Fitbit is a household name when it comes to fitness tracker tech and it offers options for running experts as well as the everyman who just wants something to track how far they walk each day.
So far we’ve seen the launch of Fitbit Alta HR in 2017 while both the Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Flex 2 came out at the tail end of last year.
Products such as the Fitbit Blaze and Surge sit at the top end of the Fitbit product range to keep those who are into their exercise happy, while there are also choices like the Zip, Charge and Flex for those who need something a little simpler
Looking for something different? Check out our best fitness trackers in 2017
Need to save money? Check out our best cheap fitness trackers
Or maybe try one of the best Android Wear smartwatches?
If you’ve bought a Fitbit, check out our selection of the 30 best Fitbit bands
Check out our fitness trackers tips and tricks guide to effectively use your band
Here you’ll find our ranking of the best Fitbit products you can buy right now – look below to find the best Fitbit fitness tracker for your needs:
One of the latest Fitbit devices is the Charge 2, which has a much larger screen compared to the original Fitbit Charge or the Charge HR.
It’s one of the best fitness trackers you can use right now and comes with fitness features such as a heart rate tracker and guided breathing.
There’s also Multi-Sport tracking that allows you to keep a track of outdoor runs, walking, weight training and many more exercises.
It also connects with the GPS on your phone to keep track of your runs as well. You won’t be able to use this in a pool though, if you want to go swimming with your tracker we’d recommend looking at the Fitbit Flex 2.
Read the full Fitbit Charge 2 review
The Fitbit Blaze is the dark horse of the Fitbit family. This is one of the stranger devices on the roster as it looks like it’s trying to be the first smartwatch from Fitbit, but it’s not.
Despite the design, the Fitbit Blaze is still a fitness tracker at heart. The design is a little quirky, but that may be something you want to go for in a fitness tracker.
The display also offers up notifications for your text messages, but not for any other apps you may want to see.
The Blaze does offer up a variety of new fitness features – such as SmartTrack, which will track your exercise even if you haven’t told the wearable what you’re going to be doing – allowing you to burn through those calories quickly and easily.
Read the full Fitbit Blaze review
Here’s the most expensive and arguably most exciting device Fitbit has ever released. It’s especially going to get your blood pumping if you’re a runner, as the Fitbit Surgecomes with GPS technology built-in.
That means you can take your Fitbit out and about without having to keep your phone in your pocket while you’re jogging.
It comes with a heart rate monitor and a classic watch-like design that some of the other Fitbit products don’t offer.
There’s a slightly weaker battery life on this Fitbit and the design isn’t to everyone’s taste, but if you like to run this is probably the best choice of Fitbit for you.
Read the full Fitbit Surge review
The Fitbit Alta HR takes the slim, stylish Fitbit Alta and jams a heart rate monitor into its slender frame, without bulking it up.
Where the original Alta feels a bit light on features, and like it puts form over function, the Alta HR is an admirable tracker which goes beyond basic step tracking, but one that still looks good.
It’s still not the most feature-packed – there’s no GPS for a start – but it strikes a good balance and is the sort of thing you’ll be happy to wear 24/7 (other than when swimming – this isn’t waterproof), which is handy, because it can also track your sleep, and the heart rate monitor helps there too.
With basic message and notification alerts pulled from your smartphone and an almost week long battery life too, it’s well worth considering if you don’t need the features – or don’t want the bulk – of something like the Fitbit Surge.
Read the full Fitbit Alta HR review
Do you want a fitness tracker that is easy to use and uncomplicated? The Fitbit Flex 2 may be the best device for you.
It’s the only truly waterproof Fitbit, so you’ll be able to use this while swimming and track how good your dips in the pool are going.
It’s a touch cheaper than the Fitbit Charge 2 as well, so it may be the perfect new Fitbit tracker for you.
Read the full Fitbit Flex 2 review
The Fitbit Altais the latest product from Fitbit and has a big focus on the design rather than its fitness features.
The style is customizable with various straps so you can switch them out for whatever you feel like that day – you aren’t limited to just one choice, like you are on some Fitbit devices.
In our review, we found it also had a week-long battery life. That’s even more than the 5 days Fitbit claims for the Alta.
It’s not all great though as the Alta’s screen isn’t very sensitive and it’s not waterproof either. But if you’re looking for an all-rounder fitness tracker, the Alta may be a good choice for you – though remember there’s a Fitbit Alta HR now too, which you’ll find elsewhere in this list.
Read the full Fitbit Alta review
This is the cheapest of the cheap in the world of Fitbit.
If you want a cheap and cheerful tracker that will just monitor how far you walk each day, go for the Fitbit Zip. It’s a clip you can put onto your clothing and from there you can just look at how far you’ve walked each day.
Essentially it’s a glorified pedometer and won’t be able to track your running anywhere near as accurately as you could on devices like the Surge or the Blaze.
But if you’re here just to keep a track on how far you’ve been walking, the Fitbit Zip isn’t a bad choice for you.
Read the full Fitbit Zip review
Between the Fitbit Charge and the Charge 2 we got the Fitbit Charge HR, which looks exactly like the original Fitbit Charge but adds a heart rate monitor into the mix.
Fitbit has discontinued the Charge HR, but other retailers still stock it – at least for now – and it makes for a cheaper alternative to the Fitbit Charge 2.
The Charge HR is also one of the more stylish Fitbit products included on this list, but it’s not always the most accurate at tracking your steps.
If you’re looking to do more rigorous exercise go for one of the devices above such as the Surge or the Blaze. But the Charge HR is still a good choice if you’re looking for the odd update on how far you’ve walked.
Read the full Fitbit Charge HR review
We’re down to the more basic fitness trackers that Fitbit produces. The Fitbit One is getting on a bit now, but if you don’t want something strapped around your wrist it may be a good choice for you.
The Fitbit One is a clip-on tracker that will monitor your steps and fitness activities without having to sit on your wrist.
The technology is a little old now, but it may be a good choice for you if you’re just looking for something to take a good look at your steps.
Plus remember it’s one of the cheaper Fitbit options, so if you’re here to save money this could be the best choice.
Read the full Fitbit One review
After something a little bit cheaper than the devices just above? If you can sacrifice the screen, the Fitbit Flex may be the best choice for your tracking needs.
It does include a screen, but it won’t give you numbers on how well you’re doing. Instead it includes dots – when the dots are full you’ve achieved your daily steps.
It’s not the most useful device for when you go running, but it will make sure you reach your minimum step goals in a day and sometimes that’s all you really need.
If you like the design of the Fitbit Flex and don’t need much in the way of run tracking skills it’s a strong choice.
The last time a sandwich was in space was 1965. The two astronauts on Nasa’s mission snuck a corned beef sarnie into the pocket of a spacesuit and snaffled it in orbit.
