Perhaps you still 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 rethink these assumptions.
Picture this: you're 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, and these vibes could be disrupted by the sudden death of a worn-out cord, or by tangled headphones being detached from your smartphone. Guess what? You don't need to go through this pain. After all, it's 2020, and you may want to consider getting one of the 5 best wireless headphones on the market, with solid audio and long-lasting battery life. They'll keep the world moving to your chosen soundtrack, and you'll be free from cord drama.
Although this article will focus on on-ear and over-the-ear wireless headphones (still our users' favorites), we're all for progress, so stay tuned for our upcoming list of prime wireless earbuds.
Picking headphones can be an excruciating task, given the number of options and the fact that key decision-making factors can seem impalpable, but we've got your back. We've handpicked top Bluetooth headphones by taking into account battery life, Bluetooth range, frequency range, as well as impedance, noise-canceling, and other features that make these products stand out.
While examining battery life is a no-brainer (the more, the merrier), properties like impedance can be puzzling, but they're 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 on on-the-go devices. This is not to say that high-impedance headphones are of no value. In essence, they're better suited for wired use with impedance-demanding equipment.
The maximum Bluetooth range is another crucial factor for your cordless audio experience, as it determines how far your headphones can reach for a device to connect to. We also advise you to keep the lowest and highest frequencies in mind; the first indicates the device's ability to reproduce low-frequency audio, and the latter specifies its capacity to play high-pitched tones. The broader the range between the 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) filter background noise, allowing you to focus your hearing on what you want without distractions.
We've considered our user's favorite products, and of course, the technical specs we've just discussed:
Let's move on to the 5 best on-ear and over-the-ear wireless headphones selected by Versus.
1. Jabra Elite 85h
Over the past years, Danish brand Jabra earned a spot among the leading consumer electronics audio manufacturers. Although not as celebrated by the market as the company's Jabra Elite 65t earbuds, the Jabra Elite 85h over-the-ear headphones give competitors a run for their money.
Product highlights are rain resistance (with a rare warranty policy that covers water and dust damage), remarkable battery life of up to 36 hours per charge with active noise cancellation, and Jabra's proprietary SmartSound system. With the information provided by an eight-microphone system (four of which are used for ANC), SmartSound analyzes the user's surroundings, delivering personalized audio for each situation. False positives have been reported, but the automatic audio mode switch may be turned off via Jabra's Sound+ app. You can also use the app to customize your preferred audio settings, including unique equalizer presets and the intensity of background noise blockage.
As with the Elite 65t model, the Elite 85h headphones automatically pause and play music when they're removed and put back over one's head. Additionally, Jabra made it quite simple to switch the headphones off: all it takes is twisting the earcups, which also makes it easier to carry the headphones around.
The flagship headphones are a good option for those who value call quality (enhanced with the use of six microphones) and appreciate fabric-covered earcups. On the flipside, touch control fans will be displeased with the model's earcup buttons.
The headphones are available in five colors: black, copper black, gold beige, navy, and titanium black. As expected of premium wireless headphones, the Jabra Elite 85h features a one-touch connection to smart assistants Alexa (Amazon), Siri (Apple), and Google Assistant.
2. Sony WH-1000XM3
One year after the successful release of the WH-1000XM2, Sony introduced the WH-1000XM3 model with technical upgrades and improved usability. The WH-1000XM3's noise-canceling technology surely beats its forerunner's, thanks to a dedicated HD noise-canceling processor. The headphones have the same battery life as the WH-1000XM2 (30 hours of continuous playback with noise cancellation; 38 hours without the feature) but are slightly lighter. Driver unit and frequency response remain the same, the detachable cord is now a little shorter (a drawback for some), and impedance increased from 46 to 47 Ohms. The Bluetooth version improved from 4.1 from 4.2, and sensitivity increased from 98 dB/mW to 101 dB/mW (cable-free mode).
