Headphones have become an integral part of the life of modern people — they are used during sports, studies, transport and even at work. But the abundance of manufacturers and models on the market complicates the choice. In this article, we’ll take a look at 3 wireless over-ear headphones that feature great sound, excellent noise isolation, and a variety of smart features. Read on to find out which headphones made it to our top.
How was it evaluated
The maximum score for each criterion is 5 points. Each model was evaluated relative to other headphones from the rating.
The Bluetooth version primarily affects data transfer speed and power efficiency. Accordingly, the higher the version, the more reliable and faster the data transfer.
Please note that for a certain version to work, both headphones and a smartphone must support it. That is, if your phone has Bluetooth 5.0, and the headphones have 5.2, then the connection will be via Bluetooth 5.0.
The highest score will be for headphones with the latest version of Bluetooth — 5.2.
The sound is affected by which audio codec is used when transmitting sound (both devices must also support it):
- SBC is the standard codec for Bluetooth. In terms of sound quality, it is difficult to distinguish it from aptX or AAC, but it has a delay in the transmission of sound (100 or more ms), which means that when watching a video, the image and sound are out of sync. Can work with different data rates.
- LC3 is the successor to SBC (only available in Bluetooth 5.2).
- AAC is the main and only (except for SBC) codec for Apple devices, for Android users it does not make sense.
- aptX is the base codec from Qualcomm (manufacturers must buy a license to use it). The synchronization of sound and picture when watching a video or playing games is better than that of SBC (less than 120ms latency). The data rate is always 352 kbps.
- aptX LL — not widely used. The main focus is on reducing delays in signal transmission in games and videos (delay up to 40 ml).
- LDAC is a proprietary codec from Sony, similar to aptX. Most often found in headphones from Sony and in devices running Android 8 and higher.
The longer the headphones last on a single charge and the faster they charge, the higher the score.
We analyzed user reviews and got a subjective parameter.
All models from our selection are equipped with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and a “transparency” mode. The first muffles environmental noise using external microphones, the second, on the contrary, allows external noise to pass through (a useful feature, for example, when cycling around the city). Therefore, when evaluating models, we will also focus on user reviews.
When ANC is enabled, the battery drains faster.
Sensitivity is responsible for the volume of the sound, the diameter of the speaker is responsible for the bass. You can read about how these and other parameters work and what they affect here.
The best wireless over-ear headphones
Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless
Bluetooth 5.0. Range — 10 m. Excellent quality of communication, without breaks. While watching a video, there is no desynchronization between the picture and the sound.
SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX LL (Low Latency).
Battery capacity — 700 mAh. Music playback time with ANC enabled is 17 hours. Charging time (via USB Type‑C port) — 3 hours. There is support for fast charging — 1.5 hours of music playback after 10 minutes at the outlet.
The battery charge can be found by holding the play button for 2 seconds or in the application.
Balanced and energetic sound. The correct construction of the scene, excellent detail. There is a slight emphasis on low frequencies.
4 microphones, 3 noise reduction modes and 2 “transparency” modes. 3 ANC modes:
- Max — cuts off low-frequency rumble, public transport noise;
- Anti-Wind — for outdoor use;
- Anti-Pressure — for rooms.
You can select noise reduction modes in the application. Directly on the headphones themselves, there is only switching between ANC Max, the “transparency” mode (Transparent Hearing) and turning off both functions. The noise canceling works great, especially in the low-frequency range, feels comfortable (doesn’t put pressure on the ears) and doesn’t affect the sound.
- frequency range — 6–22,000 Hz;
- sensitivity — 118 dB;
- impedance — active mode: 470 ohms, passive mode: 100 ohms;
- speaker diameter — 42 mm;
- 3 ways to connect to the source: via Bluetooth, via an audio cable (removable 1.4 m long) or via USB;
- support for the “Multipoint” function (work with two devices);
- quick source pairing (NFC);
- automatic on / off function when folded;
- smart pause function (pause playback when removed / resume when put on the head);
- there is a proprietary application for iOS and Android (equalizer, headphone search);
- controls are located on the right cup (volume control, multifunction key, ANC / Transparent Hearing mode switch, pairing / calling a voice assistant);
- folding design;
- weight — 305 g.
Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless cost 23,490 rubles. Available in black and white.
- detailed and powerful sound;
- good noise suppression;
- comfortable fit (soft ear cushions, comfortable clamping force);
- smart functions;
- high-quality communication without breaks.
- autonomy (less than competitors);
- no protection against moisture;
- high price.
5.0. Operating range — 10 m. Interference minimum.
SBC, AAC, LDAC.