When they returned to Earth, they were severely reprimanded. The crumbs had gone everywhere in the microgravity, and Nasa warned that they could have got into the astronauts’ eyes or started fires under the electrical panels. Since then the menu has been .
Now, however, a German-based company called Bake In Space has created a “crumbless” bread that could change everything. The firm has developed a bread mixture and several oven designs which will be tested next year on the International Space Station.
“As space tourism takes off and people spend more time in space we need to allow bread to be made from scratch,” Sebastian Marcu, the company’s founder, told New Scientist.
How it works
The first problem to solve is the design of the oven. Most traditional ovens rely on convection to spread heat, but that doesn’t work so well in microgravity. They also require large amounts of energy that are tough to get on the International Space Station.
But engineers are also thinking about vacuum baking – where the pressure inside an oven is lowered. Low pressure means water boils at a lower temperature – so that baking can happen more easily.
Various different approaches will be tested on the European Space Agency’s Horizon mission in April 2018, complete with video feeds from inside the oven. “Bread could have a completely different structure,” says Marcu.
Plus, it’s hoped that bringing bread into orbit could yield more than just nutritional benefits – the smell of fresh bread could be an important morale boost. Just what you need when you’re floating in a tin can, far above the Earth.
Self-doubting robots could integrate more easily into society
Should Apple’s newly announced HomePod be too pricey for your blood (and, you know, not available yet), Google’s own smart speaker is going on sale.
Starting now at select retailers, Google Home is taking $20off its normal price of $129, meaning you’ll spend just over $100 to own the Google Assistant-backed smart speaker.
Even when not on sale, Google Home doesn’t come close to meeting the HomePod’s hefty $349 price tag, though the competing Amazon Echo is more in the ball park at $179.
If this Google Home deal has grabbed your attention, then head to the Google Store, Best Buy, or Target to pick one out today. As is the case with most retailer promotions, the twenty bucks off only applies while supplies last.
According to SlashGear, the Google Home deal lasts until June 18 — Father’s Day — so don’t dawdle if you’re looking for a last-minute gift for Pop, lest you have to wait until Black Friday for another solid Home discount.
Looking for the best Bluetooth speaker? We can help. We’ve listened to hundreds of these wireless speakers over the years and have put our heads together to form a definitive list of the best ones you can buy.
Curious what Bluetooth speakers are all about? If you want a quick and easy way to play music around your home or on the go, then nothing beats the convenience of a Bluetooth speaker. Simply charge it up, pair it to your phone, and you’ll be able to play your entire music collection wherever you choose.
While the latest set of audio cans can do amazing things, they previously offered a weak and tinny sound. Improvements is Bluetooth technology have meant that they’re able to offer a very capable audio experience in their own right. And, better yet, battery capacities have improved such that you can use a bluetooth speaker for several days on the trot without needing to recharge it.
But not all wireless speakers are made equal, and with that in mind welcome to our list of our top picks for the best Bluetooth speakers around. Some are rugged. Some are stylish. Some are weatherproof. Some aren’t fit for the outdoors. But all of them are well worth a place in your tech arsenal.
There are hundreds of Bluetooth speakers floating around, and sorting out which ones are worth your money and which ones are best left on the shelf can be a time-consuming process. But leave it to us. We’ve got you covered.
Here’s a quick look at our Top 10 best Bluetooth speakers list:
1.) UE Boom 2
2.) JBL Charge 3
3.) Bose SoundLink Mini II
4.) UE Wonderboom
5.) Bose SoundLink Color II
6.) Fugoo Style
7.) B&O Beoplay P2
8.) Marshall Kilburn
9.) JBL Flip 4
10.) Bose SoundLink Revolve
Below you’ll find our choices in full detail. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Let us know in the comments section down below.
This sequel to the UE Boom nails everything a Bluetooth speaker should be. It’s loud, yet detailed. Portable, but still incredibly durable. Plus, even better, the addition of waterproofing turns what used to be the best Bluetooth speaker around for most occasions into the best one for every occasion.
If you’re deep in the search for your next –, or first – Bluetooth speaker, you can stop looking now. (But if you’re looking for a little more power, the Megaboom – also from UE – is a great choice, too.)
Read the full review: UE Boom 2
As a package, the JBL Charge 3 offers a compelling set of features and excellent sound quality to boot. It punches well above its weight, playing loudly and distortion-free. The Charge line of speakers have been on our shortlist of recommendations for a long time and the latest iteration maintains JBL’s dominance in the portable Bluetooth speaker market.
Read the full review: JBL Charge 3
The Bose SoundLink Mini II is relatively ancient, having been released in June 2015. However, writing off the SoundLink Mini II because of its age would be a mistake, as it remains one of the best sounding wireless speakers. That said, it punches way above what its size would suggest, producing deep bass, sparkling highs and a lush midrange. While most wireless speakers sound OK, the Mini II proves that small speakers don’t need to compromise on sound.
Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Mini II
When someone asks us for a recommendation for a waterproof speaker, the UE Roll 2 was always on the top of our list. We loved the Roll 2’s unique form factor, 50-foot wireless range and, obviously, it sounded good, too. Where it was lacking was in the bass department. Logitech, UE’s parent company, has fixed the Roll 2’s lack of bass by creating the appropriately named UE Wonderboom.
In our eyes, the UE Wonderboom bests the Roll 2 in just about every way –except for the Roll 2’s handy bungee cord. Still, ignoring that, if you’re looking for one of the best waterproof Bluetooth speakers on the market today, it’s hard to do better than the UE Wonderboom.
Read the full review: UE Wonderboom
It seems just about every speaker company has a wireless speaker that can take the abuse of being outdoors and Bose, a company most well-known for its brand of excellent noise-canceling headphones, is no different. If you’re looking for something from Bose to take with you on your next hike, the $130 (about £100, AU$170) SoundLink Color II is the company’s only splash-proof speaker that can stand up to the elements with an IPX4 rating.
Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Color II
Meet one of the Bluetooth speaker market’s best-kept secrets. The Fugoo comes in your choice of jacket style (Style, Tough, or Sport), but no matter which one you choose, this speaker is just as suited for the elements as it is your coffee table. Despite its small size, this option offers surprisingly good sound performance and, get this, up to 40 hours of battery life when listening at medium volume. We were able to get nearly 20 hours out of it at a high volume.
Read the full review: Fugoo
B&O created a hit with the Beoplay P2. It’s a well-designed speaker that’s extremely easy to use, has a well-built companion app, and it sounds great. On top of that, the speaker is ultra-portable without compromising on much bass content. Sure, you could get something a little bigger (and stereo) for the same price, but at this size the sound quality justifies the price. The smart gestures are a nice touch too, although we wouldn’t buy the device solely for that reason.
