Are they functional or frustrating?
The best-realised touch controls are found on the B&Os. Swiping forward/ backward on the H8’s outer surface switches tracks, up/down swipes control ANC, a short press plays/ pauses tracks or answers a call, a long press rejects, cancels and ends calls, and a double press redials. Lastly, a circular swiping gesture adjusts volume. The Zik works similarly but can be overly sensitive, and too many controls are off‑loaded to the app for it to be convenient.
Sennheiser’s single touch panel is well-integrated. Meanwhile, Jabra’s click/swipe controls feel less distinguishable and less sure on its smaller touch pads. Philips’ touch/ click controls are shared between a rickety plastic ring on the right ear cup and the cup itself, and are perhaps the least responsive, especially when pairing and turning on and off. Plantronics’ controls meanwhile are legion: the outer plates click responsively when playing/pausing and taking calls, with intuitive rotary rings on both cups for volume and track control.