A good set of headphones is a value unto itself. When you add technological advances, such as Bluetooth capability and no wires, noise-cancelling and long-lasting batteries, a set of stereo headphones becomes priceless.
Wireless headphones are manufactured by dozens of different brands, but the top-rated names in audio and headphones are Beats by Dre and Bose. We looked at the Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear Headphones and did a side-by-side comparison to the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones, which are similar in build and quality, with a few noticeable differences.
Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear Headphones
These noise-cancelling headphones are meant to help you drown out the outside world while you listen to music or take phone calls, all without having to turn the volume up louder and louder. The lack of wires makes it easier to maneuver in airplanes, trains or even while just walking down the street – you won't have to constantly rearrange a cable. A closer look, and listen, showed the strengths and weaknesses of Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear Headphones.
Over-ear headphones are meant to cup your ears so you can wear them comfortably for hours at a time. These Beats are adjustable, like most headphones, so they'll fit your head without issue. However, your ears may not sit just right inside the ear cup unless your ears are relatively small. The craftsmanship of the earpieces leaves something to be desired, too, as many customers reported peeling materials after only six months' use.
Compared to the Bose wireless headphones, these Beats cans are a bit heavier. They aren't so heavy that your neck tires quickly, but these are noticeably heftier. They do provide a tight fit, though, so they're less likely to slip off.
Often, noise-cancelling comes down to what you can perceive. If you have sensitive hearing, you may be able to pick up a slight hissing sound while using these Beats wireless headphones. They employ Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), which is noise created through microphones in the earcups to help block out background noise. This could be irritating to some listeners, but it's mostly effective in cancelling outside sounds. You also may find yourself turning up the volume on your music to block out the background hiss.
Traditionally, Beats are known for heavy bass, but that's not the case for the Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear Headphones. The sound quality of these Beats is more balanced than ever, but perhaps a bit muddled. Audio quality is largely subjective, so without trying them out yourself, you have to blindly trust reviewers – who all have a different set of ears. If clarity and purity in sound is what you seek, you won't find it in these Beats, but the quality is decent enough for all the other features you get.
Beats includes a built-in rechargeable battery that is meant to last 12 hours during wireless use, which is right on the target for most users. For some, the battery lasts even longer, which is good news for those who fly often. As with any rechargeable battery, though, its life reduces over time. If you decide to plug in, the battery can last up to 20 hours.
You won't find a better-looking pair of headphones on the market than these Beats. They come in 10 different colors, so you can consider these an accessory to match your laptop bag. These headphones fold up to a compact size and fit neatly in the included case.
Long battery life
Excellent design and style
Not super comfortable
ANC produces hiss
Audio might not be the best
Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones
Bose has been in the audio game for many years, sometimes receiving mixed reviews on audio quality. It has redeemed itself in the wireless noise-cancelling headphones arena, though. The Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones combine the company's bestselling wired headphones with wireless and ANC technology, and then add high-quality materials and craftsmanship.
The point of buying over-ear headphones is mostly for a comfortable listening experience. You can wear these Bose headphones for hours and not feel like your ear is being squished against the rims of the cans or up next to scratchy mesh. Your ears are cupped quite comfortably by these headphones. Additionally, these headphones are surprisingly lightweight, so you can wear them for hours and still be comfortable. The only noticeable disadvantage to the weight of these headphones is that there is some audio leakage, so others may hear your music if you crank it up.
No one does noise-cancelling better than Bose. Even when you use these over-ear headphones without music playing, outside noise is greatly reduced. And the most noticeable difference between Bose and Beats is the lack of hiss. The pressure that's produced may be noticeable if you're sensitive to it, but it's less obvious compared to Beats and other manufacturers.
Once again, it's important to remember that audio quality is a subjective measurement. That being said, Bose rises to the top when it comes to mid-range sound. You get more separation of instruments and vocals through these wireless headphones compared to Beats, but the bass and highs aren't as clear.
Bose claims their headphones can last 20 hours, and it's a fair claim. Customers report 25 to 30 hours of wireless use on a full charge. And the headphones can go for 40 hours while you use the included wire.
It's hard to beat Beats when it comes to style, but Bose gives it a go with its black and silver options. The materials are high quality, as you'd expect out of a set of headphones at this price point.
- Comfortable cups
- Long battery life
- Excellent noise-cancelling technology
- Audio quality isn't the best
- Style leaves something to be desired
- Audio leakage due to loose fit on some
Beats vs. Bose: Who Wins?
In the end, Bose comes out on top, but barely. Comfort and audio quality are subjective, so Beats may beat Bose for you. Either way, you get a high-quality set of over-ear headphones that can cancel out the majority of outside noise.