email accounts. Access to these accounts could allow them to wipe everything from the victims' gadget remotely. They could also reset the victims' iCloud accounts.

The hackers allegedly have access to more than 300 million Apple email accounts. This includes people using @me and @icloud domains.

The cybercriminals are demanding that Apple pay them either $75,000 in Bitcoin currency or $100,000 in iTunes gift cards. In exchange for payment, the group would then delete the alleged data cache. They are giving Apple until April 7 to make the payment.

One of the criminals told Motherboard, "I just want my money and thought this would be an interesting report that a lot of Apple customers would be interested in reading and hearing."

Apple has not made a public statement on the extortion attempt. It's unknown whether this threat is real, as the alleged stolen account details have yet to be verified. In the case that the threat is real, there are some security steps you should take before April 7.

What you need to do now

In the chance that hackers have gained access to your Apple accounts, take these steps:
  • Change your passwords - Make sure that you change all passwords associated with your Apple accounts. Also, have unique passwords for every site that you have an account. Using the same password across multiple sites should never be done. Read this article to help you create hack-proof passwords.
  • Backup your iPhone - You should backup your iPhone onto your computer through iTunes. If your phone ever gets wiped, you can restore it with your backup on iTunes. Click here to learn how to backup your iPhone.
  • Beware of phishing scams - Scammers will try and piggyback on potential breaches like this. They will create phishing emails, pretending to be the affected company, hoping to get victims to click on malicious links that could lead to more problems. Take our phishing IQ test to see if you can spot a fake email.
Hopefully, this extortion attempt is only a bluff. If it's not and you follow these steps you should be fine. Keep checking our Happening Now section and we'll let you know of any updates.

Handy tips to make Facebook better By Kelli Uhrich, Komando.com

Facebook may have started out as a social network for college students, but a lot has changed since it originally launched back in 2004. Each year, Facebook rolls out new features and settings hoping they'll improve the user experience.

Still, for many Facebook users, the social media platform is a cause of headaches. You might be one of them. After scrolling through numerous posts in your News Feed, do you find that you're more frustrated than when you first logged in?

This frustration can be caused by numerous things including oversharing, political posts, annoying messages and even just not understanding some of Facebook's key features.

Don't worry. You don't need to be a Facebook pro to get more from the social network. Follow these tips to reduce clutter and improve how Facebook functions.

1. See what you want to see

To make Facebook better, one of the first things you need to do is tell it exactly what you'd like to see. You can do this through normal use by only Liking and Sharing things you're truly interested in. But there's also a way to tell Facebook specifically that you'd like to see more posts from a particular page or person. 

Setting this feature up is simple. Go to the Settings menu in the Facebook Mobile app. Tap, "News Feed Preferences." 
Next, tap "Prioritize who to see first." You can then mark certain profiles with little stars to tell Facebook that you'd like to see content from them.
Psst... Like Kim's page on Facebook and be sure to use this trick so that you don't miss any of the important content shared there such as security alerts, helpful tips, behind-the-scenes clips from the show, giveaways and more. Here's how you can set up your preferences in the Facebook site itself.
Click the upside-down arrow in the top right-hand corner of the screen, then click, "News Feed Preferences." From there, use the drop-down menu in the upper left-hand corner to narrow the list down to "Friends" or "Pages." Finally, select the friends and pages to which you'd like to give priority.

2. Eliminate what you don't want to see

If you'd like to cut the clutter from your News Feed, a free browser extension called Social Fixer is a good place to start. Tired of sponsored posts (aka ads)? How about annoying posts about politics? Social Fixer has filters that will weed all of these things out. But that's not all it can do.
Another perk of Social Mixer is that you can hide the most distracting parts of the Facebook page. All of those links to the left and tiles to the right just get in the way, so why not tuck them out of sight?

And, to clean your feed up even further, there's a setting that will automatically hide posts after you've read them.

You can also add filters to your News Feed to hide stories about a particular keyword, author or application. Your News Feed can even be organized into different tabs so that certain content categories will be grouped together.

3. Hide yourself from Facebook Chat

For those of you who enjoy your privacy, this is an essential tip. Although you may not use Facebook Chat all that often, it lets your friends know whenever you're "available." Essentially, the chat feature recognizes that you're online and using Facebook, so each of your friends who are online at the same time could see that you're available.

To turn this feature off, you'll need a Google Chrome extension called Ghost for Chat. This app lets you use Facebook as you normally would without allowing your contacts to see that you're online.

Bonus: Block annoying people without getting caught

Let's be honest: We all have one or two (or maybe more) friends that we don't want knowing our business. But no one wants to deal with the drama of "Unfriending" people. And there's a serious stigma that's tied to the act of Blocking someone altogether.

The good news is you don't have to officially "Block" someone to prevent them from seeing your posts. All you have to do is add them to your Restricted List. This list prevents your content from showing up in the News Feed of the people you've "blocked," unless you've either tagged them or made the post itself public.

For step-by-step instructions on adding someone to your Restricted List, press play to watch the video below.
Note: If you're reading this article in the Komando.com app, click here to see the images and video in this article.
If all else fails and you find that you're still unhappy with Facebook, you may just want to delete your account altogether. Click here for step-by-step instructions to shut down your Facebook account for good.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

5 tips to help you find the right hybrid tablet by Sarah K. White




Hybrid tablets, 2-in-1 devices or detachable notebooks -- whatever you want to call them -- come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, the options are so expansive, it can be overwhelming to find the device that will best suit you.

