There are hundreds of manufacturers and thousands of models of Bluetooth headphones available, and whist most offer decent sound quality and battery life some of the low cost options suffer from poor durability, especially affecting the headband area, and can get uncomfortable with prolonged use. Headphone manufacturers need to consider not only the sound quality, but also the design and aesthetics, long term comfort and durability and compatibility with current technologies as well as some future-proofing innovations that will make their sets usable for years to come. No one manufacturer has accomplished all this, so its often a balancing act to determine which set is most suited for your circumstances and budget. Some of the best sounding headphones are often too large for sports use, or too heavy for prolonged sessions, whereas lighter models may offer poor durability due to the choice of materials used. Another consideration, often ignored, is the ability of a headset to be used for viewing videos – without the right codec compatibility you can experience an unacceptable level of lag.
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Jabra Elite 45h
- Superior audio quality with advanced 40mm speakers: the exceptionally large speakers let you experience superior sound and music clarity
- Compact, foldable and lightweight design: Made to fit your lifestyle the soft and moldable memory foam ear cushions ensure outstanding comfort and fit
- Long battery life: Get up to 50 hours of battery life from a single charge, giving you more time to listen and enjoy
- Personalised sound experience with MySound: The latest Jabra technology customises the music audio for a truly individualized experience
- Scope of delivery: Jabra Elite Active 45h headphones, USB charger cable, pouch – Colour: Copper black – Weight: 160 grams – Dimensions: L 186 mm x W 157 mm x H 60.5 mm
Jabra have consistently produced headphones with a premium appearance and the Elite 45H are no exception which is impressive given that most headsets in this price range are usually clad in plastic. There are various colour options available – the titanium black is classically stylish, whilst the contrast of materials gives them a modern twist. In particular, the matt grey metallic paint against the black ear units is eye-catching, but as well as a nice design, these headphones are designed to be durable. The battery has up to 50 hours of power on a single charge and they are fast to charge compared to other models with a 15-minute charge giving up to 10 hours of playback time.
There is an app called “My Sound” which is available for both Android and IOS devices which adjusts the music experience to suit the users hearing. The result is a tailored and perfectly balanced sound so your favourite music always sounds exactly as it should, which can be further customised using the equaliser (a feature lacking from many models). These also excel for use during phone calls with Jabra having a long heritage of producing good communication devices – sound is crisp and clear, and the other end can hear you clearly with no wind noise or other distortions. They are compatible with various smart assistants including Alexa and Google.
They are Bluetooth 5.0 compliant with a 10m range and low latency for use when viewing videos. A 3.5mm jack allows them to be connected to non-Bluetooth devices or to be used when the battery is depleted. These headphones are supplied with a USB to USB-C charging cable and a storage pouch. This is a compact design, suitable for use both for commuting and in the gym, and while they don’t fully fold the earcups can be rotated for flat storage.
The Jabra Elite 45H are an excellent option in this segment of the market and seem more professional and well-designed than other offerings. Users are impressed with the sound quality and call handling ability, although some have mentioned that the controls are not intuitive and that they have experienced problems connecting to a computer.
OneOdio A70 Bluetooth Headphones
- Impressive Sound Quality: These stylish high-definition stereo Bluetooth headphones deliver powerful bass-driven sound, exceeding the performance of traditional stereo headphones. Featuring proprietary 40mm large-aperture drivers for enhanced bass, clear low mids, and crisp treble, these Bluetooth wireless headphones excel at delivering high-fidelity audio, enhancing your music experience.
- 72-Hour Long Playtime & Bluetooth 5.2: These headphones ensure a quick and stable connection with various Bluetooth-enabled devices, including Android/iOS smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, MP4 players, PCs, and TVs. With a built-in microphone, you can effortlessly answer calls. The 950mAh Li-ion battery offers an impressive 72 hours of playback, allowing you to enjoy your tunes for over 7 days of regular use.
- Pressure-Relieving Earpads for Optimal Sound: The oval earpad design with pressure-relieving cushions is meticulously crafted to match your ear's shape, delivering a secure fit with minimal sound leakage. The ultra-thick earpads, seamlessly sewn in 3D, effectively seal in sound, directing acoustics towards your ears. This results in an enhanced music experience with reduced external interference and improved bass quality, ensuring comfort during prolonged use.
