Wires suck. They just do, especially with headphones. They’re always getting tangled, and it seems as though you spend more time winding and unwinding them than you do actually listening to music or podcasts (or just pretending to listen when you want to avoid talking to people). Then there’s the aesthetics. It’s never a good look for a human to have a leash attached to his neck, even if you’re Paul Giamatti’s S&M obsessed character in Billions. Rather than dealing with “cord management” why not just do away with the cord altogether?
The technology in wireless headphones gets better each year. The sound quality improves, batteries last longer, the Bluetooth connectivity strengthens. Ditto for the design, as headphones become more purpose-built to accomodate a variety of uses from chilling on the subway to running a marathon. So if you’re still living that Apple earbud struggle life, it’s time to upgrade with one of these awesome wireless options.
BOWERS & WILKINS P5
Bowers & Wilkins is known more for its hi-fi speakers, but the company has translated its audiophile knowledge to headphones. The drivers in the P5 have a more defined movement and have been tuned to deliver an extremely crisp sound. The battery lasts a ridiculously long 17 hours so you don’t have to worry about running out of juice even if you’re on a transoceanic flight.
For most wireless headphones, the “wireless” part comes from being untethered to a device, but Bragi’s Dash does away with the wires altogether. There is no cord that connects the right bud to the left one. They communicate with a technology similar to what is used in hearing aids. There is also storage on the Dash so it works as a standalone music player without your phone. And the noise cancelling capabilities are easy to switch on and off. Basically, there’s no reason to ever take these out of your ears.
MASTER & DYNAMIC MW60
Easily the most beautiful headphones of the bunch, Master & Dynamic’s first wireless offering also delivers on sound quality, with 45mm neodymium drivers and a machined aluminum antenna that allows you to roam far away from your device without sacrificing signal strength. But back to the looks. With incredibly soft lambskin leather on all the pieces that touch your body (ear pads, the interior of the headband) and a richly textured cowhide everywhere else, the one downside of wearing these is that you can’t see how good they look on your head.
JABRA SPORT PULSE
It’s a good thing when one device can perform the job of two. The Jabra Sport Pulse acts both as wireless earphones and a heart rate monitor. Later for those clunky chest straps: the earphones measure your pulse through the ear canal so you can train at peak efficiency. They also feature Dolby sound and are built to military-grade specs. If you want to rock out during a Spartan Race or some other mud run, these are what you want in your ears.
SAMSUNG LEVEL ON PRO
These are what you need when you really want to tune the rest of the world out. In the same way that Samsung’s Galaxy phones are challenging Apple’s iPhones, Samsung’s headphones are giving the Apple-owned Beats by Dre brand a run for their money as well. The Level On Pros utilize Ultra High Quality Audio technology that, when coupled with Samsung’s strong noise-cancellation tech, creates an immersive experience.
The time when wires get most in the way is when you’re working out. None of the workarounds—like funneling the cable inside your shirt—actually solve the problem, and over-the-ear headphones can be cumbersome. Jaybird’s Sport Ear Fins keep the earphones firmly seated during the most rigorous activity, so you won’t have to keep pushing them back in every few minutes on your run. If you can hold off a bit, the new X3 should come out before the summer and will support the more battery-friendly Bluetooth 4.0 technology in addition to some new color options.