Headphone recommendations
August 30, 2016 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Help me find the perfect bluetooth/wireless headphones for my picky needs.

What are the best "value" (read: bang for the buck) bluetooth/wireless headphones that:

1. Also have a mic, so I can use them for hands-free phone conversations in the car, or whenever I want to walk around my house and talk on the phone without actually holding my phone;

2. Are appropriate for listening to music at the gym (lightweight, minimalist, comfortable even when sweating or bouncing around a lot, don't fall off easily) - this includes times when I may be laying back on a weight bench, or on a yoga mat, and don't need anything getting in between my neck and the bench or floor;

3. To build on #2, are not clunky, but hopefully are still aesthetically pleasing;

4. Work seamlessly and don't lose signal easily;

5. People on the other end of a phone conversation can hear me clearly.

My budget is <$150 but ideally <$100.

If it matters, the phone I'd be using these with is an iPhone 6S Plus.

Thank you in advance!
posted by nightrecordings to Technology (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've been very happy with the Jaybird X2s. They are lightweight and stay in my ears at the gym (once I got the hang of using the 'wing' attachments), have never lost signal on me, and I use the microphone often for phone calls. The price seems to be up on Amazon right now but I'd keep watching or try another vendor as I only paid $100 for mine a few months ago.
posted by telegraph at 2:55 PM on August 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I also enjoy my X2s. So much so that when I thought I lost them (gah!) I fretted over the money for a week, broke down, and purchased the Jaybird Freedom just so I didn't feel so bad about spending the money twice. I find them a little more comfortable, and the X2s were already great, though I worry about looking the chargingextends-battery adapter.

Then I found the X2s. They went through the wash (in hot water, and the drier) in (I presume) a cycling jersey pocket. And they _still_work_. Not recommended but, well, holy heck. And they sound good, look decent, and the pickup makes my calls sound better than they do on my crappy android handset.

I have gotten used to replacing cheap wired headphones regularity as I listen to things a lot and catch them on things. Spending 'real' money on anything better just seemed a waste of time. This trouble has been completely negated in the last 8 months with the BT Jaybirds and I feel the money has been well spent. I am not even, n the end, too terribly ticked about now owning two pairs - as good as the X2 feel the Freedoms feel even nicer and I am happy to keep the X2s for my outdoor pursuits. Yeah, and I am the guy who didn't want to spend more than $20 for wired headphones.

Strongly recommended.
posted by mce at 3:55 PM on August 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Plantronics Backbeat Fit 2. They're flexible, comfortable, well within your price range, slim without being flimsy, work well with the phone, and sweat safe. I've had three pairs of them (pro-tip: make sure they're not in your pocket when you wash your pants). I've generally worn them bicycling on busy streets while listening to an Audiobook or podcast, and have felt as if I can register the sounds around me while still being able to follow the narrative.
posted by Captain l'escalier at 4:38 PM on August 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: X2's. Love 'em.
posted by good lorneing at 7:26 PM on August 30, 2016

I've been researching this lately as I'm going through an annoying number of $20-30 pairs of bluetooth headphones. The ones I had my eye on to buy next are the Jlab Epic2s, but I haven't experienced them yet.

They seem to be well rated in various websites, but that could be marketing as much as anything. Amazon rates them as well as the Jaybird X2s, mentioned above, but again, how much can you get from a star rating system? They are more like $100 than $150.
posted by Sunburnt at 7:52 PM on August 30, 2016

I just returned a pair of the JLab Epic2 I bought on Amazon. They were comfortable enough but the sound quality was very poor. Very tinny and brittle.
posted by dorkydancer at 9:10 PM on August 30, 2016

I have small ears (funny, I know, because I am tall). Skullcandy makes decent, relatively well priced, bluetooth headphone for women specifically which is awesome. They also make them for men. I find them terribly comfortable, even when I am sweaty/active/at work. They have a neat program where if the stupid things break they will either replace them or give you a coupon for your next purchase. I have broken a lot of headphones. I've had mine going on two years, I believe. They work great, last an entire day with one charge is I use them straight for hours on end. If I forget them in my bag they hold a charge for a week so far as I can tell. Maybe they are not Audio Technicas, but if they were I would be unlikely to leave the house with them.
posted by palindromeisnotapalindrome at 10:21 PM on August 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just want to add that you may want to wait at least until after next week's iPhone announcement before you decide on which bluetooth headphones to buy due to the pretty consistent rumors that Apple will ditch the headphone jack and include their own Airpods. Whether they are any good or not, it may result in other headphone manufacturers slashing their prices, so it may be worth it to wait for a week to see what happens to the bluetooth headphone market.
posted by thewildgreen at 10:56 PM on August 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am using a mobile device right now so can't easily copy-paste links but have you thought about a device like the Sony MW600? I'm sure theres a newer model now but I've liked mine. It lets you use any headphones you want and has a mic so you can make calls and from what people tell me I sound decent using it.

I also use mine at the gym and have never had problems with it.
posted by Gev at 4:56 AM on August 31, 2016

I have a pair of JLab Epic earbuds, after the recommendations at The Wirecutter.

I had the for a month or two, and then while charging they overheated and warped and scared the hell out of me. The warranty replacement only took about a week, but I am leery of them. That said, they are light as a feather, plenty loud, and nicely watertight. For $79 I like them.

But thewildgreen is very correct to point out all the recent fuss about Apple possibly over-turning the earphone cart. Oh, you certainly still own a phone with a jack, but the product lines will probably shift around a lot in the months ahead.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:48 PM on September 1, 2016

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