Now the main trend of the market for audio, these best wireless headphones 2020 without any wire – neither between the smartphone, nor even between each of the atria – is very practical to use, but have varying qualities. We have tested them to deliver you its top 5.
Appeared in 2016, the market for headphones “Best Wireless Headphones” exploded since IFA 2017 Berlin. We had already tested several models, but in the face of this wave, we decided to create this top 5 Best Wireless Headphones 2020. This ranking is mainly based on tests and research of our team.
The latter partly measure the sound quality of the earphones, the first point that must, of course, be taken care of. The quality can differ from 2 to more than 5 hours from one model to another model. You should also pay attention to the case that comes with the earphones that include a battery to recharge them on the fly.
Here’s the list of our top 5 picks
Best Wireless Headphones 2020 APPLE AIRPODS PRO
- Model True Wireless In-Ear Headsets
- Sound restitution Stereo
- Active noise reduction system Yes
- Weight (with cord and batteries) 10 g
More comfortable and more stable in the ear, the AirPods Pro allows us to enjoy more of our music, our podcasts or a call, isolating us from the ambient noise in a very successful way.
The first both generations of AirPods, that of 2016 and 2019, have for them the ability to ease and use in daily life. However, the fact that they often harms listening, especially in noisy environments. With these AirPods Pro, Apple corrects this problem and improve the experience. With success?
A new design for more comfort
Apple now provides no open design, easy to fit into the ear but not very suitable for good listening. The AirPods Pro adopts a more compact in-ear approach … and slightly heavier. Some will argue because the intra-auricular have put them down. However, in this matter, Apple offers good comfort.
The silicone tips of these Airpods Pro are available in three different sizes: small, medium and large – are easily changeable and fit well in the ear. They are, on the other hand, different to make a difference to try them all. If you have a doubt about the silicon tip to choose, Apple makes it possible to perform a small test from the settings, which will tell you that your ear is well fit with the size selected or not. Then it is up to you to feel if you need a little bigger or the narrower one.
In all matters, the ear cups are well joined and discreet enough to be worn while sleeping, for example; in an airplane. Even the pressure of a pillow will not push them further.
With the arrival of the in-ear, Apple AirPods are more better in the ear, which makes them perfect partners for those who like to go on running or listening to music. The AirPods Pro is also resistant to splashing and sweat (IP4X). Swimming is however strictly prohibited … or in any case not recommended.
Finally, enjoy the sound … without hindrance
This design also has the advantage of allowing better positioning of the sound in ear. We hear more delicates and we enjoy a sound well balanced and clear. The total range of frequencies covered is much wider without any collapse, with good support in the mid-range and treble. The bass seemed a little more active, without becoming ubiquitous, but it is difficult to know if it is the signal processing that produces this impression or it is the in-ear format.
In the end, this is probably one of the first times that we can really enjoy (fully?) The sound quality of AirPods. Anyway, if the sound is very clean and pleasant enough, it remains quite neutral, without real character. Apple has no bias, we do not find the full-bodied and wrapping Bose or Sony headphones, including the WF 1000-XM3.
But things do not stop there. Because the in-ear format is also the sine qua non-element that allows active noise reduction (RDA) with a best wireless headphone. The ear is less compared from noise than a model that covers ear completely, but that kind of device is also lighter in weight and more compact.
In this matter, Apple has a very good reputation.The RDA offered by this device is no doubt very effective. The sounds outside are not loud but perfectly easy to understand – in a noisy environment, it’s even a good way to hear someone. If you say your name loudly, you can understand it, the sound is just lessened.
The active noise reduction perfectly adapts to the variations of environmental noise that the user wears his earphones on the street, in the subway or on the plane. Even when noises occur – then we have to thank the H1 chip for all this. With one microphone turned outward and another towards the inside of your ear, it performs 200 measurements per second to produce a “counter-noise”, which covers the one produced by the environment.
Unlike some noise-canceling helmets, the AirPods Pro do not come with the uncomfortable impression of overpressure on the eardrum. The pressure inside the ear canal and the outside are balanced by a small channel that allows air to circulate. The comfort is strengthened.
