The last batch of stereo Bluetooth headphones I looked at, back in 2008, were something of a mixed bag, with some cumbersome designs and very variable audio quality. Fortunately, the current generation provides much better stereo quality, and we’d happily recommend any of them as an alternative to a conventional set of wired …
Show us the numbers
All this talk of sound quality is rather subjective. For adapters with headphone output sockets, it would be really useful to run some tests using RMAA or an equivalent package to see how they compare. Then I'll know which one will work better with my CX300's.
Unfortunately couple of really good products in this range was missing
Two brands and three products I would really loved to see in this article. Sony and Philips; Sony has DR-BT22 which is nicely prized product and DR-BT50 more enthusiastic targeted product. At least DR-BT50 was nice experience when I was choosing my headphones. Prize was just around 200EUR.
Then the headset I personally ended up. Philips SBH9000; Really nice sound quality, couple of nifty features, long battery life and the prize is really competitive, only around 70EUR.
Check those out as well!
We did contact both Sony and Philips for this review and were informed by both companies that they were discontinuing their ranges of Bluetooth headphones.
4.1 will fix control on bluetooth headsets
Steve better late than never.
proximity sensor was supposed to be fixed in the last iPhone4's iOS update too, same as the cell phone reception...that didn't happen either.
Still a shockingly poor selection.
So no decent around-the-ear ones listed? That just leaves the Sony DR-BT50 as the only option I've yet to find that offers real comfort along with decent sound quality. Shame they have a shit build quality, mine broke in under a year of careful use.
The Etymotic in-ear ones not listed? ety8 I think. A friend of mine just highly recommended them to me. Quite an old model now though and look a bit funky.
The market for bluetooth headphones is still frustratingly poor and largely empty of choice.
Battery life and pc compatibility
Considering they are to be used while out and about, battery life is rather an important aspect. Either including manufacturer's claimed figures, or running a real life test with each pair of headphones would have been useful for comparison purposes.
Another useful bit of information would have been compatibility with pc's. I would fancy a pair of these while around the house, or out of the house but in the close vicinity of my laptop - listening to music without being tethered. I would guess the Kleer format is not compatible - but are all the other (bluetooth) ones automatically compatible?
Headphones for TV?
Any chance of an article on wireless headphones for home use with a TV?
I've ended up using the ones from LIDIL which have poor quality but otherwise do what I need
- 3.5mm jack
- multiple headphones so several people can listen to the TV
- but separate channels so I can use a separate transmitter for the PC to watch a DVD...
Since bluetooth does pairing, you can't have 2 headphones listening to the same transmitter, right?
For that matter I have friends who want to have wireless loudspeakers...
Headphones for TV
I bought a pair of 2.4GHz wireless headphones from Maplin (code A36JQ) for under £40 for use with my TV a couple of months ago.
They are superb quality, decent ~30m range and of course you can have as many headphones as you like IMHO.
The only thing is you have to also buy a USB power adaptor to power the transmitter as it's designed for rechargeable AAA or via a USB port. But Maplin sells these too - N03GJ and it's going cheap this month!
The headphones take rechargeable or standard AAA. I bought a pack of 4 of the Maplin Hybrid rechargables so I just swap the batteries over once a week.
Best wireless I've bought. No more background sound effects.
I would be interested in:
Bluetooth headphones with noise-cancelling, seperate batteries rather than built-in and foldable.
It seems that the only ones that offer this are the Nokias, and they are very expensive for headphones.
I use the buses, underground and trains a lot, so the noise-cancelling is very useful - even if the noise-cancelling is not the best it will make a big difference to my volume level and hence comfort.
The bluetooth is so that I don't get the cable caught on people and things.
I would also like them to use normal AA or AAA rechargeable batteries and to fold down to fit in my bag when I am not using them.
j-band scosche just stks??
hmmm j-band & scosche.. or stks??
£99 or £35? are they really that much better, stks work fine for cheapie commute cans that you can loose / break without crying :)
Fantastic sound, very comfortable, multipoint and great battery life. Works fine for me with SE G900, Nokia E65 or Samsung Wave or MacBook. A mate's got one and says the iPhone occasionally has problems but I believe problems with that Bluetooth stack are known.
"promotional pics of a bosomy blonde in a sports bra"
And we only get the shot of the (somewhat garish) headphones?!?
This is not The Register which I know and love...<shakes head sadly>
You've let yourselves down.