Operating time / battery:
Battery life on a full charge is up to 30 hours with noise cancellation and 38 hours without it. Charging from 0 to 100% takes 3 hours. A 10-minute charge provides 5 hours of music playback.
Good sound without distortion. Moderately powerful bass, smooth mids, not bright high frequencies, excellent detail.
Powered by the HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1 and the new SoC, the WH-1000XM4 delivers near-complete isolation of music from the outside world with one of the best noise cancellations on the market. Moreover, ANC automatically adjusts to the situation. The more often you visit the same places, the better noise reduction works, thanks to remembering the coordinates of places (can be configured in the application).
The noise of transport (train, plane, bus) is suppressed very efficiently.
- frequency range — 4–40,000 Hz (wired connection); 20–20,000 Hz (wireless);
- sensitivity — 104 dB;
- impedance — 47 Ohm;
- speaker diameter — 40 mm;
- possibility of wired connection (detachable cable 1.2 m long);
- the ability to connect two devices;
- NFC for one-touch source pairing;
- there is a proprietary application (equalizer, noise reduction adjustment);
- real-time music analysis with Edge-AI for accurate sound;
- “Speak to Chat” — automatically stop playback when you start talking (recognition sensitivity can be adjusted in the application);
- pause playback when headphones are removed, auto resume when re-putting on;
- adaptive sound control (setting the sound depending on the location, for example, indoors or on the road);
- controls are located on the right side (the “Custom” button switches between noise reduction (“NC”) modes, ambient sound “Ambient Sound” and launches NC Optimiser for automatic sound calibration, it must be turned on before using the headphones for the first time);
- folding design;
- weight — 254 g.
Sony WH-1000XM4 cost from 22,999 rubles. Available in 4 colors: silver, white, blue, black.
- detailed and dynamic sound;
- excellent noise suppression;
- excellent autonomy;
- many smart functions;
- light and comfortable.
- no IP rating;
- aptX is not supported.
Huawei FreeBuds Studio
5.2. Stable connection with the source within a radius of 10 meters, even if there are several walls between the headphones and the sound source. No picture and sound out of sync.
AAC, SBC and proprietary Huawei L2HC codec (the latter only for company phones on EMUI 11, such as Huawei P40)
Operating time / battery:
Battery capacity — 410 mAh. With noise cancellation turned on, they can work for 20 hours on a single discharge (and 24 hours without active noise cancellation). It only takes 70 minutes to fully charge, and a 10-minute charge gives you 5 hours of use. The package does not include a power adapter.
Quality sound. Balanced, with a slight emphasis on low frequencies. Compared to the rest — simpler, but overall good.
There are 6 microphones (4 — from the outside, 2 — inside), 3 levels of noise reduction (comfortable for the office, normal for a cafe and ultra for airplanes), “transparency” mode and automatic adjustment. Doesn’t affect sound.
Quality, works well in the low and medium frequencies. At the level of other options, it is worse than the leaders of the segment (for example, Sony WH-1000XM4), but more effective than the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless (it cuts off a little more mid-frequency noise).
- frequency range — 4–48000 Hz;
- the manufacturer did not specify the sensitivity and impedance;
- speaker diameter — 40 mm;
- the ability to connect to two devices;
- there is a proprietary application, not available for iOS (equalizer, noise reduction adjustment, control gesture setting);
- automatic pause when removing the headphones and resume playback when put back on;
- on the left cup there is a button for turning on the noise reduction mode and “transparency”;
- on the outside of the right cup there is a touch zone (not marked in any way), you can adjust the volume, switch tracks, activate the voice assistant, answer calls;
- weight — 265 g.
The cost of Huawei FreeBuds Studio is from 18,990 rubles. Available in black and gold colors.
- universal high-quality sound;
- comfortable fit;
- fast charging;
- smart functions and touch control;
- good noise cancellation.
- aptX is not supported;
- awkward design;
- no wired connection option and NFC;
- no protection against moisture;
- no app for iOS.
The reviewed wireless over-ear headphones received the following ratings:
|Model / Feature||Bluetooth version||Codecs||Battery||Sound||Noise suppression||Average score|
|Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless||four||5||3||5||3||four|
|Huawei FreeBuds Studio||5||3||four||3||four||3.8|
The highest score for the Sony WH-1000XM4. In second place is the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless. Both models provide excellent sound. Sony headphones are brighter, vocals are louder, and Sennheiser has more energy in the upper bass range. The soundstage of both options is voluminous, leaves a pleasant impression.
Huawei FreeBuds Studio sound a little simpler, but the sound is also high-quality and detailed. In addition, Huawei headphones have the latest Bluetooth version and faster charging.