In AirPods Pro the noise reduction function works very well. It does not seem to fault us from what the competitors offer – even if once again, due to the form factor, the ear is not as well protected as with a circumauricular helmet. But, like most of its competitors, Apple also had a good idea to offer a Transparency mode. When this mode is activated, from the AirPods Pro or from the phone this feature also allows you to hear what is said outside, very clearly without removing earphones from his ears. This is very useful for answering someone who calls you to listen to an announcement in public or any function.
Transparency mode is all the more fun to use because it does not cause the small breath that this kind of function often produces. It’s a great success.
Pressure instead of touch
A representative from Apple told us during the presentation of the AirPods Pro that teams have started from the premise that tapping an earpiece that has been lodged in the ear is not necessarily very pleasant. The ability of touch of AirPods, allows Airpods to tap to access different types of commands, this function is replaced by a pressure sensor. It is located on the outer side of the short vertical part of the AirPods Pro.
Slightly flattened, this surface is very easily fingertipped, even if it will get used to exerting pressure in the right place.
If we have not encountered any problem for brief pressures, however, we still regularly fail to activate the first time Transparency mode, which requires a long pressure. There is no doubt that it is all about pressure that must be clean and well distributed from the outset. In any matter, the little movement, intended to confirm the pressure, is convincing and similar to the use of this surface on a daily basis.
Thanks to this surface that we will be able to activate this mode, or able to playing a song or pause the music, it depends on the number of pressures that will be exercised.
What we are feeling sad is that this surface does not allow to control the volume. For controlling this It must go through the device to which the AirPods Pro are connected, whether the Phone, an iPad or a SmartWatch.
Of course, we can always invoke Siri a simple “Dis Siri” to adjust the volume. We can also ask the assistant about a route, release of a song and calling any contact, etc. All this without taking the smartphone out of his pocket, as long as Siri designs to emerge from the limbo in which it sometimes lands.
The power of integration
The voice activation of Siri is only one event of the advanced action of AirPods Pro in the Apple ecosystem. As for the first two generations of AirPods, the configuration takes no more than a few seconds and comes down to opening the case of AirPods Pro next to an iPhone, then to validate the pairing. In daily life, the time to loose the headphones into his ears and they are connected to your iPhone or Pad. A quick guide of passage in the widgets will tell you the charging of each headset and the case of Airpods. In a similar way, you can easily turn on Transparency mode or Noise Reduction mode from the Control Center of Airpods. The integration is perfect … or almost.
Why almost? Because Apple still has not found the solution so we can easily connect to an iPhone and in the process of an iPad with its headphones without having to go to the Bluetooth settings for the connection.
It would be awesome, not to say perfect, to listening to music on Phone and when launch a video on iPad a small window offers to switch.
The autonomy that keeps its promises
The first models of Apple AirPods were able to make certain the magic of use, very honest and in-line with the promises by Apple. What about Apple AirPods Pro? The measured autonomy with noise reduction deactivated is slightly lower than the promise made (4h48 against 5h).On the other side, the satisfying surprise was that the active noise reduction system has only a little effect on battery performance.
A five minute reload to the case is supposed to reload the AirPods Pro to allow them to make sure of an hour of listening. We reached 40 minutes for just four and a half minutes of charge. This is not at the agreed time, but the result is honest.
You will understand, like all the wireless headphones and as siblings, the AirPods Pro is full of energy when they return to there case. The case of these AirPods Pro, like that of their siblings, they can be recharged in two ways, one with a classic cable (the one that is delivered connects to USB-C), or thanks to the wireless charging (technology Qi). A small LED on the front side points out the condition of charge of the housing. Apple could, however, use it to give more information on the charge of the case or earphones.
the fact is, in a simple daily environment (off, crossing flight or intensive use for calls, we are never short of battery with these Apple AirPods.
Best Wireless Headphones 2020 – Sony WF-1000XM3
- Sony WF-1000XM3
- Model True Wireless In-Ear Headsets
- Sound restitution Stereo
- Active noise reduction system Yes
- Weight (with cord and batteries) 3.52 ounces
Noise Canceling Truly Wireless Earbuds
While it was thought that Sony’s true wireless WF-1000XM3 headphones would be announced at IFA 2019, their formalization finally preceded the Berlin show by a few weeks. Available since the beginning of August, this model is the successor to the WF-1000WX earphones that were noted for their excellent audio quality. However, they are suffering from a major issue, a limited autonomy.
