B&O BeoPlay H8
The soft lambskin muffs on the Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H8s are the most comfortable things you’ll ever place against your ears. Those luxury materials are matched by the huge sound quality, crisp mids and clear, honeyed bass. It’s the sort of fidelity you’d expect from a pair of wired headphones. AptX codecs produce a less compressed sounding Bluetooth connection, so there’s less of a compromise in quality when you choose to go without a cable. Throw in active noise cancellation that will last 16 hours on a single charge, and you’ve got one of the best (and certainly one of the more expensive) pairs of wireless headphones around.
Sony is waging all-out war on noise, and the catchily named MDR-1000X headphones is its nuclear option. Launching in October, the sleekly designed over-ears use microphones both inside and outside the cups to track unwanted sounds and obliterate them before they reach your ears. The things even measure the shape and density of your head to customise a noise-cancellation algorithm that’s suited to your specific skull, and can compensate for glasses wearers whose frames break the cushioned seal of the earpads. If even half of that is marketing nonsense, it’s still a serious step up in noise cancellation tech that’s sure to pique the interest of anyone who has to travel by train every day.
Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless
Designed for the discerning business traveller (wonderfully illustrated by the promo shot to the left, in which a man wears them while commuting on his private jet), the PXC 550s are a quietly serious looking pair of wireless headphones. Noise-cancellation blocks out engine noise and rattling champagne buckets during your final descent into Monaco. Elsewhere these tech-heavy cans are crammed full of features. One ear is a touchpad used for music and call controls, which you can double tap to start listening to external sounds rather than blocking them.
Bose QC 35
Seemingly the choice of pretty much every commuter in London, the Bose QC 35 headphones sit in that sweet spot between sound quality, comfort, noise-busting and cost. They manage to cram the same active noise cancellation features of their wired cousins into a wireless version that runs off a charge rather than a AAA battery.
Jabra Halo Smart
Wireless earphones are pretty much essential if you’re jogging, cycling, or engaging in any activity that would cause a cable to flap around your body wreaking havok like an angry snake. The Jabra Halo Smart are the wireless in-ears I wear while cycling to the office, and the audio quality is decent enough for phone calls and turn-by-turn directions. The adjustable back-of-the-neck brace grips snugly, and features controls for music playback as well as Google and Siri voice commands. The buds also snap together magnetically, to prevent troublesome tangles.