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Best Wireless Headphones 2016: The 6 best Bluetooth portable headphones

Andrew Williams


Wireless headphones

Cables suck. They limit your movement and get caught on things. Sometimes they're necessary, but we’ve seen huge strides in wireless headphones over the last couple of years. Better still, the tax on price and quality has dropped as ‘style’ headphones have matured which is good for all of us.

And now that the Apple iPhone 7 has done away with the headphone jack – as we all expected – now is as good a time as any to look at wireless headphones. We've listened to many pairs of wireless headphones, and we've narrowed down the best for every occasion. These include over-ear and on-ear cans, and neckband-style wireless earbuds.

Of course, Apple has also announced its own wireless option in the form of the Apple AirPods, which are 'truly wireless' earbuds. These differ in the sense that there's no wire connecting the two earphones together. The Apple AirPods use a brand new W1 chip, which Apple promises will deliver a more reliable connection than standard Bluetooth as well as providing other useful functions. There are sensors so the earbuds know when they're in your ears to automatically play and pause. Accelerometers know when you're speaking to direct the microphones using beamforming, which should improve hands-free calling performance, too.

More and more manufacturers are creating truly wireless earbuds; Bragi, Motorola, Onkyo, Sol Republic and Jabra all have options, too. Some of these go beyond just playing music, providing extra 'hearable' computing tech. Think of them like a personal assistant in your ear. Of course, you always have Apple's Siri or Google Now to fall back on as well with certain models.

Some of the new truly wireless buds are focused towards fitness as well. Jabra's Sport Elite have a heart rate monitor inside as well as the ability to track reps during exercises such as push ups or squats.

Right now, we haven't included any truly wireless earbuds in our list but expect to see more of this style wireless earphone cropping up as the technology develops. We're reviewing more and more of these as well, so be sure to check back to see whether any are worthy of your ears. Right now, most of our favourites are on-ear and over-ear sets.

Video: Trusted Explains – What type of headphones should you buy?

This Week's Best Wireless Headphones Deals

Gibson Trainer at Amazon.co.uk | Was £199 | Now £149

Audio Technica ATH-ANC40BT at Amazon.co.uk | Was £199 | Now £122

Sennheiser RS185 at Amazon.com | Was $399 | Now $292

Related: Best headphones

There’s no magic to most standard wireless headphones. They normally use Bluetooth to receive audio from your phone, and therefore also have to pack in a battery to power that hardware. This is no biggie for lovers of larger headphones.

Wireless sets can be immensely freeing, letting you walk around without worrying about catching cables on anything. They're great for the gym. Do, however, bear in mind that you’ll pay a bit more for wireless sets. Sound quality can also be slightly worse than their wired equivalents, but things like supporting the Bluetooth aptX codec can do wonders for improving sound quality.

Hit the navigation arrows below, or use the dropdown menu above, to see our top picks for wireless headphones.

John Gass

September 10, 2016, 7:51 pm

None under £100? How about the Ausdom M05 which I bought from Amazon for £40? These are well-constructed over-ear phones featuring aptX, comprehensive controls and they've have been the subject of several very positive, in-depth reviews. They are, I believe identical (apart from omitting NFC) to a MEE Audio pair which cost more than twice as much. Of course these probably won't sound as good as the items you've chosen, but I think they're plenty good enough to show that you can get value, comfort and musicality for much less than you suggest.

Underlying this is a fundamental point: you are still,almost exclusively, reviewing mainstream products whilst many of us on a restricted budget are looking to less well-known brands, or foreign markets - such as the excellent AliExpress - to give us the best value for money. The times they are a changin'!

Fredrik Kibe

October 3, 2016, 5:20 pm

Urbanears Plattan ADV Wireless should have been tested - unless this is a test for headphones costing more than £100. Urbanears Plattan ADV Wireless won the prize as the best new Wireless at CES 2015 and only cost £65 or $99.


November 7, 2016, 12:15 pm

I like the "Nosie" Cancelling headphones as you show in your video title. :) Very popular with the NSA I believe...

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