How to select affordable earphones with active noise cancellation

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Imagine this scenario: You’ve recently upgraded to a 5G capable smartphone because it was time for an upgrade. As you unbox the smartphone, you realize that there is no 3.5mm headphone jack. Suddenly, all your wired earphones and headphones are rendered useless.

Another scenario: Your daily commute consists of noisy cars or chatty metro passengers. Your office desk is surrounded by noise. Or, you frequently travel.

If you’re seeking headphones with excellent active noise cancelling (ANC) capabilities to block out the noise and help you focus, this list is for you, especially if you’re on a tight budget or looking for your first pair.

  1. Realme Buds Air 5 Pro

    Having recently reviewed the Buds Air 5 Pro from Realme, I can confidently say that they have one of the best active noise cancellation features in their price range. Although they are bass-forward in-ear TWS earbuds, they are worth every rupee. Priced at ₹4,999, the Buds Air 5 Pro comes with multipoint connectivity, good call quality, and clear vocals. As mentioned in my review, “The earbuds have two drivers in each bud (one for bass and one for treble). The buds also come with ANC (up to 50dB), which is one of the most powerful in this segment. The ANC effectively blocks out the ambient noises. There is also a transparent mode in case you want to be aware of your surroundings.” Realme Buds Air 5 Pro can be purchased from retail stores or Amazon for ₹4,999.

  2. Jabra Elite 4

    Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to try out Jabra’s Elite 4 budget TWS earbuds. The Elite 4s are lightweight, no-nonsense TWS earbuds. They offer a great soundstage, clear vocals, and good instrument separation. They are durable earbuds suitable for everyone. The Elite 4s are among the most comfortable TWS earbuds available and can last five and a half hours (with ANC activated) on a single charge. Additionally, the Elite 4s feature user-friendly capacitive touch controls, which is a plus. Launched at ₹9,999, the Jabra Elite 4s can be found for ₹5,001 on Amazon. Quite a good deal, if I may add.

  3. Anker Soundcore Life Q30

    While priced at ₹9,990, the Soundcore Life Q30 headphones from Anker might seem slightly expensive, but they are definitely worth it. They boast impressive ANC capabilities, effectively isolating both low-frequency (up to 40dB reduction) and high-frequency noises. These headphones are lightweight and come with plush ear cups for ultimate comfort. They offer five sets of ear tips to ensure a perfect fit. They are also bass-friendly headphones that deliver a delightful and soothing soundstage. The Soundcore Life Q30 headphones provide up to 40 hours of playback with ANC activated, which is impressive. The Anker Soundcore Life Q30s can be purchased on Amazon for ₹9,999, sometimes even at a lower price. They truly stand out with their impressive active noise cancellation feature.

  4. OnePlus Nord Buds 2

    Another pair of TWS earbuds that I recently reviewed was from OnePlus. The Nord Buds 2 were the first in the Nord series to feature ANC. While it may take some time to find the perfect fit, the plastic design ensures they stay in place and remain comfortable during extended usage periods. The buds have a pill-shaped case, while the stems of the buds are rounded and weigh 4.7 grams each. They come with an IP55 rating. Similarly to the Jabra Elite 4, the Nord Buds 2 prioritize bass and are equipped with 12.4mm drivers and a sound chamber for enhanced bass. They deliver a well-rounded soundstage and clear vocals that will satisfy many users. While the ANC is not the best available, it does the job for the most part. They are available for ₹2,999 at OnePlus stores, OnePlus’ website, Amazon.in, and other retailers.

  5. Sony WF-C700N

    At a discounted price of ₹8,990 (via Amazon), the Sony WF-C700N earbuds are a fantastic pair to own. These earbuds provide sublime comfort, highly effective ANC, and exceptional sound quality. Despite being small and lightweight, they offer a well-balanced sound quality with detailed bass, expressive mids, and wide, engaging highs. The overall sound is punchy. They offer great value for their discounted price. The battery life is rated at seven and a half hours (with ANC activated) and up to 24 hours with the charging case (again, with ANC activated). These buds can be purchased for ₹8,990 on Amazon.in. If you prefer headphones over in-ear earbuds, the WH-CH720N headphones from Sony, priced at ₹9,990, should also be on your list.

  6. JBL Tune 760NC

    If you’re interested in over-ear headphones, the JBL Tune 760NC should definitely be at the top of your list. These headphones offer excellent sound quality, long battery life, and outstanding noise cancellation. They support multipoint connectivity and provide over 45 hours of battery life with ANC activated. Regardless of your music genre preferences, the Tune 760NC headphones deliver great sound quality. They feature JBL’s signature bass-heavy sound, but with clear vocals and lively sound, you won’t be disappointed. The Tune 760NC headphones come with a more streamlined design and larger buttons. As a bonus, they are foldable for easier portability. You can find the JBL Tune 760NC on Amazon for ₹5,499.

  7. Oppo Enco Air3 Pro

    The Enco Air3 Pro from Oppo has been widely regarded as one of the best TWS earbuds in the sub- ₹5,000 category. These buds offer great performance at an affordable price. Designed with stems and rounded sides, they provide a secure in-canal fit, resulting in better and more effective active noise cancellation. They come with LDAC Bluetooth codec support (a feature not commonly found in TWS earbuds below ₹5,000) and deliver a rich and balanced sound along with an immersive soundstage. While the case may seem slightly bulky and oddly shaped, the earbuds themselves are definitely worth their price. Additionally, there is a Golden Sound enhancement feature that customizes the listener’s hearing profile, resulting in a significantly enhanced sound experience. The Enco Air3 Pro can be purchased from Oppo’s website or Amazon.in for ₹4,999.

Sahil Bhalla is a journalist based in Delhi. You can find him on Twitter @IMSahilBhalla.

Also read: Here’s your complete guide to buying TWS earbuds

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