Best wireless headphones 2017 – updated May 2017
Here is our lineup for the best wireless headphones 2017 updated every time we see a new model that should be in the top 5 (last updated May 2017). This roundup is for full sized bluetooth headphones – if you are looking for earbuds, check out the best wireless earbuds 2017 here.
Our top picks all feature 2nd generation active noise cancellation, pushing down our previous favorite headphones with cruder implementations of the technology into lower spots.
They are still a great choice if you can find them at a knock down price, but we would definitely recommend listening to our top 2 before making a purchase as the extra features & sound quality are really worth seeking out in our opinion.
To make it into our roundup of the best wireless headphones 2017, each had to be at the top of their game for Sound quality, active noise reduction, and build materials – we are a fussy bunch & have left out several wireless headphones for missing features / below par construction. So this lineup is essentially a ‘best of the best’ – every single one of these headphones would have been considered the class leader at its launch, you wouldn’t be making a massive mistake by selecting any one of them.
We would give an honorable mention to the Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless. They have missed out narrowly on being a top recommendation due to the absence of any active noise cancellation, but in many ways they are a truly special pair of headphones which we would recommend without hesitation if you can cope with no ANC.
Our second honorable mention must go the wallet friendly Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 which are feature packed with a long range class 1 bluetooth connection, active noise cancellation, and amazing battery life. Whilst there are better wireless headphones available, there is nothing to touch this overall level of performance at the price, which comes in around 50% cheaper than most of the competition.
Without further ado, let’s get down to our best wireless headphones 2017 roundup:
Sony MDR-1000X – Best wireless headphones 2017 – WINNER
The Sony MDR-1000X is a clear winner for this roundup of the best wireless headphones 2017.
The feature set is right up there, with ANC (Active Noise Cancellation), bluetooth with 2 high res protocols (the normal aptX plus Sony’s proprietary LDAC), phone link that works great with Apple & Android phones – no glaring omissions here.
Build quality is very good, with the main body of the headphones being a mix of high quality plastics with much of the headband & earcups covered in a simulated soft touch leather. They feel strong, and to my eye look pretty understated with very little shoutyness going on to draw attention – they should slip right under the radar on a busy commute which may be a good thing.
Straight off the bat they sound fantastic. A little warm with slightly boosted midrange & bass, very clean & crisp high frequency response. Dare I say it – the Sony MDR-1000X are the best sounding wireless headphones we have heard in the current crop that are on the market right now. With the volume at 50% they sound a little ordinary, but above there they really come to life.
Couple that up with a great wide & open soundstage, these Sony’s are definitely at the top of the sound quality league right now.
Then there is the second generation active noise cancellation – This is ANC at a whole new level & we love it. Gone is the ‘broad brush approach’ of first generation ANC, and the need to quickly whip off the headphones for a quick chat has also disappeared – this is the future & we can’t help but feel it will become a standard as we go forwards.
With probably the best wireless active noise cancellation headphone on the market we have seen so far, winning sound quality plus the very latest ANC push the MDR-1000X to #1
You can check out our detailed review here – Sony MDR-1000X Review
SENNHEISER PXC 550 – best wireless headphones 2017 – 2nd place
A close runner up are the Sennheiser PXC 550 wireless bluetooth headphones. A superb audio performer, listening to the Sennheiser PXC 550 reveals a lot of effort has been made into the ongoing improvements in sound quality being made in the wireless bluetooth world.
Straight out of the box the PXC 550 remind us a lot of the Bose quietcomfort 35, there is a lot of familiar looking elements & I can’t help but wonder if the Sennheiser design team weren’t heavily inspired by the Bose guys. I don’t want to say that the PXC 550 is plain…. let’s say ‘conservatively styled’. A little chunky & blocky, with a lot of high quality matte black plastics going on. There is a conspicuous absence of buttons, with most of the clever features being dealt with by means of a discrete touch panel on the side of the earcup in the same vein as the Sony MDR-1000x we have previously looked at.
The PXC 550 excels in the midrange detail & high frequency performance is also exemplary. Bass is well detailed, with a subtle boost but otherwise an accurate sounding headphone. If you are going to tweak the sound profile, a subtle boost to bass is exactly what we would prefer – so top marks here.
There is a crispness & clarity to the sound delivery that very few wireless bluetooth headphones can even get close to – it’s a top performance from Sennheiser. Compared to the flat delivery of the Bose QC 35 it is night & day, a subtle improvement on the delivery of the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless that went before it.
Sennheiser’s latest PXC 550 wireless bluetooth headphones are superb sonically, one of the best pairs of wireless headphones we have seen so far. The conservative styling will not appeal to everyone, but the epic sound quality plus second generation active noise cancellation make these a superb choice.
Check out our full review here – Sennheiser PXC 550 Review
SENNHEISER MOMENTUM WIRELESS – best wireless headphones 2017 – 3rd place
Sennheiser has raised the bar & produced what is in our opinion the best premium wireless headphones available in 2017. Great sound quality, solid noise cancellation, special build materials…. what’s not to like?