Whether you prefer a more traditional notebook experience or you're looking for a tablet that can perform like a notebook, it's more than likely the perfect option exists for you. But there's a lot to consider before you purchase a hybrid device, and these five tips will help you find your best option.
[ Related story: 6 new 2-in-1 devices to watch for in 2017 ]

Performance

You might be tempted to get a decked-out Surface Pro 4 with an Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, but it's important to be realistic about the level of performance you need. For some users, a mobile processor and 4GB of RAM will be more than enough for everyday computing.

For power users, or anyone who needs to run more taxing software, there are plenty of Windows 10 hybrid options that offer more performance. The Surface Pro 4 line alone has five different configurations and the option to customize your own device.

It's important to note that a mobile processor isn't necessarily bad -- in fact, the Apple iPad Pro features Apple's A9X third-generation chip with 64-bit architecture. Apple's chips consistently perform well, and both the hardware and software are optimized to work with the chip to offer strong performance, so don't let the word "mobile" scare you.

Bottom line: If you need business-level performance, you'll want to look at something configurable, like the Surface Pro 4. For anyone who just needs access to common apps, email and basic computing, devices like the iPad Pro and entry level Surface Pro 4 offer more than enough power.
[ Related story: 4 things you'll love about Dell's XPS 13 2-in-1 and 4 you won't ]

Operating system

There are a three major operating systems to from which to choose -- iOS, Android or Windows 10. If you're already invested in the Apple ecosystem, you want to consider the iPad Pro -- you'll enjoy the continuity features between your iPhone and Mac.

If you're interested in an Android device, you won't find many dedicated 2-in-1 options. But the reality is that any Android tablet can act as a hybrid in a pinch. Android tablets, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 and forthcoming S3, typically feature a compatible keyboard case you can purchase. And there are plenty of third-party options that can connect via Bluetooth. So, while Android tablets typically aren't marketed as 2-in-1 devices, they can easily transform into one with the right accessories.

And finally, there's Microsoft Windows 10. You'll find no shortage of hybrid devices running Window 10. Overall, it offers more flexibility than a mobile OS -- on a Windows 10 hybrid, you can download desktop applications, multitask with more apps at once and get a true notebook experience.

Bottom line: If you use software or desktop apps that aren't available in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, consider a device running full Windows 10. If your software can be found via mobile app, then an iOS or Android device will suffice.
[ Related story: 7 inexpensive Surface Pro 4 alternatives ]

Consider display size

If you're looking for an entertainment device, you can get away with a smaller display size. But if you want a hybrid that lets you switch back and forth from business to pleasure, you want to stay in the 12-inch category.

Two of the most popular hybrids, the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4, feature 12.9-inch and 12.3-inch displays, respectively. This is the sweet spot with hybrid devices -- it gives you just enough space to multitask, while remaining compact and lightweight.

With smaller hybrids, like the 10-inch Apple iPad Pro, Asus Transformer Mini or the 10-inch Samsung Galaxy Book, you can get work done, but it won't replace your notebook -- they're better as entertainment devices. And if you go over 13-inches, like with the Surface Book, you'll find they're usually less portable.

Bottom line: If you want something lightweight and highly portable, that will allow you to get work done, consider something in the 12-inch category. Anything smaller will feel more like an entertainment device, while anything larger will feel more like a true notebook.

Choose your form factor

While devices like the iPad Pro and Galaxy Book rely on a portfolio design, others like the Surface Pro 4 and forthcoming Dell Latitude 5285 feature kickstands on the back of the tablet display. Both designs come with pros and cons. Portfolio designs offer limited viewing angles, while kickstand designs can feel unstable on your lap.

Some hybrids are designed like an average notebook, like the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 or the Surface Book. They often feature larger displays, 13-inches or bigger, which means they're also typically bulkier than other options. These are for users who need a typical notebook more often than a tablet, but want the flexibility.

Bottom line: Hybrids that offer a true notebook experience usually do so at the expense of portability, while tablets with portfolio and kickstand designs may be more compact, there are some limitations in viewing angles and stability.

Ports

You'll find hybrid options, like the iPad Pro, that feature only one port -- and that's fine for an entertainment device. One port is fine if you plan to use mobile apps, rarely need to connect to external displays and if you don't mind using an adapter or two in a pinch.

But if you're planning to regularly use a workstation, or connect to an external monitor, mouse or keyboard, then you'll need something with more flexibility. Devices like the Surface Pro 4, Galaxy Book, Dell Latitude 5285, Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and the Surface Book offer a wide range of ports. Of course, each device offers a different selection of ports, so make sure they're compatible with the peripherals you plan to use.

Bottom line: If you plan to connect your hybrid to a work station, or use any peripheral devices, look at something with more than one port.
Related Video
Hardware & Accessories
10 tablets for under $500
This story, "5 tips to help you find the right hybrid tablet" was originally published by CIO.

How to Play Music From iPhone on Apple TV Using Airplay by iPhoneLife

David Pogue tested 47 pill-reminder apps to find the best by David Pogue

You want to hear some numbers that’ll curl your toes?
They’re dying of what doctors call non-adherence—basically, not following instructions.

And you don’t have to be old and feeble to have trouble. When I was recovering from a kidney stone last year, my doctor told me to take ibuprofen, two pills, four times a day; phenazopyridine, one pill, three times a day; ciprofloxacin, two pills twice a day; docusate sodium, one capsule, three times a day; and solifenacin succinate, one pill, once a day.

Seriously? You’d need a spreadsheet.

