Headphones were designed to let you listen to your audio privately. They come in two main designs: in ear / earbuds and over ear. If you want to improve on the earphones that came with your smartphone, this article will help you decided what to invest in.
Also called in-ear headphones or earphones, these are small devices that fit in your ears. You can usually differentiate between those that sit at your ear's entrance, and those that go in quite deeply.
The main benefit of earbuds is portability, they are very small and you can keep them in your pocket wherever you go. They're ultra light, which makes them suitable for all kinds of sports, including jogging. Many people also find them more comfortable than over-the-ear headphones, especially cheaper models. Many earphones offer a good noise isolation, almost like earplugs.
There are some downsides too. Due to the tiny speakers, the audio can be less natural and the bass not as rich as over-the-ear headphones. Also, not everyone likes to keep things inside their ears, especially over longer periods. Photo by StevenW.
This type of headphones don't go inside your ear, and don't cover your whole ear either. They are simply little pads that touch the outside of your ears.
Ear pad headphones usually won't block the outside noise, which can be good in some situations, when you want to abe aware of what is going on around you. This, however, makes them not suitable in places where you would like to reduce ambient noise, such as on a plane.
On the other side, they can be light and comfortable. Photo by AudioTechnica
Full size over-the-ear headphones are designed to go around your entire ears. They can sometimes be quite bulky, which means they are not best suited for travel, but rather a home or studio use.
Over ear headphones usually provide the best listening experience as they offer natural sound in the whole audio spectrum and rich bass. Because they surround your ear completely, they tend to offer a good noise isolation, although there are also "open" models, which let more sound in and out. Because of the large padding, most users find them comfortable to use, also during longer listening sessions. Photo by invencible92
Besides looking at the specs, perhaps the best way to find to pick the best headphones is to read reviews about them. The most obvious things to look for is sound quality and comfort. However, there are a few features that could be important too, such as noise cancellation and wireless connectivity, depending on what you need in your situation.
In the list below you can find a few models worth considering.
Bose is known for advanced acoustics and these headphones don't disappoint. They offer a high quality natural sound throughout the whole spectrum. The headband is padded and the ear cushions are made of memory foam for added comfort.
SoundTrue headphones have a built-in remote at the back of the microphone, which is meant to work with iOS devices, such as iPhone. They weigh just under 5 oz (140g), the cable length is 66". (around 170cm) A functional carrying case is included in the package for protection from dust and damage.
Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 are wireless earbud headphones with a battery life up to 4-5 hours of listening or talking. This battery life goes up to 14 hours if you carry the charging/protective case with you. They connect to your device via Bluetooth, and feature an inline controller for managing tracks and phone calls.
Apart from being small enough to be carried in your pocket, they also offer a remarkable sound quality for their size. The bass as well as highs sound very natural. They feature a DeepSleep hibernation, which means they stay charged for up to six month, in case you forget to connect them to the charging case.
These studio headphones offer a professional grade noise insulation and deliver high quality natural audio. They sound very well no matter what you plug them into. Since they were designed for long periods of studio work they are very comfortable to wear. The weight is slightly less than 9 oz. The headphones come with a 10ft straight cord as well as a 16ft coiled cable.
QuietComfort 35 from Bose offers are one of the best noise-cancelling headphones out there, designed for day-long use comfort. The built-in batteries provide up to 20 hours of battery life in a wireless mode, which extends to 40 hours when using the wire. Dual microphones are there to ensure high quality call audio even in windy conditions. They can be paired with your device either with Bluetooth or NFC.
Beats Executive Silver were designed for travel and deliver a high grade sound profile. A battery-powered (active) noise cancellation means that you will not be disturbed by engine noise during your flight. They are made aluminum to provide the sturdy yet very light structure. Beats Executive can be folded flat to save space and come with a hard shell carrying case. Cable length: 4.5 ft (1.36m), Type of Jack: 3.5mm.