Concentrating on 2 key areas, they have absolutely smashed it with the Sennheiser momentum wireless headphones (m2AEBT). Packaging is first rate, with a nice protective case included in the box & precious little else – perfect in our opinion. The headphones unfold satisfyingly & then you get to take in the quality & design. The folding action of the earcups only makes them a little more portable – make no mistake these are full sized headphones & are still pretty much full sized when folded.
We’ve got the ivory version here & they are gorgeous. Stainless steel slide, leather padded headband with contrast stitching, fantastic leather memory foam earcups – they are a bit retro, but you can see exactly where the money went. Placed next to our other headphones these stand out as being far & away the prettiest – top marks to the Sennheiser design team.
It’s good news here also – the Sennheiser momentum wireless headphones sound flipping fantastic. Not neutral, there is a little bit of bass boost going on (just a little – you may notice it, but they are not for bass heads). The sound profile seems to be tailored towards the vocal & midrange which we definitely prefer in headphone, but the bass & highs are still served up remarkably well for a closed headphone.
Sennheiser hit the nail on the head with the momentum wireless, the build quality and overall ownership experience is on another planet to the competition.
Check out our full review here – Sennheiser Momentum Wireless Review
BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 35 – best wireless headphones 2017 – 4th place
A big win for the Bose quietcomfort 35 is the comfort – these are probably the single most comfortable wireless bluetooth headphones that we have ever seen! They are a little lighter than most of the competition, and coupled with the plush earpads & gentle clamping force extended listening periods are no problem whatsoever.
Bose feels like they have the best ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) of the headphones we have seen, reduction of external noises really is very impressive. The level of reduction in ambient noise is superb, fantastic for removing engine noise & chatter whilst traveling or even for taking away general household noises around the home. You can switch the noise cancellation off on the Bose quietcomfort 35, but to be honest it is kind of the point of buying them so we left it on for our tests.
The level of reduction in ambient noise is superb, fantastic for removing engine noise & chatter whilst traveling or even for taking away general household noises around the home. It’s like an eery silence drops over your previously noisy surroundings, no matter how intrusive they were previously. It’s a total whiteout – there are times that comes in very handy indeed!
The Bose Quietcomfort 35 is still a great wireless option for 2017, featuring the most thorough Active Nose Cancellation of any wireless headphones we have seen so far. The sound quality is good (but not the best), however for travel use this is still by far the most popular choice for ensuring peace on a plane.
Check out our full review here – Bose QuietComfort 35 Review
Master & Dynamic MW50 Wireless – best wireless headphones 2017 – 5th place
Opening up the pretty standard apple-esque packaging, you are immediately greeted by the MW50’s – it’s an ‘Oh My Very Days!’ moment for sure – they look amazing. I’ve said it before, but when you pay down a large chunk of cash for something… ahem…. ‘non-essential’ like a set of headphones, then they better be something pretty flipping special. And the Master & Dynamic MW50 is all that & more!
Vintage retro styling is the first to impact, then you notice the real lushness of the leather & metal construction. There is virtually no plastic on display here, it’s a solid build with superb little design touches. It reminds us of the B&W P7 at first glance…. but just ‘more’.
I’ve heard from Master & Dynamic online that they set out to just make the best set of wireless headphones on the market, selecting the materials & build components with no compromise to cost. You can tell. They just feel awesome in the hand, so much better than pictures alone can convey.
Thankfully Master & Dynamics continued the ‘no compromise’ approach with the MW50 into the sound performance – the short of it is that they sound flipping fantastic!
Staggering build quality & a delicious sound that are unashamedly expensive – if you can cope with that asking price, the Master & Dynamic MW50 wireless are an amazing set of wireless headphones that will delight for many years to come.
On ear headphones have never sounded or looked so great – if you subscribe to the same school of ‘no compromise’ thought that the Master & Dynamics team clearly do, then the MW50 are very easy to recommend.
Check out our full review here – Master & Dynamics MW50 Review
Beoplay h9 wireless – best wireless headphones 2017
Straight out of the box the Beoplay H9 wireless scream quality. Make no mistake, this is not a cheap pair of headphones – but at least you can feel the money with every look, with every touch of the materials. All the bits that look like metal, really are metal. The earpads are precision machined from a single block of aluminium, with a fully metal underlying chassis all round. The headband has a beautiful thick leather contrast stitched outer, with a high quality padded canvas material underneath, with the earpads being covered in superb soft leather with a generous memory foam padded ring.
When you are paying this much money, you really need the design to be impressive.
And it is. Striking, but conventional especially in the all black finish we have here (you can also select a tan / beige option). Everything feels very solid & precise with no squeaks or creaks when flexing, as if the Beoplay H9 wireless will last for a generation rather than the 2 or 3 year product life cycle that feels more like the norm with so many other lessor headphones these days – the engineering led design team at B&O are spot on with the overall look & build quality. Discrete but super classy, we like it a lot.