Improved design and ergonomics
Sony has also dealt with the design, it is also more successful than that of its companions. The case is more compact, less elongated. there is an attachment of the headphones that is now a magnetic type, it is no longer use of the clipping for recharging. The headphones themselves are much more sober and discreet, less thick, they are far fewer ears.
Touch surface is together on each of the earphones. This touch allows you to control the music like (pause, next song or previous), but also to hear surrounding sound without removing them, by keeping your finger pressed. It is unfortunate that, it absence the volume control, whose movement is certainly difficult to coordinate on such a small surface. It will be necessary to take out smartphone from the pocket to change the sound.
Always so good in sound quality
On the other side, Sony has done minor miracles in terms of quality. Just like their companions, the WF-1000XM3 is the same what is best in the field of best wireless. Despite the compactness of this format, the Japanese manufacturer succeeds in reproducing important bass, while ensuring that the mediums are well put forward, which allows a beautiful presence of the voices.
The whole thing is simple but not very aggressive, we have the right to a beautiful sound stage, precise details. The performance is to be welcomed, especially since unlike the WH-1000XM3 headphones and other models in its range, Sony has not seen fit to make its new true wireless compatible with its Hi-Res. We therefore only highlight two codecs here: AAC and SBC.
Earphones can not decode the aptX and LDAC codecs, which are usually built into Sony Hi-Res headphones. Even with an aptX compatible smartphone (the audio transmission format by Bluetooth designed by Qualcomm, for a rendering equivalent to uncompressed sound), we will not be able to enjoy the audio quality of this codec.
In this field of bad luck, we will only notice a total absence of water resistance or the poor quality of calls for which the microphones are visibly poorly modified.
Of course, you will not expect the same type of service with a closed headphone. However, the WF-1000XM3 is very effectively filtering out all the surrounding sound for example; running of train or a plane. On the other side, in an open area, the voices will be heard much more than that the music. Anyway, Sony has succeeded in his shot.
Best Wireless Headphones 2020 – Master & Dynamic MW07
- Model/ True Wireless In-Ear Headsets
- Sound restitution/ Stereo
- Active noise reduction system/ No
- Weight (with cord and batteries)/ 20 g
Can a brand with four years of existence compete with others, much older? Certainly, if we believe the example of Master & Dynamic, a company created in New York in 2014 and whose MW07 are the first true wireless of its range of helmets. Sold at the very exclusive price, these headphones are not entitled to error and must deliver a performance of the highest quality.
In terms of design, this is undoubtedly the case. The case that provides storage and charging earpieces already throws, at first glance. In chrome-plated stainless steel, it fits perfectly with the slices of the iPhone X silver version. From the outset, we understand that we are dealing with a product that is above average.
Elegant and comfortable
When we take the headphones out of their case, they too are elegant. Their shells are made of acetate (cellulose), the same noble plastic material adored by eyewear manufacturers. Master & Dynamic offers its MW07 in several colors that are reminiscent of the classic eyewear: tortoiseshell, gray terrazzo (our test model), steel blue or matte black. No doubt, those who want to have style by wearing a pair of true wireless headphones will be served with this model.
Once placed in the ears, these MW07 are a very comfortable port. Thanks to the 5 sizes of tips provided, we will necessarily find the one that best fits his ear canals. These intras are also supported by an “adjusted wing” system available in two sizes. This protrusion disposed opposite the tip is perfectly wedged in the hollow of the flag of the ear to improve the stability of the assembly. The system is efficient and again very comfortable.
We can wear them for several hours in a row without this being unpleasant. However, their autonomy will require regular breaks. Master & Dynamic promises 3 hours 30 autonomy between charges, our lab is rather measured performance in real conditions 2h 44. This is one of the lowest we measured on headphones of this type: the Sony WF-1000X offered more or less the same (2:43).
In fact, the two models do not only meet with autonomy, but also with sound quality. The WF-1000X was, almost a year ago, our favorite audio among true wireless models. Today, the MW07 is a major challenger as their performance we liked. For this, Master & Dynamic has given itself the means, by integrating beryllium transducers. This metal is often used in the membranes of high-pitched speakers. Lightweight and very rigid, this material is particularly resistant to these high frequencies that require very fast movements.
Sound quality at the height
So yes, the 10mm transducers of the MW07 deliver very well reproduced highs and a formidable accuracy. But they are not stingy with bass either. They know how to respond when it comes to pushing the volume on hip-hop or electro. We can only regret a slight withdrawal of mediums that penalizes the vote. Some may lack some flesh and appear colder than on other devices. But this phenomenon seems to be rather a deliberate choice of the brand than a real design flaw.