Now imagine that you’re on 10 prescriptions. Or 20.

The point is: There should be an app that reminds you of what to take when, and records your adherence. In fact, there is an app like that—at least 47 of them, actually. I know, because I bought, installed, and tested every single one, on a quest for the best.
View photos
An app that tracks your meds through the day. Is that so hard?
Here’s the complete list of apps I tried. (I originally located 75 of these apps but eliminated apps that are over three years old, since they’re usually pretty creaky. Many apps have identical names, so I’ve included the full title as it appears on the app store. They’re free unless noted.)

Care4Today, CareZone, CeyHello, Do not forget your pills, Dose Direct, Dose Organizer  ($1), Dosecast, Easy Pill ($3), GenieMD, iCare—Medication Reminder, Mango Health—Medicine Manager, Pill Reminder, Med Helper—Pill Reminder and Medication Tracker, MedBox—Medication Reminder and Rx Tracker, MedCoach Medication Reminder, Medi-Prompt—Medication Reminder and Log ($4), Medisafe Pill Reminder & Medication Tracker, MedOClock—Free Pill Reminder with Health Journal, Meds Alert, Meds Tracker: Medication Daily Reminder and Tracker, Memo Health—Smart pill reminder & meds manager, Memo Pill Reminder, Mr. Pillster—pill reminder & medication tracker ($5), MyMedSchedule Mobile, MyTherapy Meds & Pill Reminder with Health Diary, Pill Alert, Pill Alert—Medicine Reminder, Pill Alert—Med, Prescriptions Reminder & Tracker, Pill Box—Your Pill Reminder, Pill In Time, Pill Monitor, Pill Monitor Pro—Medication Reminders and Logs  ($1), Pill Reminder—All in One, Medication Reminders…, Pill Reminder—Drugs.com, Pill Reminder— MedRem, Pill Reminder—Alarm for medicine, contraceptive, Pill Reminder Alarm—Reminder To Take Medication, Pill Tracker Box, Pillbox—Your Pill Reminder, Pillboxie ($2), Pills—Reminder for Daily Taking Medicine and Pills Medication Reminder ($1), PocketNurse—Pill Reminder, Round Health—Medicine Reminder and Pill Tracker, RX2—Meds and Pill Reminder ($3), rxRemind—Free Medicine Pill Reminder and Tracker.

Got it?

Apparently, a pill reminder is what every coder attempts as My Very First App, because most of them are terrible. Some are just bare-bones, but others are aggressively bad. Plenty of them crash on opening. Lots are full of typos and broken English. Many of them make it extremely awkward to enter the pill information. Almost all of them should instantly go into the Great App Trash Bin in the Sky.

Fortunately, there’s one shining exception.

What we want in a pill-reminder app

Dive into a few of these apps, and it rapidly becomes apparent that eight features separate the good stuff from the junk:
  • Easy to enter the med’s name. In bad apps (most of them), you have to type out the name of the medicine with your finger, carefully glancing back to the drugstore bottle. In better apps, you can type the first few letters and then tap Search—and choose from a list of matches. In the best apps, you get real-time autocomplete: A list of matches appears as you type.
  • Pictures of the pills. The worst apps don’t even attempt graphics. Better ones let you take a photo of your pills, or choose from a palette of pill shapes and colors. The best ones already know what the meds look like, because they’re plugged into online medicine databases. Compliance is much more likely if the reminders, instead of just saying phenazopyridine, also show a couple of maroon round pills.
  • Easy to enter the times. The worst apps make you set reminder times manually. If you’re supposed to take a pill 3 times a day, for example, you might input 10 a.m., 6 p.m., and 2 a.m. The better ones let you enter “3x daily,” and the app proposes three evenly spaced times. The best ones do that but also intelligently reset the timer if you’re late taking a pill at one of the three times.
  • Drug warnings. The worst apps don’t have any actual knowledge of the drugs you’ve listed; it doesn’t know “ibuprofen” from “I love Lucy.” The better apps show you a page of information about each prescription. And the best apps automatically warn you if you’ve entered two drugs that shouldn’t be taken together.
  • Family monitoring. The worst apps track only your meds. The better ones let you track other family members’ meds on your phone, so that you can also remember when it’s time to dose up your kid or your parent. The best ones also let you know remotely when a loved one has missed a dose. For example, if your grandfather doesn’t tap “Done” when he gets his 6 p.m. reminder to take his heart medicine, your phone lets you know, so you can call him up and bug him.
  • To Do list. The worst apps just pop up reminders when it’s time to take a medicine. The better ones also show you a tidy timeline of upcoming pills you’ll have to take today. The best apps also keep a history—a handy report of your past pill-taking record—that you can send to, say, your doctor.
  • Smart rescheduling. The worst apps just remind you when it’s time to take a dose. The better ones let you indicate either Taken or Missed for each reminder. The best ones also offer options to Skip or Postpone a dose. (For example, if you’re on hardcore pain medicine that you’re supposed to take no more often than every four hours, the reminder that pops up says, in effect, “You may take a pill now.” But if you don’t need it, you can hit Skip.)
  • Lock-screen dismissal. All apps make an alert appear on your iPhone or Android phone’s Lock screen. Usually, in order to indicate that you’ve taken that pill, you have to swipe that alert to open the app. The best ones offer Taken or Skipped buttons right there on the Lock screen, for less disruption and fewer steps.
As it turns out, only one app delivers all of those features. It’s so much more complete than its rivals, with so much more polish, that the others should slink back to the app store in shame.

