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Don't wait for Prime Day – this 50% off wireless earbuds deal won't be bettered

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+
(Image credit: Cambridge Audio)

With Amazon Prime Day taking place next week, we would typically be hesitant to recommend buying a pair of wireless earbuds – or anything really – until then. After all, it's arguably the biggest annual global sales event after Black Friday. And yet, we strongly believe anyone in the market for budget true wireless earbuds has every reason to take the plunge now as they're unlikely to find a better deal than this one.

Right now, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ wireless earbuds are more than 50 per cent off at Amazon – £49.95 (opens in new tab) in the UK; $59.95 (opens in new tab) in the US.

These aren't just five-star earbuds but one of our favourite budget pairs – all-round superstars in the sound, design and features departments. They launched only last summer for £120 and $140, so the combination of their talents and this huge, unprecedented saving is why we wouldn't wait for Prime Day.

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UK deal: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ £120 £49.95 (opens in new tab)
These five-star true wireless headphones only launched a year ago but are now available with an unbelievable discount at Amazon. They sound clear and exciting and boast excellent battery life. An absolute steal.

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US deal: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ $140 $59.95 (opens in new tab)
These five-star true wireless headphones only launched a year ago but are now available with an unbelievable discount at Amazon. They sound clear and exciting and boast excellent battery life. An absolute steal.

So, how good is this deal?

Honestly, this deal is about as good as it gets for budget wireless earbuds.

We believe the Cambridges are perhaps the second-best examples of their kind after the current What Hi-Fi? Award winners, the Panasonic RZ-S00W (which currently cost £92 / $127). And they are leaps and bounds ahead of anything we've heard at their current deals price.

It should also be noted that this is the lowest price these Cambridge earbuds have dropped to in their lifetime. They've floated around the £80 / $100 mark before, but this is discount is unprecedented.

What makes these headphones so good?

The Melomania 1+ had big shoes to fill when they arrived last summer, as their predecessors, the Melomania 1, were What Hi-Fi? Award winners in 2020. But with improved sound quality, additional app support, customisable EQ settings and an all-new sound-enhancing mode, they dutifully managed to fill them, and then some.

Physically, the Melomani 1+ are some of the most discreet around, courtesy of their bullet, rather than bulbous or stem-toting, form. They're also among the most durable of any pair at any price, thanks to a 45-hour battery life (nine hours from a single charge plus four full charges in the supplied case) – a standout feature complemented by fast charging via USB-C.

The companion app offers plenty of settings and tweakery for users to experiment with, including a 'High Performance Audio Mode', which beefs up sound quality at the expense of battery life and can be simply activated or deactivated.

And then there's performance, which is where these earbuds really excel. At this price, we very much doubt you'll find a more sophisticated performer – one that surfaces as much detail, delivers music with tonal balance and clarity, or is as musically talented. We certainly haven't.

The downside? No noise-cancelling

Not long ago, true wireless earbuds were almost split into two groups – those without noise-cancelling below and around the £100 / $100 mark, and those with noise-cancelling around and above £150 / $150. As the competition has increased in the past twelve months, however, those lines have faded somewhat and so it isn't uncommon to find noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds for much less nowadays.

You might therefore reasonably expect it at the Cambridge earbuds' original RRP (£120 / $140), but it's less likely to be present on the spec sheet of a pair costing the same as its current £49.95 (opens in new tab) / $59.95 (opens in new tab) deal price.

This feature omission could be a deal-breaker for you, and if it is we understand – these aren't the earbuds for you, no matter their price. But for anyone wondering what the value of having ANC in wireless earbuds is, we would say that, generally, its implementation isn't entirely effective in most cases anyway. There are premium (and premium-priced) pairs such as the Sony XM4 and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds that justify having ANC, but below that level, even the best examples tend to mildly reduce, rather than block, external noise. Indeed, it's a harder task to perform in in-ear headphones than it is over-ear.

Also consider...

If ANC is a must or you don't think you'll get along with the bullet-shaped design of the Cambridges, our next-best recommendation would be our current favourite Panasonic RZ-S500W. They are pricier, at £92 / $127, but the next best-value buds before you get to 'premium' territory.

If you can't stretch the budget, the only genuine contenders are the Sony WF-C500, which are currently discounted to around the same price as the Cambridges. While they don't have the same sonic chops or battery life, they do offer a traditional and lightweight design, an IPX4 rating for moisture- and splash-resistance, and reliable Sony-esque usability.

Becky Roberts
Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her eight years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.