Now that Apple has confirmed that the new iPhone 7 will not have a headphone jack when it arrives in stores Sept. 16, Apple fans are preparing to enter the age of wireless headphones. But consumers have been embracing the convenience of Bluetooth headphones for months.
In fact, according to the research firm NPD, sales of wireless headphones eclipsed those of models that still rely on cords in June.
During today's press event, Apple unveiled new wireless AirPods outfitted with a proprietary computer chip that makes pairing unnecessary. When the AirPods are placed in your ears, the music starts to play. When you remove them, it pauses. The company's W1 chip will soon appear in headphones manufactured by Apple's Beats subsidiary as well.
If you don't want to wait until late October, when the AirPods go on sale, though, here are five great wireless headphones selected from our ratings.
Sony h.ear MDR-EX750BT
These $200 Bluetooth headphones are ideal for life on the go. In addition to very good sound quality, they have a built-in microphone, which comes in handy when you're fielding calls on your smartphone. And, though the model has no noise-canceling technology, the in-ear design will at least muffle the din from leaf blowers, jet engines, and other nuisances that threaten to interfere with your listening pleasure.
Those with a more discerning ear will appreciate these $200 Bluetooth headphones. The on-ear design and very good sound quality make them a smart choice for those who love listening to music and immersing themselves in movie soundtracks. Better yet, the model's built-in memory stores pairing info for up to eight devices facilitating quick connections to your smartphone, tablet, and music player. The generous 24-month warranty is worth noting, too.
Parrot Zik 3
If music and style are equally important to you, these $400 Philippe Starck-designed Bluetooth headphones strike a nice balance between form and function. Beneath that slightly retro, minimalist look, you'll find very good sound quality, excellent active-noise reduction, and useful features that let you quickly change settings via gesture control (on the right ear cup) or the model's mobile app. And, like the Audio Technica headphones above, the Parrot Zik 3 also has a 24-month warranty.
Jabra Sport Coach Wireless
If you like to listen to music when you work out (and who doesn't?), this $84 pair of Bluetooth headphones offers some extra motivation. It comes with an integrated cross-training app that lets you choose from more than 50 exercises. It also includes a built-in mic, integrated volume controls, and a motion sensor to help you measure distance traveled, pace, steps, cadence, and calories burned. And the model features elements of in-ear and earbud design, which is useful for keeping the headphones on your ears and the music flowing inside them while you strive to get your heartbeat up. As for sound quality, our testers rate it very good.
MEE audio X7 Plus
Thanks to the earhooks and the three pairs of earpieces of varying sizes tucked inside the package, these $100 Bluetooth headphones fit snugly and stay in place, even during vigorous workouts. Along the way, they also deliver very good sound quality—not to mention a built-in microphone and integrated smartphone controls. And they come with protective carrying case, so you can safely stow them away when you're done with your run.
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