The Best Bluetooth Headset

Updated on 3 February 2023

After 29 hours of a comparison of 43 of the most popular Bluetooth headsets and our testing of 9 of them, we believe the Soundcore Life Q35 is the best value for money around.

This comparison is certified 100% impartial and follows our selection process.

Our choice, Best mid-range

Soundcore Life Q35

If you want to invest in an effective active noise-cancelling headset without breaking the bank, this is the model for you. It also offers good sound quality and a good level of comfort.

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Soundcore Life Q35

With its excellent price/performance ratio, the Soundcore Life Q35 managed to surprise us. It stands out for its very good sound quality, even if it can sometimes lack precision, and its effective active noise reduction, which managed to isolate us during our train journeys. We would have liked to see a bit more metal in the design and airier ear pads, as the leatherette made our ears warm during our test. This doesn’t detract from the quality of the helmets, which are still an excellent solution.

 

Best budget

Jabra Elite 45h

This on-ear model is an interesting solution for anyone on a tight budget. Like its big brother, it is a champion of endurance, as well as offering a homogeneous sound reproduction.

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Jabra Elite 45h

The Elite 45h is Jabra’s solution for those looking for an effective headset on a tight budget. It offers a pleasant audio experience despite its bass tendency. It suffers from a lack of precision, which is not too surprising at this price point. Comfort is of an interesting level, but our tester notes that its ear-level design won’t please everyone. Autonomy is its greatest virtue, with a record endurance of 58 hours.

 

Best High-End

Sony WH-1000XM5

Better than its predecessor, it’s the best choice if you’re looking for versatile headphones and are willing to pay the price. It has the best noise reduction at this price and delivers a very accurate sound.

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Sony WH-1000XM5

These headphones offer an excellent sound performance thanks to dynamic, detailed and highly customisable audio through its complete application. In addition, it is compatible with the highest codecs (SBC, AAC, LDAC, DSEE Extreme) and has one of the best active noise cancellations on the market. Compared to the previous version, its microphones guarantee better call quality. During our test, we found the design to be simple, lightweight and comfortable, with ear cushions that wrap around the ears without generating pressure. It is very pleasant to use, its touch controls are also intuitive, responsive and comprehensive, and it has multipoint connectivity. Battery life is about 30 hours (ANC on), but it can be used in wired mode. Unfortunately, it is not the most suitable model for sports use and does not fold up completely.

 

High-End alternative

Sennheiser Momentum 4

With an exceptional range as their main selling point, these Sennheiser headphones are very attractive. Despite their high price, they boast excellent sound quality and a robust, comfortable design.

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Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

This on-ear model has a simple design and offers a balanced and clean sound. The sound experience is customisable in the Smart Control app, but not the most successful in our opinion. Its noise reduction is effective, as the headset automatically adjusts to the environment, and the transparent mode is also interesting. It has multi-touch connectivity and the touch controls are fairly straightforward, but its great strength is the exceptional battery life (up to 60 hours). It can also operate in wired mode. However, in our test, this option showed some weaknesses. We appreciated the great comfort provided by the two leatherette ear cushions that envelop the ears without causing the slightest pain after several hours of listening. On the other hand, they do not fold up and the support is insufficient for sports use.

 

Our selection

Our choice, Best mid-rangeBest budgetBest High-EndHigh-End alternative
Soundcore Life Q35 Jabra Elite 45h Sony WH-1000XM5 Sennheiser Momentum 4
If you want to invest in an effective active noise-cancelling headset without breaking the bank, this is the model for you. It also offers good sound quality and a good level of comfort. This on-ear model is an interesting solution for anyone on a tight budget. Like its big brother, it is a champion of endurance, as well as offering a homogeneous sound reproduction. Better than its predecessor, it's the best choice if you're looking for versatile headphones and are willing to pay the price. It has the best noise reduction at this price and delivers a very accurate sound. With an exceptional range as their main selling point, these Sennheiser headphones are very attractive. Despite their high price, they boast excellent sound quality and a robust, comfortable design.
£ 113.99 on Amazon £ 64.99 on Amazon £ 272.99 on Amazon £ 269.00 on Amazon

 

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How did we test?

To test the different helmets, we go through several stages. Once unpacked, we handle the different models to determine their strength and overall material quality. We then tried them on to determine the level of comfort and judge the ergonomics.