Finally, note that Master & Dynamic does not provide any application with its MW07. A bad point in the face of competition that is now almost systematically, especially for high-end models. This makes it possible, for example, to manage the pairing or to program the standby time when, for example, you forget to put the headphones in their case. This would also have made it possible to set the activation or not of the proximity detector included in each atrium. This one cuts the music as soon as one removes a headphone from his ear. Often convenient, this feature can sometimes be painful if you want to continue listening to the music of one ear and the other person’s interlocutor.
Best Wireless Headphones 2020 – Bose SoundSport Free
- Model /True Wireless In-Ear Headsets
- Sound restitution /Stereo
- Active noise reduction system/ No
- Weight (with cord and batteries)/ 18 g
To say that Bose’s “true wireless” headphones were expected is a euphemism. The American brand, known for its know-how, was the great absent of this exploding market. Since then, some manufacturers have taken the ascendancy, such as Sony, Apple, Samsung, Bang & Olufsen or – more surprisingly – the little French Divacore; as evidenced.
To go to the boarding of this type of product, Bose chose a sporting strategy. With their look and support system, the SoundSport Free targets running enthusiasts and other physical practices. Those who want to remain discreet will prefer the black version to the orange one that we tested or blue and yellow, third declination available.
A very comfortable holding system
Once in the ears, the headphones do not move any more thanks to the very effective system called “StayHear +”. The silicone protrusion is wedged into the hollow of the ear without completely blocking them as would an in-ear model. Advantage: The process offers greater comfort and the headset can be worn longer. Disadvantage: it isolates much less external noises. For example, in our case, it is difficult not to be tempted to increase the volume in the subway enormously to hear a podcast. The set is IPX4 certified to resist sweat and rain, but, by contrast, not at all to immersion.
Bulky, but endowed with a good endurance
The headphones themselves are pretty big and are clearly among the bulkiest of the market, next to Sony’s WF-1000X. If it sounds scary – especially since the refill case is also quite impressive – yet there is the advantage of having complete controls with buttons easily accessible: volume, playback, pause or triggering the l voice assistant of his smartphone. Even if you have to put a lot of pressure on the buttons, having them on the edge is a good idea. Because you do not want to insert the earphone at the bottom of the ear canal every time you want to put it on. music on break.
Bose has also taken advantage of this large footprint by incorporating highly efficient batteries. This allows him to keep his promise of five hours of autonomy and even exceed it. We measured 5 h 20 of consecutive listening. And we were able to make about two and a half recharges with the case, bringing the total usage to a little more than 17:30, a very nice score that places these “true wireless” among the best of its kind (6 h 19 for Divacore Antipods, 4 h 58 for Apple AirPods or 5 h 46 for Jaybird Run).
Powerful sound, deep bass
We also note the perfect robustness of the Bluetooth signal as it is managed by Bose. At no time did we experience a break between the smartphone and the SoundSport Free, regardless of the position in which our phone was. The range is excellent, we were able to verify that the 9 meters announced by Bose were quite realistic. Even when changing the room the signal held.
On the other hand, the “Best Wireless Headphones 2020” technology prevents any use during the viewing of a video. A gap that is due to the significant latency of about half a second related to its mode of operation. The signal is first transmitted to the right listener, which then sends the information to the left. Suffice to say that the time that the audio signal arrives safely, the character of the series that we are watching will have already pronounced the following word.
This model will, therefore, be clearly reserved for listening to music. Especially since they excel in the field. One must recognize Bose a talent: whatever the product it sells, the manufacturer manages to offer him his typical sound signature. Bass present, vocals well put forward, but acute noticeably behind: we are far, far from the fidelity sought in hi-fi course, but the overall result is quite impressive. It is also noticed right away, as soon as you try these headphones. “How can so little stuff send so much? Was the first thought that crossed our minds.
