The ANC headphone market is flooded with many models, especially in the true wireless area, where all brands, big and small, offer a multitude of models at all possible prices. However, there are a few reference models every year from companies that usually push the industry forward. Also, because we haven’t tested very many over-ear headphones, we’ve included on this list one such model, one of the best on the market.
AirPods Pro 2
Apple practically invented the true wireless headphone market and seemed to have been lying on its ear for the past few years following the success of the AirPods series. But it seems that Apple hasn’t abandoned research and development in this area, instead waiting for the right time to launch a new pair of premium headphones.
In 2022 we received the new AirPods Pro 2, with advanced sound processing, especially in the area of noise cancellation. In addition to the fact that the cancellation is now more effective, the transparency mode also includes some new features that can enhance comfort. For example, very loud sounds can be normalised in real time, so you can enjoy quality sound from your headphones while still being able to pay attention to the sounds around you.
Last but not least, the audio quality has been significantly improved, there is now an option of XS size silicone earplugs for those who couldn’t wear such headphones in the past because their ear canals were too small. Last but not least, the charging box is now harder to lose and easier to find, equipped with a hook and speakers for the Find My function.
Galaxy Buds2 Pro
Samsung proves year after year that the Galaxy Buds series is one that offers high performance at competitive prices. But the Buds2 Pro is one of the best pairs of headphones on the market (review), regardless of price. It offers one of the best-performing ambient noise cancellation modes, but also above-average volume with strong bass.
Like Apple, however, Samsung only offers all the features of these headphones on its own devices, so the highest-quality sound playback only works on recent-generation Galaxy S, Z and Note models. Still, even with a codec considered inferior, these headphones guarantee great sound and even top-notch battery life, making them perfect for air travel in particular.
Sony’s WH-1000XM5 have managed to perfect this range of products (review) from Sony in terms of the performance offered. The sound is very well balanced, especially for those listening to loud bass music, the cups are comfortable over the long haul, and the materials from which the headphones are constructed are among the best on the market.
If there’s a downside to these headphones, it’s that they can’t be folded in a way that makes them easier to carry in a suitcase when traveling. The XM3 and 4 models of the past offered advanced folding, but that probably introduced some sensitive points into the construction.
If you’re looking for a quality pair of over-ear headphones, there are few wireless models in this price range that perform better or are more comfortable.