We then conducted an actual test with a 1-2 hour listening session based on a defined playlist, allowing us to evaluate the full audio potential of the headphones. The playlist ranged from video game soundtracks to hard rock, jazz and soul. We also made calls in different environments and took the opportunity to evaluate the acoustic isolation. These steps also allowed us to test the autonomy.

 

How to choose your bluetooth headset?

The biggest difficulty when buying a Bluetooth headset lies in the multitude of models on the market and the minimal budget you have to invest to get something of good quality.

Casque Bluetooth

In order to make the best possible choice and get a headset that will perfectly suit your needs, you need to consider some essential characteristics beforehand:  

  • Audio quality: to judge the quality of a headset, you need to look at the sound frequency reproduction, which is usually represented by a graph. The flatter the line, the more accurate the quality. For your information, the human ear is sensitive to frequencies between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. Generally, an application that allows the sound to be rebalanced is included, in order to avoid distortion.

Bose QC45

  • Noise insulation: Active Noise Control (ANC) is becoming increasingly common in current models. It uses a system of microphones to detect and attenuate external sound sources. But even without this feature, some headsets have a good passive insulation in noisy environments, thanks to the thickness and the size of their cushioned ear pads. On the other hand, the Hear Through mode lets you hear ambient sounds. 

Jabra Elite 85h

  • Comfort: this is essential because you are likely to wear your headphones for many hours. Check the headband options, the material of the headband and cushioned ear pads, and the density of the foam used for cushioning. Around-the-ear headphones are more comfortable and have better noise insulation than over-the-ear headphones, but they tend to retain heat.
  • Mobility: it is influenced by various factors. The main one is undoubtedly autonomy. It should be as long as possible. Features such as ANC tend to reduce it drastically. Another factor is the compactness of the headset so that it can be easily stored when not in use. For this purpose, some models are foldable and have a dedicated cover to protect them.

Sony WH-CH710N

  • Controls: it is highly recommended that you look at the physical controls built into your headset. These are often located on the earpieces and can be gathered into one centralised button or several. They are very useful when you are moving, as you don’t have to take your device out to manage your audio content. On some headsets, you can set them up via a dedicated application. 

 

Other models we recommend

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (£249.00 upon publication): excellent noise reduction. This high-end model is primarily intended for users who enjoy music at home. It, therefore, focuses much more on sound quality and noise reduction than on mobility. It is also the perfect solution for indoor isolation and allows you to make calls of excellent quality.

Sony WH-1000XM4 (£249.00 upon publication): a more affordable alternative to the XM5. These comfortable headphones reduce sound leakage thanks to their thick ear cushions. The audio processor is powerful, allowing for better track processing and a wide soundstage. Active noise reduction is also among the best on the market, with a multipoint connection. Despite its recent attractive price reduction, it is outperformed by its most recent version.

Apple AirPods Max (£629.00 upon publication): designed for the elite… AirPods Max is the only headphones from Apple. They manage to compete with the best options on the market, especially in terms of sound quality. However, this pleasing observation does not rule out some shortcomings, namely: lack of versatility, considerable weight, treble that lacks definition and bass that lacks impact. Moreover, their price is also questionable considering that Sony’s high-end headphones outperform them.

 

Other models tested

Sony WH-CH710N (£79.89 upon publication): this model is an excellent alternative in view of its low price and performance, but it is outperformed in terms of audio performance by many other helmets in its range.

Sony WH-XB910N (£119.99 upon publication): despite its convenience, comprehensive application and great autonomy, its sound reproduction would have deserved much more attention, which makes it irrelevant compared to its direct competitors.

Jabra Elite 85h (£186.43 upon publication): made of fabric and artificial leather, these headphones have a precise, powerful and balanced sound with deep bass. They have good battery life and a multipoint connection. One of their special features is their IP52 certification, which makes them resistant to rain and dust. Unfortunately, there is some latency when using Bluetooth and the headband is not the most comfortable.

Bose QuietComfort 45 (£249.95 upon publication): despite its excellent comfort, rich and balanced sound and effective active noise reduction, this model disappointed us with its lack of naturalness and the limitations of its app.

 

 

Translated by Ramsés El Hajje 

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