Best Wireless Portable Headphones
Cabling is a reliable, efficient and inexpensive way to get audio from one place to another. Since we live in an age of wireless technology many people would like to break free from electronic chains as they go about their daily business. Our best wireless portable headphones selection provides plenty of options to choose from, let’s have a look at five of the best wireless sets for commuting, travelling and general use.
This is the Sennheiser portable that does it all and at £300 most people would be expecting that. Build quality is excellent, they are more a model of German Efficiency than a statement of urban sophistication. The Sennheiser MM550X are circumaural with soft pleather earpads for long listening sessions in comfort. Despite the generous cups the unit is small sized, easily transportable. The right earcup is laden with controls, not surprising given the list of available functionality – CD quality apt-X, NoiseGard sound cancelling technology, TalkThrough (a button turns on the external microphone so you can talk without removing the headset), Invisible microphone, cable option when power runs out, neodymium drivers, SRS WOW HD technology, integrated track and volume controls. Extremely flexible headphones with impressive technology, of course as with all wireless headphones, not all of the money goes into sound quality. The MM550Xs pair with a phone easily, charge over USB, and they fold into a portable carry case.
Denon’s AH-NCW500 Globe Cruiser on-ear headphones feature a 40mm driver, an integrated amplifier and AAC and aptX decoding for CD quality audio over a wireless connection. Much smaller than a full size set of cans, you shouldn’t feel self conscious as the aesthetics are more gentlemans club than superstar DJ. The design’s control wheel also allows you to effortlessly control Apple iPhone, iPad or other Bluetooth devices. The AH-NCW500 has advanced noise cancellation circuitry via Bluetooth 3.0 wireless or a wired connection, actively eliminating unwanted ambient noise, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in your music, wherever you travel. They are available in silver and black and come with a hard-shell carry case with a soft fabric finish. Since the headphones themselves do fold flat, the case remains reasonably thin.
Beautifully designed and filled with technology, with plenty of opportunity to adjust the sound to taste. The Parrot Zik, designed by Philippe Starck, is a wireless headphone with gesture control, noise canceling technology and their very own app. Designed to be a gadget fan’s dream audio accessory, they have a host of featuresincluding a sensor that pauses the music when you take them off. Pairing the headphones up using Bluetooth is simple and gives a decent range but the Ziks also feature Near Field Communication (NFC) for quick pairing – a first for headphones – although your music player will need this technology too. With your Parrot Zik headphones you get a Micro USB cable and a Protective pouch. The Parrot Zik will also enable you to make and receive calls when paired to your phone, they use several microphones along with a bone conduction to enable your voice to cut through surrounding noise.
The SoundMAGIC WP10 is a full size digital wireless headphone, supplied with a very small transmitter for use on the move or to transport the unit easily. There are a large selection of supplied accessories including a mains charger, the tiny transmitter unit, a USB cable, a mini jack 3.5mm to RCA cable, a short 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable and a long 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable. You can keep all this in the excellent rigid carry case also included. This is a very clever set of headphones, the transmitter also contains a USB DAC for superior sound from your PC or Mac, connection cables for pocket sized media players and RCA for home Hifi connection. Should you run out of battery power while out and about it is possible to use the included cable to carry on listening. The headphone itself has the same incredibly comfortable pads as the excellent HP100 and HP200 wired Full size headphones, is reasonably lightweight and has a well thought out set of controls on the left ear cup. Sound quality is well above any RF headphone and superior to that of Bluetooth headphones as the WP10 uses a 2.4G 16 bit CD quality connection. The sound signature is generally bright and clean with deep but restrained bottom end.
Bluetooth headphones for under £100 often seem a bit bargain basement, the Volumes tick all the boxes for functionality, do not compromise on quality and still come in at a cheap price. A small yet comfortable on-ear, lightweight and durable. The big surprise is that they sound great with impressive stereo imaging for an on-ear. This high-spec, low price philosophy underpins the Volume collection of Bluetooth headphones with mic and on board controls. The headphones themselves are very light and do not clamp making them pretty comfortable for on-ears, the soft leatherette ear cushions are shaped well. Features include a high quality omni-directional mic, Class 1 Bluetooth – giving up to 100m range and the ability to fold flat for storage. Listen to music, answer and end calls without having to touch your phone and they should easily fit into an already cramped bag too. Because of their longer than average range they would also work well for listening around the house or getting out in the garden. Low weight and comfy fit means they also work very well in the Gym. A typically warm feel, punchy smile curve EQ with much more detail than you would expect. The bass will handle everything from chart pop to huge electro bass lines, Classical and Acoustic don’t sound bad either as there is some sparkle here too. The sound is fun and involving but not too aggressive for everyday use or long journeys.