To make matters even better, this app is free. This  winner, by a wide margin, is called Medisafe.

Medisafe

As you can see by the video above, Medisafe wins you over right at the top, by auto-completing your drug names as you enter them and showing you what they look like. It autocompletes both prescription and over-the-counter drug names.

If you get your prescriptions from CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid, or WalMart, the app can even import your complete meds list directly from those drugstore accounts, so you do no data entry at all.

It’s got drug-interaction warnings, and even—get this—videos that offer drug and dosage information. “This is Tamsulosin,” a doctor-looking guy says in one, “and you should take your dose 30 minutes after a meal. You should swallow the capsule whole, and don’t crush or chew it.” He goes on to describe what it’s for and what the side effects can be. (The videos cover the drugs representing 85% of all prescriptions.)
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MediSafe is smart, simple, complete, and free.
This app makes it incredibly easy to specify when and how many you’re supposed to take. It reminds you to refill your prescription, too.

The app shows your drug regimen as four “pill boxes,” representing morning, afternoon, and so on. To say you’ve taken your dose, you just swipe across the medicine’s name, or (if you take several at once) hit Take All. You can indicate that you’re skipping a dose, or postponing it.

There’s a To Do list, a History report, an Apple Watch app, a built-in tutorial, and notifications if a loved one has missed a dose.

So if Medisafe is free, how does it make money? Kind of clever: Its company makes money from drug companies, health plans, and doctors. Each has a vested interest in your sticking to your prescription routine: health insurers, because keeping you healthy costs them less; doctors, because (a) they want you healthy and (b) sometimes the insurance companies won’t pay them if you get re-admitted for the same ailment within 30 days; and pharma companies, because if you take your meds on time, you’ll have to buy refills from them sooner! Handy, no?

If you or someone you love could use a free, lovely, complete pill-reminder app, go download Medisafe.

The runners-up

Here are a few other apps worth mentioning.

Care4Today. This beautifully simple app is a close second place. It offers a quick visual way to check off doses as you take them, color-coded by urgency (below, left). Offers drug info, interaction warnings, autocomplete, and automatic pill pictures. Better yet, few apps go as far as this one to encourage adherence. For example, it shows weekly graphs of your adherence, including your running percentage score. And get this: For each day that you maintain 100% adherence, the company donates 25 cents to a charity (you can choose from a set of 9).
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Care4Today is beautiful and rich, complete with autocomplete (center) and charitable donations for each day you master your meds.
Pill Reminder—All in One, Medication Reminders. Very clean, very attractive, easy to use. Type a few letters, then tap “Search U.S. FDA Database” to autocomplete (although it doesn’t list everything). You can specify either “3 times a day” or specify three exact times. Options to reschedule; auto-snooze. If you have more than two meds, you have to buy the $2 Pro version.
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“Pill Reminder – All in One…” looks great and shows simple pill graphics.
Pill Reminder—Drugs.com. Superb, clean layout; the To Do list is also a calendar, so you can look ahead or back to other days. Autocomplete for drug names, option to photograph your pills. Tracks your refills; offers a password for privacy.
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“Pill Reminder – Drugs.com” is pretty great. (There are 4 other apps called Pill Reminder, though–don’t get confused.)
Pillboxie. Really simple app, heavy on clear, attractive graphics. For example, you schedule your dose times by dragging a picture of the pill into a time-labeled pill-box on the screen. Lots of help screens. To Do list, History, fun reminder sounds.
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Pillboxie’s text and graphics are big and clear enough to see without glasses.
Round Health—Medicine Reminder and Pill Tracker. Shows a round daily graph of your progress; offers a unique but somewhat confusing “time window” system of reminder prompts. Great autocomplete that includes standard pill strengths—alas, no pictures. If you create an account, you can save your med history and sync data between multiple devices.
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Round Health shows your progress as a round graph (left). It also has autocomplete (right).
RX2—Meds and Pill Reminder. Super efficient to schedule your doses: If you tap “3x a day,” the app proposes the actual time slots (you can adjust the defaults in Settings, or on the spot). When the time comes, you can tap Take, Skip, or Reschedule. Clear, big design. View by day, week, month. Autocomplete (although doesn’t know all med names). No pill pictures, though.
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RX2 has a bold, clear design and a choice of Day, Week, or Month views.

Happy pill taking!

I’ve identified seven extraordinary, well designed apps that remind you to take your meds, and track your adherence; MediSafe and Care4Today, in particular, are spectacular.

Now, technically, I can appreciate that a tech column is more exciting when it covers hybrid tablets or automated drones. But this time, I thought maybe the most exciting product is one that can save your life.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

David Pogue tested 40 Bluetooth earbuds to find the best of the best by David Pogue

Admit it, my people: the way of the world is to go wireless.

First phone cords went away, then internet cables, then printer cords; power cords’ extinction is coming soon.

So why, then, are we so upset about losing earbud cords?

Yes, yes, OK: It’s a pain to have yet another battery to charge, and wired buds give you better sound quality for the dollar.

But wireless earbuds have compelling advantages, too—for example, they’re wireless. You don’t have to fish out a wiry mass from your bag, untangle it, avoid catching it on your clothing or furniture, or figure out how to thread it so it doesn’t drive you crazy when you’re working out or running.

Soon enough, the decision will be made for you. Motorola (MSI), LeEco, and Apple (AAPL) have begun eliminating the headphone jacks from their smartphones, and other phone makers are following suit.

When Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, a popular cry was, “They just want to force us to buy their $160 AirPod wireless buds!” And yes, Apple would love that, but it’s not mandatory. The world is teeming with wireless earbuds that don’t come from Apple. Many are better, less expensive, or both.

How do I know? Because I’ve tested them out. Forty of them (40). My ear canals are practically bleeding at this point.
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I’ll try out 40 pairs of earbuds for you. No problem.
But you know what? You’re worth it.

What to expect from Bluetooth earbuds

Most of today’s earbuds use the Bluetooth 4.1 technology, which is pretty great. It eliminates the lag between the video you’re watching and its audio, and it lets your earbuds remain “paired” (wirelessly connected) to two devices simultaneously, like your phone and your laptop. (You hear sound from only one at a time.)

Almost all of the candidates come with a Micro USB charging cable, which you can connect to your computer or, with a USB “wall wart” (not included), to a power outlet. The earbuds get between 4 and 18 hours of music playback time, and you can wander between 30 and 100 feet from your phone before the music begins to drop out.

The good ones come with cases to protect them and an assortment of rubber or foam ear tips; it’s super important to find the ones that fit you best. Since these are in-the-ear-canal buds, a snug fit blocks outside noise and gives their generally feeble bass a fighting chance to reach your brain.

These days, wireless buds come in all kinds of crazy incarnations; it’s as though you gave some guidelines (“battery, circuit board, two earbuds”) to six different aliens and then watched how many approaches they came up with. In general, they break down like this:
  • Completely detached. On these, there are no wires—not even between the earbuds. They’re two separate pieces; you can hand one to a friend, if you like, for simul-listening. For about 80% of the population, they stay in place even during running, but it may take you a long time to get over the feeling that you’re going to lose one. Most are kind of heavy, and all of them look bizarre in your ears. Most, like Apple’s AirPods, come with a battery-equipped case that recharges your buds. Controlling volume and skipping tracks can be tricky on these, since there’s no remote, and phone calls generally aren’t great, since the microphone is nowhere near your mouth.
  • Cord style. The huge majority of Bluetooth earbuds still have one wire—between the buds. That way, you’re a lot less likely to lose one. The good ones offer some way to shorten that wire behind your head so that it doesn’t slap as you run. There’s usually a remote control with three buttons—volume up, volume down, play/pause—that also contains the microphone for calls and Siri/Google Now. Usually, you have to memorize patterns of short, long, double, and triple-clicks of these buttons to perform all the functions of music playback and call management.
  • Collar style. You’re seeing this style crop up in offices these days: a lightweight plastic collar that hangs around your neck all day long, with thin earbud wires coming out of it. That extra real estate means more buttons for dedicated features, beefier batteries, and a vibration mode that lets you know when a call is coming in. Calls sound great, of course, because now the microphone is positioned right below your mouth. You may not be so crazy about the collar style if you run, though; it’ll bang on your collarbones.
In the endless scrolling pages below, I’ll show you my notes for each of the 40 earbuds I tested. But in the event that you actually have a life, here’s the short version: the winners in each category.

The winner: Detached earbuds

The Apple AirPods ($160) take it. Their design is far slimmer, and somewhat less goofy looking, than their bulky rivals, which look like you’ve jammed wine corks into your head. Each AirPod plays music for five hours on a charge, but when you slip them magnetically back into their little dental-floss box/case, they get a fresh charge—24 hours’ worth in all.
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If you’re prepared for the downsides of detached buds, the AirPods are great.
They really don’t fall out, as you’d expect them to, and they sound fantastic, even on phone calls. (The little stem points the microphones at your mouth.) Unfortunately, they have no buttons, so you can’t adjust the volume or skip tracks without speaking Siri commands or picking up your phone.

The AirPods contain what Apple calls the W1 chip, which confers several advantages. First, the “pairing” process with an iPhone is absurdly easy: Just open the case. Instantly, the phone acknowledges their proximity and offers a Connect button. The Beats X and Powerbeats 3 also contain the W1 chip, and the pairing process looks something like this:

(If you have an Android phone, you pair the AirPods the usual way, using your Bluetooth settings.)
The W1 also means that once you’ve introduced the AirPods to your iPhone, it’s automatically listed as available to your Mac or Apple Watch, too. It also boosts the Bluetooth signal considerably; you can walk really deeply into your home without worrying that the sound will cut out.

Important note: Since you have no option to choose different tips, AirPods aren’t comfortable for everyone.

The winners: Corded earbuds

The world offers hundreds of corded Bluetooth earbuds. No-name Chinese corded earbuds fill the pages of Amazon.com like grain in a silo.

I have buddies who don’t care about sweat resistance, Bluetooth range, elegant controls and all that jazz; they just buy super cheapies (you can find ‘em for under $15), good enough for listening to podcasts and YouTube, and don’t care when they die or get lost.

But if you do care about comfort, battery life, music quality, Bluetooth range, looks, sweatproofness, and features, then you can’t get wrong with today’s winner, the Jaybird X3s.
Among the finest of many, many fine corded Bluetooth earbuds.
They come with nine pairs of tips, including Comply foam tips (squish, insert, wait for them to expand) and wingtips, which hook into your cartilage to hold the buds in place. You can thread the cord either over or under your ears; a clip lets you shorten the cord to prevent slapping while running. Eight hours of playback time. All of this for $130.

A nice alternative, by the way, is the Optoma NuForce BE6i. It offers a clone of the Jaybirds’ list of virtues—eight hours, eight pairs of tips, $130—but offers voice prompts with a cute British accent, a flat, tangle-resistant cable, and a little less bass and Bluetooth range.

