We’ve had a chance to review a lot headphones and earphones here at Gadgets 360 this past year. With 2019 coming to a close, we’ve looked back on all of the great audio products we’ve tested, and compiled a list of our favourites – here’s our list of the Best Headphones and Earphones of 2019. There’s something for everyone here, with options that are affordable, premium, over-ear, in-ear, wireless, and wired. Here’s a list of our favourite headphones and earphones for 2019, based on our reviews and ratings. We’ve picked something for everyone based on design, style, and function. Let’s get straight into it.
Best overall – Sony WH-XB900N Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
All things considered, the Sony WH-XB900N is our highest rated and favourite pair of headphones for 2019. Priced at Rs. 16,990, this headset has pretty everything you need in terms of features and specifications. It’s a technically advanced pair of headphones that combines good codec support, decent active noise cancellation, aggressive yet refined bass, comfort, and top-notch battery life. Apart from a handful of small grouses, there’s very little to fault about the Sony WH-XB900N.
With much of the same approach and capabilities as the more expensive Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones but at a much more affordable price, the Sony WH-XB900N is the most technologically advanced, capable, and value-for-money pair of headphones you can buy in 2019.
Best truly wireless earphones – Apple AirPods Pro
Apple’s third model in the AirPods range is its best one yet, bringing a new design and fit style, active noise cancellation, and better sound. At Rs. 24,900, the AirPods Pro also among the most expensive pairs of truly wireless earphones you can buy today. However, whether you’re an Apple fan or not, the AirPods Pro offers an experience like no other.
The active noise cancellation is effective, the fit is comfortable, and sound quality is better than ever before on the AirPods Pro. If you have an iOS device, there’s a bit more you can do with these truly wireless earphones, but the usage experience is nearly as good even if you use an Android smartphone. It’s expensive, but this is just about as good as it gets when it comes to the truly wireless audio space.
Best active noise cancellation – Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
The fight between Bose and Sony for the active noise cancellation crown was a bit tight in recent years, but Bose has crept ahead in 2019 thanks to the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. With the best level of active noise cancellation you can get on a pair of consumer headphones today, the Bose headset is among our top-rated and favourite headphones of the year.
Priced at Rs. 34,500, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 isn’t affordable by any means. However, the headset is comfortable, looks good, sounds good, and cuts out the sound like nothing else in the segment. If you’re a frequent flyer or simply want a quieter and more immersive listening experience, this is our recommendation for you.
Best affordable wireless headphones – Sony WH-CH700N Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
While you could consider the Sony WH-XB900N to offer somewhat affordable noise cancellation itself, Sony has something even more affordable in its product range. The WH-CH700N is priced at Rs. 12,990, and offers a similar level of technical prowess and decent noise cancellation for the price.
The headphones offer very good sound, class-leading battery life, and easy-to-use controls, making this one of the best options at under Rs. 15,000 you can buy today.
Best for wireless sound quality – Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT
Wireless connectivity on headphones usually means a significant drop in sound quality, but improvements in Bluetooth technology and audio codecs have made a big difference in the space. And one of the best sounding wireless headphones makes it to our list this year – the Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT.
The wireless version of the popular M50x wired headphones, this headset brings the same open, detailed sound and studio-quality sonic signature, but with the convenience of Bluetooth. At Rs. 18,450, this is an expensive pair of headphones, but is definitely worth looking at if you’re in the market for a very good sounding option with class-leading battery life.
Best wired earphones – 1More Quad Driver Earphones
At Rs. 13,499, the 1More Quad Driver Earphones will definitely come across as very expensive considering that these need to be plugged into a 3.5mm jack. However, the power of four drivers in each earpiece means that the sound is detailed, attacking, loud, and very balanced. The openness offered by these earphones, and the undeniable quality that comes with using wired connectivity makes this pair of earphones our top pick for purists.
While there are many options for audiophiles, we liked the way these earphones performed as compared to the competition. If budget is no issue and you have a decent source device with a 3.5mm jack, these will go a long way towards improving your listening experience.
Best wireless earphones – OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2
The follow up to the well-received OnePlus Bullets Wireless, the second-generation variant was introduced earlier this year. Priced at Rs. 5,990, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 offers great sound for the price thanks to a hybrid triple-driver setup, and support for the aptX and aptX HD codecs. There’s also decent battery life, and fast charging that can top up the battery in less than 20 minutes.
While there are some advantages to using this pair of earphones with a OnePlus smartphone, it works just fine with pretty much any smartphone or source device that supports Bluetooth. The magnetic power switch remains a bit fiddly, but that aside, this is the best pair of wireless earphones you can buy today.
Best affordable true wireless earphones – Leaf Pods
While the true wireless earphones segment started out as very expensive and out of reach for most buyers, this year has seen many budget players get into the space. One such option is the Leaf Pods, which takes the crown as our favourite pair of budget true wireless earphones for 2019. Priced at Rs. 3,999, this is the best sounding affordable pair of completely wire-free earphones you can buy now.
The earphones look good, are comfortable, have proper codec support, and offer excellent sound quality for the price. While we did have some issues with the charging case and the way these earphones are charged, this was a relatively minor grouse considering the excellent value-for-money on offer here.
Best affordable wireless earphones – Realme Buds Wireless
Realme is making big waves in the smartphone space, and entered the audio segment this year as well. Although its early launches were affordable wired earphones, the company also introduced the Realme Buds Wireless, its first pair of wireless neckband-style earphones. Priced at Rs. 1,799, the Realme Buds Wireless has transformed the budget wireless segment by offering detailed, rich sound for the price, along with good design and specifications.
We found performance on voice calls to be inconsistent, and the magnetic power switch was very easy to accidentally trigger, but those points aside, this is a very good pair of earphones for the price.
Best affordable wired earphones – Ant Audio Wave 702
A lot of people want an affordable, no-nonsense option to listen to music on the go. At Rs. 599, the Ant Audio Wave 702 is exactly that; this is a pair of wired earphones that is built well, sounds good for the price, and gets the job done with sincerity.
We’ve tested a bunch of affordable earphones this year, but the Wave 702 stands out thanks to offering far more by way of design and sound than the competition. This is a value offering through and through, and one that’s hard not to recommend for anyone looking at a budget wired headset.