- Music or Sound Sharing: These headphones feature technology that enables you to connect two headphones via Bluetooth or an auxiliary cable. By connecting two devices using a 3.5mm cable and an additional 6.35mm cable, audio or music from both sources is transmitted simultaneously to each ear. This allows two or more people to enjoy music or watch TV together.
- Unique DJ Design: Our passion for DJ headphones is evident in the FUSION A70 model, featuring swiveling earcups, a comfortable headband, hi-fi stereo sound, portability, and reversible housing. The rugged adjustable headband supports free-style and single-side monitoring. We've also incorporated a jack lock system to ensure the cable remains securely connected, even during active movement. This is a valuable feature for DJs and musicians alike.
A budget conscious choice, these OneOdio headphones have a robust design and are probably more suited for commuting and home usage rather than for sports or the gym due to their design, size, and weight. They are available in a range of colours including plain black and variants with dual colours such as gold and black, red and black, and a rather professional looking brown and silver model. They are supplied with a standard audio cable, a dual-duty cable with both 6.35mm and 3.5mm, a charging cable and a storage pouch.
The oval ultra-thick padded earpads have pressure-relieving cushions that have been designed to match the shape of most ears, ensuring a secure fit with minimal sound leakage. There is little discomfort for long-term wear.
Equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 and an advanced Qualcomm chipset, these headphones have very low latency making them suitable for use while watching videos as there will be no lag between picture and sound and they have a range of 10m from the source. A built-in CVC 6.0 microphone guarantees clear hands-free which can be made using your choice of voice assistant. The Li-ion battery delivers approximately 50 hours of power, which is impressive given the price and will last most users a couple of weeks between charges. This model provides bass driven sound using a proprietary 40mm large-aperture driver to deliver riveting sound and a thumping bass while maintaining the integrity of the mid-range and treble frequencies.
One innovative feature is that the headset has two 3.5mm input sockets, meaning that two devices can be connected at the same time in wired mode so you can listen to a blend of an audio track playing from a phone and the output of a musical instrument such as a guitar at the same time. Alternatively, sound can be shared between two sets of headphones from a single source.
Customers are impressed with both the sound quality given the price and the battery life, as well as the charging speed. Some users have commented that the controls are often unresponsive, and others have mentioned that the headband hinge mechanism has failed.
Bose QuietComfort 35 (series 2)
- Three levels of world class noise cancellation for a better listening experience in any environment
- Alexa and the Google Assistant enabled for voice access to music, information and more
- Noise rejecting dual microphone system for clear phone calls and voice access to your phone's default virtual assistant, like Siri
- Balanced audio performance at any volume
- Hassle free Bluetooth pairing, personalised settings, access to future updates and more through the Bose Connect app
Recently replaced as Bose flagship noise cancelling headphones by the Bose 700 series, these are now available at a more reasonable price. The QuietComfort 35 were, until recently, the most respected noise cancelling headphones in the industry. They are extremely light weight and flexible with good ear and headband cushioning and are supplied with a charge cable, 3.5mm adaptor and a decent hard carry case with internal storage for the cables. This model is supplied in a range of colours including black, silver, triple midnight and rose gold (slightly hideous).
Compatible with both IOS and Android and with a wired interface for non-Bluetooth enabled devices, these ANC headphones have three levels of noise cancelation, a good wireless range, and NFC for quick pairing with compatible devices. They are compatible with a range of smart assistants including Alexa and Google Assistant and have a dedicated app for basic controls and firmware updates. Unfortunately, they do not have a customisable equaliser with Bose deciding to use special circuitry to dynamically adjust output depending on the material being played. Battery life is around 20 hours with ANC on which is less than most more recent models offer.
The sound is crisp and clear with a well-controlled bass response which may be slightly muted for some users. Bose headphones have a unique sound signature that is not for everyone – you either love it or hate it, and whilst the sound is fairly neutral it is highly processed. The noise cancelling is the best available on any headphones and is used as the benchmark by other manufacturers.
Whereas these headphones are among the best noise-cancelling units for use on planes and trains etc, they are not suited for outdoor use in the same way as a true wireless set may be. They are large, not fully water resistant, and will be cumbersome and sweaty if used in a gym. You will need to carefully consider your intended usage before committing to buy.