The winners: Collared

OK, this stunned me: For some reason, Samsung is selling a full-featured collar-style Bluetooth earbud set for $33 on Amazon: the Level U. It sounds fine, it’s got incoming-call vibrations, it has a tremendous Bluetooth range, and it’s $33. What am I missing?

Clearly, it’s not the best collared set you can buy, but it’s by far the best for the money.

At the opposite extreme, there’s the $400, super-deluxe, leather-wrapped, Klipsch x12. I mean, 18 hours of battery life. Splash resistant. Carrying case, six pairs of tips, and ridiculous Bluetooth range. And the sound—holy moly: spectacular clarity, weighty bass, detailed highs, solid midrange. You’ll think you’re listening to fancy wired headphones.
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From left: Samsung Level U ($32), Klipsch x12 ($400), LG Tone Infinim ($67).
In a more practical price range, I really liked LG’s line of collars, like the Tone Infinim, the Tone Active+, and the Tone Platinum. They have retractable, spring-loaded earbud wires, which are tidy and brilliant (above, right).

The Tone Active+ collar even has external speakers in addition to the retractable buds. Their power won’t shatter any wine glasses. But since they sit just below your ears, they’re perfectly listenable as you putter around the house, take a call at your desk, or share a song with a couple of friends sitting nearby.

Besides: having nothing in your ears is the most comfortable of all.

Lots of wireless buds offer excellence in one area or another (see below), and very few are outright stinkers. But for most people—especially those for whom money doesn’t grow on trees—the models listed above are the most likely to bring happiness.

I know, because I did the exhausting research and testing for you. You’re welcome.

The 40 contenders

Here are my notes on the 40 wireless earbuds I tested.
The little graphs for price, battery, Bluetooth range, and number of ear tips show you where they fall relative to their competitors.

For example, if you see “Battery hours: 4 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦,” then this model can play music for only four hours, whereas the best models last 18 hours (18 diamonds).

Unless otherwise noted, they all sound basically alike: fine for watching videos, making calls, doing Skype or FaceTime—just not so great with bass.

