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Wireless earbuds have gotten really good — if they fit in your ears

The latest episode of Versus looks at two products that don’t rhyme with bear pods

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Sometime in the past two years, wire-free earbuds graduated from clumsy to impressively good, and from not quite worth it to the only pair I wear. Apple deserves a lot of credit for this: it managed to get people to wear what look like short cigarette sticks in their ears in exchange for a completely seamless connection between device and earbuds. But there are others that have moved the ball forward, too, like Bragi, Jabra, Samsung, and Bose.

Those last two companies have produced what we consider to be particularly good wire-free earbuds: the Samsung Gear IconX (second generation) and the Bose SoundSport Free. So, in the latest episode of Versus, we did a head-to-head (ear-to-ear?) comparison of these two pairs, which range in price from $160 to $200.

There’s a lot to consider these days when you’re in the market for new headphones, and for the most part, the standard benchmarks are the same. You’re still weighing sound quality, price, advanced audio controls, style, and fit. But with wire-free earbuds in particular, that last consideration is the most important. Comfort becomes as essential as if you’re shoe shopping; if the earbuds hurt or feel like they might fall out at any moment, then any sort of brand cache or quality assurance is immediately negated by a bad fit.

Headphones are also a very subjective thing, which is why we dispatched two of us to try out these headphones. Okay, that last part might not be true.