We have always been at war with wires.
The forward march of modern technology has led to the scrambling of alliances and refocusing on different enemies. First were the propriety ports and then low battery capacity followed. With both defeated, it didn’t take too long for another one to rise.
Wires. Specifically, headphone wires, twisting, curling, and tangled to kingdom come. Bluetooth has been around for almost two decades now and just begging to be used against the hated headphone wires.
We’ve compiled a list of quality Bluetooth headphones for you so that you can finally enjoy cool features such as noise cancellation without worrying about tangling wires ruining it.
1. Bose QC35
Touted as having the best-in-class noise cancellation technology, Bose headphones are a staple sight in Business Class flights. It comes as no surprise since audiophiles swear on Bose headphones’ superb sound quality. The new kid on the wireless headphones block, Bose QC35, continues that tradition. And adds more.
Priced at $350 (around BRL 1100), the QuietComfort 35 features the same around-ear design of Bose’s previous wired headphone flagships, the QuietComfort 25 and the SoundLink IIs. It gets better.
Aside from the insanely good noise reduction, the controls are also simple and easy to understand. Furthermore, the headphones are easy to wear even on long hauls and the firmware is upgradeable.The battery is slated to last for 20 hours on a single charge. A companion app for iOS and Android, Connect, will let you change the auto power off settings and show the remaining battery life of the headphones.
2. Sennheiser PXC-550
If Coca Cola has Pepsi, and Xbox has the PlayStation, then for headphones, Bose has Sennheiser. The feud between the two brands started in 2007 when the supposedly unbeatable Sennheiser PXC 450s lost its What Hi Fi? Awards to the Bose QuietComfort 15s. Since then, the two companies sought to upstage each other’s new releases. For the Bose QC35, Sennheiser has the PXC-550.
A bit pricier than Bose’s, the PXC-550 is pegged at $400 (around BRL 1250). Built to last with thick leather pads to cuddle your ears, Sennheiser’s latest offering is surprisingly light. The matte black finish is timeless and the headphones look sharp and premium.
Claiming 30 hours of noise-cancellation in a single charge, the PXC-550 also inherited the intuitive controls of the Sennheiser brand. You can tap the right cup once to pause/play and answer/end calls, and swipe up or down to increase or decrease the volume. A companion app, CapTune, will let you tinker with the equalizer settings of the headphones.
3. Sony MDR-1000X
Claiming to offer “industry leading levels of noise-cancelling,” the Sony MDR-1000X is a sight to behold. Sony made the accents minimal and limited the branding to small logos etched on both sides of the cups. For the foam, Sony has opted to use polyurethane foam to assist in noise isolation.
For the noise-cancellation part, these headphones use Sony’s DSEE HX audio processing which transforms compressed music to near hi-res quality. Sony made the processing tech subtle enough to eliminate all brightness and hardness when listening to music.
Priced at $399 (around BRL 1245), these headphones also come with Sony’s Quick Attention mode. This feature allows users to still participate in conversations without taking off the MDR-1000X. All you should do is place your hand on the right headphone housing and this will immediately cut out the music allowing you to hear what the other person is saying. Taking your hand away will resume the music playing.
4. Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H9
While other manufacturers might go for a subdued, classic look, Bang & Olufsen decided to aim for a more luxurious feel with its newest flagship headphones, the BeoPlay H9.
The headphones sport an anodized aluminum body with genuine cowhide leather and memory foam. There is also an intuitive touch interface for volume and playback on the right cup.
Ample padding is present on the cups to ensure that you’ll enjoy hours and hours of music without straining your ears. The only thing of concern, though, is the rated 14 hours of continued usage on a single charge. It is a bit less than what the other headphones offer.
Being Bang & Olufsen’s first noise-cancelling headphones, the BeoPlay H9 is pegged at a $499 (around BRL 1560), a bit steeper than the asking price of its competitors. There’s also a companion app for Android and iOS, BeoMusic, that lets you tweak with the headphones’ settings and share music with other Bang & Olufsen products.
5. Beats Studio Wireless Headphones
A list of premium headphones won’t be complete without a single Beats by Dr. Dre cans. Since the launch of their first ever product way back in 2008, they have remained as one of the most recognizable brands when it comes to audio products.