Adv.Sound Model 3. They’re billed as “high-resolution music monitors,” and by golly, they sound fantastic. Putting them on takes some training, though, because one loop of wire goes around your head, and another down your torso.
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Adv.Sound Model 3: Exceptional sound, not so great for workouts.
Amazingly, these wireless buds can become wired buds when the battery dies or you want all the quality you can squeeze out—no other buds do that. But they’re not for working out, since they’re not sweat-resistant.
Style: Cord
  • Price: $80 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 5 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 6 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 25 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? Yes
Apple AirPods. No other earbuds have this design, or these pros/cons. Terrific sound, battery life, pairing simplicity, range, as described above. Double-tap to get an immediate, crisp “I’m listening” chime from Siri—and then you talk. Just ridiculous amounts of cool technology packed into tiny space. (Here’s my full review.)
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AirPods. Amazing, but not suitable for all ear canals.
  • Style: Detached
  • Price: $160 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 5 (with case, 24) ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 1 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 48 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? Yes
Beats Powerbeats 3. Apple owns Beats, so it’s no surprise to find the W1 chip in these corded earbuds—so you get the insta-pairing with an iPhone and the insane range. These are made for working out: they’re sweat-resistant, hook over your ears, and allow ambient sound. These babies aren’t going anywhere. They have unusually good battery life. If you’re rushed, five minutes of charging provides one hour of listening. A clip can shorten the cord.
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PowerBeats 3, complete with W1 chip.
  • Style: Corded
  • Price: $150 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 12 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 4 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 48 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? Yes
Beats X. Another Apple-owned product—with that nice W1 chip. A standard earbuds-and-cord design, but there are three pods along the cord instead of the usual one. One has the playback controls, one has the power button, and one’s there just to confuse you. Magnets keep the buds together when you’re not listening. Requires a Lightning cable to recharge (included); five minutes gives you two hours of juice. Not much bass (yes, even though it’s Beats).
  • Style: Corded
  • Price: $150 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 8 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 4 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 48 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? Yes
Bose QuietControl 30. These are the buds you want on a plane; they’ve got Bose’s famous noise cancellation technology, which shuts up the engine roar amazingly well (though not as well as Bose’s wired models). That helps with the sound quality, which is leaps better than the cheapy buds. You can control how much outside noise you want to admit, using either buttons on the controller or a companion app—handy when you’re biking or running. Pairs with NFC, if your Android phone has it. Gorgeous build quality; sweat resistant and pricey.
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Bose QuietControl 30: Best noise cancellation you can buy.
  • Style: Collar
  • Price: $300 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 10 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 20 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? Yes
Bose Soundsport Wireless. Here’s Bose’s take on corded workout buds. Splash/rain resistant, a clothing clip, and terrific bass. The little globules stick way out from your head, though, so you can’t put a helmet on over them, and they look a little goofy.
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Bose Soundsport—good sound for athletes.
  • Style: Corded
  • Price: $150 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 6 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 20 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? Yes
Bragi The Headphone. Totally detached—a followup to the Bragi Dash (a do-it-all in-ear doodad that purports to measure your heart rate). The right earbud contains three tiny control buttons that are no picnic to operate; the left one has only one big button. Sound quality isn’t great, and the real heart-breaker is that the charging case doesn’t also have a battery, as rivals do, so the buds don’t recharge except when the case is plugged in.
Bragi The Headphone. Totally detached.
  • Style: Detached
  • Price: $150 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 6 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 30 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? Yes
Decibullz Custom-Fit Wireless. Cheap, pretty bad earbuds (the shortest battery life, and shortest range, of this roundup)—with a clever gimmick: The earbuds melt into pliable goo when boiled in water. You’re supposed to mash it into your ear as it cools, so that it perfectly fits your nooks and crannies. It really works—it helps out with sound, fit, and comfort, and easily accommodates a helmet—but looks bizarre. (You can also buy the mashable plastic portion separately to use with better earbuds.)
  • Style: Corded
  • Price: $120 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 4 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 10 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? Yes
Jabra Halo Free. OK cheapo buds. Dedicated button for Siri or Google Now. An app that offers additional features, like a map that shows you the last place you had them turned on, and a voice that can read your messages. Water resistant. The protruding bulb blocks helmets.
  • Style: Corded
  • Price: $60 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 5 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 18 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? No
Jabra Halo Smart. Amazingly cheap, super lighweight collar-style buds with astonishing battery life (15 hours). Magnets for bud-clicking; vibration for incoming calls; mediocre, bass-free sound. Companion app tracks last known location.
  • Style: Collar
  • Price: $50 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 15 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 4 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 25 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? No
Jabra Sport Rox Wireless. Nice, steel buds. Magnets on the buds that auto-pause your music (why didn’t anyone think of this before?). Rain, shock, dust resistant. NFC pairing.
  • Style: Corded
  • Price: $100 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 5.5 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 7 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 13 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? Yes
Jabra Halo Fusion. Nice to have a dedicated power/Siri button on one of the collar’s two lobes; otherwise, cheap and basic.
  • Style: Collar
  • Price: $60 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 6.5 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 18 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? No
Jaybird Freedom. Tiny, sweat-resistant, metal buds, helmet-friendly; very bright sound. Charges from a tiny cradle that snaps onto the remote on the cord—a blocky, bulky arrangement, but the cradle has a 4-hour booster battery inside. Loaded with features and cord-draping options. App lets you adjust the sound character.
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Jaybird Freedom. Super tiny and light.
  • Style: Corded
  • Price: $150 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 4 (plus 4 in the cradle) ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 9 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 45 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? Yes
Jaybird X3. The champ. For $130, you get it all: category-leading sound, battery, and range; helmet-friendly size; sweat and water resistance.
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Jaybird X3—the sweet spot.
  • Style: Corded
  • Price: $130 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 8 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 9 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 45 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? Yes
JBL Reflect Mini BT. Reflective cables—a great idea for night joggers. Sweat/water resistant. Weak range, no case. They don’t turn off automatically after you stop using them.
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JBL Reflect Mini: Reflective cords. Good idea.
  • Style: Corded
  • Price: $90 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 8 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 4 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 20 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? No
JLab Audio Epic2. An over-ear memory-wire hook keeps these babies in place. Sweatproof and even rinse-able. Impressive battery life.
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Jlab Audio Epic 2: The memory wire forms to your ear tops.
  • Style: Corded
  • Price: $100 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 12 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 6 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 26 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? Yes
Klipsch x12. Almost absurdly overbuilt: leather band, copper accents, black chrome. 18-hour battery life, huge distance range, vibration mode for calls, crazy great sound. Super comfy, thanks to the unique oval-shaped silicone ear-canal plugs. 6 tip pairs, including Comply foam ones.
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Luxury comes to earbuds: The Klipsch x12.
  • Style: Collar
  • Price: $400 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 18 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 6 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 45 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? Yes
LG Tone Infinim HBS-910. Inexpensive, likable collar-style. Sturdy yet flexible plastic collar. Press buttons on the inner collar to make the retractable earbuds snap back inside to avoid tangle and clutter. Dedicated buttons for volume, track forward/back, calls, power. No case, not sweat resistant.
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LG Tone Infinim HBS-910: Retractable buds.
  • Style: Collar
  • Price: $80 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 12 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 39 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? No
