You may think that wireless headphones are not your thing – you might fear that the battery would drain too quickly (and right as you listen to your favorite song…), or that the sound would have that vintage walkie-talkie effect. I get it. I used to think this way myself, but I’d like to invite you to reconsider these notions. Are you in? Great!
Picture this: you're standing on an overcrowded bus or train, on your way to work. You feel sleepy, tired, perhaps already wishing for the day to be over... Until you put your headphones on, start a music playlist and are struck by a sharp change of mood. It may even feel like the world is moving to the sound of your favorite tunes. We've all been there. Music has a powerful effect, and you wouldn't want this sensation to be disrupted by the sudden death of a worn-out cord, or by your tangled headphones being abruptly detached from your smartphone. You don't need to go through this – after all, it's 2017, and we've listed the 5 best wireless headphones on the market, with serious audio quality and long-lasting battery life. They'll keep the world moving to your chosen soundtrack, and you'll be free from cord drama.
Picking headphones can be an excruciating task for some, considering the high product availability and the fact that key elements of this decision can seem impalpable – but we'll explain why they are, indeed, relevant. We've handpicked top Bluetooth headphones by taking into account battery life, maximum Bluetooth range, lowest and highest frequencies, as well as impedance, noise-canceling function and other features that make these products stand out. Additionally, we've made sure to include in-ear, on-ear and over-the-ear options, so no matter your preference, you'll get what you're looking for.
While battery life is a no-brainer (the more the merrier, and the fewer times you'll need to charge your headphones), properties like impedance can be puzzling, but they're really nothing to fear. Impedance stands for a device's resistance to the electric current passing through it. The reason why this matters for wireless headphones is that the lower the impedance, the less battery power is required to listen to music and podcasts at high audio levels with on-the-go devices, which are compatible with this level of impedance. This is not to say that high-impedance headphones are of no value – they're actually better suited for wired use with high-impedance-demanding equipment.
The maximum Bluetooth range is another important factor for your cordless audio life, as it determines how far your headphones can reach for a device to connect to. As for lowest and highest frequencies, which we also recommend keeping in mind: the first indicates the device's ability to reproduce low-frequency audio, whereas the latter specifies its capacity to play high-pitched tones. The broader the range between lowest and highest frequencies, the more bass and treble sounds can be delivered by your headphones. Finally, headphones equipped with noise cancellation (also known as active noise control and active noise reduction) help filter background noise, allowing you to focus your hearing on what you want without distractions.
As usual, we've kept our users in mind! We've considered your favorite products, the Amazon Best Sellers list for headphones, and of course, the technical specs we've just talked about:
Now let's move on to the 5 best wireless headphones selected by Versus.
1. Sony WH-1000XM2
With the new Sony WH-1000XM2 over-the-ear model, the brand combines the highest technology in noise cancellation, sound optimization and user customization for headphones. Featuring a frequency range of 4–40,000Hz, 46Ohms of impedance, and an imposing 38-hour battery life (or 30 hours of sound for continuous playback with noise cancellation), the model is quite an improvement from Sony's already impressive previous model, Sony MDR-1000X.
The Sony WH-1000XM2 can automatically detect whether or not you're in motion, tailoring the audio to specific situations: you'll be able to hear both music and ambient sound while walking on the street (kudos for safety!), music only if you're, for instance, on a train or bus, as well as music and voice if you're not in motion – let's say you're waiting at the airport, and don't wanna miss that last call for boarding to your dream destination. Speaking of that hypothetical, long-awaited flight: Sony's latest headphones are equipped with Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing technology, providing fine-tuned sound for flying. Finally, the model allows you to adjust the volume with the slide of a finger and retains the Quick Attention feature – previously introduced with the Sony MDR-1000X headphones –, which decreases sound levels when placing one hand over the right ear cup for quick conversations.
2. Bose QuietComfort 35
When it comes to sound cancellation, Bose is known as the be-all and end-all, and its Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless Bluetooth headphones definitely honor the statement. With the brand's Acoustic Noise Canceling technology, this high-end over-ear piece efficiently sends out opposing signals that counteract outside noise. Moreover, Bose finally ditched AAA batteries with this model: the Bose QuietComfort 35 flaunts a USB-charged lithium-ion battery that can keep the music going for 20 hours – and according to the manufacturer, once you've run out of battery, 15 minutes of charging can give you 2.5 hours of wireless listening. Bose also offers a free app to manage connections and settings (Bose Connect), and if you live in the U.S., you can even customize the headphones' parts with different colors and finishes.
3. Beats X
Back in 1992, when Dr. Dre's groundbreaking debut album "The Chronic" was released, it would be hard to imagine that the hip-hop icon would be one day vastly more associated with an audio brand, Beats by Dr. Dre – but in 2017, web search volumes prove that it happened. Founded in 2006 and acquired by Apple in 2014, Beats focuses on premium (and hyped) consumer headphones and speakers, as well as car audio technology.
The Beats X earphones are among the brand's top products, offering up to 8 hours of playback per charge, and 2 hours after just 5 minutes of charging. The Beats X provide noise isolation, but have no sound cancellation technology, meaning no sound waves are created to oppose external noises; the manufacturer promises, though, "authentic, clear sound," and it's a truly comfortable in-ear option. Available in several colors, the Beats X come with ear tips in four different sizes, and secure-fit wingtips can be bought separately for added stability. Its Flex-Form cable promises comfort, and a magnetic system ensures that your earbuds won't fall off your neck when not in use. Beats X earphones are compatible with any Bluetooth-enabled device, although the compatibility of the built-in remote and microphone functions is only guaranteed for Apple devices – so if you don't intend to exclusively pair your earphones with one, you must keep that in mind.
4. Bose SoundSport Wireless
If you're looking for wireless headphones to accompany you during your workouts, you could actually want to avoid noise cancellation and sound isolation features; this depends on what your activity of choice is and where you do it, but for those running or biking outdoors, being able to hear what's happening in your surroundings is a safer bet. The Bose SoundSport Wireless has an inline microphone and remote, so you can take and make calls, skip songs, adjust the volume, and the in-ear headphones do a great job at staying in as you run, so forget the irritation of having to put earbuds back in place every few meters. This in-ear pair is sweat and water-resistant (able to handle splashes, not submersion), comes with StayHear+ ear tips in three sizes, and its auto-off feature comes in quite handy – especially given the decent, but not great 6-hour battery life. The auto-off timing and other features can be managed with the Bose Connect app.
5. AKG N60 NC Wireless
The AKG N60 NC headphones were already among the best on-ear consumer headphones available, but they got even better with a wireless version. The AKG N60 NC Wireless foldable headphones cover a frequency range of 10-22,000Hz, flaunt a 15-hour battery life and come with a carrying pouch, flight adaptor and a 3.5mm detachable cable (but we're still focused on a cordless life here!). These headphones also feature active noise cancellation and the AKG Signature sound, which the manufacturer describes as "deep in bass and rich in mid-range."
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