Audio purists and buyers with very low budgets might prefer wired headphones and earphones, but the convenience of going wire-free is a big draw for a lot of people. While Bluetooth wasn’t great for audio transmission when it started out, it has since improved to the point that most people can’t really make out any difference in sound quality anymore, particularly in the sub-Rs. 5,000 space. That, and dropping prices, are the biggest reasons for the growing popularity of wireless headphones and earphones – the convenience of no wires is hard to argue against.
Wireless headphones are significantly more affordable than they once were, and it’s possible to buy a good pair for not a lot of money today. We’ve put together a list of the best wireless headphones in India within a reasonable budget of Rs. 5,000, which includes both in-ear and on-ear models. We’ve taken a look at our list and updated a few entries as of October 2020.
Why should you buy wireless headphones under Rs. 5,000?
Till a few years ago, a decent pair of wired headphones cost around Rs. 5,000, while wireless would cost a lot more. Today, you can get a good pair for much less, so you might be tempted to spend that extra money to do away with wires. In our opinion, Rs. 5,000 is a decent amount to spend on a good headset, and this can be considered an investment towards ensuring that you have good sound to go with your smartphone, with the convenience of not being physically tethered.
The benefits of wireless listening are immense. The foremost is the freedom from having a physical connection between your source device and headphones, which can come in handy when commuting, during workouts or jogging, or in any generally cluttered environment where wires get in the way. In all of these cases, the lack of wires keeps things safe, convenient, and easy.
The best wireless earphones under Rs. 5,000: Realme Buds Wireless Pro
Realme has taken a while to establish itself in the audio segment, but has finally made its mark with the Buds Wireless Pro. Priced at Rs. 3,999, this is an impressive pair of wireless earphones both on paper and in practice, thanks to good tuning, support for the LDAC Bluetooth codec, and active noise cancellation, which isn’t something we’ve typically expected to see on affordable earphones till now.
The earphones look and feel good, sound quality is very good, high-resolution audio does sound considerably better thanks to support for the LDAC Bluetooth codec, and active noise cancellation is functional and usable for the price. The wide soundstage and refined sound makes this among the best-sounding wireless earphones you can buy for the price.
As would be expected, these aren’t a perfect pair of earphones, with a particularly strange issue – active noise cancellation affects the sound quality negatively, and this means that you’ll want to keep it switched off at times when you don’t particularly need it. The earpieces latch together magnetically, but this also controls the power; this implementation is prone to accidents, and the earphones often switch on unpredictably.
Perhaps the only reason not to buy the Realme Buds Wireless Pro is if you specifically want true wireless earphones at under Rs. 5,000. If you’re okay with the neckband-style fit, there’s very little to complain about here; this is the best pair of wireless earphones you can buy for the price.
The best wireless on-ear headphones under Rs. 5,000: Jays x-Five Wireless
Priced at under Rs. 4,000 in India, the Jays x-Five Wireless might not seem like much at first. There isn’t much to this pair of on-ear headphones, but it does get the basics right. We did have some issues with the design and build quality, but the excellent sound quality more than makes up for that. The sound is detailed, the sonic signature is balanced, and you get excellent value for money.
Another benefit of these headphones is decent battery life; the Jays x-Five Wireless ran for around 20 hours on a full charge for us. Although there’s support for just the SBC Bluetooth codec, the Jays x-Five Wireless compensates with good drivers and tuning, and this is our top pick among wireless on-ear headphones priced below Rs. 5,000.
The best true wireless earphones under Rs. 5,000: Oppo Enco W51
Good active noise cancellation at under Rs. 5,000 is a relatively rare concept, but recent launches have shown that it’s not as uncommon as it once was. The Oppo Enco W51 is a good example of this, with decent noise cancellation, wireless charging, and detailed and energetic sound, all for Rs. 4,999. This makes this the best value-for-money true wireless headset we’ve used in a while.
Average battery life and unreliable controls on the headset do hold the Oppo Enco W51 back a bit, and there are definitely better sounding options for less than Rs. 5,000, such as the JVC HA-A10T. However, the Oppo is an all-rounder like no other, offering features and an overall experience that is hard to match at the price.
Also consider: OnePlus Buds Z
While the Oppo Enco W51 is an excellent headset for Rs. 5,000, there is another option worth considering if you have a lower budget. At Rs. 2,999, the OnePlus Buds Z is quite easily the best pair of true wireless earphones you can buy for the price, with a proper in-ear fit with decent passive noise isolation, and impressive sound. USB Type-C fast charging and support for the AAC Bluetooth codec top things off to make this an excellent value proposition.
As with other headsets from the brand, the Buds Z needs to be used with a OnePlus smartphone to unlock its entire feature set, particularly its support for Dolby Atmos and the ability to tweak some settings and controls directly through the Bluetooth settings menu. Even if you don’t have a OnePlus smartphone, there’s still plenty on offer here, making this our top pick at under Rs. 3,000.
How we picked these headphones
Our selections in this guide are based on our reviews and experiences with products, and we’ve picked options that we’ve used or reviewed extensively. We’ve selected both in-ear and on-ear options, and while it might be possible to find wireless over-ear headphones at this price, we don’t think any of them are good enough to make the cut.
Most wireless headphones, including our recommendations above, are equipped with microphones and on-board controls for hands-free use with a smartphone. This is a basic requirement, and we recommend that whatever you pick, it does have these features. Furthermore, since the quality of wireless headphones depends as much on the DAC and electronics as on the drivers and tuning, it’s important that you buy a product from a good brand that knows what it’s doing.
Other headphones under Rs. 5,000 you could consider
HiFuture TidyBuds Pro: Among all of the budget true wireless headsets we’ve reviewed, the HiFuture TidyBuds Pro is unique for one big reason – class-leading battery life. We estimate over 80 hours of battery life per charge cycle on these Rs. 4,499 earphones, and you can also use the charging case as a power bank. Sound quality and design isn’t very good on these earphones, though.
Mi Neckband Bluetooth Earphones: At Rs. 1,599, the Mi Neckband Bluetooth Earphones is a simple but effective pair of wireless earphones that offers tremendous bang for your buck. The lack of water resistance might be an issue for some, though.
OnePlus Buds: The first true wireless earphones from this brand, the OnePlus Buds offer decent sound and feature fast charging. However, you’ll need a OnePlus smartphone to get the most out of this Rs. 4,990 pair of true wireless earphones (at least till the app is released).
JBL Endurance Jump: With an IPX7 water and dust resistance rating, the JBL Endurance Jump is one of the most rugged and fitness-friendly wireless headsets available under Rs. 5,000. It’s priced at Rs. 4,199, making it a good option for anyone looking for budget earphones to use while working out.
Sony WI-C400: At Rs. 3,299, the WI-C400 promises Sony’s reliable tuning, up to 20 hours of battery life, and more. It’s a pretty safe pick, as they come.
Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones 2: The Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 is a true all-rounder at Rs. 4,499, combining the benefits of true wireless connectivity with good sound quality and performance on voice calls. It also has some premium features, including USB Type-C charging and environmental noise cancellation.
JVC HA-A10T: Our previous top pick among true wireless earphones under Rs. 5,000, the JVC HA-A10T feels a bit dated and low on features as compared to the Oppo Enco W51. However, it’s still among the best sounding true wireless headsets you can buy for the price.
Which are the best budget Bluetooth earphones and headphones in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.