The year so far in wireless earbuds: the 8 biggest launches in 2024 and what’s coming next

 Wireless earbuds from Final, Iyo and Nothing.
Credit: Final / Iyo / Nothing

The best wireless earbuds of 2024 so far have been impressed us a lot by packing top audio tech into teeny-tiny designs. We've seen a rise in open-ear designs that allow you to stay aware of your surroundings, advances in noise-cancelling technologies, and audio excellence that proves wireless earbuds are here to stay.

In this guide, we've rounded up all of the biggest launches from 2024 so far, including what we thought of the wireless earbuds during our testing, which bigger trends they reflect, and how these designs might be improved in the future.

We'll then take a look ahead at which brands we know are bringing out new wireless earbuds in the second half of the year, as well as some predictions about what we might see soon and where the super popular wireless earbuds form factor is heading next.

Whether you're a hardcore audio tech fan, or simply thinking about buying a pair of wireless earbuds, this guide will give you a temperature check of the highlights so far – and what's coming around the corner...

Wireless earbuds in 2024: what have been the biggest launches so far this year?

The Final ZE8000 MK2 wireless earbuds floating on a black background
The Final ZE8000 MK2 wireless earbuds floating on a black background

We've tested so many wireless earbuds over the past six months that it's challenging to know where to begin. But where better place to kick off our summary than with some incredible earbuds that sound excellent – because that's what's most important here, right?

The highlights so far...

Bose Ultra Open Earbuds
Bose Ultra Open Earbuds

Final ZE8000 MK2
Cambridge Audio Melomania M100
LG Tone Free T90S
Jabra Elite 10
Nothing Ear (a)
Nothing Ear
Shokz OpenFit
Bose Ultra Open Earbuds

When we first got our hands on the Final ZE8000 MK2 (above) we were unconvinced by the claims that these buds deliver '8K sound', but we were wrong. In our Final ZE8000 MK2 review our reviewer wrote: "I truly think this is among the most nuanced, detailed and just best audio you can buy in a set of true wireless earbuds." In terms of sonic excellence, also take a look at the gloriously expansive and agile Cambridge Audio Melomania M100 with some best-in-class ANC to boot.

We've also seen several brands launch buds that boast Dolby Atmos sound as their big selling point. If achieving an incredibly powerful and immersive audio experience is a priority for you, then you're going to want to take a look at the LG Tone Free T90S and the Jabra Elite 10. The latter in particular are a highly-accomplished pair of wireless earbuds, with our Jabra Elite 10 review praising their solid feature set, comfortable fit and excellent Dolby Atmos performance.

But we know not everyone needs immersive or audiophile-grade sound, or has the budget for it. Luckily, we've also tested some great mid-range wireless earbuds that still tick all of the boxes.

The Nothing Ear and Nothing Ear (a) against a purple backdrop.
The Nothing Ear and Nothing Ear (a) against a purple backdrop.

Our recent Nothing Ear (a) review showed us why we love this cool brand so much. At only $99 / £99 / AU$169, the Nothing Ear (a) are incredibly well-specced, with a sound we described during our testing as "fun, zealous and expansive", a great-looking transparent design that Nothing is becoming known for and top ANC. Nothing also launched the third-gen of its Nothing Ear wireless earbuds, too. Expect some seriously Earth-shaking bass, excellent sound personalization and a comfy fit. Did we mention how much we love the Nothing brand?

One of the biggest developments in wireless earbuds in 2024 so far has been the number of audio tech companies bringing out open-ear designs. These are designs that don't cover your ear, like the best over-ear headphones, or fit inside your ear, like many of the best true wireless earbuds. Instead, these wireless designs use what's called air conduction technology and place a tiny speaker above your ear canal instead.

The design of these buds is difficult to get right – there's nothing to 'anchor' them in place – but we've been testing many of these open-ear designs in our best open ear headphones guide and highly recommend taking a look at our Shokz OpenFit review and Bose Ultra Open Earbuds review for our current top picks.

Wireless earbuds in 2024: what launches are we expecting during the rest of the year?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

It can be tricky to know which launches to expect in the future because we only tend to hear the biggest news and rumors about the biggest tech brands. That's why one of the most major launches we're expecting in the second half of 2024 comes from Samsung.

What's coming next...

Alleged leaked image of Galaxy Buds 3
Alleged leaked image of Galaxy Buds 3

Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 3
Beyerdynamic’s first open-ear headphones
Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2
Iyo One

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 Pro are going to be the next version of Samsung's flagship wireless earbuds and an upgrade on the already stellar Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Although Samsung hasn't said anything official about these buds, we're expecting them to be announced at its next Galaxy Unpacked 2024 event on July 10, and for them to pack some great, high-res sound quality with improvements on AI, ANC and noise-cancelling.

Rumors also suggest they might have a transparent Nothing-like case and long Apple AirPod-like stems. As well as the Pro version, we're also expecting a new version of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 3. Expected to be announced at the same time, they're successors to the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2.

Beyerdynamic Verio 200 headphones on an orange background
Beyerdynamic Verio 200 headphones on an orange background

As air conduction tech was hugely popular during the first half of 2024, we can expect that trend to continue into the second half. We predict that several brands will launch open-ear designs, but what we know for sure is that Beyerdynamic’s first open-ear headphones (above) are on the way, and will promise hi-res audio quality without cutting you off from the world.

Another trend our spidey senses are noticing is upgrades to the charging cases of our wireless earbuds. Sure some have built-in features, like cleaning tech and even a screen. But this could become more of a thing in the second half of this year.

For example, the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 and the Jabra Elite 10 Gen 2 earbuds will boast a smart case with Bluetooth LE audio. This means that a Bluetooth LE audio chip in the case will enable you to connect audio sources to the case via its 3.5mm jack. The case itself will then be capable of streaming audio to the earbuds in your ears.

Iyo One AI earbuds
Iyo One AI earbuds

Finally, expect more and more buds to integrate AI in interesting and innovative (and maybe in some cases totally unnecessary) ways. The Iyo One (above), a pair of wireless earbuds heading our way later this year, claim to be "the first audio computer", which includes real-time language translation, coaching you through workouts, life organization and audio features, like spatial audio, head tracking and AI-enhanced voice boosting. But hold up.

While the Iyo One is certainly interesting, plenty of other brands are doing things with AI. For example, Apple will be bringing Apple Intelligence to products, including its AirPods, later this year. And some other companies are already combining earbuds with AI, like the way Nothing is doing interesting things with its Nothing Ear integration with ChatGPT.

As with every other product category, the challenge will be determining whether AI is actually enhancing our experience with our wireless earbuds or just over-complicating things for the sake of sticking "AI" on the box. Expect to see a bit of both as we move into the second half of 2024.

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