The Best Wireless Headsets of February 2020

The Best Wireless Headsets of February 2020


SHIFT 04/02/2020 – Used at home, on the street, in transport or at the office, the headset is the perfect daily companion, after the smartphone of course. Here is our selection of the best helmets of the moment.

  • Tuesday 04 February 2020 at 12:11

Article updated on 04/02/2020 – No newcomer since the Marshall Major III Bluetooth as the best helmet for less than 100€ arrived in this ranking last month. The latter is not new, but being now sold under this tier, it proves to be the best alternative in our opinion in its price range. Finally, please note that those who would also like some advice on how to choose their headphones will find all the necessary information just below the selection.

1. Sony WH-1000XM3, the best Bluetooth noise-reduction headset on the market

The king is dead, long live the king! Sony has finally eclipsed Bose with the third generation of its WH-1000X active noise-reduction headphones. The newborn of the Japanese giant offers simply excellent performance at all levels: sublime sound, best noise reduction on the market, improved comfort compared to the previous model, good autonomy of 30 hours, USB-C allowing a very fast charge, and always a host of features making the headset very pleasant to use. The brand has also retained its tactile controls, of which it has perfect mastery. On the other hand, we regret the absence of Bluetooth 5 and the fact that it is impossible to connect the device to several sources at the same time, too bad. Apart from that, we don’t have much to complain about, except perhaps its high price, and even then, quality comes at a price, and the Sony WH-1000XM3 is without a doubt the best active noise-reduction headphones of the year. A marvel.

 

2. Bose QC35 II, the ex-best headphones, with a lower price now

The king of the nomadic helmets has returned. The successor to the excellent QC 35, which has been at the top of our top headphone rankings for quite some time, is still as good as ever, both in terms of sound, comfort and design. On the other hand, it builds on its achievements, the new version finally brings only one more button to launch the Google Assistant. Given the price of the helmet, no need to change if you already have a QC 35. But if not, don’t hesitate for a second because the QC 35 II is, like its ancestor, a real jewel for audiophiles.

3. JBL Live 650 BTNC, the best value for money headphones

With rich sound at the top end of the market for a better price, the JBL Live 650 BTNC active noise-cancelling wireless headphones offer excellent value for money. Compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa, this one is also very ergonomic and benefits from a sturdy and foldable design to store it more easily in its included pocket. The headset can connect to multiple sources via its Bluetooth 4.2 connection and can be set up using the My JBL Headphone application. Our only criticisms: an autonomy of 20h a little below its most eminent competitors and a reduction of active noise a little less effective. But for 200€, the JBL Live 650 BTNC is clearly a sure value.

 

4. Marshall Major III Bluetooth, the best headset for less than 100 euros

The third version of the Marshall Major has been improved in terms of ergonomics and comfort, and is much more comfortable than the other products of the brand, which are even more expensive. The Bluetooth connection is of an excellent level and AptX compatible, as is the sound rendering, which is really very satisfying despite the bias of proposing a very strong signature, perfect for Rock but a little less so for some other styles. Otherwise, its design is always very stylish with a look reminiscent of the brand’s guitar amps, its 30h autonomy is well above average and its price is always very sweet. A beautiful product.

PCs, tablets, smartphones, docking stations, stereos and even portable music players… headphones always find something to connect to and are never far from our ears. In addition, the Bluetooth protocol has evolved and now provides excellent wireless audio quality and reliable connections. Whether the ayatollah of the jack doesn’t like it or not, the AptX HD and LDAC codecs now even allow the transmission of Hi-Res streams, so that wireless headsets no longer have anything to envy from wired models. Increasingly barded with technology, these listening devices are also beginning to support the PDAs of the tech giants, with the newfeaturebecoming fashionable in recent times, gradually becoming control centres for our various devices.

Beyond pure technical specifications, the criteria for evaluating the qualities of a headset include comfort and musical colour, not to mention the wireless connection and the quality of the active noise reduction systems, which are incorporated in almost all high-end models now, and even some entry-level and mid-range headphones.

Our advice on how to choose

For what purpose(s)?

Whether on transport or in the street, at home, playing video games or playing sports, there are plenty of opportunities to use headphones. It is imperative that you determine (and precisely) the uses you are interested in before going to the checkout. This is a fundamental step in making the right choice. Indeed, the headphone market is very varied and it can be tricky to find your way around. Some products are not versatile and are designed for a specific use. Then better not make a mistake!

What is audio signature?

On the sound side, the ideal headset depends on the music you’re listening to. Not all have the same rendering, each one has its own audio signature, its color, with more or less treble, midrange or bass. For example, you will notice that some models exaggeratedly accentuate the bass, or on the contrary neutralize it. If you like R&B, Hip Hop, then you’ll probably prefer headphones with deep basses to enjoy the rhythm. For classical music, it’s the opposite. For there are many clear instruments whose sounds are masked by an excess of bass. Some ranges of headphones clearly indicate on their packaging the musical styles to be preferred with the different models: rock, jazz and blues, classical or R&B. Of course, good sound is not just a matter of taste. The headphones must have an accurate, rich, low distortion and good spatialization.

What type of connection?

A good Bluetooth connection will ensure low latency and good signal stability, prefer Bluetooth 4 at minimum and if possible Bluetooth 5. This is an important parameter, especially when watching a film or a series. Supported audio codecs are also important. An apt-X or LDAC compatible headset will produce less compressed or even high definition sound. 

Which format to choose?

Circum-aural or Supra-aural? That is the question. Circum-aural headphones isolate well and are often more comfortable than supra-aural headphones (this is not an absolute rule), the sound can also be richer sometimes, but they are large and less portable. The supra-aural is more compact, usually easy to carry but sometimes less sound and often less comfortable since the pressure of the earbuds is applied to our ears. It also benefits from more varied constructions (hoops behind the ears and head).

Which materials for good comfort?

The majority of helmets will offer you soft cushions made of leather (or a similar material). Some rare models offer fabric or velvet cushions. It is comfortable but also much warmer, which is useful in winter but annoying in summer. In general, prefer real leather, which is more durable over time. Or even better, opt for a model with removable and easily replaceable cushions, there are quite a few on the market but this detail is not always mentioned.

Why you can trust us

CNET France has been online for nearly 15 years and is a reference site for high-tech leisure activities. Our recommendations are based on a large number of independent tests and comparisons, technical observations and in-depth knowledge of the market. Our tests and expertise focus on product usage and value for money to help you make the right choice.

Join the conversation

You May Also Like