You’re gearing up to spend a serious amount of money on a pair of wireless headphones. Good on you, you’re at the forefront of a new and exciting technology that is only going to keep getting better as time goes by. But you probably knew that already. What you may not know is what you can expect from this price point—the good, the bad, and the rest—, and that’s why we’re here to walk you through it.
This price point is ideally suited for people who want to take their relationship with wireless audio to the next level. You aren’t quite ready for total commitment just yet, but you’re getting there. Who knows, a couple of years and some good times down the road, and you might be ready to seal the deal.
Top 3 Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones Under $200
Bose have gone great things with the SoundLink range. Combining a keen eye for visual flair with all of the portability you would hope for from a pair of wireless headphones, the overall effect is one that is both lightweight and high-quality. With audio that outperforms much of the competition, this is a very safe bet.
Sennheiser’s HD 4.40BTs are a strong entry at this price point. A fairly ubiquitous, unassuming design and spartan feature list are overshadowed by a fantastic listening experience that can be customized to your tastes via the app. 25 hours of battery life is a really solid offering, and takes a lot of the pressure off when it comes to charging.
Sony’s MDR-XB950B1s are a promising addition to an already very solid product range. Sporting excellent battery life, a whole host of interesting and useful features, and a great design, the trade off in terms of audio quality is more or less acceptable depending on your needs. The app, too, is a great touch.
In order to establish what this price point tends to do well, it’s a good idea to compare it with the one directly beneath it. In this case, that’s the $100 price bracket for which the general theme is that you want to start deciding on the relative importance of audio performance, feature sets, and battery life for your particular priorities.
By contrast, then, the watchword for the $200 bracket is versatility. It’s at this point that you will start to see models which cover all bases: solid battery life, a similarly decked-out feature set, and audio performance that is (usually) comparable in terms of its technical prowess. This means that you can start to focus on things like the specific ‘sound signature’ (a term which basically just refers to the quality of the sound a particular device produces) or even good old fashioned design.
There’s nothing especially bad for which you would need to be on the lookout at this price point. You may, however, notice a few minor frustrations and one particular trend that is worth keeping in mind when you study your buying guide: if a particular set of headphones does one thing unusually well, chances are there are significant trade-offs elsewhere of which you should be mindful.
For example, not many headphones offer active noise cancellation at this price point. Of those that do, it is often (though not always) the case that the audio performance, battery life, and design suffer as a result of this focus on providing one specialist feature at the expense of a ‘jack of all trades’ approach.
What to Look For
If you’ve done your research, and you have a good sense of what you’re looking for and why particular attributes of wireless headphones are more important to you than others, then all you need to do is look for whichever pair best instantiates these requirements. It shouldn’t be too difficult.
One thing to keep an eye on is size. At this price point, you may notice that a couple of the models are significantly more bulky than you may see at lower price brackets. This is usually because of a combination of the perception that a heftier device designed from materials which feel robust implies a better build quality and, of course, the simple fact that you’ll probably be getting more internals crammed inside the case. Be sure to check out the particular form factor before you buy, and make sure that it folds or flattens enough that it won’t get in the way of your daily use and transportation.
In many ways, this is something of a sweet spot in the wireless headphone market. You will notice a marked improvement from the ~$100 models, but won’t have to shell out for the often fairly niche offerings of the very top-end. Instead, if you make the right choice after carefully considering your needs and priorities, you should find yourself with a high quality, long lasting pair of headphones that tick pretty much all the boxes you could hope for.