Read the full review: B&O Beoplay P2
The Marshall Kilburn might not appear to be the best choice in Bluetooth speakers. It’s large, heavy, doesn’t have USB charging and isn’t waterproof. Plus, $299 (£239, about AU$390) is a lot to pay for a Bluetooth speaker. But none of this matters because the Kilburn sounds so darn good.
If design and audio performance are your two most important criteria for a Bluetooth speaker – and they should be – the Kilburn is near perfect.
Read the full review: Marshall Kilburn
Bringing bluntness over refinement, the JBL Flip 4 is a good Bluetooth speaker for the rugged outdoorsman in your friend circle. It’s rough, tough design makes it perfect as a portable speaker to accompany all aspects of your life while its sound is solid without worrying your home audio system.
It’s all weather friendly design is a win, but a lack of definition and distinction in the mid-range ultimately means its sound quality is not quite up to scratch when compared with some, more high-end portable speakers.
Read the full review: JBL Flip 4
The Bose SoundLink Revolve is an excellent sound speaker for users looking for true 360-degree sound. It’s great for sharing music during a party or for moving around the room without losing audio fidelity. It continues the company’s history of excellent build quality and sound and crams it all into a cylindrical speaker you can take with you on the go.
On the debit side, though, it’s also not fully dust or waterproof so you’ll want to think twice before bringing the Revolve to the beach.
Read the full review: Bose SoundLink Revolve
We’ll update this page as we review more speakers, so stay tuned. Let us know if you have suggestions for us to check out in the comments below.
Music is incredibly personal, and everyone has a different preferred genre.
But when it comes to headphones there almost as many preferences to choose from. Some people like the convenience of wireless, others the reliability and audio quality of wired. Some want the portability of in-ear headphones, and others the comfort of over-ears.
Upgrading your headphones is a personal choice, but it’s an essential step if you want to step away from the cheap earbuds that probably came bundled with.
A better pair of headphones will bring a new dimension to your music, whether it’s more detail, additional functionality or just more bass.
And while you could spend hundreds or thousands to get audiophile-grade gear, we’re the kind of people that like stellar performance for a good price.
The headphones you’ll find here have tons of features to help you to get the most out of your music however you like to listen to it. These features range from wireless connectivity to noise-cancellation, and come in the three major form-factors: in-ear, on-ear and over-ear headphones.
It sounds like a lot. But that’s where our guide to the best headphones steps in.
We’ve selected the best headphones for each form-factor, and we’ve even picked out a budget option for each so that you should be able to find an excellent pair, no matter what your budget.
Here’s a quick look at the best headphones this year:
Best in-ear headphones:
Best budget in-ear headphones:
Best on-ear headphones:
Best over-ear headphones:
Best budget over-ear headphones:
Best noise-canceling headphones:
Best budget noise-canceling headphones:
Best wireless headphones:
Best budget wireless headphones:
Don’t forget we’ve also got our form-factor specific guides to the best in-ear headphones, the best on-ear headphones and the best over-ear headphones in addition to our guides to the best noise-cancelling headphones and the best wireless headphones if you can’t find what you’re looking for on this list.
What headphones does TechRadar recommend?
We think the two most important things to consider when buying a pair of headphones are form-factor and price, and so that’s exactly how we’ve organised our guide.
Below you’ll find our top picks for the best in-ear headphones, the best on-ear headphones, the best over-ear headphones, the best noise-cancelling headphones and finally the best wireless headphones.
As well as a top pick for each form-factor we’ve also included a budget pick which manages to offer great sound at a much more competitive price point.
Leading off our list is the RHA T10i. It’s here for one simple reason: the sound quality is incredible, thanks to the snug seal created when the headphones are stuck in your ear. OK, plus the bass is also robust for such small earphones.
The RHA T10i look slick with a metal finish around the drivers and around the cable as well. They also come with several replacement tips if the defaults don’t fit your ear canal. They’re more expensive than other buds on the list, but there’s good reason they’re in our top spot.
Read the full review: RHA T10i
Want more options? Check out our full guide to the best in-ear headphones.
With the appealing candy apple detailing, Sennheiser gets you in the door. But once you’re in, you’ll stay for the killer sound quality that comes from the Momentum In-Ear earphones.
These are the among the best deals in the headphones market as it stands today. The company has a version available for each flavor of mobile OS, so everyone can get in on the goodness.
Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear
Want more options? Check out our guide to the best headphone deals.
For your money, you can’t do any better than Grado’s SR60e. The third-generation of the Brooklyn, NY-based company’s Prestige Series is its best and most refined yet. The SR60e in particular is a smart choice if you’re looking for an entry-level set of headphones that sounds like it should cost you way more than it does. Its open-backed ear cup design makes them a more breathable experience than what most on-ear headphones can deliver. In a few words, it’s our gold-standard when it comes to on-ears.
(Our review is for the SR60i, but the newer SR60e headphones are largely similar in design and performance.)
Read the full review: Grado SR60e
Want more options? Check out our guide to the best on-ear headphones.
The Oppo PM-3’s are a truly stunning pair of headphones. Make no mistake, we’ve reviewed a lot of headphones in the last 10 years but none have we become more fond of than the PM-3.
They’re equally comfortable being plugged into a headphone amp at home as they are commuting through the hustle and bustle of a big city, and they stand head and shoulders above rival products from bigger brands. We really can’t recommend them highly enough, they’re just amazing.
Read the full review: Oppo PM-3
Want more options? Check out our guide to the best over-ear headphones.
AKG has the right idea when it comes to budget headphones. Instead of spending lots of money on an expensive, heavy construction, the company has instead clearly spend the bulk of its money on the K92’s drivers, which sound appropriately excellent.
So yes, the K92’s might feel a little plastic-y, but they have a good amount of power where it matters the most.
Read the full review: AKG K92
Want more options? Check out our guide to the best over-ear headphones.
Bose has finally brought its fantastic noise-cancelling technology to a pair of wireless headphones and it’s done so without any of the traditional drawbacks of wireless headphones. They sound great, and their battery life is long enough for all but the longest of flights.
At $349.95 (£289.95 / AU pricing tbc) the QC35s sit firmly at the premium end of the spectrum, but if you want the best noise-cancelling headphones available right now then you can’t get any better.
Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort 35
Want more options? Check out our guide to the best noise-cancelling headphones.
Philips presents an elegant noise-cancelling solution with its NC1. These on-ear headphones aren’t wireless, but that’s hardly a reason to knock them. Coming in at $129, the NC1 are a more compact set that’s high on comfort and battery life.
In the box come headphones, a hard case for storage and the headphones rock a rechargeable battery that provides noise cancellation for close to 30 hours. But best of all, the sound performance is extremely well balanced and warm.
