Last year, MobileSyrup introduced its first-ever Touque Test, a rigorous program that seeks to find the most “touque-able” earbuds available.
Each year, Big Tech companies roll out new wireless earbuds with fancy features and they are consistently a hot commodity. But in the cold Canadian winter, the fanciest features in the world mean nothing if you can’t comfortably wear a touque with your earbuds.
Hence, the Touque Test, an annual Canadian reckoning for Big Tech.
Below you’ll find a list of wireless earbuds tested by the MobileSyrup team throughout 2021 along with a brief description of the earbuds’ “touque-ability” and a score out of five possible points (five being most comfortable in a touque and one being… not).
Also, before we get into the Touque Test, the MobileSyrup team has had a fierce debate over the correct spelling of the hat — is it touque, toque or toque? CBC News attempted to answer this question back in 2013 but failed to reach a consensus.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.
AirPods (3rd Gen)
Apple’s latest and greatest AirPods are pretty minimal when they’re in your ears so they fit well under most winter headgear, ranging from hats to helmets. However, they don’t lock into your ears very securely, which means they’re somewhat easy to knock out. Further, if you’re wearing a mask and a touque, it can often be a challenge removing or putting on a mask with the AirPods in. That said, the stems do allow for easy control of the buds without having to lift up your hat too much.
Master & Dynamic MW08
The Master & Dynamics MW08s are decent earbuds that sound really great, but since they stick so far out of your ears when you’re using them, they’re not very comfortable with a touque on. However, unlike the AirPods or other stemmed earbuds, the MW08s do entirely tuck under most touques, which is always a plus.
Pixel Buds A-Series
If you’re looking for a pair of relatively affordable wireless earbuds, Google’s Pixel buds A-Series are a great option (especially if you’re an Android device user). Thanks to their silicone wing tip, they stay firmly in your ears with a touque on, though if your winter hat is too tight, this feature can also make them fall out more easily. It’s also worth noting the A-Series doesn’t sound quite as good as Google’s now-discontinued Pixel Buds (2020).
Beats Studio Buds
Apple’s second entry on the list is much smaller than the AirPods, but they don’t fare as well. Since they stick out further from your ear, they can easily shift around when your touque moves. Since they also use silicon tips, it’s easy to break that in-ear seal and cause some discomfort.
Razer Hammerhead True Wireless
Razer’s new Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds are actually pretty good if you like the style of earbuds that sits in your ear with a silicon tip — or if you’re a gamer that loves RGB. More importantly for Canadians is “touque-ability,” and as long as your touque isn’t too tight, these are actually not bad. The glossy black finish may be a fingerprint magnet, but it’s also slippery, which means that touques slide over these earbuds with ease. Tight touques, unfortunately, push the earbuds into your ears, which can be really uncomfortable depending on how sensitive your ears are and how tight your touque is.
Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 are some of the tiniest earbuds out there, so it’s no surprise the buds fit quite snugly under a touque. If you’re an Android user who works outside a lot, these are a good option. I will mention that since they’re so small, they’re hard to grab with big gloves on, but you can still manage. Since the buds are so rounded they also don’t get pushed or pulled by the moving hat which is nice to see.
OnePlus Buds Pro
The OnePlus Buds Pro function well under a touque thanks to their relatively smooth design. They also have stems so it makes controlling the buds a little easier under your winter hat. Still, like the AirPods, this means they’re a bit more prone to getting caught up in a mask string.
Sennheiser CX 400BT
The Sennheiser CX 400BT push the boundaries for how far out from your head they stick out and you can really feel it with a touque on. Tighter hats might even push these into your ears in an uncomfortable way. Overall, these are not great for touque wearing and they even push the touque up enough around my ears that it allows for more cold air to hit them — not cool.
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