LG Tone Active+. External speakers—not powerful, but very handy (calls, listening to music without anything in your ears). Retractable buds (tug on them rather than pressing a button). Sweat/water resistant. Tone & Talk app can read your notifications and texts, and let you customize the button controls.
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LG Tone Active+. External speakers!
  • Style: Collar
  • Price: $130 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 13 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 39 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? No
LG Tone Platinum HBS-1100. LG’s top-of-the-line Bluetooth collar. Great dedicated buttons. Earbuds retract with buttons. Tone & Talk app. Not sweat-resistant. (Clearly, LG offers a huge range of these collar-style buds—for help in telling them apart, here’s a chart.)
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LG Tone Platinum HBS-1100 collar style.
  • Style: Collar
  • Price: $200 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 10 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 39 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? No
LG Force. LG also makes this standard corded earbuds, distinguished by the ear-shaped loops. Takes a little effort to put on, but they stay on. Incredibly light (under an ounce); nice sound. Dedicated power button. Sweat/water resistant.
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LG Force. These babies won’t fall off unless your ears do.
  • Style: Corded
  • Price: $100 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 6 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 39 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? Yes
MEE Audio X7 Plus. Memory-wire loops route over your ears and stay in place. Cable shortener included. Great range. Sweatproof.
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MEE Audio X7 Plus. Memory wire for added eargrip.
  • Style: Corded
  • Price: $90 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 8 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 35 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? Yes
Monster iSport Victory. The cable is coated with rubber, for a weird, non-tangling feel. A shortener is built in. It has above-average sound, and the buttons on the remote are much more feel-able than on most. Sweat resistant. Short Bluetooth range.
Monster iSport Victory, with its weird cool rubbery cords.
  • Style: Corded
  • Price: $57 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 8 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 5 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 11 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? Yes
Motorola VerveOnes+. Fully detached, sweat/waterproof earbuds. The bulky outer pod may or may not nestle neatly into your particular ears. You have to learn the meanings of various clicks, double, triple, and long presses on each side. Great sound. Long delay before Siri. Have to pause the  music before you can use Siri or Google Now. Case is also a recharger, providing a total of 12 hours of playback.
Moto VerveOnes+, shown in their little recharging cylinder case.
  • Style: Detached
  • Price: $150 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 3 (12 in charging case) ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 13 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? NO
  • Case included? Yes
Motorola VerveLoop+. Super light, waterproof/sweat-proof. Companion app notes the last connected location—a sort of “Find my buds.” Protruding bulge not helmet-friendly.
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Moto VerveLoop+: a fine choice.
  • Style: Corded
  • Price: $57 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 9 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 4 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 25 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? No
Motorola VerveRider+. Super light, water/sweat-proof, excellent battery life. Bright orange for visibility. Magnetic tips. Companion app for locating or turning notification vibrations on and off.
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Moto VerveRider+, in “don’t hit me with your car” orange.
  • Style: Collar
  • Price: $85 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 12 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 25 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? No
Optoma NuForce BE6i. Magnetic, aluminum-construction buds; sweat-proof; voice prompt has a cute British accent. Have to pause music before triggering Siri/Google Now. Flat, no-tangle cable. Everything included. Overall, a superb pair.
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Optoma NuForce BE6i: Competent and satisfying all the way around.
  • Style: Cord
  • Price: $130 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 8 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 7 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 25 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? Yes
Phiaton BT 220 NC. Strange design: The wires connect to a control box that dangles on your torso—will drive runners crazy. Supposedly has noise canceling, but it’s very, very weak. Amazing battery, poor range.
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Phiaton BT 220 NC: The stethoscope design doesn’t really help.
  • Style: Cord
  • Price: $125 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 16 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 2 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 8 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? Yes
Plantronics BackBeat Fit Bluetooth. Super minimal and light. No remote on the cord; the buttons are on the buds themselves. Thick rubberized cord wraps over your ear—stays in place. Sweat/waterproof. Reflective armband case. Lets in ambient sound for running/biking safety (plugs don’t seal ear canals). Bluetooth 3.0, alas.
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Plantronics BackBeat Fit. Minimalist, waterproof, rugged.
  • Style: Cord
  • Price: $78 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 8 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 1 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 13 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? Yes
Roam Ropes. Radical, somewhat tangly stethoscope/pendant design, created by the guy who originally developed the Beats headphones. You’re supposed to let it just hang around you when you’re not using the buds. Painful treble when cranked. App lets you adjust the sound signature.
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Roam Ropes. OK, what?
  • Style: Stethoscope
  • Price: $200 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 9  ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 5 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 18 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? Yes
Samsung Level U. Stunning value for the money. Vibration for calls, magnets for buds, amazing range.
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Samsung Level U: Cheap and good.
  • Style: Collar
  • Price: $33 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 11  ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 45 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? No
Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds 2 Wireless. Removable rigid neck channel for the wire, to give the neck portion some rigidity (if you like). Super crisp highs.
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Skullcandy Smokin’ Buds 2 do not actually smoke.
  • Style: Cord/collar hybrid
  • Price: $60 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 7  ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 2 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 25 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? No
Skullcandy XTFREE. Big box attached to each bud—no go for helmets or looking normal. Short, behind-head cord. Sweat resistant.
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Skullcandy XTFREE: Earboxes aren’t so trendy.
  • Style: Cord
  • Price: $70 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 6  ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 4 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 25 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? Yes
  • Case included? Yes
Skullcandy Ink’d. Very inexpensive. Light, flexible collar; you can roll it up. Limited tip options—no wings.
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Skullcandy Ink’d, from the bargain bin.
  • Style: Collar
  • Price: $40 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 8  ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 2 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 25 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? No
Skybuds. Incredibly tiny, detached-style separate buds. You have to turn the right and left buds on separately. There’s an app to find your lost bud, and it has great sound. The case recharges the buds. No way to adjust volume without using your phone.
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Skybuds: Detached and tiny.
  • Style: Detached
  • Price: $200 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 4 (with case, 24) ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 3 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 33 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? Yes
Sol Republic Shadow Wireless. Great-looking hybrid design: a thickened band around your neck. May bounce out of your ears when running. Water/sweat resistant. Bluetooth 4.0 (not 4.1).
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Sol Republic Shadow Wireless: Sharp-looking.
  • Style: Semi-collared
  • Price: $60 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 8  ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 4 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 33 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? No
Sol Republic Amps Air. Detached-style. Entire outside panel is a button—hard to avoid hitting accidentally. The remarkable recharging case is a huge battery: can recharge the buds 15 times, or recharge your phone! Just put buds in case to turn them off; take out to turn them on. Case can charge buds 15 times or be a backup battery for phone! Case has charge LEDs. No volume control or track controls on the buds. Real bass.
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Sol Republic Amps Air: Detached, if you’re into that kind of thing.
  • Style: Detached
  • Price: $150 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Battery hours: 3 (with case, 45) ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear tip pairs: 4 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Range, in Poguesteps: 25 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
  • Ear wings included? No
  • Case included? No

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You have no shortage of options. Go forth and shopify!