Read the full review: Philips Fidelio NC1
Want more options? Check out our guide to the best noise-cancelling headphones.
These no-holds-barred wireless headphones are oozing with positive qualities, but for many, they’re almost prohibitively expensive. However, if you’re an audio lover that can spare the expense, do not hesitate on this comfortable, hard-working set of headphones that will likely last for years.
Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless
Want more options? Check out our guide to the best wireless headphones.
Continuing the trend that the original NuForce BE6 started, the Optoma Nuforce BE6i are a minor update to an already great pair of earbuds and remain one of our favorite in-ear wireless headphones for the price.Offering good sound, build quality and battery life in its segment if you’re looking for a pair of wireless in-ear headphones that can survive a strenuous work out, the these should be on the top of your list of headphones to try.
Read the full review: Optoma NuForce BE6i
Want more options? Check out our guide to the best wireless headphones.
Press on to page two to see how to pick out a good pair of headphones along more of our recommendations.
There’s usually more to a set of headphone than meets the eye. As such, we’ve provided a breakdown of what you can expect to find in each kind of headphone.
Not only will learning more about headphones help you make a more informed purchase, but you’ll know when you’re really getting your money’s worth.
This type of headphone, more commonly referred to as an earbud or earphone, is usually the cheapest and easiest way to pump audio into your ears. If you’ve purchased an MP3 player, or more recently, a smartphone, it’s likely that a set was included with the purchase.
Earphones rest in or just outside the ear canal, creating a tight seal to keep air out and sound in. Compared to other types of headphones, these are the most discreet ones you’ll find. Their small form-factor also makes them the king/queen of portability and the prime choice for athletes.
You’re not likely to find strong performers at the low-end of the price spectrum. Their sound delivery is generally muddled, lacking bass and overcompensating for that with harsh mids and highs. That said, it won’t cost you much money at all to find a value-packed option complete with inline controls and a microphone.
Check out some of our other favorite models out here
While similar to over-ear headphones in appearance, they fit to your head a little differently. Instead of enveloping your ears with a soft cushion, on-ear headphones create a light, breathable seal around your ear. Thus, the noise isolation is much less effective than in-ear or over-ear options. This might be a dealbreaker for some, but there are big benefits to consider here.
On-ear headphones are usually more portable than their over-ear brethren, and as such they appeal to travellers and the fitness crowd. Taking a walk or a jog around town is also safer, as you can hear traffic go by and be aware of potential hazards.
Want to see more of our favorite picks?
This ear-muff style of headphone generally provides greater richness and depth of sound, which allows listeners to pick apart the instruments and sounds much easier. Additionally, over-ear, or circum-aural headphones, go around the ear and offer a generous amount of padding.
The price range for a set of on-ear headphones begins around $100 and from there, the sky’s the limit. For example, the Oppo PM-1, while excellent, are priced exorbitantly at $1,099. It’s definitely not necessary to spend that much. That said, you tend to get what you pay for.
If your headphone budget is in the $2-300, you’ll start getting into options that have excellent build quality, premium materials and amazing sound and features like ANC (active noise cancellation.)
Here are a few more of our top picks
This style of headphone doesn’t limit you to a specific form factor like the others. In fact, you can find in-ear, on-ear and over-ear headphone styles sans wire.
Opting to go wireless will cost you a premium of anywhere between $50-100 over the price of wired cans. Going futuristic isn’t cheap. One important thing to consider is that your music player must support the Bluetooth wireless protocol, as it’s required to use this type of headphone.
Speaking of Bluetooth, it has become exponentially more reliable over time, but it’s always susceptible to disturbances in the force. In short, any little thing, from the understandable (conflicting Wi-Fi signals, microwaves, cordless telephones), to the absurd (sticking a hand in the space between the device and the headphones) can sometimes interrupt a wireless listening experience.
Looking for more wireless options?
This category, like wireless headphones, isn’t limited to a form factor. You can find this clever mix of technologies integrated into the ear pieces of in-ear and over-ear headphones alike.
Many companies falsely claim to offer true noise cancellation with just the padding included around the ear cups. Don’t believe it. This is PNC (passive noise cancellation), and it doesn’t amount to much. You can even replicate this effect by cupping your hands around your ears, so why shell out the big bucks for it?
On the other hand, ANC (active noise cancellation) is the real deal. This technique employs a set of external microphones, which detect the decibel level outside. Once it has an idea of the incoming noise level, the headphone speakers inside transmit a noise generated to dampen the racket. The end result is an effect that hushes the outside noise, allowing you to focus.
Update: New best phone entries in the US are here, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus deliver a big shake-up to the top of the list. See where they land in among the top 10 smartphones in the US.
Knowing the best smartphone you can buy in 2017 is more than just a hunch for us. We test out the latest and – sometimes – greatest phones in comprehensive mobile phone reviews.
To drill down to a list of our 10 favorites in the US this year, we based today’s updated rankings on a lot of geeked-out factors: design, performance, battery life, camera quality and software updates.
Sure, your personal preference among , and could sway you to another device besides our top-ranked phone. So may iOS 11 and Android O in the future. Likewise, your contract with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile is a personal preference. The may not be available on-contract on Verizon, and vice-versa.
But that’s why we have more than just a No. 1 pick, which, spoiler alert, isn’t just Apple’s or . We’re not that predictable. Before you lock into a binding contract or spring for an expensive unlocked, SIM-free smartphone, consult our best phone guide, updated regularly.
Find a good deal with TechRadar: mobile phone deals
After the success of the HTC One M8, the world wondered if time was up for HTC after it didn’t really ignite the smartphone game with the One M9.
Well, that’s not the case as the brand went away, made a beautiful phone that’s ‘sculpted by light’, added in a genuinely impressive camera and improved the battery life.
But that’s not the best bit – that comes when you plug headphones into this thing. It’s sensational – can this thing pump beautiful, Hi-Res Audio into your ears or what? It’s sensational.
For that reason alone it’s worth a place in the top ten, and the myriad other improvements impress equally.
Read the full review:
What’s next? We haven’t seen an yet, but the company did launch a big upgrade by the way of the HTC U Ultra, which we gave 3.5/5 stars. Sadly, it’s not available on contract and, so far, remains costly.
Also consider: We’d suggest having a gander at the if you fancy an ‘underdog’ brand that can still make it big… great camera and some fancy innovation on offer there. The HTC Bolt is a more budget-friendly alternative in the US, too, at least if you’re a Sprint customer.
The OnePlus 3T was a surprising upgrade, offering a slight change in the specs designed to ‘listen to the fans’ that want more power – and given this is a small brand, it’s experimenting with a mid-season change.
