October 28, 2021

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Best gaming earbuds 2021 | Android Central

9 min read


Razer Hammerhead Pro HeroSource: Android Central / Russell Holly

Best
gaming earbuds
Android Central
2021

Razer has been a mainstay in the gaming world as a maker of good peripherals, and while headphones have long been common for gamers, wireless earbuds are still somewhat nascent. The Hammerhead True Wireless Pro are at the top of the list available for this specialized category, but the best gaming earbuds are worth putting in your ears when it’s time to play.

Best overall: Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro

Razer Hammerhead Pro Green

Source: Russell Holly / AndroidCentral

The Hammerhead True Wireless Pro continue to be Razer’s premium option for gaming earbuds, as it makes the case that wireless earbuds aren’t too small or weak to game properly. With a nice design that fits in well with Razer’s overall look for its products, there’s a good level of comfort to work with for shorter and longer gaming sessions. It should be easy enough to get a tight seal for good passive isolation to make the onboard active noise cancelation (ANC) more effective.

To make that possible, Razer throws in six pairs of silicone ear tips, one of which is Comply Foam. Foam tips are great for sealing in sound, but you may find good results with the other tips as well. Sound veers more toward bass response, though Razer did engineer them to offer good highs and mids. With ANC on, you can block out more of the background to focus on a game, and with decent mics, you can also chat with others when a game offers that option for multiplayer.

Razer’s app has a decent equalizer to tweak the sound to your liking. Gaming Mode steps in with 60ms low latency when you want to ensure the fastest response time while playing a game on your phone or tablet. THX certification is great to have in earbuds like these and adds a little something to games. It’s a nice consolation, considering there’s no spatial audio, which is unfortunate because Razer does have it in its over-ear headphones.

Battery life is fairly limited at just above four hours of playback with ANC on. Leave it off, and it’s marginally better. The case gives you two extra charges. It charges quickly via USB-C or wireless charging for added convenience.

Pros:

  • Fabulous audio quality
  • ANC support
  • Low latency for gaming
  • Extra ear tips
  • Good app support

Cons

  • Mediocre battery life
  • Clunky button controls
  • No spatial audio

Best overall


Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro Render

Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro

Ready to play

Razer sticks to doing things at a higher level for gamers with these excellent earbuds that are ready to play when you are.

Best runner-up: Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021)

Razer Hammerhead Tws 2021 Side

Source: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central

These earbuds are a step down from the Hammerhead True Wireless Pro, but that doesn’t mean they’re not viable. Being the newer pair of the two, the Hammerhead True Wireless (2021) inch closer to their Pro counterparts with a smart design that rectifies fit and comfort challenges from the previous regular Hammerhead buds.

You don’t get foam tips, but you do get three sizes of silicone ear tips to choose from to find the best fit and tightest seal. ANC is a little different with these earbuds because they use “Feedforward” tech that uses the mics to nullify the most common background noises, like in transportation vehicles or urban environments. An ambient sound works the other way to allow some background sound in to keep you aware of your surroundings. The custom EQ in Razer’s Audio app helps tailor sound more to your preferences, though by default, you will find a fairly balanced sound signature that does lean more towards bass.

You do get the same 60ms response time under Gaming mode, staying in sync with every game you play, as well as any show or movie you decide to watch on a phone or tablet. Stylistically, the RGB Chroma support adds some visual flair that is really noticeable in darker rooms, and with Razer’s RGB Chroma app, you can adjust colors or patterns to make it glow the way you want.

The lights do affect battery life, and not in a good way. With ANC and RGB lighting on, you probably won’t get more than five hours per charge. With both off, you’re likely going to hit just above six hours. The case does give you four additional charges, but without wireless charging, you will have to plug in via USB-C to top it back up.

Pros:

  • Good audio quality
  • Comfortable fit
  • RGB Chroma support
  • Companion app features
  • ANC and ambient modes
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • No spatial audio
  • Earbuds are fingerprint magnets
  • Finicky touch controls

Best runner-up


Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Render

Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (2021)

Game on anywhere

Razer gives the Hammerhead True Wireless a makeover, plus RGB Chroma light adds some visual flair to these buds.

Best aesthetics: Hecate GX07 True Wireless Gaming Earbuds

Hecate Gx07 True Wireless Gaming Earbuds Main

Source: Edifier

Opening up these earbuds feels like opening the doors of a miniature sports car where doors open vertically. The Hecate GX07 True Wireless Gaming Earbuds come from Edifier and their obvious focus on standing outputs them right in line with fitting in as a pair of gaming earbuds. They do come in two color variants, so there’s also that. Looks aren’t enough, but at least there are positives to go on once you place them in your ears.

Both the earbuds and their charging case have LEDs light up to make them present better. Three sizes of ear tips should include at least one that suits your ears, and if you do find it, you should succeed in getting a tight enough seal. You’ll need it to help the onboard ANC block out more of the background while enjoying no less than seven different ambient modes.

Sound quality is solid, with a preference for more bass, which you can adjust in Edifier’s Connect app through its built-in EQ. Gaming mode gives the earbuds a 60ms response time, which is as good as others on the list, and good enough to play, even if it is a first-person shooter on a phone or tablet.

You can expect up to five hours per charge with ANC on, or 6.5 hours if you leave it off. However, the case does have three extra charges, and with USB-C fast charging, plugging in for 15 minutes will get you two hours’ worth of listening time.

