Whether you’re a keen athlete who wants to run tangle-free, or you’ve just updated your phone and finally need to extricate the stereo jack from your life, keep reading for our top picks of wireless headphones currently on the market.
For the all-rounded audiophile… Sennheiser HD 1 / Momentum 2
Sound geeks might still be put off by the notion that wireless headphones just don’t offer good quality sound — but for those willing to dip their toes in, they can look to German brand Sennheiser and the latest release of their much-lauded Momentum line. Touted by some to be the best quality sound currently available for a wireless headphone — the prestigious label certainly affirms it — audiophiles are sure to dig the over-ear HD 1 (also known as Momentum 2.0). Expect crystal clear, full acoustics, and sound isolation encased in super soft ear cups, with a sleek and sturdy stainless steel and leather adjustable band that can be folded up. The ‘phones also come with a cable should you decide to ground your music, as well as an inline microphone for calls and recordings.
HK$3,080 from major electronics retailers city-wide; senheiser.com
For solo music appreciation… Bose QuietComfort 35
If you prefer to be distraction-free when you enjoy your music, or you just have very rowdy surroundings, look to Bose, commonly considered the industry experts for their active noise cancellation tech. These headphones take in outside noise, cancelling it out with the opposite sound waves, all at a flick of a switch. It’s built with durability in mind, with impact-resistant materials, and is wrapped in Alcantara, the soft, luxurious material commonly used on yachts and supercars. Cushy synthetic leather over-ear cups add to the effect with passive noise reduction. Battery life, always a concern for active noise cancelling wireless headphones, lasts up to 20 hours on a full charge, and a further 15-minute charge gets you 2.5 hours of play. This is for a serious music-lover with practicality in mind.
HK$2,888 from Apple Store, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3972 1500, bose.hk
For hipsters… PUGZ
If you like shunning the mainstream as much as you like good quality sound, Indiegogo is a good place to browse for indie tech companies that tinker with the newest innovations — and at a much friendlier price tag too. Crowdfunded and completed in 2015, the PUGZ claim that they’re the smallest wireless earphones that you charge through your phone, thanks to an innovative “squircle”-shaped adaptor attached to the earphones. This means that you can listen to your tunes on-the-go and recharge the batteries at the same time — a simple but surprisingly rare function in the market. The components are also tiny, which means it’s very light, weighing just 11g. A full charge takes about 40 minutes and gives you just over four hours of constant use, but will use up about 3% of your phone’s battery — of course, you can still charge by USB as per the norm. The sweat-proof, minimalistic ‘phones come in two in-ear styles, one with passive sound isolation and another that directs sound to the side, allowing you to hear more of your surroundings. There are also handy magnetic clips that lock them in place around your neck when you’re not using them.
US$169 (HK$1,310) from indiegogo.com
For fitness freaks… Bose SoundSport Pulse
Another recent release by Bose made for those on the go is the Bose SoundSport Pulse wireless earphones. As is with all sport earphones, they’re sweat- and weather- proof, with specially designed earbuds that don’t budge during your workout — but what really sets the SoundSports apart is its built-in heart rate sensor, which helps you track your progress throughout your exercise. It also features an inline microphone for you to take calls, play and pause tracks and adjust the volume while your phone is safely tucked away, with a range of up to nine metres. A full charge gets you six hours of play, which is more than adequate for any workout.
HK$1,788 from Apple Store, bose.hk
For fashionistas… Beats by Dr Dre Studio x Alexander Wang
Beats by Dre headphones may not be top ranked in its technical reputation, but for fans of hip hop, R&B and electronic music — especially those who want to look good listening to it — the most recent Alexander Wang limited edition (the second collaborative effort between the two brands) is all that you need. Keeping with the iconic over-ear Beats Studio Wireless headphone design, this rendition is swathed in a mellow, edgy ‘Dove Grey’. The Italian leather ear cups are embossed in a croc skin pattern while the upper band displays the label’s name. The mic and playback controls are incorporated into the ear cup, so the Beats Studio allows for easy hands-free calling and listening. It lasts for 12 hours wirelessly with adaptive noise cancelling, or 20 hours should you choose to plug it in. When you’re travelling, just fold it up and keep your headphones safe in a matching Dove Grey leather pouch.
HK$4,588 from Apple Store, apple.com
For the premium pundit… B&O Play H9
For Bang & Olufsen’s sleek, luxury Nordic design and beautiful sound quality, the latest wireless over-the-ear headphone model Beoplay H9 is the perfect pick. Similar to its previous wireless models, the H9 once again features touch control on one side of the headphones, and is decked out in beautifully durable cowhide, super-smooth lambskin and adaptive memory foam in the ear cups. But while previous models had a greater range of colours to choose from, the H9 only comes in the classic tones of black and camel. In terms of capabilities, the H9 provides active noise cancellation, and while the previous H8 was an on-ear design, the H9 has a larger over-the-ear cup to block off outside noise. A full charge gets you 14 hours of play using both bluetooth and active noise cancelling.
HK$4,099 from Bang & Olufsen, G/F, 24 Canal Road East, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, bang-olufsen.com