It’s still got the same beautiful all-metal design, the same 5.5-inch AMOLED display that’s bright and vibrant and the fingerprint scanner is still lightning fast – all the main specs are there, and it’s only the upgraded chipset and battery that make the biggest difference.
The lack of a microSD card, and a battery which only lasts around a day may put some off, but considering the price you’re paying the OnePlus is good value for money, despite a price hike over the OnePlus 3.
If you’re desperate for a high-end phone, but don’t have the money to stretch that far, the OnePlus 3T will make you rather happy.
Read the full review:
What’s next? It looks like the OnePlus 4 is set for a raft of changes, from a dual lens camera to a sharper QHD screen – as well as a new glass display. But it may be a while before we see it launch considering the recent OnePlus 3T upgrade.
Also consider: If OnePlus isn’t doing it for you, then check out the which has slightly less power, but a still very strong feature set.
The most surprising smartphone on our best phones list is the ZTE Axon 7, which blends a sophisticated metal design with an equally attractive price. It’s also feature-packed with awesome-sounding front-facing speakers, generous 64GB of internal storage and the same Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM chipset used by its pricier rivals.
You’re going to be hard-pressed with find a better value for a mid-range phone. The OnePlus 3 comes close, but lacks a microSD card slot and the screen is 1080p. The Huawei Honor 8 has the microSD card slot, but its screen is 1080p and smaller at 5.2 inches.
The Axon 7 really shines with its Samsung-challenging AMOLED display. Be warned, at 5.5 inches and with a full metal body around it, this phone is slippery. It also doesn’t work with Verizon and Sprint just yet, despite having all of the necessary GSM and CDMA bands ready to go.
Full review: ZTE Axon 7
What’s next? Think you can wait it out for the ZTE Axon 8 or ZTE Axon 9? Well, the Chinese phone maker isn’t beholden to annual phone launch schedules (we’ve seen them launch refreshes both sooner and later in some instances). We’re also smitten with this unlocked dual-SIM device in case you’re hungry for a phone right now. The fact that a $499 phone can play with Apple, Motorola and Samsung on this list says a lot.
Also consider: Moto Z Play isn’t nearly as stylish as the ZTE Axon 7, but it has killer two-day battery life for the same exact price. It trades in dual front-facing speakers for MotoMods, which are accessories that attach to the back of the phone with magnets. Who doesn’t need an instant boom box speaker or pico projector on the go?
The Moto Z is an incredibly thin smartphone that sets a new record at 5.19 in so-called “thickness,” but you shouldn’t want it to stay that thin. This is a modular smartphone, allowing you to clip on game-changing accessories onto its back thanks to built-in magnets.
All of sudden, your otherwise flat Motorola phone doubles as a mini boom box, a real camera or even a pico projector. It can also double in battery life with a stylish juice pack. MotoMods really transform the design and functionality of your phone, and there are more to come. We also like Moto Z’s intelligent fingerprint sensor. It not only turns on and unlocks the screen, it also puts it to sleep and locks it up with a second press. What’s not here is a 3.5mm headphone jack that requires you to use an included adapter for hardwired audio, and that’s a dealbreaker for some people.
Full review: Moto Z
What’s next? The Moto Z 2nd generation is almost certainly going to expand on the modular accessories in 2017. We haven’t heard much about a Moto Z2, but we’re expecting to a new phone sometime in the late summer, if the company keeps to an annual release cycle.
Also consider: The Moto Z Force is a US-only Verizon exclusive that has extra thickness, but a shatter-resistant screen and extra battery life. Both phones work with all of the same MotoMods, too.
Google Pixel XL is the Android maker’s new phablet-sized phone, and it ditched the old Nexus branding for two reasons: it’s debuts specs instead of using six-month-old parts like the previous Nexus phones, and it’s far more expensive.
This top-of-the-line Android Nougat phone has a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, fast Snapdragon 821 chipset and support for Google Daydream View. Google’s VR headset makes this phone’s high-resolution screen the primary reason to opt for the bigger sized phone over the smaller 1080p Google Pixel.
Google’s latest Android software is a joy to use, with smooth, slick performance and a clutter free design. Fire up the camera app and the 12MP rear shooter is one of the best around, while a fingerprint scanner keep yours phone secure.
Minor weak points are no always-on display, not having a waterproof design and a lack of front-facing stereo speakers. But they don’t stop the Pixel XL from being an excellent flagship phablet.
Read the full review: Google Pixel XL
What’s next? The Google Pixel 2 is bound to right many of the wrongs that kept the first phone from being perfect. Namely, it should be waterproof and include stereo speakers. It may also include a third, bigger size, according to the latest rumors. But everything appears to be happening in October, far enough away to considering the original Pixel.
Also consider: How about the smaller Google Pixel? The 5-inch handset also features in our top ten, and if a smaller screen (and smaller price tag) takes your fancy then you’re in luck. It retains the excellent power, camera and Android interface from the XL, in a more palm-friendly package.
The Google Pixel is an excellent flagship phone that’s only let down by mediocre battery life and the still-developing Assistant. If you can stomach the price point, the Pixel is a breath of fresh Google air in a world of Android over-complication.
The 12MP camera on the back is one of the best on the market, while the clean, fresh Android Nougat interface is a joy to use.
There’s heaps of power under the hood making it perfect for gaming and multi-tasking, while the bright, colorful screen provides an excellent viewing experience for your movies and TV shows.
It may not be the most attractive handset on the market, and it’s far from ugly. What you can be sure of is a lot of bang for your buck.
Read the full review: Google Pixel review
Also consider: Like what you see, but need more screen real estate? You you’ll want the Google Pixel XL – the 5.5-inch brother of the Pixel which boasts an eye-popping QHD (that’s 2K) resolution. But, warning, it’s more expensive.
If you want a really, really big phone running Android, this is it. It’s the 6.2-inch, plus-sized version of our favorite phone, the 5.8-inch Samsung Galaxy S8.
Samsung built its 2017 flagship handsets with elongated screens that wipe away the needless bezel and physical home button and give you a more immersive display. You also have the fastest specs, a great camera and slick software this the S8 Plus.
You’re going to have to learn to hold a big phone, but luckily, it’s not much larger than the S7 Edge or the ill-fated Note 7. Making the screen bigger without making the phone much bigger is one of Samsung’s many tricks here, and it’s why this phone is near the top. It’d be even higher if it weren’t for the price and the terribly placed rear fingerprint sensor.
Read the full review:
The new iPhone isn’t the phone that many will have been waiting for, as it comes with a similar look and feel to previous models.
That doesn’t mean it’s a bad phone, far from it in fact with a power boost under the hood, water resistant and a decent camera upgrade making a difference.
There’s no point upgrading from the 6S to 7, but if you’re currently using an iPhone 6 or older then the jump to the 7 is a good one.
