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December 1, 2016. I want my music and I want it wireless. No strings attached.

I want it to be easy wherever I am. Especially when I’m on my treadmill. Because it helps make my exercise fly by in no time. Whether I’m walking or running, I’m having more fun when I’m doing it with the Rolling Stones.

Here are this year’s big but tiny winners. Better Cheaper breakthroughs in quality and value while we wait for Apple’s $159 AirPods to arrive.

Plantronics’ Backbeat Fit
waterproof Bluetooth earbuds deliver terrific sound in a very comfortable, convenient package. The two earbuds are connected by a lightweight, flexible band that sits around the back of your neck. A small “loop” at each end slips over your ear in a way that completely stabilizes the band and buds without making itself felt. So the earpieces stay in place – and feel like they will forever. Securely and comfortably.

Tiny control buttons on the ears let you take and make phone calls as well as adjust volume and switch tracks. Acoustical design doesn’t “seal” these in your ears – so you can still hear the world around you when you use them, safely, outdoors.

Really good sound, really good fit. Plantronics’ Backbeat Fit is $84.

iFrogz’ Impulse
Kind of amazing for the price: $40 for well-designed Bluetooth earbuds. “Sweat resistant”. An unusual audio design: instead of projecting sound directly into your ear canal, these send sound into a small chamber to add depth and richness. The result: pretty good “reflected” sound, but you can’t really crank it up to rock’n’roll concert levels. Which may be just fine for you.

The controls for music and phone are on a featherweight wireless hub that can clip to your shirt, or just hang from your ears.

Either Way, you get you want: music to your ears without a wire dangling between you and your phone or music player. From a package that never distracts you or gets in your way. If you’ve never used wireless but want an inexpensive Way to try, this is it. iFrogz’ Impulse Wireless Earbuds: $40.

Last year I told you about my Outdoor Tech wireless earbuds – when they were priced at $45. Now they’re $80. If you want Better and Cheaper, you can’t always be Slower.

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