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CNET: Best workout headphones in 2021: Apple, Bose, Pixel Buds and more compared

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Published in Science & Technology News

Apple AirPods Pro

CNET TAKE: Water-resistant: Yes (IPX4 rating: splash-proof)

While they're not advertised as sports earbuds, the AirPods Pro are very good true-wireless headphones for running. That's largely due to their winning lightweight design and fit, improved bass performance, effective noise cancellation and excellent call quality. While I can't run with the standard AirPods because they don't fit my ears securely, I had no trouble running with the AirPods Pro, which have a noise-isolating design with a silicone tip that sits snugly in your ear. That said, I got an even more secure fit by using a pair of Comply foam ear tips ($25).

For runners, it's worth noting that there's a transparency mode that allows sound to leak in. You'll still have to lower the volume of your music to hear the sound of traffic noise. The AirPods Pro are also officially rated sweat-resistant.

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Good for Android users

 

Google Pixel Buds A-Series

CNET TAKE: Water-resistant: Yes (IPX4 rating: splash-proof)

Google's Pixel Buds A-Series are kind of unusual, in that they're new but not exactly an upgrade. They look and sound very similar to last year's Pixel Buds 2, which debuted at $179 but are now selling for less. However, instead of getting new features — like active noise-canceling — they've actually lost a few. Why? The "A" stands for affordability: They only cost $100. That new lower price is the real story here, making these a bona fide true-wireless value, particularly for Android users. And the integrated stabilizer arcs (aka sport fins) help keep the buds securely in your ears during sporting activities.

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The following CNET staff contributed to this story: Executive Editor David Carnoy and Copy Editor Jim Hoffman. For more reviews of personal technology products, please visit www.cnet.com.

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