Read the full review: iPhone 7
What’s next? The iPhone 8 release date, of course, and it’s expected to launch in September with iOS 11. At least, that’s what Apple’s launch history has taught us. Being the tenth anniversary of the phone, we expect big changes, like a curved display and OLED option.
Compare and filter: See all the best iPhone 7 deals
Also consider: If you want to save yourself a bit of money then the iPhone 6S is still an excellent smartphone. It looks identical to the 7, also runs iOS 10 and has the benefit of still having a headphone jack. Those wanting something a bit bigger should look at the iPhone 7 Plus – the best iPhone currently around.
The iPhone 7 Plus is the best iPhone available right now, giving you a whole heap of power, water resistant body, not one, but two cameras on the back and super slick performance.
It does use the same design as previous handsets, and Apple’s removed the headphone jack and upped the price – but if your pockets are deep and headphones wireless you’ll love the 7 Plus.
The camera is a big improvement on the 6S Plus, and it’ll only get better once Apple rolls out its depth-of-field feature later this year.
Full review: iPhone 7 Plus
What’s next? Apple’s true flagship for 2017 is going to be the Plus, which should be unveiled in early September. It’s due to premier iOS 11 and there may be a flavor with a gently curved OLED screen that changes up Apple’s style completely.
Also consider: The standard is very good too, with a more manageable form factor and lower price point it’s the phone that’s likely to appeal to a wider audience – but for those looking for Apple perfection it has to be the 7 Plus.
No surprise, the curved Samsung Galaxy S8 is our best phone, but this year Samsung flagship has a new, longer display that grown in size. It’s now a ridiculous 5.8 inches.
What’s remarkable here is that the phone’s dimensions haven’t changed very much. Instead, Samsung got rid of the top and bottom bezel and the physical home button.
We did have issues adjusting to the fingerprint sensor and its Face Unlock and Iris Scanner alternatives aren’t much better. Bixby, Samsung’s highly touted voice assistant is also a no-show.
However, for the few missteps from Samsung, this phone is superb. It has an excellent camera, fast new chipset and good battery life. Just be prepared to spend more than $700 on Samsung’s new best.
Full review: Samsung Galaxy S8
Apple’s iPhone SE ranks at Number 10 mainly because there are so many other top-notch phones, but also because it has a tired design, screen that’s several years old and a display size that’s too small to get sucked into apps and movies on the move.
That said, it’s one of very few high-end smartphones you can use one-handed and its iOS 10 operating system remains slick and easy to use. It won’t be for everyone, but for those who dislike the supersized phones of today the iPhone SE is a top performer on a miniature scale.
Remember, the SE has the same power, same camera and same software as Apple’s best iPhone, the iPhone 6S. It just happens to be in a size you can easily pocket and at a reasonable (for an iPhone) price: $400 unlocked and $50 on contract among US carriers.
Read the full review: iPhone SE
Also consider: Want a cheaper iPhone but find the iPhone SE just too small? Apple’s still selling the original iPhone 7, with a 4.7-inch display, sleeker metal body and the same version of iOS. It’s a bit more expensive, but you do get a bigger screen.
Google goes again for a phablet, and it’s a corker
Google and Huawei teamed up to make the Nexus 6P, and it’s really the best smartphone from either company and a relief over Motorola’s Nexus 6 from a year prior.
It has a vivid quad HD 5.7-inch display that’s much more manageable in two hands and sometimes one. And yet while the Nexus 6P is easier to hold, it remains tall and just enough for watching movies and browsing the web.
You won’t be hungry for Android updates with this phone either. It’s currently running the latest version ofAndroid Marshmallow and can beta test Android N Developer Preview. You’ll also be more secure thanks to its well-placed fingerprint scanner on the back – which is both quick and accurate.
What keeps the Nexus 6P on the list and also from ranking higher is its price. It’s a steal at $499 in the US for an unlocked phone. Problem is, you won’t find it subsidized by any carriers. We also found the camera to be fantastic for a Nexus phone, but not as sharp as photos taken by Samsung handsets.
Full review: Nexus 6P
Also consider: If you’re after a Nexus phone, you’re thinking about getting the latest version of Android in a smartphone – and you can get that in the Nexus 5X too. It’s cheaper, and not as powerful in some ways, but it’s cheaper and more palm-friendly.
Mods are best innovation in a smartphone we’ve seen
This is a phone that’s designed to fall apart – well, come apart at least. You see, in addition to the clever dual camera, there’s a clip at the bottom that lets you remove and swap out the battery – like old times (i.e. 2014 for Samsung fans).
That’s good news because many new phones lack a removable power pack, and this one actually goes beyond that with new modules. Attach an Hi-Fi audio module for better speakers or a battery-infused camera grip to take almost as many vacation photos as you want.
There’s just one problem: The B&O audio module to make it to the US, so we got exactly one module… of two that exist. The idea certainly didn’t pan out, but it’s another ‘alternative’ phone from LG, and we’re big fans companies spicing up the old design, especially at $99 on contract if you shop well enough.
Also consider: The older isn’t a million miles away from this phone in terms of specs, and it’s a cheaper now. It doesn’t have the attractive metal body, but if you can rustle up the leather variant you’re getting an absolute steal of a smartphone.
Microsoft Lumia 950
The beginning of a smartphone revolution?
OS: Windows Phone | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB | Battery: 2,420mAh | Rear camera: 20MP | Front camera: 1.2MP
Maybe you’re bored of the iPhone. Perhaps Android just doesn’t do it for you. Maybe you’re just wondering if there’s something different out there? Well, Windows Phone 10 on the Lumia 950 will intrigue you. It can offer a PC-like experience by extending out to a larger monitor, and the camera is pretty strong.
However, there’s one issue: apps. Or the lack thereof – and when combined with the slightly plastic design, it fails to trouble the top 10. However, it’s a legitimate choice and easily one of the most impressive Windows Phones ever.
Lenovo has announced the India launch of its 2017 range of ThinkPads, ThinkCentres and TIOs powered by 7th Generation Intel Core i7 Processors. The 2017 range of PCs come with a slew of technology breakthroughs.
The new devices feature Smartbeep Technology for troubleshooting identification, and new antenna design with engineered Wi-Fi and WWAN. The devices also include infrared cameras for facial recognition with Windows Hello for secure log-in, and feature a fingerprint reader with Dedicated Chip.
Low Temperature Solder is aimed at improving system reliability and a lower emission footprint, while Low Blue Light technology helps to reduce eye fatigue. The 2017 range of PCs features a new wave keyboard for the best Tablet mode experience, and protection from smudges.
ThinkPad X1 Carbon
The X1 Carbon weighs 1.1kg with a 14-inch IPS display. The PC features Thunderbolt 3 ports, super-fast LTE-A , Wireless WAN and WIFI-certified WiGigTM. Lenovo claims the device deliver up to 15.5 hours of battery life with a rapid charging feature that provides 80% capacity in just an hour.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon starts at Rs 1, 23,000.
