Your Definitive Guide to the Best Wireless Headphones in 2020
Wireless headphones have always been a niche topic. Some of us love them, while others prefer using wireless earbuds for the ease of portability.
However, it is undeniable that the sound quality of headphones is more superior than a pair of wireless earbuds. Given the current work from home climate, a good pair of headphones might just be the ideal work companion for your Zoom calls and music enjoyment as portability is no longer an issue.
With new headphones being released every year, it can get pretty tedious to search for the right one. But this definitive guide will make searching for it a walk in the park as we cover the different categories and factors that you need to consider before investing in a pair of headphones.
Gone are the days of entangled cables as we take a look at some of the best wireless headphones on the market right now.
All prices are accurate at the time of writing and subject to change without prior notice.
Best Budget: Plantronics BackBeat GO 810, S$139.00 (U.P. S$249.00)
Starting off with the best budget option, the Plantronics BackBeat GO 810 is a solid performer on all fronts.
Despite its significantly lower price tag as compared to its competition, these pair of headphones stand out for giving you a touch of all things good. Featuring a solid active noise cancellation that rivals the likes of Sony and Bose, and 24-hour battery life, the BackBeat GO 810 is quite the steal considering its price tag.
What surprises me was the impeccable sound quality the BackBeat GO 810 boasts. There are obviously headphones that sound better in the market, but at S$139.00, these are incredibly tough to beat. The bass is heavy and not too overpowering, while still being able to keep the highs clear.
Naturally for a pair of budget headphones, there are drawbacks. The build quality is not as sturdy and needs some getting used to. The headphones are also not foldable which will not be a friendly option if you want to bring them out. The headphones also charge with the older micro-USB cable instead of USB-C.
If you’re looking for a pair of headphones that won’t break the bank, the BackBeat GO 810 will be your best work from home companion!
- Low price
- Good Active Noise Cancellation
- 22-hour (with ANC), 26-hour (without ANC) battery life
- Good Bluetooth connectivity
- Squeaky build
- Charges with Micro-USB
Best Gaming: SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless, S$114.09
Perhaps the most versatile pair of headphones on this list, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is a gaming headset that is suitable for daily use (especially with its removable microphone). While gaming headsets are usually obnoxious with their RGB lights and vibrating earcups, the Arctis 1 strips away the fancy gimmicks and offers solid audio quality at an affordable price.
Boasting a 20-hour battery life, this headset is more than capable of taking care of both your gaming and music needs. Unlike conventional wireless headsets that connect via Bluetooth, the Arctis 1 comes with a USB-A dongle that functions as a connectivity port, akin to a wireless mouse. This is especially convenient for Nintendo Switch gamers searching for a compatible headset to go with their console.
Here’s the best part – the 3.5mm audio jack allows users to connect an audio cable to older gaming consoles such as the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS so you can relive those nostalgic childhood games over again.
Unfortunately, the headset does not support Apple OS devices, so you won’t be able to connect it to an iPhone, iPad or Macbook. The Arctis 1 also fares poorer in noise isolating capabilities especially when used outdoors, and the steel headband can make it tough to get a good fit.
But other than that, the Arctis 1 is a pretty solid headset for both gaming and casual music listening. At S$114.09, there’s not really any reason why you shouldn’t pick one of these up.
- Good audio quality
- Multiple connectivity options
- Battery life
- Can be used casually
- Does not support iOS
- Hard to get a good fit
Best Noise Cancelling: Bose 700, S$549.00 (U.P. S$599.00)
When it comes to active noise cancellation (ANC), its hard not to think of Bose. After all, they were the ones who made ANC mainstream in the first place. Despite all the various iterations of ANC in new headphones releases, Bose still reigns supreme.
The Bose 700 is the best ANC headphones available to consumers today. Considered a direct upgrade to the Bose QuietComfort 35II, the Bose 700 digested the pros of its predecessor and improved of what was lacking.
