It’s not just sound quality that counts
The finest sounding (and best noise-cancelling) cans are the Parrot Zik, closely followed by the BeoPlay H8. The Zik’s clean, balanced audio is tweakable in-app, while B&O delivers surprisingly deep, rich sound for on-ear cans. Philips’ closed-back set offers good passive sound isolation and a measured soundstage with dynamic bass.
Sennheiser makes good on its promise of a big, bassy club sound that isn’t overpowering, while the Jabra set is punchy, but bass can drown out the mid range a little. The Plantronics cans offer great, measured audio for most music styles; fantastic wireless range, 25-hour (plus!) battery life and voice notifications make up for their less impressive ANC. By contrast, Parrot’s Zik headphones are let down by poor five-hour battery life, weak range and ill-thought-out, appbased pairing/ANC controls. B&O’s and Philips’ cans were most likely to suffer dropouts and interference. Sennheiser’s battery almost matched Plantronics’, while Jabra’s and B&O’s cans managed 10-12 hours.