ThinkPad X1 Yoga
The Yoga comes with a OLED display option, built-in rechargeable pen, and full Inking capability. The very definition of versatility, as it works the way the user wants it to in any business environment with a 360-degree hinge.
ThinkPad X1 Yoga starts at Rs 1, 45, 500.
Weighing 1.27kg, with up to 21 hours of battery life, this ultra-light 31.75cm ThinkPad X270 combines power and, performance with portability, and offers plenty of storage and memory.
The ThinkPad X270 starts at Rs 89,600.
ThinkPad Yoga 370
The ThinkPad Yoga 370 device can be used in different ways – with its 360-degree hinge. This 2-in-1 flips easily from laptop to tablet mode. The device also comes with a worldwide warranty.
ThinkPad Yoga 370 starts at Rs 96,000
Designed as an enterprise solution, this laptop will power through the day, claims Lenovo. The company also claims that the device is tested against 12 military-grade requirements and over 200 quality checks.
ThinkPad L470 starts at Rs 67,900.
As per the company’s claim, this PC will offer an 18-hour battery life and is designed to enhance productivity. The ThinkPad T470 has solid-state storage, secure touch fingerprint reader and advanced facial recognition.
ThinkPad T470 starts at Rs 88,600.
Weighing 1.32 kg, T470s is portable and comes with a FHD & WQHD display, stereo speakers, and hi-res webcam. The device offers an ‘all-day battery life,’ plenty of storage and oodles of RAM, says a company statement.
ThinkPad T470s starts at Rs Rs 97,700.
ThinkCentre M710 Tiny Desktop
This PC supports up to three displays making multitasking easier for users. Configurable ports, power on from keyboard and space saving mounting options are the top business features of this desktop.
This comes with DDR4 memory and is Intel-Optane ready. ThinkCentre M710 Tower (TW) and Small Form Factor features 4 front USB ports and expandable memory of upto 64 GB.
ThinkCentre M710 Tower & Small Form Factor (SFF) starts at Rs 30,990 (Tower) & Rs 31,990 (SFF) (with monitor).
ThinkCentre M910 Tower
This features Intel Core i7, DDR4 memory, and optional PCIe SSD. ThinkCentre M910 tower (TW) includes Intel vPro technology for easy diagnostics and management, plus built-in data security.
ThinkCentre M910 Tower starts at Rs 45,990 (with monitor)
ThinkCentre Tiny-In-One 22 & 24
The TIO is built to allow the users to change its Tiny Desktop CPU as and when required. This device is made for large enterprises and public sector organisations. TIO 22 and 24 modular come with a sleek borderless design and integrated speaker.
ThinkCentre Tiny-In-One 22 & 24 starts at Rs 45,990 & TIO 22 + M710 Tiny starts at Rs. 49,990.
This is an ultra-slim 4K2K Ultra-HD monitor. A USB Type-C port enables one-cable docking to use the monitor as a second screen, power other USB Type-C devices or transmit data. It features a built-in FHD camera, dual-array microphone and stereo speakers.
ThinkVision X1 starts at Rs 45,000.
The 68.5cm QHD (2560 x 1440) IPS-type screen features factory-calibrated accuracy, flicker-free display and an TÜV eye comfort certification, according to the company. The device allows for a convenient one-cable connection for video, power and data.
ThinkVision P27h starts at Rs 36,000.
ThinkVision T24i-10 is a collection of displays for all corporates. The devices feature 4 USB ports with an audio port to help maximize productivity.
ThinkVision T24i is for productivity, starts at Rs 18,000
All of Lenovo’s Think products will be able across the country through the company’s extensive channel network.
‘Come on’ I mutter, watching Pikachu amble slowly towards the bait I’ve thrown for it through the viewfinder. My finger hovers impatiently over the trigger as he moves tantalizingly close to the central position I need.
‘Just a bit closer’ I coax barely above a whisper, afraid that anything louder will send him running. Finally Pikachu walks into the crosshairs and the red dot falls right on the center of his adorable button nose.
Without hesitation I pull the trigger.
Yes, for this week’s Throwback Thursday we’re looking down the lens at the classic Nintendo 64 first person shooter, Pokémon Snap.
Capture all the Pokémon
That’s right, first-person shooter. When you think about it that’s exactly what Pokémon Snap is. Replace the gun with a camera, the enemies with adorable Pokémon and grenades with apples and you’re pretty much left with Doom on a track. Right? At the very least you have a less fatal Fatal Frame.
It’s actually kind of weird that the Pokémon game that uses a first person shooter mechanic is the Pokémon game with the least physical violence but let’s not dwell on that too much.
The premise of Pokémon Snap is simple: Professor Oak, in his usual highly questionable habit of delegating the physically arduous aspects of his job as a researcher to young people for what appears to be absolutely no recompense other than the experience of an adventure, needs you to take some pictures on Pokémon Island for a report he’s putting together.
Zero hours contract adventures
To Oak’s credit, he does at least provide you with a car to get the job done and it’s from this sweet, slow moving ride that you take pictures of the Pokémon across six different locations from volcanoes to underground abandoned power plants. Seriously, Oak, what the hell?
Once you’ve taken the photos, Oak will then assess them and award you points based on how good he thinks they are. Oak is, apparently, a leading and highly discerning authority on what makes a good photo as well as on Pokemon. I suppose being the Fagin of the Pokémon world leaves you with a lot of time to work on your hobbies.
Upon starting Pokémon Snap, my nostalgia radar was immediately set off by the fact that I got to blow on the game cartridge before plugging it into the Nintendo 64. I didn’t actually have to blow on it but if I’m going to do a throwback, I’m going to do it right.
The first thing that struck me is that the game didn’t actually look as bad as I expected it to. Alright, compared to the games that we see today it’s utterly horrendous, but for a Nintendo 64 game created in 1999 the Pokémon character animations are really quite impressive.
The game world has all the usual 3D objects that look like they’ve been covered in nature-inspired wallpaper made by someone who only has only the vaguest notion of what the natural world looks like. However, real care has clearly been put into the creation of the Pokémon that populate this otherwise unimpressive game world and their frolicking animations and expressions are genuinely a joy to watch.
Something I really love about the Pokémon on Snap is that it’s one of the only Pokémon games that gives us a real sense of what it’d be like to encounter one of these creatures in a real world setting and see them moving around alongside each other.
Plus there’s no battling required.
The mainline Pokémon games with their top down third person perspective and random encounters don’t really show Pokémon moving around the game world and you don’t really get a sense of their sizes in relation to you or one another.