The sound stage is wide & expansive, a good trick for a closed back headphone to pull off, with great separation of the individual instruments. At the price, the Beoplay H9 need to not just look expensive, they also need to sound expensive which is a good thing here.
We love the design of the Beoplay H9 Wireless, the superb construction & overall feel of the headphones is at another level when compared with the plastic generation that is the mainstream & that wins a lot of praise from us. The sound delivery is engaging & superbly musical (although not something you would want as a studio or recording monitor).
Check out our full review here – Beoplay H9 Wireless Review
B&W P7 Wireless – best wireless headphones 2017
Straight out of the box it’s clear that the quality of construction is epic. Beautiful leather with quality contrasting stitching on the lightly padded (but chunky) headband. The aluminium earpads are super soft, with top quality leather material covering the pads. The hinges & adjusting mechanism are brightly finished stainless steel & provide a unique twist to the design that just looks fantastic.
The Bowers & Wilkins p7 wireless headphones continue to portray the in-house signature sound that has made B&W famous (which is a good thing). The warm & punchy bass line that would be overpowering if it were not for the superb midrange definition & crystal clear high notes. They would never be described as ‘accurate’, but the sound on vocals come over with amazing separation from the instruments. Bass notes thud with authority, and there is an amazing clarity & eking out of the last drop of detail from instruments that you just will not hear on less able headphones.
Superb with the right tune (vocal heavy with real instruments), we found that the bass can become a little more intrusive with some electro drum & bass which is probably to be expected, where the bass coloring can lead to a little muddiness.
The wireless connection is extremely stable, and held out to well over the 20m range that is claimed – so we would not think you will have any issues there. Walking out of the room away from the audio player quickly cut off the signal though – so something to bare in mind if you are looking for something to wear whilst walking from room to room around the house.
Class leading build quality with a quirky design which we love, the Bowers & Wilkins P7 wireless feature superb audio quality & really do sound exceptional. We place a lot of value on having a true ‘thing of beauty’ and so we would rate these as a fantastic set of headphones for around the house listening.
Check out our full review here – B&W P7 Wireless Review
Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 – best wireless headphones 2017
Straight out of the box, it’s clear where the Backbeat Pro 2 sit in the scheme of things. Lots of nice quality plastic, but none of the high end materials you might expect on the top of the range models. That’s fair enough in our opinion, the design is honest & looks pretty good to our eye – if not an outstanding work of design beauty.
No fancy touch controls here my friend. The buttons & controls all work fine, with no lags or delays – sometimes the old ways are indeed the best.
We found the backbeat pro 2 headphones to be pretty comfortable in use, and didn’t have any problems with listening over an extended period. The balance was great, and the swiveling earpieces always wiggled into a comfortable & natural listening position as soon as we put them on.
Sonically the backbeat pro 2 are pretty impressive (I need to quickly mention that they cost half the price of the bigger branded leading players headphones). They deliver a fairly strongly boosted low end, while maintaining clarity & definition most of the time, although there can be a little muddiness when listening to tunes with a throbbing bass track.
Vocals were nice & clean, but we did notice a little sibilance & harshness when the volume was turned up to it’s highest – probably too loud a volume to be recommended for extended listening anyways (if you value your hearing!).
The backbeat pro 2 are fantastic headphones for this price – yes there are better built / better sounding / better noise cancelling headphones out there….. but they are twice as expensive!
If you are on a budget, these are by far the most decent sounding wireless headphones that come with bluetooth & active noise cancellation that we would recommend.
Check out our full review here – Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2
Beats Solo 3 – best wireless headphones 2017
Beats headphones seem to get a bad press from most ‘audiophile’ headphone users – but we wanted to try them out & give an honest opinion to balance out the poor reviews of older products from Beats. Are they just an over priced fashion product for the un-initiated, or are they really any good?
This generation is the first be released since Beats was aquired by Apple in 2014 & the increase in quality over previous models is apparent as soon as the box is opened. Everything is typical ‘Apple’ with great packaging & the same overall experience you would expect from an Apple house brand.
The Beats Solo 3 is a world away from the first generation Beats Solo headphones which were super bass heavy & muddy sounding – so whilst these do not have the best sound quality we have ever heard, they are in a different league to the previous models which are mostly to blame for the negative connotations that are thrown at anything with a Beats logo on the side. We would never describe the sound as accurate, but at least it is clear & the bass boost is something that you are aware of before purchase. Lots of people will love this sound for what it is – fun!
Beats Solo 3 wireless headphones have improved vastly for this generation. If you have an iPhone and are under 25 years old, these might be worth adding to the shortlist to consider so long as you are comfortable with paying a little extra for the branding & won’t miss the extra features of some other models out there.
Check out our full review here – Beats Solo 3 Wireless Review