One thing that I always have with me when I’m traveling are my headphones. These do definitely belong on my essential travel items list. Sometimes for listening to music on a long bus journey, sometimes for editing a new video and sometimes to watch a movie on a flight. Because, let’s be honest, nothing is worse than airplane headphones. I’ve been carrying around three different pairs of headphones lately to find out which are the best headphones for me and I wanted to share my experiences with you here.
Let’s begin at the very bottom when it comes to headphones. EarPods [Affiliate Link] come “for free” with every iPhone you buy. And that’s how they feel and sound. Not like much. They are definitely better than the original iPod headphones but that’s about it. They are not very comfortable and I definitely can’t have them in my ears for hours at a time. The sound is also not very fantastic and there are many other earbuds that offer way better sound. If you don’t want to spend money these are probably for you but you should really invest into proper headphones.
These headphones play in a totally different league than the Apple EarPods. And with a $299 price tag they are anything but cheap. Remember, these are still earbuds. But they are not normal earbuds because they support noise cancelling. And that noise cancelling is pretty amazing. First I was sceptic how good noise cancelling could work on headphones that aren’t over-ear headphones like the QC25. But as soon as you turn on noise cancelling you’re in a different world. The world around you is almost completely silent and you can enjoy your music or your movies. Even on airplanes and trains it works surprisingly well. I wouldn’t say they are a match for its bigger brother but they come close. But that noise cancelling comes with a cost. Obviously you need to charge your headphones from time to time. But that isn’t a big problem since you can listen about 14 hours with noise cancelling on. The most annoying thing that I found was that huge noise cancelling module that is attached to the cable. Especially if you’re keeping your phone in your pocket it can be annoying if you still have that module flapping around.
If you want small noise cancelling headphones though, you can’t go with anything better than this.
It is a necessary evil right now but I’m sure in the future they will eventually be able to get rid of that one as well. You can buy them on Amazon here [Affiliate Link].
Bose SoundLink around-ear wireless headphones II
These are probably my favorite headphones right now. I love the QC20i for its noise cancelling but these are Bluetooth headphones and I love anything that’s wireless. Cables, especially on headphones are so annoying and until the day where we have noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones these will be my favorites. They offer about 15 hours of playback and if you ever run out of juice you can still plug in a cable and listen to music. The sound is good but not great. I’m no audio expert but I’ve heard better headphones. For Bluetooth it’s definitely decent. One important thing for headphones you travel with is the size. Here they definitely lose. There is a case for the headphones included but you can’t fold the headphones and they take up quite a bit space. So, if you pack very light and maybe don’t want to check any baggage on your flight you might want to go with smaller headphones or just wear them which is what I mostly do.
They also have buttons on the headphone itself to change volume, play/pause, skip song etc. Compared to the QC25 these don’t have batteries but a built-in battery you can charge with a micro USB cable.
These have become my main headphones that I use for everything even when I’m not on the road. You have so much more freedom without cables. Even though they are not very small and don’t offer active noise cancelling, my winner is the Bose SoundLink around-ear wireless headphone II. The freedom of Bluetooth is just so comfortable that I wouldn’t want to miss that anymore. You can buy these headphones for $279.95 here.[Affiliate Link]
Bose gave me the QC20i for testing. All the other headphone models I bought myself.