What about the Oakleys
Wireless bluetooth sunglasses from Oakley. Best investment I have made for some time:
Oakley sunglasses headphones
But then you'll just look like a twat wearing them on the train or bus (or even outside in the weather we currently have)! In Britain you could wear them and not look a twat for about 3 weeks of the year.
battery life ?
I think that the review overlooked the quoted or real battery life. Not much use if they die after 2 hours.
I got a cheap-n-cheerful Lindy labelled Chinese thing for use with my own headphones - £24.99. They are OK and do the job. Good bass, decent volume.
Like the Sony, it's a small external dongle that any standard headphones connect to. Personally, I alternate between Yamaha RH5Ma, custom moulds with aging Sure in hear ear buds and off the shelf Bose ...
While an integrated unit is slightly "easier" separating the bluetooth electronics from the actual sound generating units makes for a far more flexible and longer lasting product.
The JVC has paired with anything I've thrown at it, produces lovely quality sound and has exhibited good battery life (viz. longer than my usual day at the office, where I primarily use them).
Works with cellphones as well My only gripe is no mute for the microphone, so one has to use the phone's mute.
Which, if any of the headphones with a mic can work with the iPad?
It would be useful for VoIP if they were compatible.
what about the mm 400
why did they review the sennheiser mm 400 ? it has a microphone built in which is very good quality and goes for approx £150, if the batteries run out you can plug in a cable and it turns into a wired headphone. ( highly unlikely cause it has Lithium Polymer batteries which last long )
Bluetooth headphones with built-in microphones?
Thanks for the review, it provides a valuable resource.
However, I would also like some clarity on which of the devices include microphones.
I'm looking for a set of Bluetooth headphones with microphone that I can use both for listening to music and making Skype calls (and occasionally traditional calls) from any of my PC, iPad and smartphone. I'd like a common headset for commuting, listening to music in the gym and making Skype calls to the office.
The environments I'm in make noise reduction preferable (though ideally it should be optional, as I don't want to cut out warning traffic noise when I'm cycling). When on the computer I'm using a wired headset until I find the right device. Despite a plethora of devices it has to work with, I'd like a single set of headphones that satisfy all my needs. At the moment I carry two wired sets, one for listening to music and one for making Skype calls (not ideal).
Moving from device to device means ease of pairing and sensible automatic pairing is important.
I use the Jabra Clipper with my Phone, my Laptop, and with my home PC.
It has a microphone, but I think all the bluetooth headsets here have them, a fairly decent battery (I only tend to need charge at night.
Most importantly, you can use your own headset with it. You'll want one with a short cable, I bought Nike sports headset, and I am very happy with the results.
The Great Omission: HBH-DS980
Earlier someone mentioned the Sennheiser MM200, they were alright - up to a point Lord Copper. If you don't mind having a plastic sharp corners grinding into your chest all day.
For anyone wanting an in-ear, A2DP headset that is discreet, and survive a day of music on the commute+calls, the HBH-DS980 is the best bet by miles:
* The whole thing is on a lanyard, so earbuds never fall out
* That positions the microphone right infront of the mouth - nice
* The call control button is behind the mic, again nice. SHAME ON YOU anyone putting it elsewhere
* Battery life good enough (tho nothing to to get excited about)
* Its pretty
* You can hear yourself - some headsets mute sounds from your own mic which really winds me up
Down sides? They don't sell them any more, so hard to source, and after about a year they tend to fall apart after being used all day every day. But they are the most discreet, and most functional set I've found yet.
The thing that winds me up about most of the clip-jobs (like the jabra) is to get the mic where it needs to be you wind up with sagging t-shirt/jumper whatever. PUT THE MIC IN-LINE!
OR - please gimme a clip that works with a standard 3.5mm TRRS jack, so that I could use a spiffing new set of UE 500vi's - that would be nice. The key thing for me is to not have to be wired into the handset.
I recently received a pair of SB2s and have been very happy with them. Sound quality is good. Had no problems pairing them with my Samsung Galaxy S and laptop for audio/voip. Mic seems to be well positioned. I even like the 'garish' styling.
Only problems I've had is that they tend to slip off my (shaved and slightly shrunken) bonce when I tilt my head too far forwards, and the track selection controls don't seem to work with the various Android media players that I've tried.
Based on the review (and other good reviews) I got myself the plantronics backbeat 903.
They turn out to be pretty useless. If this is the best one can get these days, then usefull bluetooth headphones are still some time off.
For example: as soon as I put my mobile in my pocket (pants), and start driving my bike, signal drops occur very frequently.