The latest Beats Studio Wireless, priced at $499 (around BRL 1560), is a perfect embodiment of the brand. Beats designed the new headphones like a beautiful sports car: with fast curves, smooth surfaces and with no visible screws. They weigh less than the original and the headband is lighter, stronger and more comfortable. The cups themselves are softer and feature an ergonomic bellow that makes it custom fit for every head shape.
Armed with a Dual-Mode Adaptive Noise Cancelling technology, the headphones ensure that there is a balance between your music and the world outside. Other than that, the Beats Studio Wireless Headphones can last up to 12-hours on a single charge.
6. AKG Y50BT
When AKG first released the Y50 in 2014, it managed to snag What Hi-Fi’s Product of the Year award. That is the highest praise that the audio review site can bestow on any product. The wireless iteration of AKG’s superb headphones, the Y50BT (where BT means Bluetooth), is set on following the footsteps of its award-winning predecessor.
Despite the some plastic parts, the headphones are still very much premium looking. They have a solid feel that emanates a utilitarian vibe. Comfortable to wear even with glasses, the cups don’t get warm too quickly, which is great since the AKG Y50BT is slated to last 20 hours on a single charge.
The sound quality doesn’t disappoint, it’s phenomenal. The usual hiss and whine evident in wireless headphones is close to nonexistent here, the music output is remarkable clear and the texture of the instruments, easily discernible.
7. JBL Everest Elite 700 Platinum
Coming from JBL’s most feature-packed lineup, the Everest Elite, the newest iteration comes loaded for war. There’s adjustable active noise cancellation, wireless Bluetooth connection, and customizable sound signature. Also, the headphones themselves are beautifully designed and convey the culmination of the JBL’s 70 years in business.
Buttons behind the left and right cups control the various functions of the JBL Everest Elite 700 Platinum. You can tweak the active noise cancellation via the buttons and customize the sound using the companion software, My Headphones App. JBL’s noise cancellation comes with different levels of “ambient awareness” depending on your needs.
8. Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2
Poised as a midrange alternative to the pricier headphones, the BackBeat Pro 2 is for those who balk at spending more than $300 on headphones. Premium headphones for less – perfect for audiophiles who care more for performance rather than looks.
Rated to last for up to 24 hours on a single charge, the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 features new ear cups. These allows for better ergonomics and ear coverage to prevent listening fatigue. The control buttons are on the left cup along with a button to activate an open microphone mode that lets you hear your surroundings better.
Compared to its predecessor, the first BackBeat Pro, the new model is 35% smaller and 15% lighter. It also has smart sensors that automatically pause or resume playing your music as you remove or put on the headphones.
9. FIIL Diva Pro
The only headphones capable of 3D sound on this list, the FIIL Diva Pro is a pair of stylish, chic and modern headphones. There are also touch controls on the cover of the headset to easily adjust the volume and switch between songs. Furthermore, you can store 4GB worth of music (around 1000 songs) within your FIIL Diva Pro headphones. If perchance you forget or lost your phone somewhere, this will come in handy.
The much-celebrated 3D sound feature of the FIIL Diva Pro is meshed into the headphones’ firmware. It is created during the transmission of traditional 2.0 stereo audio source material to your headphones. When processing the space information of source materials, MaxWide increases the width, height, and depth of sound, thereby creating a 3D effect while you listen.
10. B&W P7 Wireless
The wired predecessor of the B&W P7 Wireless, the P7, won the What Hi-Fi? Award for Best Portable On-Ear way back in 2013. It took Bowers & Wilkins three years to come up with a wireless version of the award-winning P7, one that, well, does everything that the old headphones do without the need for a cord.
For starters, the B&W P7 Wireless utilizes the same retro look with very comfortable earpads that can be worn all day. The battery will last for 17 hours on a single charge, same as the cheaper P5 Wireless. The controls for volume and playback are found on the right cup. The middle button also serves as the playback button for any media via Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Apple Music across smartphones, tablets and laptops.
As for the sound quality, Bowers & Wilkins might as well thought ‘Why fix something that isn’t broke?’ when designing these headphones since it is still very impressive, making the B&W P7 Wireless a worthy successor to its wired ancestor.
Cut the Cord
Sound quality that’s not compromised with the absence of wires, aesthetically pleasing designs, intuitive controls and long battery capacities to boot. The list of advantages goes on and on. The only factor going against wireless headphones is, well, their price.
But why hesitate because of that?
It’s a lot better to invest in a good pair of future-proof headphones than stick with the wired ones which are going the way of the dodo sooner than later.