When the iPod (remember that?) first came out, the tiny white earbuds included in the packaging became ubiquitous. They dangled from the ears of subway commuters and joggers everywhere. Over time, audiophiles and those just looking to break from the masses gravitated to larger, over-ear headphones. Of those, Beats by Dre emerged as a clear leader. So much so that Apple acquired the company started by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. (Although you can never count the white earbuds out. Of the four people wearing earphones in the coffee shop I’m in right now, three have them.)
Now it’s wireless Bluetooth headphones that are taking over. Yes, Beats has an offering for those as well. But for guys that want to express their personal style and not look like everyone else with a curvy, lower case “B” there are some great alternatives to Beats.
Here are 5 amazing wireless headphones to check out.
Bang & Olufsen has a long history creating beautifully designed home theater equipment. They’ve taken the same approach to headphones. The new wireless H8 model features memory foam clad in buttery lambskin leather and anodized aluminum hinges. Gestures on the driver housing control your audio experience. Wheel your finger around to adjust the volume. Tap it twice to activate noise cancellation.
Parrot Zik 2.0
The brainchild of legendary designer Philippe Starck, the Zik 2.0’s sound as good as they look. If you are a true audio geek, you’ll love being able to completely customize the sound on your music using the equalizer on the headphones’ mobile app. The Zik’s also have a concert hall setting and adaptive technology that tunes out distracting sounds depending on your location.
Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless
The Urbanite headphones were already renowned for their sound quality. Now they’ve gone wireless. With Bluetooth 4.0, the headphones can simultaneously connect to two devices. They still deliver driving bass with complete clarity and the rugged stainless steel and aluminum components are built to withstand years of use.
If you just think of Bose as the O.G. in noise-canceling headphones, think again. Bose’s Bluetooth headphones put out clean and crisp sound and the battery lasts for up to 15 hours of audio playback. It lacks the gesture controls of other models, but is still intuitively easy to operate.
While Sony has been in the news these days more for their hacking troubles, the company still has some of the best headphones out. These oversized versions create a seal around your ears to preserve the fidelity of your music. Connecting is simple thanks to NFC technology. Simply tap your mobile device to the headphones and voilé.