Users report that these headphones are extremely comfortable and work well for telephone calls, however they are not suitable for use when viewing videos as the latency is too high and there will be delays between the sound and picture output. There may be some distortion with some types of music at higher volume levels. Some customers have commented that the ear cushions are not very durable and that the coating flakes off eventually, however they are replaceable.
- Akg signature sound: award-winning sound quality that lets you appreciate all the details of your favourite soundtrack
- Ambient aware technology: stay in touch with your surroundings while keeping your music and inspiration flowing, at the touch of a button
- Play and pause automation: the headphones will auto pause when taken off and resume playing automatically when placed over your ears
- 33 hours battery life: enjoy more than Full day of musical inspiration without charging
- What's in the box: AKG Y500 (Black) wireless headphones, spare audio cable, USB charging cable, pouch
If you are looking for a reasonably priced set of headphones from a reputable brand that are suitable for use both in the gym and at home, then the AKG Y500 should fit the bill. This headset is extremely light weight at just 223g and available in a range of colours. They are compact with good cushioning on both the headband and the earcups. These are supplied complete with a storage pouch, charging cable and a 3.5mm cable for connecting to non-wireless devices or for use when the battery life is depleted, although that shouldn’t happen to often as they last up to 33 hours from a single charge. The fast charge feature allows these to play for one hour with just a five-minute charge.
The AKG have a safety feature that should prove useful for walkers – they are able to allow ambient environmental noise through while music is playing at the touch of a button. In practise, this listens to the ambient noise using the headsets microphone and interposes it over the sound being played. Another interesting feature not often seen in this price range is the ability of the headset to automatically pause playback when they are removed from the head, and to automatically restart when they are replaced. Controls are simple and intuitive, although somewhat limited compared with more premium models with just play / pause and volume controls available on the left earpiece, and ambient mode and pairing on the right. Two compatible devices can be connected at the same time, so for example if you are listening to music on one device and receiving a call on the other, the headphones will seamlessly switch to the call and back to the music once you have hang up. The microphone has a good response, and users report that phone calls are handled well with good clarity.
Users are mostly happy with the performance with many commenting on the excellent sound quality. The only re-occurring comment is that the headset is slightly slippery and tends to slide off when you are moving around, especially for people who have shorter hair, which may be an issue for some.
Sennheiser HD 450BT
- Active noise cancellation for uninterrupted listening pleasure: The closed back design delivers high quality audio even in loud environments
- Ideal wireless sound with deep dynamic bass and high quality codec support including AAC and AptX Low Latency. Sound pressure level (SPL): 108 dB (1 kHz, 0 dBFS)
- Reliable partner on the move: Always stay connected with 30 hours of music playback with ANC activated and short charging time of 2 hours
This is a budget friendly option in the Sennheiser range which also features noise cancelling technology. They are compatible with both IOS and Android and can be connected via the supplied 3.5mm cable to devices without Bluetooth if required. Bluetooth 5.0 compatibility is present, and this model has both AAC and APTX low latency codecs making it suitable for use when viewing videos as there will be no synchronisation issues between sound and image. Only two colours are available – Black and Silver. This is a comfortable headphone with good padding to both the earcups and headband and they are light making them suitable for long sessions.
Battery life is up to 30 hours, and while there is no specific fast charge feature, a complete charge can be completed from empty in around two hours. This model is compatible with all smart assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant, and Sennheiser offer regular firmware updates. One of the strengths of this model is its call handling ability which is seamless and of an exceptional quality with no interference or wind noise. Noise cancelling is average and not up to the standards of either the Bose or Sony models, although it is effective on flights. The sound has a pronounced bass response and is clear and bright with a hint of sibilance coming through at times. The sound profile used by Sennheiser is one that most users appreciate, and they have a long-standing reputation of consistency and quality.
Users are generally pleased with the versatility of this headset, the sound quality and the range of features offered. The build quality is good, if a little plasticky, however there is mention that the earpads are not durable, which is a problem that plagues Sennheiser units due to the historically poor durability of their rubber-based components. Some customers have mentioned that this model could do with a little more power and that volume levels are low, although this can be dependent on which applications are used, with Spotify having a slightly lower output than other services for example.
If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about Wireless Headphones Under £200.