The connectivity on the Bose 700 is excellent, especially if you’re using the Bose Music App to guide you through the set-up process. The superb connectivity allows you to switch between different devices in the blink of an eye just by using the app. You’ll no longer have to manually unpair one device just to connect it to another.
While comparisons to Sony’s WH-1000XM3 are inevitable, it may all come down to personal preference. In my opinion, the ability to choose between 10 levels of noise cancellation provides a great deal of flexibility that hasn’t been implemented anywhere else, which makes it the best ANC headphones in my opinion.
- Exceptional ANC
- Balanced sound quality
- Sleek design
- High price
- Earcups are not foldable
Best Build Quality: Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless, S$565.00 (U.P. S$599.00)
It should come as no surprise to anybody that the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless are the best-looking pair of headphones out there. From the genuine leather ear cups and headband to the eye-catching steel sliders, the Momentum Wireless headphones marries style and durability in perfect harmony. Some may say that it looks no different from its predecessor. But then again, why change what isn’t broken?
The classic and timeless design has always been able to turn heads and I don’t see why Sennheiser should change that anytime soon.
Apart from its sleek design, the Momentum Wireless also sound amazing. As with all Sennheiser products, the superb sound quality shines through in this pair of headphones too. While the bass packs a mighty punch, it does not overpower the mids and the highs which provides a smooth yet powerful listening experience. You can also adjust the EQ to your preferences should you prefer a more balanced and neutral sound. Coupled with ANC, the Momentum Wireless takes the spot for being one of the best sounding headphones in the market.
The unique auto-connect function also senses when you’re wearing your headphones or not, and will play and pause music accordingly. This way, you’ll never have to worry about accidentally leaving it on and draining the battery.
Perhaps a drawback for most of us would be the price. At S$565.00, you’re paying quite a hefty sum of money. Of course, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless is a premium product that’s meant for audiophiles who are willing the pay the price. Are there cheaper alternatives? Sure. Do they look and sound as good? Nope.
- Premium Build Quality
- Great Sound Quality
- Superb ANC
- Aesthetically pleasing
Best Overall: Sony WH-1000XM3, S$397.00 (U.P. S$549.00)
Despite facing stiff competition from its rivals, the Sony WH-1000XM3 holds on to its crown. Interestingly, despite being released in 2018, the WH-1000XM3 is still the most sought after pair of headphones in the market. But what makes it so special?
The WH-1000XM3 is the best-looking pair of headphones out there. Being a sucker for minimalist designs, the clean and sleek look of the WH-1000XM3 appeals to me. Just like the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless, the design remains the same to its predecessor, the WH-1000XM2.
Furthermore, the touch-sensitive controls make using these headphones a breeze. Swiping on the earcups’ surface give you access to an array of functions from skipping tracks to controlling the volume right at your fingertips.
Comfort-wise, the WH-1000XM3 doesn’t let down. By swapping out metal for hard plastic in the chassis, you get a lightweight and super comfortable fit around your head. The softer and wider earcups also fit snuggly around your ears and are suitable for extended periods of use.
Most importantly, the sound on the WH-1000XM3 is exceptional. The bass, mids and highs are perfectly balanced with each shining through in different genres of music. The wide soundstage also allows for a clear distinction between the sounds of instruments. And of course, Sony’s industry-leading ANC is apparent in the WH-1000MX3 as well.
The price tag might once again be holding you back. But for the premium quality and amazing sound, I would say the price is worth it. Furthermore, with the rumoured release of the WH-1000XM4, prices for the WH-1000XM3 are likely to go down, no guarantee though!
So unless you plan to wait for the next release,
A case could be made that the WH-1000XM3 is a tad expensive, but I would say the price is justified for what you’re getting. Furthermore, with the rumoured release of the WH-1000XM4 coming soon, prices for the WH-1000XM3 are likely to go down if you plan on waiting which makes me struggle to find a drawback for these headphones aside from its name. But until then, you’re looking at the most complete pair of headphones at the moment.
- Exceptional ANC
- Amazing sound quality
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