by Paul Mah

7 great headphones for work and play

Jan 14, 2016
Consumer ElectronicsMusic

This collection of headphones not only offers great audio fidelity, but also allow you to take incoming phone calls, which makes them just right for the office.

Headphones that make taking phone calls a pleasure

Regardless of whether you’re listening to music, watching TV or a movie, gaming or taking audio (or video calls) on Hangouts or Skype, the quality of your headset is going to make a difference in your experience. With so many choices on the market these days, it’s hard to know what to look for. These seven choices are a good place to start.

1. Plantronics Voyager Focus UC

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Created as a superior wireless headset for taking calls, the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC dishes out high-quality music playback that will put many headphones to shame. In fact, it’s the only headset you won’t mind packing it into its soft case for the commute home. When it comes to taking calls, the Voyager Focus UC sports active noise cancelling technology and precision-tuned mics housed within an adjustable boom. Its Bluetooth range of 98ft (30m) aside, the team behind the Voyager Focus UC is so confident of its wireless capabilities that the headset has no wired backup.

Price: $299.95

2. Logitech Wireless headset dual H820e

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For office workers who are perpetually on the phone, the Logitech Wireless headset dual H820e offers a range of more than 300ft (100m) courtesy of the DECT wireless technology under its hood. The ultra-lightweight design makes for all-day wearing, while its noise-cancelling microphone promises clear conversation. Importantly, the double-ear wireless design of the H820e allows you to focus on your calls – and to enjoy some stereo music playback in between. Finally, its dedicated dock is a great holder in between use, and can juice up a completely flat headset to more than five hours of talk time in less than an hour as you have lunch.

Price: $199.99

3. Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise Cancelling headphones

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One of the most-loved headphones for making plane rides that much more bearable, the Bose QuietComfort (QC) noise reduction headphones returns with the QuietComfort 25. The restyled QC25 look sleeker than ever, and addresses a key complaint of its predecessor by continuing to play music even if it runs out of juice. An inline mic/remote allows you to control the music and take calls, and the wired headphones is packaged with either iOS or Android cables. Finally, the QC 25 also come with a compact casing to protect it against scratches and minor bumps when travelling.

Price: $269.95

4. V-MODA Crossfade Wireless

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The V-MODA Crossfade Wireless is a pair of headphones to help you stand out from the crowd. Built with a steel frame and tested to beyond military-level MIL-STD-810G test standards, the rugged Crossfade Wireless delivers the multiple award-winning sound quality of the Crossfade M-100 in a wireless headphone. A hidden microphone lets you take calls on-the-go, while an included cable with embedded microphone lets you go wired if you want to. Style-wise, custom 3D printed shields can be installed on the Crossfade Wireless, and it also comes with an attractive form-fitting hard-shell case that you can clip on the outside of your carry-on luggage with the included carabiner clip.

Price: $299.99

5. BeoPlay H7

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The new BeoPlay H7 blends the best of two earlier headphones from Bang & Olufsen together: Design from the wired H6, and touch controls from the wireless H8. The H7 offers a similar blend of comfort, acoustic performance of the former, but with the Bluetooth wireless capabilities and touch interface of the latter. This is one of the best-sounding headphones in this lineup, and is the only wireless headphones in this list to come with rechargeable and replaceable battery. Which is just as well, since it is also the priciest. And yes, you can keep pick up calls directly from the BeoPlay H7.

Price: $449

6. B&W P5 Wireless

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For those who prefer something more compact, the Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless offers both style and sound quality in a smaller on-ear package. The P5 Wireless supports aptX Bluetooth and is designed to offer playback quality akin to hi-fi stereo systems for 17 hours on a full charge. Three-button controls built into the right ear cup let you pause, skip tracks and take phone calls, while dual microphones promise above-average call quality. Ear pads are removable from its snug magnetic latch for plugging in a cable, and also makes replacing them a much simpler affair.

Price: $399.99

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The Bose SoundLink around-ear wireless headphones II is the second generation of Bluetooth wireless around-ear headphones from Bose. The improved set of cans offer up to 15 hours of play time from its built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and ranks high in comfort thanks to its fit and lightweight design. When it comes to calls, its built-in microphone system promises clear calls even in windy or noisy environments, while the enhanced sidetone capabilities can help you mask the fact that you are wearing a pair of headphones.

Price: $279.95