(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 noise-cancelling, over-ear headphones and we've tested those, too. The WH-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.
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.
Bowers and Wilkins PX7
Bowers and Wilkins has struck gold again - these headphones will appeal to audiophiles but tick plenty of tech boxes as well.
Ambient noises are easily blocked by the active noise cancellation, while there's no negative impact on the sound quality as a result.
What's more, these are supremely comfortable headphones, too.
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.
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.
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 Nuraphones 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.
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.
How to buy wireless headphones
There are absolutely loads of options on the market where wireless headphones are concerned - the list above are some of the very best, but there are also a few principles you can apply while choosing which are ideal for you.
How much to spend on wireless headphones?
The first big question for many people shopping around for quality headphones is how much they should spend. It's not one with an easy answer, although you'll see from browsing our favourites that quality does come at a price right now.
Many of the best and most fully-featured models sit between £200 and £300, but that doesn't mean you can't get excellent cans for less than £100 - you'll just need to shop around a bit more. We think setting your budget is a sensible first step, either way.
Should wireless headphones have ANC?
One of the biggest new technologies to hit headphones in recent years has been active noise cancellation, or ANC. It dulls the background noise around you using microphones and feedback, to make sure that you hear your music or audio clearly.
When done well, it can be transformative and make loud journeys relaxing. However, it also tends to bump up the price of headphones, so if you want to do most of your listening at home, you could think about ditching it to save some cash. That said, the best headphones are increasingly including it as a matter of course.
How much battery life do wireless headphones need?
Another big variable when you're sizing up headphones to buy comes in the form of battery life. This can vary by quite big amounts, but we'd say you much less than 10 hour is a little disappointing.
Many of the most popular models now offer between 12 and 15 hours of playback before a charge is needed, but if battery life is a top priority there are superb options that can give you closer to 24 hours or even more - so be sure to work out how much of an issue longevity is for you.