I've tried many a cheap earbud that sounded good when listening to music but came up short on calls -- Zoom, voice and otherwise. If that's a priority for you, consider this: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Amazon seller MpowTech has thewhen you clip the on-page $6-off coupon and then apply promo code MPOWM995 at checkout. That ties the lowest price I've seen. (Note: As always, if you see a different seller listed, this code and/or coupon won't be available.)
Mpow? For once this is a brand I know. It's been around for years and makes some of the better low-end audio products I've tried. (CNET's David Carnoy is a big fan of the company's X3, which made his list of.)
The M9 doesn't offer traditional active noise-canceling features, though you do get passive noise reduction via the silicone ear tips (which, like most, must be seated snugly inside your ear canals). Rather, it employs four-microphone "environment noise canceling," which is specifically designed to improve the audio quality on calls. It does so by reducing background noise and improving voice detection.
How well does this actually work? I did a couple informal tests, walking outside on a particularly windy day. The folks I talked to said it sounded like I was inside; they couldn't detect any wind noise. Your mileage may vary (see the comments section to learn what some readers thought of call quality), but I'll just note that the M9 scored an average user rating of 4.4 stars -- from over 17,000 (!) buyers.
Other notable features: a USB-C charging case, an IPX8 waterproof rating, touch controls and support for single-earbud mode. Better still, Mpow backs the M9 with a two-year warranty, which is pretty uncommon. Just one requirement: You have to register the product on its site within 15 days of purchase.
All told, this is what I classify as a stupid-good deal. $21. Bonkers.
First published last year. Updated to reflect new sale price. Removed expired bonus deal.
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