Best Wireless Headphones 2020 – Libratone Track Air +
- Model /True Wireless In-Ear Headsets
- Sound restitution/ Stereo
- Active noise reduction system/ Yes
- Weight (with cord and batteries) /12 g
Start with design of this headphone, the first thing you see when you take the headphones out of their box. Their charging case is compact and reserved but the hard material chosen by the manufacturers does not end with endurance.If it is scratched over the months of use It would not be surprising. Same thing for the headphones that mix, in the version we tested, matte black plastic, shiny and gray plastic. A white and gray version is also available. The triangular protuberance that characterizes these Track Air + makes them recognizable models among all. Some may, however, find this pointed design somewhat aggressive, but it remains a matter of taste.
Essential application for using headphones
Once pairing is done, we advise you to install the Libratone application (on iOS and Android) to manage firmware updates and all other features. This is the one that will in particular to adjust the noise reduction, which is also very effective for this kind of headphones.
It is thus possible to increase and reduce its intensity manually or to choose an intelligent noise reduction. In this configuration, it automatically adapts to the environment. Noise cancellation will be weak in the office, more intense in the street (but not at its maximum to hear cars arrive) and total on the move in a subway, bus or train.
Unlike the equivalent system of Sony, the adaptation is not done through the movements detected by the smartphone, but indeed thanks to what the microphones integrated earphones hear. The settings will change, even if the application is not launched on the phone. It is this process that is already used by Jabra with the SmartSound system integrated to its excellent 85h Elite helmet.
In fact, it works perfectly and the headphones adapt in a few seconds to each new situation. A third mode, called “ambient monitoring” allows, meanwhile, to listen to what is happening around you with the pickups that capture the sound outside and return it in the headphones. This is ultimately the least convincing mode because a rather unpleasant breath is heard in the background, permanently.
To switch between these modes, we can go through the application, but also configure the integrated touch surface to each earpiece. A double-tap then makes it possible to switch from the noise reduction mode to that of ambient monitoring. This choice is customizable for each listener, the second will be able to control the playback/pause, the next song or the triggering of the voice assistant. The latter will be the one integrated into the operating system of the smartphone, so Siri or the Google Assistant depending on whether you use an iPhone or Android mobile.
Finally, a wear detector is present in the headphones, allowing them to pause the reading as soon as they are removed from the ears. On the other hand, as on the Sony WF-1000XM3, Libratone did not see fit to integrate the ability to adjust the volume other than by changing it from the smartphone. Too bad.
The autonomy is announced as excellent since the Danish brand puts on 6 hours of continuous operation without recharge. Unfortunately, the promise is not held, Our team has a measured performance of 4 h 37. This result, however, remains very good and place the Track Air + on the top of the basket. As promised by the manufacturer, it is however quite possible to recharge the headphones three times thanks to their charging box. We will arrive at a completely comfortable total autonomy of about 16 hours, instead of the 24 hours announced. Finally, note that the case can be charged by induction, with a suitable charger.
The last chip of Qualcomm to enjoy the aptX HD
Finally, finally on the sound quality, last topic, but not least. The Track Air + is indeed the first model on the market to integrate the new Qualcomm QCC5121 SoC, a quad-core audio chip compatible with Bluetooth 5.0 and capable of managing the aptX and aptX HD codec of the San Diego firm.
To be able to benefit from it, it is necessary that the smartphone or the tablet to which the headphones are connected to be equipped with a Qualcomm processor. In other words, it will be impossible to take advantage of this technology with a European Samsung smartphone (based on Exynos processor) or a model of Huawei integrating an SoC Kirin. This will be even more impossible with an iPhone or iPad that only manages the AAC format.
And that’s unfortunate because the aptX HD allows quite high transfer rates for the Bluetooth standard. It can thus be up to 576 kb / s and enjoy a 24-bit encoding sampled at 48 kHz. So we get a lot closer to what Sony offers, in terms of sound quality, with its LDAC (24 bits / 96 kHz). The argument is weight since unlike what it usually offers with its high-end headphones, the Japanese manufacturer could not ship codec Hi-Res in its excellent headphones WF-1000XM3.
This quality of transmission is, therefore, an additional argument for Libratone against the Sony model, its main competitor without exceeding it. In fact, the Danish headphones indeed produce a sound quality significantly lower than their competitor who therefore continues to truster the first place in the market in the field.
Nevertheless, Libratone provides a service of excellent quality. Spatialization is very successful, mediums well represented, while the bass deserve, for their part, to be slightly amplified thanks to the equalizer embedded in the app to give a little roundness to the whole. Finally, the highs are also present, although they can be tiring when listening for several hours.