Pros:

  • Good sound quality
  • LED lights on buds and case
  • Gaming mode works well
  • Decent battery life
  • Nice app support

Cons

  • Case literally hinges, so be careful
  • ANC could be better

Best aesthetics


Hecate Gx07 True Wireless Gaming Earbuds Render

Hecate GX07 True Wireless Gaming Earbuds

Like a butterfly

These Hecate earbuds were inspired by eSports competitions, but they’re made for mobile gamers of all skill levels.

Best on a budget: Kmouk Gaming Earbuds

Kmouk Gaming Earbuds Lifestyle

Source: Kmouk

The Hecate earbuds may be flashy, but these affordable ones from Kmouk are packing some as well. That you can get them in three color variants is unusual and impressive all at once, as is their ability to do what they do for what you pay. And they can get pretty comfortable when you find which one of the three included ear tips suits your ears best.

Not surprisingly, the audio spectrum skews more toward bass, and gaming features augment that further. Tap and hold on one of the buds for three seconds to enter Gaming mode, which reduces latency all the way down to 48ms. While there is no spatial audio to work with, the sound does a decent job of capturing audible pieces as you go along.

You won’t get ANC or ambient mode here, as is standard for most earbuds in this price range. But you get some good durability that should keep them playing for some time if you treat them right. At default volume, they should be able to go for up to six hours per charge. After that, you get another two charges from the case, and if you’re in a bind for some juice, plug in for 10 minutes via USB-C to get up to two hours of playback. Or if you can wait 90 minutes, it will charge them completely.

Pros

  • Great sound quality
  • Comfy and secure fit
  • Very low latency
  • Decent battery life
  • Color variants look nice
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • No ANC or ambient mode
  • No way to tweak sound

Best on a budget


Kmouk Gaming Earbuds Render

Kmouk Gaming Earbuds

Gaming for less

When you want gaming earbuds that don’t break the bank, you look at a pair like the Kmouk Gaming Earbuds.

Best neckband earbuds: Creative Aurvana Trio Wireless

Creative Aurvana Trio Wireless Lifestyle

Source: Creative

Creative has long had a presence in the gaming industry, and while the Aurvana Trio Wireless aren’t what you might consider “gaming earbuds,” they have aptX Low Latency support. With that in tow, they can reduce response time well enough to make gaming more than viable. Plus, solid bass also goes really well when the mids and highs are this good.

Under Qualcomm’s standard, the aptX support extends to other codecs, which is great if you want an audio boost through Bluetooth. The bummer is that Creative’s Super X-Fi spatial audio feature won’t work on any games you stream or download. It currently only works with media files you downloaded to your device. For that, you could try Creative’s SXFI Trio, which plugs in via USB-C and applies Super X-Fi to anything you listen to.

The fit is comfortable, courtesy of both silicone and foam tips coming in the box, so you should have few problems getting a good seal. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that battery life reaches up to 20 hours, either, though it’s annoying to have to do it with a Micro-USB port.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Lightweight build
  • Solid codec support
  • Great battery life
  • Comfortable fit
  • Magnets hold earbuds together

Cons:

  • Super X-Fi is unfortunately limited
  • Outdated Micro-USB charging

Best neckband earbuds


Creative Aurvana Trio Wireless Render

Creative Aurvana Trio

Cleared to play

Creative gives the Aurvana Trio Wireless the right tools to stand out, and they can game with the best of them.

Best wired: HyperX Cloud Earbuds

Hyperx Cloud Earbuds Switch Lifestyle

Source: HyperX

HyperX has a wireless version of these earbuds, but the wired ones stand out because latency isn’t an issue when you can directly plug into a gaming device. They were made with the Nintendo Switch in mind, but you can really plug them into any mobile device capable of taking their 3.5mm headphone jack. Unfortunately, phones rarely have one of those these days, but a USB-C adapter can remedy that if you’re game to connect that way.

The fit is slightly different because of how the tips are angled, but you should have some success finding a happy medium that works for you. Audio quality does skew more bass-heavy, though HyperX clearly tuned them to work more for gaming, which explains why music doesn’t always come through the same way. On the other hand, bells and whistles aren’t abundant here, so you really do get the earbuds as they are.

You don’t get ANC or ambient mode, for instance, nor any major feature that would make them sound different. Since battery life doesn’t apply, you also don’t need to worry about them running out of juice because of the wired connection. Instead, you have to consider how long your phone can go if you’re using the USB-C port to plug them in. Unfortunately, the Cloud Earbuds charge via Micro-USB.

Pros

  • Easy to use and listen to
  • Comfortable fit
  • Made for gaming anywhere
  • Solid audio quality meant for games
  • Never worry about bud battery life

Cons

  • No ANC or ambient modes
  • Charges via Micro-USB

Best wired


Hyperx Gaming Earbuds Render

HyperX Cloud Earbuds

When it’s time to plug in

HyperX has a traditional option in the Cloud Earbuds as a wired alternative when you want to plug and play.

Bottom line

It’s easy to find a solid list of the best wireless earbuds, but when you break it down to something ideal for gaming, the search for the best gaming earbuds gets a little more challenging. In this case, it’s Razer’s edge above all others in this unique category where earbuds are often overshadowed by the over-ear headphones that dominate the gaming market.

That’s why the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro are tops on this list. They offer the right mix of sound, style, comfort, and compatibility necessary to be viable when it’s time to play. Mobile gaming, especially on phones and tablets, is set to grow as we get more console-like experiences through services like Xbox Game Pass. Of course, more manufacturers will try to hop on that train as it truly begins rolling, but for now, Razer is the one chugging ahead at the front.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author: New Mugshot

Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar.

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