(Pocket-lint) - Bluetooth is no longer an inferior option for headphone sound quality. With the advent of newer devices and more sophisticated audio processing and transmission, there are plenty of Bluetooth headphones that will serve you well, without the need for wires.
There's plenty of variety with these cans, whether you're looking for on-ear or over-ear, so browse our selection and see what your next wireless headphones should be. Here's our pick of the very best.
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Following the success of the earlier QC35, the newer Bose 700 over-ears really step things up a gear. A seamless design, superb noise-cancelling to cut out external sound, and loud and proud sound quality without the need for wires (a backup 2.5-3.5mm cable is included in the carry case though). The battery life lasts for about 18 hours too, making these our go-to over-ear headphones for travelling.
Sony has created the other best noise-cancelling over-ear headphones that we've tested. The 1000XM4 are particularly clever with noise-cancelling, offering various modes to allow voice to pass through (or not). They can even assess pressure to apply the perfect profile when on a plane, making them excellent travel headphones. Bluetooth support for aptX HD means the utmost quality without wires, but when the 30 hour battery runs dead you can still plug in and listen passively with decent results.
If you're working on a modest budget then Sony has a great value proposition in the WH-CH710N. We can't think of much better Bluetooth-equipped cans for the cost. Sure, you won't get aptX HD like many of the pricier alternatives below, but noise cancelling is on board and the WH-CH710N are small, portable, kick out enough bass and are well designed.
Price-wise, these headphones represent excellent value. They have a lot of clout, while there's excellent balance and precision, too. They're also comfortable to wear for long periods and they have excellent battery life.
Our only quibble is that they're physically quite big so are much more suited for a home environment - you'll probably find them a little large for travelling about. The design is, therefore, a little dated. We also miss noise cancelling, but then if they had that, they'd be more expensive as a result.
Beats Solo Pro
You don't have to have a bevy of Apple devices to make the most from these cans, but the Solo Pro's inclusion of the H1 chip means seamless pairing with your iPhone, iPad and Mac, without needing to fiddle around to get that wireless connection. The Solo Pro also sound great, so if you're looking for a pair of on-ear headphones - which arguably aren't as long-term comfy as an over-ear solution - then the Beats is a great option.
Sennheiser HD 450BT
If you've got a budget that won't stretch to audiophile levels, but still want a great set of headphones, these Sennheisers are a great bet.
The sound is excellent, even more so for the price, and the battery life is similarly impressive. You get solid noise-cancelling, too rounding out a really decent package.
B and O BeoPlay H9i
It would be too easy to critique the Bang and Olufsen BeoPlay H9 for the high price and the noise-cancellation being too subtle for some. But that would be shortsighted: because the H9i is a killer over-ear headphone. Indeed, the audio quality is immense, with punchy bass levels and a wide soundstage thanks to those giant earcups. The downside is Bluetooth doesn't last as long as the competition (but there is a 3.5mm jack for passive wired listening) and the noise-cancelling isn't going to please frequent flyers for its subtlety.
V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex Edition
As much as we liked the original, the latest 'Codex Edition' Crossfade 2 Wireless adds aptX for high quality Bluetooth and it knocks it out the park when it comes to impactful low-end bass. The industrial design makes them standout compared to the competition, however there's no active noise-cancellation and the design is a tad pinchy compared to some.
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3
These noise-cancelling wireless headphones come packed with plenty of smarts and high-end features, and look great thanks to being made from high-end materials. The large size of the earcups means great comfort, but, obviously, significant physical size.
Ok, so they're not strictly just over-ear, because the Nura combines in-ear fittings within the over-ear earcups. It's a unique design, but one with purpose: it makes for tailored sound, as these cans can read the shape of your ears and adjust the sound profile accordingly. They look weird, they feel rather strange to wear, but the sound quality is from another planet.
Truly high-end Bluetooth-only headphones, the DSR9BT is designed for the audiophile listener who doesn't want any wire-based nonsense. Indeed, there's no 3.5mm jack to be found here. Ultra-comfortable to wear, these A-T over-ears are designed unlike any other headphones on the market, featuring what Audio-Technica calls a Dnote chipset, which commands four voice coils in the headphones' 45mm drivers for optimum dynamics and clarity. And they really do sound amazing: you won't get shovel loads of bass, but the low-end is tight and neutral, while the high-end has a sharpness and timbre above any beyond anything else we've ever heard.
Master and Dynamic MW65
Yes, it's an expensive pair of headphones but they sound fantastic and have effective active noise cancellation (ANC). They also really look the part, with premium materials including aluminium and leather. There's no plastic here.
The downside is that compared to Sony and Bose's ANC models they are expensive, while some foibles remain such as resonation from walking. However, the build quality on offer here is absolutely superb and we think they're brilliant.
Bowers and Wilkins PX
The active noise-cancelling wireless headphones market has grown rapidly in recent times, so it made great sense for Bowers and Wilkins to finally enter. And it does so in considerable style with the PX, which won Best Headphones in the Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2017. B and W comes from a true audiophile perspective – aptX HD features for Hi-Res Audio without the wires – and the PX is an excellent high-end alternative to the Bose, Sony and Beats competition (as also featured), in both style and audio ability terms.