With so many headphones on the market and features on offer -- from wireless devices to Bluetooth, sensor-based motion detection, and inbuilt microphones, it can be difficult to find the right one for business and other purposes.
Price points vary these days; from cheap-and-cheerful kits at 10 dollars to expensive, feature-laden headphones sold for hundreds.
If you are a business user, you may want stylish sets that also include useful features. Wireless products take away the annoyance of dealing with wires across your desk, while noise cancellation can help block out distracting noise not only at work but while traveling and commuting.
So, what are some of the latest headphones on the market worth considering? ZDNet finds out.
Not much time? Check out the abridged version below:
1. Libratone Q Adapt wireless on-ear headphones, $249 (£219)
One for minimalists among us, the Libratone Q Adapt are unusual headphones which have stripped away anything excessive. Small ear cups, a thin band, and solid build, these headphones are perfect for commuting.
Despite the minimalist design, these headphones felt very firm and comfortable during testing on the underground. The CityMix noise control also managed to successfully block out a range of external noise. Your music can also be controlled by touch gestures.
The good: Gorgeous design | Great for blocking out travel noise | Minimalist
The bad: They won't appeal to everyone | Bass production could be improved
Verdict: Best for commuting and lightweight travel.
2. Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 noise-canceling headphones, $199.99 (£176.49)
These headphones are, in one word, gorgeous. Leather and metal, modern lines and a stable build, they are likely to suit the tastes of business travels and consumers alike.
The product is wireless and comes equipped with Bluetooth, sensors which you can use to automatically pause music when you take them off -- and resume when you put them back on -- and you can also control your music by using a scroller wheel on the left ear cup.
A handy switch on the left allows you to switch channels to listen to a microphone, as well as turn noise cancellation on or off.
The good: Excellent audio quality | Incredible bass for the price point | Fantastic noise cancellation | Urban design
The bad: The "maximum" volume warnings can be annoying | A tighter fit and more adjustability would improve the headset
Verdict: A stylish set of headphones which justify the price.
3. Sennheiser PXC 550 wireless noise-canceling headphones, $320 (£319.99)
The Sennheiser PXC 550 wireless headphones have little to criticize. The wireless, Bluetooth enabled device -- with a battery life of up to 30 hours -- is a very comfortable and lightweight product to use.
The audio quality of these headphones sent me to my happy place, whether or not I was traveling in crowded areas. The noise-cancellation was the strongest out of all the reviewed headphones, and if you choose to control your music by sliding your fingers across the right ear cup, you need to apply some pressure -- which prevents accidentally switching or changing the volume.
The good: Long battery life | Comfortable | Stunning audio quality | Good bass
The bad: A more modern design in the future could drum up more interest.
Verdict: Attractive price point and a quality product for business users and commuters alike.
4. BTS Pro Bluetooth wireless headphones, $99.99 (£49.99)
These headphones are a fair option for commuters who like to cycle to work. With roughly 40 hours battery life, the Bluetooth-enabled wireless earbuds have a range of 100 meters and fold up for portable use.
The audio quality is fair, although taking calls leaves something to be desired.
See also: ZDNet review
The good: Quick charging | Suitable for running/exercise | 40 hours battery life
The bad: Not the most comfortable headset on the market | The design will only appeal to a niche market.
Verdict: Lightweight, portable and adaptable headphones likely appeal to those on the go who also want a product suitable for exercise.
5. Jabra Evolve 75, $279 (£285)
A headset with a microphone suitable for business use, the Jabra Evolve 75 is a product designed for the open office.
The Jabra comes with a Bluetooth adapter so you can use the headset without relying on wires at your PC and when it comes to sound quality for calls is great -- but music, not so much. These are the kind of headphones you would leave on the office desk rather than use them for multiple purposes.
The good: Good call audio quality | Excellent price point | Fair noise-canceling capabilities
The bad: The headset tends to slide and not remain firmly on your head | Microphone is not adjustable | The design is dated
Verdict: A fair business product, but does not quite match the price point.
6. Urbanista Seattle, $99 (£88.99)
The Urbanista Seattle headset is a wireless model with Bluetooth compatibility. With a battery life of up to 12 hours, the product -- compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows -- uses "Soft Touch control" to allow users to control their volume, track, or answer calls by sliding a finger across one of the ear cups.
The good: Excellent outside noise reduction | Good bass notes | Overall strong audio quality
The bad: Accidentally brushing against the ear cups can switch songs without meaning to | Limited Bluetooth range
Verdict: A decent set of headphones for the morning commute at a very fair price point, but it takes practice to learn how to use the controls.
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