Practical, stylish, big and small – we round up the latest headphones on the market
Beats Solo3 Wireless US$299.95 beatsbydre.com iPhone users should be especially eager to get their hands on these headphones by Beats, one of only three non-Apple branded sets to include the new W1 chip for seamless syncing – the others being Beats’ Powerbeats3 and BeatsX wireless in-ear headphones. Convenience isn’t the only reason to consider them – they are also a cracking all-round option, whether you’re bowling down Oxford Street, listening to a podcast or running a cable out of them to watch La La Land during a flight. Beats seems keen to move away from its blingy image of yore, with the gloss black and gloss white versions dominating the ad campaigns, but they also come in rose gold, gold, silver, red and ultra violet. The battery lasts an astonishing 40 hours, with just five minutes of charge giving you three hours’ playback. Bowers and Wilkins P9 Signature US$895 bowers-wilkins.net If money is no object and you don’t care about noise cancellation or wireless connectivity, these beauties from Bowers and Wilkins should be near the top of your list. With a retro design featuring brushed aluminium and soft brown leather, everything about these over-ear cans exudes quality. Unlike some top-level headphones, these are made with travelling in mind, with the default cable the perfect length for plugging into your phone (there is also a five-metre version for when you’re in the house), and hinges to (slightly) reduce their size when not in use. Sound quality is excellent, with incredible clarity. Well-moulded cans will also help to block out ambient noise and stop you from driving the person next to you mad by leaking sound into their personal space.
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay H4 US$335 beoplay.com These on-ear headphones are a masterclass in minimalist design, with distinctive gold detailing on each can and beautiful twisted fabric wires visible beneath the headband; wear the H4s and you’ll be the envy of the business class lounge. The lambskin padding is attached to a thin, adjustable headband and they can be folded flat when not in use. The sound is what you’d expect from Bang and Olufsen (great) and a welcome addition is compatibility with the Beoplay app (Android and iPhone), which allows you to customise your listening experience (sound profiles include “commute”, “workout” and “podcast”), and check the remaining battery life. They are wireless but, like most headphones in this category, come with a cable should you want to jack yourself in to the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system. They come in charcoal grey and the battery should last 19 hours. V-Moda Crossfade Wireless headphones from US$270 v-moda.com If you want a pair of headphones you won’t find anybody else wearing, look no further than the V-Moda Crossfade, the striking, futuristic design of which was created in collaboration with top DJs and producers. While the term “rugged” conjures images of boxy iPhone cases, these headphones prove that sturdy doesn’t have to mean ugly – they are designed to last and should survive being chucked in your hand luggage, even without the reinforced carry case they’re sold with. All that polished steel isn’t light, but there is plenty of padding under the headband so they are still comfortable for long listening sessions. They come in four colours – phantom chrome, white silver, gunmetal black and, most eye-catching of all, rouge. The battery will last up to 12 hours, with three hours of playback from only 30 minutes of charging.