It might have been Apple’s AirPods that led us to snap the cords and go wireless. 2020 with its WFH routines and increased consumption of OTT platforms has pushed us towards over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones that don’t just deliver a better sound experience but are also comfortable for those all-day Microsoft Teams marathons or weekend binge watch sessions.
Apple AirPods Max
A new direction for the AirPods line, the AirPods Max, is one of the most elegantly designed over-ear headphones you can splurge on. It’s every inch premium with a breathable knit mesh canopy that spans the headband.
This is designed to distribute weight and reduce on-head pressure; just what you might find handy when you fly Business class on a transatlantic flight.
The stainless steel headband frame provides strength, flexibility, and comfort for a wide variety of head shapes and sizes, redefining the very concept of one size fits all.
The ear cups are finished with ear cushions that use acoustically engineered memory foam. This ensures an effective sound seal. There’s the familiar Digital crown inspired by the Apple Watch that allows you to perform a multitude of tasks from volume control to play/pause, answer or end phone calls and activate Siri. These headphones are kitted with a 40mm Apple-designed dynamic driver that provides rich, deep bass, accurate mid-ranges and crisp, clean high-frequency extension; you’re unlikely to miss a single note. Apple pegs the battery life at 20 hours. Powered by Apple’s H1 chip in each ear cup, computational audio powers a breakthrough listening experience that includes Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and spatial audio.
Sony’s WH-1000XM3 were among our favourite over the ear headphones with excellent noise cancellation and a premium build. These headphones are the next chapter. They’re finished with super-soft, pressure-relieving earpads in foamed urethane that evenly distribute pressure and increase ear/pad contact for a stable fit.
We dig the swivel foldable structure — the ear cups swivel inwards making them easy to pack up in a compact carry case. Sony also bundles a cable in the case you choose to switch to wired mode. The WH-1000XM4 comes with Dual noise sensor technology, featuring two microphones on each earcup. This captures ambient noise and passes the data to the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1. Using a new algorithm, the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 works in real time to a range of acoustic environments.
Powerful 40mm drivers with Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragms deliver a stellar audio performance while a convenient Speak to Chat feature automatically stops the music whenever you speak to someone and lets in ambient sound. Add 30 hours of battery life and Sony’s new flagship headphones are a compelling proposition.
Skullcandy Hesh ANC
Skullcandy’s sporty origins come to the fore in these. The new Hesh ANC is equipped with advanced Active Noise Cancelling tech that allows you to shut out external sounds. We found the flat-folding, collapsible design super handy, making it an excellent travel companion. It comes enabled with Tile (you’ll need to install the App) that eliminates the risk of misplacing your cans. Skullcandy promises 22 hours of battery life. Our favourite feature is the rapid charge feature gives you 3 hours of music in ten minutes flat