The best headphones to invest in right now
Plug in, zone out
Presents sorted, food bought, house ready for the festivities: your Christmas preparation is complete. But once the celebrations are over, and family and friends have departed your abode, you’ll need some serious R&R. And what better way to wind down than with a well-curated Spotify playlist and a pair of slick new headphones? From the most stylish to the best all-rounder, these are the set of audio cans to cop.
The stylish one: B&W PX
Thanks to its subtle blue, gold and black colourway, the PX by audio master Bowers & Wilkins is perhaps the most luxurious pair of headphones you can invest in right now. The first ever wireless offering by B&W, the PX combines aluminium, leather and “ballistic nylon” in order to hit the sweet spot between a durable build and lightweight construction.
The clincher: the choice of three noise cancellation modes: ‘Flight’ blocks out engine noises and cabin sounds; ‘City’ keeps external noise to a minimum but still keeps you aware of your surroundings; and ‘Office’ limits your colleagues’ chatter but allows you to hear any important conversations that are nearby.
The budget one: Urbanears Plattan 2
Since the late Noughties, Urbanears has amassed somewhat of a cult following – and it’s easy to see why. Not only are they some of the most affordable yet stylish pair of headphones on the planet (this particular model carries a price tag of only £45), but the flexible 3D Hinge (which adapts to the shape of your head perfectly) and extra isolated ear cushions guarantee unrivalled comfort.
The clincher: the Plattan 2 can collapse and be folded up, making it perfect to slip inside a holdall or suitcase.
Urbanears Plattan 2
The all-rounder: Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
You’ll struggle to find many over-ear headphones that can rival the HD 4.5 when it comes to aesthetics – it’s simplistic, minimalistic and will blend in with almost all environments. Better still, unlike plenty of style-led cans, there’s still a huge emphasis on sound. Due to the proprietary drivers, listeners are given a bold yet clear, powerful yet crisp tonality. Moreover, this set comes with all the features needed from any modern headset, including noise-cancellation, a durable build and a wireless design.
The clincher: for the price you pay, you get some serious bang for your buck.
Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
The best wireless: Bose QuietComfort 35 II
What headphone round-up would be complete without the mention of Bose? None is the answer. For longer than any of its competitors, the American audio titan has been the go-to brand for when you want to stop your surroundings from interfering with your music, and the latest QuietComfort not only ensures a noise-free commute or flight, but having finally cut the cord from its range, it’ll also allow give you a fuss-free listening experience. Moreover, its new features – including Google assistant and voice-controlled playback – just strengthen Bose’s credentials.
The clincher: with 20 hours of noise-cancelling playback, the QuietComfort has one of the best batteries on the market.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The one for the gym: Jabra Elite Sport
Technically speaking, these aren’t ‘headphones’ per se, but when you’re pounding the pavement or hauling the dumbbells, the last thing you want is weight on your head. The Jabra Elite Sport earbuds, with their cord-free design and lack of heft, will ensure you’ll avoid such an issue.
The clincher: concealed within these earbuds is a heart-rate monitor (which works with the Jabra Sport app) as well as a programme that will talk you through several pre-programmed workouts.
Jabra Elite Sport
Need some tunes to go with your headphones? Here are the 25 albums every gent needs.