Whether it’s the soulful sound of Ray Charles' "I Can't Stop Loving You," the poetic beauty of George Harrison's "Something," or the tender melody of Taylor Swift's “Love Story,” music has a way of cutting to the heart. So why not put that magic to good use with your Valentine's Day gifts? (Learn how to find Valentine's Day deals online.)
Remember the power of the mix tape? Well, today you don't even have to buy the cassette to impress that certain someone with your DJ skills. You simply create a playlist on a streaming music service such as Spotify. Then you purchase a great pair of headphones or a wireless speaker as a gift (see below for items approved by our testers) and use that present to unveil your masterpiece.
What happens next? We'll leave that up to you.
Jabra Elite Sport
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If your Valentine loves using the latest technology and you don't mind spending $250, these earbuds from Jabra are a fine choice. They're "truly wireless," which means there are no cords at all—as a listener, you're free to move about the world without fear of snags.
Just so you know, though, this technology is not without its problems. In our labs, models from other manufacturers didn't sync properly. The touch controls were spotty, too. But Jabra's truly wireless earbuds performed as promised, and they delivered very good sound quality. (By contrast, Apple's AirPods rated just good.)
What's more, the Jabras come with a built-in heart-rate monitor. Don't expect it to measure the power of your love, but it will gauge the intensity of your workouts.
Bose QuietComfort 35
These days we value headphones not just for their ability to deliver great sound but also for their ability to shield our ears from the clamor of daily life. And Bose headphones consistently top the charts in our noise-canceling ratings.
Case in point: These $350 wireless studio-style headphones, which provide excellent sound quality and excellent active noise reduction. That means you can enjoy top-notch music and movie soundtracks in relative peace—no matter where you go. If the world outside your ears threatens to disturb you, you simply adjust, via a mobile app, how much ambient noise the headphones block out and return to the bliss of Beyoncé or Beethoven.
Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless
Although wireless headphones have come down in price in recent years, the studio-style models we recommend often sell for well beyond $200. That’s what makes this pair from Sennheiser so attractive. They deliver very good sound quality for as low as $185 at some online retailers.
A great option for music lovers who want the flexibility of a Bluetooth headphone without having to compromise on sound, they feature a sturdy design with stainless steel hinges and aluminum sliders that retract into the headband for an adjustable fit.
beats by dre powerbeats2 wireless
The beats by dre brand, now owned by Apple, has always enjoyed a certain cache with the in crowd. But these $140 headphones offer style and substance. Thanks to very good sound quality, they rank among the top models in our wireless portable headphone ratings.
Bose SoundLink Color II
This low-priced compact Bluetooth speaker, $130, packs a surprising amount of power for its size. The sound is good. And the design comes in black, white, red, or blue. According to Bose, the SoundLink Color II is also water-resistant, so if you splash a little bubbly on the speaker, you’ll still be able to play your favorite song—loud enough to fill a kitchen or dining room with music.
JBL Pulse 2
Sometimes it takes a little more than music to pump up a party. With the push of a button, this $200 wireless speaker breaks into an interactive LED light show—presenting special effects that you can tweak via a mobile app. But the JBL Pulse 2 is more than a novelty. According to our testers, it produces good sound quality, too.
Sonos Play:5 (2015)
If you really want to show someone that your love has no bounds, consider buying a pair of these wireless speakers as a Valentine's Day gift. One Sonos Play:5 (2015) produces very good sound. But two—paired in a stereo configuration—raise the bar to excellent. And Sonos' wireless speakers link easily via WiFi to create a multiroom sound system capable of playing different selections in different rooms.
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