The winter months have seen mixed results in our headphones lab, with two new standout releases, including a truly wireless one, and no less than six new Don’t Buys, including four wireless headphones.
We’ve tested 10 headphones in total and picked out six here, but would buying any of them be an expensive mistake or money well spent? Only our expert reviews can give you the answer.
We’ve tested three new entrants into the ‘truly wireless’ space, including the major launch of the Samsung Gear IconX (2018) and the rival Google Pixel Buds.
What’s more, we’ve got the latest Beats in-ear models, a cheap equivalent and on-ear and over-ear models.
Best Buy headphones – see which models we recommend.
Samsung Gear IconX (2018), £199
The update to last year’s model of the same name, the Gear IconX (2018) are Samsung’s new premium truly wireless earbuds, and include a built-in fitness tracker. The headphones can even work independently of your smartphone with 3.4GB of built-in memory. As is standard for current truly wireless headphones, the carrying case doubles up as a charger when they’re not in use.
But has Samsung made a leap forward from last year’s model in terms of battery life and sound? Is it a worthy competitor to the popular truly wireless Apple Airpods?
Find out in our Samsung Gear IconX (2018) review.
Google Pixel Buds, £159
Google has thrown down the gauntlet to its rivals from Samsung and Apple with the Pixel Buds, designed to be the perfect match for its popular Pixel 2 smartphone. Unlike its competitors however, Google has opted to have a cord linking the two earbuds, giving them a highly compact shape.
Their headline unique feature is real-time translation with Google Translate (exclusively for Pixel phones), which allows you to ‘speak’ to people in a different language.
We put the translation to the test in our video, and give you the lowdown on Google’s new foray into the headphones market. See what we thought in our comprehensive Google Pixel Buds review.
AKG N60NC Wireless, £250
Seemingly built for commuters, the AKG N60NC Wireless on-ear noise-cancelling headphones aim to be the ultimate in convenience. They fold down to a compact size when not in use, and come with a handy carrying pouch and flight adaptor.
They even have a detachable back-up cable you can use to continue listening even when the battery runs out – or you forget to charge them.
See what we thought of these headphones in our in-depth AKG N60NC Wireless review.
Beats urBeats3 with Lightning Connector, £90
Coming with a Lightning Connector for newer Apple devices or a 3.5mm plug version for most other devices, Beats claims the urBeats3 deliver ‘fine-tuned acoustics’ with ‘laser-precision venting’. But our listening panel don’t marvel at technology – they care about results. So does the tech deliver superior sound?
These seem pretty expensive for fairly standard-feature wired in-ear headphones with call controls. So do they deliver crystal-clear sound?
We gave them an extensive workout at our lab in our Beats urBeats3 with Lightning Connector review.
B&O Beoplay E8, £259
Bang and Olufsen says these top-price truly wireless headphones are like a piece of jewellery, ‘gem-like’ with an ‘unmistakable signature B&O sound’.
They are also splashproof and dustproof, so durable for use in a wide range of weather conditions. By tapping on the earbuds you have controls to play and pause music, take calls, adjust the volume and enter various control modes, including voice activation.
So has B&O mastered the art of truly wireless earbuds? Our lab leaves no stone unturned in our full B&O Beoplay E8 review.
JVC HA-FX7M (Gumy Plus), £6.80
Is it really worth spending lots of money on headphones? JVC aims to give you the ultimate bang for your buck with these basic in-ear headphones with call controls, currently available for an incredible £6.80 with free delivery.
But can you really get great sound out of sub-£10 headphones and are they a great alternative if you frequently lose your earbuds?
We reveal whether these really are a solid alternative – and a huge money saver – in our expert JVC HA-FX7M (Gumy Plus) review.
Other headphones tested
We’ve also tested the models below, including truly wireless headphones from Jaybird, so be sure to check out the reviews to find out if they’re worth buying: