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Advisory: in-ear headphones without rubber attachments | TechStage


In-ear headphones increasingly come with a rubber attachment that protrudes deep into the ear. But many find the silicone uncomfortable. This buying advice shows rubber-free alternatives.

The rubber attachments on In-Ears help to passively reduce outside noise. They also give the headphones a better and clearer sound. Mostly, the pack comes in several sizes so that the plugs hold well in different ears. This makes them more suitable for sporting activities than the in-ears without silicone, known as Open-Fit or Classic Earbuds.

However, many find it uncomfortable to wear the rubber stopper. They often feel to them as if they are creating some kind of negative pressure. The feeling is enhanced when the headphones still support ANC (Active Noice Canceling). Other wearers complain of irritation and inflammation in the ear. After all, the silicone attachments protrude much further into the ear than headphones made of hard plastic.

One disadvantage of the in-ears without rubber: they come in one size. Either they are in your ear or they just don't fit. There are no different attachments for ears of different sizes. If they do not sit perfectly, they not only fall out of the ear faster, they also deliver significantly poorer sound, especially less bass.

If you don't have high demands on the sound quality of the headphones, you can get very cheap, wired versions for just a few euros plus shipping. You shouldn't expect too much in terms of sound, of course. But the cheap ones are enough to listen to podcasts, for example. The Hama headset For 2.50 euros you can use the phone, since it has a microphone on the control unit and a play / stop button, which can also be used to accept or end calls. The Esperanza headphones are bright red and cost just under 4 euros.



The headphones from Huawei offer a decent sound – if they fit well.

We have the exemplary Huawei Headphones watched. They cost 4 euros including shipping. They are similar to the classical ones both visually and in terms of their sound Apple earpods, which either cost around 10 euros plus shipping with either a Lightning or 3.5 mm jack connection. In terms of sound, they are better than initially feared. The heights are clearly differentiated and the mids are also available. It will be difficult with the bass. Because the headphones sit firmly in the ear, they deliver a harmonious overall sound. However, as soon as the earbuds only slip half a millimeter or if something is wrong, the bass is lost and the sound is reminiscent of that of the old Gameboy headphones. All rubber-free in-ear headphones have the bass problem.



Esperanza Titanium red (TH108R)

Esperanza headphones red

Hama Stereo Earphones "smart4phone =" "wei ="

Hama headset

Huawei AM115 white

Huawei headphones

Apple EarPods with Lightning Connector white (MMTN2ZM)

AppleEarpods with Lightning

Apple EarPods with remote control and microphone (MD827x / A)

Apple earpods with 3.5 mm jack




Apple Airpods – the design classic.

The Apple Airpods (review) is perhaps the company's most commercially successful product since the iPhone was launched. If their design, reminiscent of cut-off cable headphones, was ridiculed at the start of 2016, they are already considered design classics and are brazenly copied by countless manufacturers. But their sound is also okay with suitable ears.

Since the beginning of 2019 there has been the slightly improved successor, the Apple Airpods 2nd generation (test report). They have already dropped significantly in price since their release and are currently changing owners for a good 130 euros. If you want the True Wireless headphones with a storage box that supports wireless charging, they cost a good 160 euros.



2nd generation Apple AirPods (MV7N2ZM / A)

2nd generation Apple Airpods

2nd generation Apple AirPods with wireless charging case (MRXJ2ZM / A)

2nd generation Apple Airpods with wireless charging case


If there were a price for the product that is copied particularly often, the Apple Airpods would almost certainly win it. The range of clones ranges from 5 to 100 euros. Their qualitative differences among themselves are similarly large.

In the bottom drawer belong to the True Wireless headphones TWS i7S (test report). Your price is on the credit side. They cost around 10 euros at import dealers. The comparatively long battery life also speaks for them. Their lousy sound is the main reason why you shouldn't buy them anyway. Basically, they only reproduce high notes clearly, mids and basses are missing – no matter how tight their ears are. Speaking of which: in our test, they hold up reliably in the ear, but trigger pain at the latest after 30 minutes.



Image: The TWS i12 can hardly be distinguished optically from the original.

We have them fresh in the editorial office TWS i12we hope for more from. A detailed test follows and will be linked here. They resemble the Apple Airpods in so many optical characteristics that even experts can hardly distinguish them at first glance. TWS even thought of the proximity sensor – however, this is only printed on the clones. The touch control known from the Apple Airpods, however, really exists. At the first trial listening, the TWS i12 leave a solid first impression. The detailed test will show whether this is confirmed.

The ones presented at the end of 2019 Huawei Freebuds 3 are similar to the Airpods, but you can still see that Huawei has made an effort to put its own stamp on the design. For a good 140 euros, the True Wireless headphones offer active noise cancellation, a potent processor with a strong antenna for a low-latency and stable Bluetooth 5.1 connection, and a fairly large 14 mm speaker. We also have the Huawei Freebuds 3. A first listening sample surprised us positively. The detailed test will follow shortly and will be linked here.

They are a fully fledged Airpods clone Realme Buds Air, Realme is an up-and-coming Chinese smartphone manufacturer that has set itself the goal of annoying Xiaomi. The Realme Buds Air have a 12 mm speaker, offer Bluetooth 5 and touch control. Speaking of Xiaomi. Of course, this company also offers in-ears without silicone. The Xiaomi Mi Airdots Pro 2 with 14.2 mm driver and Bluetooth 5 look like overweight Apple Airpods. Because its battery stick sticking out of the ear is significantly thicker.

The Ubanista Stockholm True wireless headphones rely on Bluetooth 5 and a long battery life. They look optically independent and come in the colors black, white, rose and green.



(No product picture available)

TWS i12

Huawei FreeBuds 3 white

Huawei Freebuds 3 white

(No product picture available)

Xiaomi Mi Airdots Pro 2

(No product picture available)

Realme Buds Air

Urbanista Stockholm Rose Gold

Urbanista Stockholm


The in-ear earphones Minor II by Marshall offer a neck strap and rubber wings to keep them in the ear better. However, the part of the headphones that protrudes into the ear is made of hard plastic. Visually, they come in the typical Marshall design. It has a really big ear hook Bang & Olufsen ear set, This makes them ideal for sporting activities. The Bluetooth headphones come with a neck strap.

An alternative to in-ears without silicone are headphones like the Aftershokz Air (test report), which leave the ear canal completely free and instead pass on the sound through bones. However, they did not completely convince us in the test. We especially have problems with the sound. Because sometimes an unpleasant reverb mixes with it. Strong bass also feels a little uncomfortable.

The Bose Frames (test report) also leave the ear canal completely free. The sunglasses integrate the speakers into the temples. A very remarkable sound unfolds. We only would have liked the battery life to be longer, and the price of over 200 euros is too high.



Marshall Minor II black

Marshall Minor II black

Bang & Olufsen Earset Black (1646005)

Bang & Olufsen Earset Black

AfterShokz Trekz Air gray

AfterShokz Trekz Air gray

Bose Frames Alto (830044-0100)

Bose Frames Alto

Bose Frames Rondo (830045-0100)

Bose frames rondo


Well, because you can't take the rubber earplugs from In-Ears, you don't have to wear on-ear or over-ear headphones to listen to music on the go. There are plenty of alternatives. The gold standard is the Apple Airpods, which are now affordable, but numerous copies of all price and quality classes are also circulating. Alternatively, you can also rely on bone transmission or buy sunglasses with built-in speakers.

If you don't mind the rubber caps, we recommend our comparison test: True wireless headphones under 100 euros and eight true wireless headphones up to 300 euros in the comparison test.

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