Best Wireless Noise-Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones (November 2017)

Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones

This Synopsis

There are a lot of headphones out there, so much that choosing just one can be a daunting task. Fortunately, because noise-cancelling headphones are still a minority, there aren’t a sea of options to sift through. Actually, there are a select few that we can clearly call the best – that’s what this Synopsis is for.

The Short List

Sony WH-1000XM2Bose QuietComfort 35 IISennheiser PXC 550 WirelessBeats Studio3 Wireless
Sony WH-1000XM2 Wireless HeadphonesBose QC35 II Wireless HeadphonesSennheiser PXC 550 Wireless HeadphonesBeats Studio3 Wireless Headphones

The Rundown

#1 – Sony WH-1000XM2

The WH-1000XM2 is technically the successor (M2 = Mark II) to Sony’s excellent MDR-1000X of last year. The design/form is practically the same; this is certainly a refinement, but a worthy one.

Advantages

  • Classy, stealthy, and fold-able design
  • Adaptive noise-cancellation that edges Bose’s flagship
  • 30 hours of battery life (with wireless and ANC on)
  • Full, impactful, and musical high-res sound
  • LDAC-capable codec (lossless audio streaming), and AptX HD too
  • Touch controls and quick gesture to mute/unmute headphones
  • Optional wired function, that you can use with ANC

Downsides

  • Predominately plastic build
  • Touch controls can be finicky
  • LDAC is a rarity in mobile devices

#2 – Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II)

The QC 35 is Bose’s current flagship headphone. Bose is known for top class noise cancellation, as well as solid engineering in both hardware and sound. Series II of the QC 35 adds a physical button that works with Google’s virtual assistant.

Advantages

  • Proven, reliable, and fold-able design
  • Probably best for comfort
  • Top-end and user adjustable noise-cancellation
  • Dedicated button for Google Assistant (reprogrammable)
  • Balanced and engaging sound
  • Optional wired function, that you can use with ANC

Downsides

  • Predominately plastic build
  • Weakest of the bunch in battery life¬†(20 hours with wireless and ANC on)
  • Headphone doesn’t sound as good in passive mode
  • Sony WH-1000XM2 and Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless edge it on sound quality

#3 – Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

The PXC 550 Wireless is the least mainstream noise-cancelling headphone on the list. Sennheiser is a name most recognized in the audiophile community. With that said, you can expect it to come out on top in terms of sound quality.

Advantages

  • Classy, sophisticated, and fold-able design
  • Adaptive noise-cancellation
  • 30 hours of battery life (with wireless and ANC on)
  • Clear and masterful high-res sound
  • Customizable sound modes
  • Touch controls
  • Optional wired function, that you can use with ANC

Downsides

  • Understated look and predominately plastic build
  • Weakest of the bunch in terms of noise-cancellation
  • Most expensive out of the bunch

#4 – Beats Studio3 Wireless

Beats’ third iteration of its flagship wireless headphone focuses on internal updates. It still bears a very familiar make-up on the surface, for better or worse. The inside now packs support for Apple’s robust W1 wireless chip and improved acoustics.

Advantages

  • Classy and iconic Beats design, with a multitude of color options
  • Top-end adaptive noise-cancellation
  • Support for Apple’s top-notch W1 Bluetooth features (effortless pairing, extended range)
  • Fast charge
  • Engaging and fun sound
  • Optional wired function, that you can use with ANC

Downsides

  • Dated design and predominately plastic build
  • Overall sound quality is weakest of the bunch
  • 22 hours of battery life (with wireless and ANC on) is behind Sony and Sennheiser
  • Only Apple devices get full benefits via W1 chip

Final Thoughts

Noise Cancelling Headphones Amazon

Like a lot of the time, the best noise cancelling headphones 2017 really depend on what matters most to you. They have distinct advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the best sound quality is neck-and-neck between the Sony WH-1000XM2 and Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless, while the Bose QC 35 takes the comfort crown. The Beats Studio3 is a top choice with you have an Apple device, and if you enjoy a more fun and impactful sound than high-res details. But we have to hand the crown to Sony for producing the best all-arounder.

 

Also See: Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones Synopsis

Josh is so enthused about tech that he writes about it. After time at several tech publications, he launched The Synops - concise and quality gadget synopses with information that readers want to know and details they want to see. You can also follow him at on Twitter (@joshnor713) and Google+ (+JoshNoriega). Email any inquiries to josh@thesynops.com.

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