If you’re preparing to spend somewhere in the region of $200 on a new pair of earbuds, chances are you have a specific set of priorities, a clear sense of the kinds of features that are must includes and those you can live without, and, of course, a particular use case in mind.
That being the case, you will be pleased to find that the ~$200 range provides a good deal of variety when it comes to both specialist and general use options. If you make sure to do the requisite research before pulling the trigger, you stand to walk away with a pair of in-ear headphones that will stay faithfully by your side for a good while. [/text]
3 Best In-Ear Headphones Under $200
The Bowers & Wilkins C5 S2 In-Ear Headphones are a strong choice. Despite a design which lies somewhere between ‘dull’ and ‘elegant’, the listening experience is immensely pleasurable and hard to find much fault with whatsoever even when dealing with tracks of a vastly different tonal nature. A solid choice for the sound-first, looks-later audiophile.
If your primary concern is for a wireless listening experience, you can do far worse than the JayBird X3s. Decent battery life, good connectivity, and a solid featureset make a good argument against the only okay audio quality. If you’re prepared to tinker, you may be able to customize the sound profile to your liking via the MySound app.
It’s hard to know who the SE315s are aimed at. A sparse offering in terms of features, one would assume that these were designed for the audiophile market who have no need of remotes and microphones as long as the sound is out of this world. But it isn’t. It’s solid, but nothing more than that.
One word: options. If you noticed that the jump into the circa $100 range had vastly opened up the world of choices, then you’re about to watch it open up even more. At this price range, brands are conscious of the fact that you have moved beyond the realm of a casual consumer of audio equipment. Someone willing to spend $200+ on a pair of earphones knows what they want, knows what they’re looking for, and will generally put in the time to make sure that whatever they purchase perfectly fits the bill.
The big wide world of wireless earbuds becomes your playground at this price point, and there is no shortage of solid offerings across a broad spectrum of the industry. Of course, wireless is rarely the way to go if optimal performance is your main concern, but it’s always nice to have the option nonetheless.
The good news is that there isn’t much to dislike here. You’ll be getting, for the most part, all the features you could hope for, plenty of choice and customization potential in terms of things like specialist functions (i.e. for sports earbuds) and visual design, and you should also be able to find a sound signature that works for you.
That said, there may be an element of minor frustration which plagues the ardent audiophile. For the most part, a $200 pair of in-ear headphones has the potential to sound pretty great, but truly excellent audio carries with it a slightly more expensive price tag and companies want to ensure that their products cater to a broader spectrum of the population than just the audiophiles.
What to Look For
It’s time to start looking for what you want to find. At $200 and above, you should no longer be concerning yourself with major tradeoffs. If you want a fashionable, statement pair of earphones that can also deliver a solid audio experience, you can find it. If you want wireless earphones with a myriad of options to customize the fit, it’s yours.
Unlike purchasing at a lower price point, there’s no sense in which you should have to settle for less than exactly what you’re looking for in terms of feature combinations, product specialities, and look.
While earbuds in the ~$200 price range probably will not net you the best listening experience money can buy, the key here is in their ability to suit your specific requirements across more than one area of performance.
So even though you will struggle to find a pair of earphones which have stripped back their feature list to the bare minimum and opted for a generic design so that they can solely prioritize audio quality to compete with significantly more expensive models, you will definitely come across several models for which their primary focus is on delivering above average audio quality.