We humans are simple creatures. Sometimes all we need is a roof over our heads, a hot meal every now and then, and the best wireless headphones money can buy. If you’ve found yourself pining after the top of the range cable-free experience, you’ve come to the right place. And, oh, what an experience it will be.
Whether you’re after the clarity and precision of a well-crafted, perfectly tuned audio experience, battery life that’ll make you feel like you’ve discovered some kind of perpetual motion machine between charges, or just the ability to drown out any and all background noise in an attempt to focus on your top tracks, you’ll find it all up here with the big players.
3 Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones Under $500
Bose QuietComfort 35
With the QuietComfort 35s, Bose has improved upon the already incredible performance of the QC 25s in terms of both audio quality and noise cancellation. Bose basically invented active noise cancellation as we most commonly use it today, and nowhere is that expertise more obvious than in this top of the range, must buy pair of headphones.
Beat Solo3 Wireless
Beats have knocked it out of the park with their Solo3 Wireless. Improving on the 15-hour battery life of their predecessors with a 40-hour offering, the combination of a great design, strong feature set, and very solid listening experience make these a fantastic purchase if you’re looking to spend this much on wireless headphones.
Sony’s MDR-1000X is a bold proposition that has attempted to dethrone Bose in the active noise cancellation realm and deliver a top-quality audio experience. Unfortunately, although it comes close to both, it cannot fully achieve either. It’s a solid product, but go Bose for noise cancellation, or dispense with it and look elsewhere for audio bang for your buck.
Where to even start? It’s all pretty great. Best of all, though, is the fact that you can find exactly what you need whilst making far fewer trade-offs than you would at other price ranges. If you’ve put the time in to evaluate all of your options, then you will be all too aware that buying a new pair of wireless headphones—as with so many things in life—is often a game of finding the perfect balance between an often large range of features and properties in order to end up with the best possible product for your individual needs.
At this price point, however, you’re not going to have quite so much trouble. Pretty much everything that retails for this price (with some exceptions, of course) is going to function well across the board. And by ‘well’ we mean there won’t be a whole lot more you can ask for.
If we were to pick one thing which many top of the range headphones are somewhat lacking in, it would have to be visual design. It’s typically understood that people who are willing to spend the most on headphones—even the traditionally less ‘purist’ market that is wireless headphones—are far more interested in performance than looks. And this, broadly, remains the case. However, the upper end of the headphone market is long overdue an update in terms of aesthetic. A lot of brands opt for generic—though premium in terms of build quality—design which don’t make much of a statement.
Maybe that’s something that bothers you, and maybe it isn’t. Either way, you’ll tend to find more unique style in the $200 range so consider checking it out if, for you, form is just as important as function.
What to Look For
There are a number of things to check for when making the decision to buy a top-end piece of audio equipment. It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s highly recommended that you check out all of the common price brackets before rushing straight to the top. Not only can this potentially save you some money, but you will also get a great sense of what kind of attributes you can expect to find, and what each does well relative to the price points both above and below it.
One thing that is of particular note to those purchasing at this price bracket is active noise cancellation. While even a $50 pair of headphones can provide something in the way of passive noise cancellation, actively blocking background noise is a totally different game. If this is key to you, be sure to get your hands on a pair before purchasing to see how it works for you. It’s often fairly subjective to a point, and there’s nothing like hearing them with your own ears before purchasing.
It’s a lot of money, sure, but it’s also an investment in a quality product that will—as long as everything goes to plan—last you a long time, and continue to outperform the competition for the foreseeable future. Purchasing at this kind of price range means that the world really is your oyster when it comes to deciding on exactly what kind of listening experience works best for you. And, at the end of the day, customization is the real luxury.