Bose has done a good job in recent years of keeping its venerable brand current with tech-savvy products like Spotify-integrated speakers, a whole-house audio system, and noise-cancelling earphones. It's even plunged into the world of apps. That changes right now as Bose is announcing no less than four new models, two of them with impressive noise-canceling tech. SEE ALSO: Samsung's Level On Pro headphones are good, but nothing spectacular The headliner is the QuietComfort 35 ( 349.95), which looks and feels like a wireless version of the company's current noise-canceling over-the-ear headphones, the QC25. I got chance to try out all the new models (except for the Pulse), and although it was a controlled Bose demo, I came away impressed with how Bose has integrated its noise-canceling tech with the convenience of wireless models.
Some people are incredibly busy and take calls at all hours of the day and night. Those who are self-aware enough to not want to look a dweeb with a Bluetooth earpiece hanging out of one ear now have other options, such as Jabra's new Halo Smart headset. These Bluetooth headphones ( 80 and available at Amazon) let you seamlessly switch from calls to music without swapping out one pair of earbuds for another. Bonus: If Apple ditches the iPhone's headphone jack, you'll be ahead of the curve with an affordable Bluetooth pair on standby. The tip fit is always slightly off, most Bluetooth models don't sound the best, and models that wire the left and right channels together--and the ones that have a band behind the neck--often get tangled in my long, thick hair.
Earbud makers have been busy doing away with wires--a good thing whether or not your phone still has a headset jack. At most, Bluetooth earbuds might have a wire that connects the buds themselves to each other--a nice option if you're prone to misplacing small objects, or you want in-line controls. This is often the more affordable option too, although that is changing over time. So-called true wireless earbuds are just that, free of any wire whatsoever. Apple AirPods are the standard bearer of this category, but there are plenty of alternatives--some more worthy than others.
There is no one pair of headphones perfect for every occasion. Sure, you can use the tangled earbuds that came free with your phone whether you're in bed or at the gym. In other words, there are lots of good reasons to upgrade your headphones. These headphones represent the best options out there, depending on what you're looking for. We've included a range of styles and prices.
Everybody needs a decent pair of headphones that work for them and satisfy their audio needs. What else are you going to do on your commute, listen to your thoughts? No thanks, we'd rather catch up on our podcast backlog, please. The thing about headphones, though, is that they really run the spectrum in terms of quality and price -- and then you have to decide if they're the right fight for you (pro-tip: Just because they're expensive, doesn't mean they're the best). If you need help picking out a pair, scroll to the bottom of this page to take a look at our shopping guide.