User-approved highlights were kept: Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing technology for fine-tuned sound during flights, touch volume control, and the Quick Attention feature, which allows the user to decrease sound levels by placing one hand over the right ear cup. Charge time was reduced from 4 to 3 hours; what's even more exciting is that the fast charging feature, which previously secured 70 minutes of sound after 10 minutes of charge, now assures 5 hours of playback after the same amount of time. Note that a 1.5A AC adapter must be bought separately for fast charging.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 is compatible with voice assistants (supported by the WH-1000XM2 after a software update) and keeps the praised Adaptive Sound Control feature, which detects activities and adjusts the sound to different situations. Don't worry if you don't want the headphones to decide for you: you still have complete control and can switch between various ambient modes via the compatible app.
Like the previous model, the WH-1000XM3 tailors noise cancelation to the user's body, considering head size, hairstyle, and use of glasses to optimize sound performance. It also promises a "virtual surround sound" experience, optimal for concerts.
3. Bowers & Wilkins PX7
In early 2020, British audio equipment manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins released much-anticipated headphones announced at Berlin's IFA 2019. The PX7s come two years after the brand first ventured into the noise-canceling headphones market with the PX model, bringing design and performance improvements to what was an exceptional product.
The flagship headphones feature aptX Adaptive Bluetooth, which pledges a more stable wireless connection. Other highlights are 43mm drivers boosted by Bowers & Wilkins' proprietary tech and highly effective active noise-canceling. You can choose between three ANC levels by pressing a left earcup button; ANC can be put on hold by holding the button for two seconds, which comes in handy for brief chats and announcements. The right earcup has playback buttons, volume controls, and a power on/Bluetooth slider. Additionally, playback is automatically paused when either earcup is lifted from the user's head.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX7s offer 30 hours of wireless battery life with ANC, and you can get five more hours of sound with a 15-minute charge. Finally, the model is more comfortable than its predecessor, with custom carbon-fiber arms instead of metal.
4. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
With the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, Bose introduces a new premium headphones series and a next-generation active noise-cancellation system (currently, the best on the market). Featuring an eight-microphone system, the all-new ANC technology allows the user to choose among 11 levels of noise cancellation (in comparison to Bose QuietComfort 35 II's three options). The progressive ANC modes can be switched via the Bose Music app, and three levels may be selected as presets to be activated with the touch of an earcup button.
The brand also elevated its product design. Available in black and silver versions, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 feature a stainless steel headband with a sliding earcup integration – meaning that the earcups can be moved up and down. Although more visually appealing, the new hinge-free design doesn't allow for inward folding (which facilitates storage and transportation); still, the earcups can be folded flat, and come with a carrying case.
Many of the product's functions can be accessed via earcup touch controls: for instance, playing and pausing songs, answering and declining calls, skipping tracks, and controlling the volume. However, users have pointed out that the touch controls may be overly sensitive, with slight accidental touches activating functions.
At up to 20 hours of music play per charge, the premium headphones underwhelm in comparison with other products, but should still be satisfactory for most users' needs. Lastly, the product has smart assistant integration, and its adaptive microphone design provides superior call quality.
5. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless
The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 headphones are a reliable option deep and detailed sound (unless you're vegan, that is, as its strap is made of leather). The polished design with sliding arms incorporates three buttons that allow the user to switch between calls and music or podcasts, control the volume, and activate their voice assistant of choice. Playback can be paused and resumed automatically by removing the headphones and wearing them again.
The headphones feature three levels of superior Active Noise Cancelation: anti-pressure, anti-wind, and maximum. Unfortunately, it's only possible to switch between modes via the Sennheiser Smart Control app. While this is a downside, the companion app includes EQ control and TILE integration to track the headphones' location – an essential feature if you consider the product's price tag. Another highlight is the Transparent Hearing mode, which allows you to hear external sounds at a level that can also be adjusted via the app.
The Momentum Wireless 3 can be connected to two other devices simultaneously; one can, for instance, stream music from a computer and receive alerts from a smartphone or take calls. As for battery life, we wish these headphones could do better; at approximately 13 hours with ANC on, this is less than half of what some of its competitors offer. Still, 10 minutes of charging can give you an extra hour and a half. Finally, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 can be paired via NFC or Bluetooth, with three codes for high stability (AAC, Bluetooth aptX, and aptX Low-Latency).