Pokémon Snap’s first-person perspective does offer this but it sometimes yields perplexing and borderline frightening insights. Pokémon like Pidgey, Pikachu and Butterfree are largely the size I would have expected them to be.
Then there’s Pokémon like Voltorb who, it turns out, is disturbingly large and I was really glad I couldn’t get out of the car lest I find myself in an Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark scenario.
Although Pokémon Snap is an extremely short game, it has a surprising amount of replay value. As you make your way through it, Professor Oak gives you a small number of items that allow you to interact with the world and the Pokémon slightly more. For example, you can throw apples to lure Pokémon closer, throw Pester balls to repel them and even play the Pokéflute to make them dance and make you feel like the Pied Piper of Kanto.
You really need these items to add variety to your pictures and score high points so it’s absolutely worth going back through levels to play and see if you can do anything differently.
There are a number of Easter eggs to unlock and now that I have a patience I didn’t have when I was younger I was much happier to spend time uncovering them and in turn uncovering a surprising amount of depth in a very simple game. It’s not a kettle pond, but Magikarp could do a decent jump from it.
Switch to VR
Although there are more than a few people that would like to see a Pokémon Game come to Nintendo Switch, a remastered Pokémon Snap isn’t really one I’d clamor for. Instead, I think there’s definitely room for Pokémon Snap in virtual reality.
A first person perspective, extremely basic movement required, short play times with incentive to pick it back up and uncover more Easter eggs? It’s a ready made VR hit. Well, as long as it saw some graphical upgrades because I’m not sure how getting too up close and personal with those blurred environments would impact the eyes.
Pokémon Snap is a great chance to look at the Pokémon world but not through the battle-focused eyes of a trainer. It remains one of the most surprising and individual Pokémon games out there and although its slow pace certainly won’t be for everyone, it’s a great pick for fans and those who like to see the first-person shooter mechanic used in an interesting way.
With no sign of Pokemon Snap coming to VR soon, why not check out these great VR games instead
Project Wing, Google’s (technically, Alphabet’s) experimental drone delivery service, has just achieved a major milestone in becoming an everyday reality.
Nearly a year after getting the US government’s approval, Project Wing staff announced they just completed a major test organized with the help of the Federal Aviation Administration and NASA.
Project Wing’s challenge involved three separate drones operating within relatively close proximity to each other, flown by a single operator. The drones then performed basic deliveries in the testing range while dodging buildings, terrain, and especially each other.
“Fleets” of mail drones
Having multiple aircraft working near other is critical because, as Project Wing co-lead James Ryan Burgess puts it, there could be “fleets with thousands of [unmanned aircraft systems] in the air at any one time,” should mail-by-drone become the way of the future.
With multi-drone testing completed, Project Wing says the next step is refining its platform to support a larger number or more complex flights, while also making sure it can be used in conjunction with other air traffic control systems.
Though it appears Google has some work left to do, its most recent success with Project Wing means we might be getting our next Google Pixel delivered from above sooner than we thought.
Update: Our best noise-cancelling headphone round-up has a new member this month – the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless, which takes over our #6 spot.
There’s nothing worse than settling down to a long journey with a couple of your favorite albums, only to have your jam session ruined by the outside world.
Enter noise-cancelling headphones, which remove the sound of everything around you, so you can listen to your music at a lower (and safer) volume.
There are large variations in how well this effect is achieved, but even at their worse these headphones are still much better than a traditional pair of headphones in terms of keeping outside sound at bay.
If you opt for one of our top picks for the best noise-cancelling headphones, you’ll get a pair that not only effectively eliminate the most background noise possible, but will also make your music sound pretty good in the process.
That said, sometimes the effect isn’t completely perfect. They’re less effective at cancelling out higher-pitched noises, but most of the high-end sets excel at dealing with low, consistent noises like the hum of a train or plane.
Check out our guide to the overall.
How to buy noise-cancelling headphones
So what do you want to look for when looking for a pair of the best noise-cancelling headphones? Look for anything with the words “active noise-cancellation technology” on it.
You see, when it comes to noise-cancelling headphones, there are two types to look out for: active and passive. Passive means that when the headphones are pressed against your head, some sound is cut out in the process of closing your ears off to the world outside. It’s not high-tech. Lots of headphones claim that this is some sort of advanced technique, but it’s nothing more than a few layers of foam trying their darndest to keep sound out.
Active noise cancellation, on the other hand, involves some pretty interesting processes to cancel out sound. Along with the padding which passively blocks sound, microphones planted in the ear wells of headphones actively analyze the ambient noise level and reflect sound waves back into your ear that work to zap the outside noise. The goal is to hear nothing but the music, or whatever it is you’re listening to.
Active noise cancelling headphones are more effective at what they do, but the downside is that this noise cancellation requires batteries in order to function, so you’ll have to keep them charged if you want to keep the noises of the outside world at bay.
Now that you know all that, you’re ready to choose a set. Let’s take a look at the best noise-cancelling headphones around, starting with a list of our 10 favorite:
1. Philips Fidelio NC1
2. Bose QuietComfort 35
3. Sony MDR-1000X
4. Bose QuietComfort 25
5. Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2
6. Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless
7. Bose QuietControl 30
8. Samsung Level On Pro
9. Sennheiser PXC 550
10. Sony H.ear On MDR-100ABN
Philips presents an elegant noise-cancelling solution with its NC1. These on-ear headphones aren’t wireless, but that’s hardly a reason to knock them. Coming in at $299, the same price as Bose’ QuietComfort 25, the NC1 are a more compact set that’s high on comfort and battery life.
You get a lot for the money here. In the box comes the headphones, a hard case for storage and the headphones rock a rechargeable battery that provides noise cancellation for close to 30 hours. But best of all, the sound performance is extremely well balanced and warm.
Read the full review: Philips Fidelio NC1
They’re a little more expensive then the Philips NC1, but the Bose QC35 headphones offer wireless connectivity, so you can be free from cabling as well as background noise.
They’re also a much better sounding pair of headphones than Bose’s previous (wired) attempt, the Bose QC25s, and their battery life is long enough for all but the longest of flights.
They also come with a cable in case you want to use them with a device that doesn’t support Bluetooth.
At $349.95 (£289.95 / AU$499) the QC35s sit firmly at the premium end of the spectrum, but if you want the best noise-cancelling headphones available right now at any price then there are few out there that can compete.
Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort 35
The MDR-1000X are definitely the closest competitor to Bose’s QuietComfort series we’ve ever had the pleasure of testing. Some high-end codecs (LDAC, AAC and aptX) help the 1000X sound even better than the QC35s, but ultimately the noise cancelling is a bit less effective in Sony’s pair of cans.
What should drive your decision on whether to buy the MDR-1000X is your music player – if you’re a Sony Xperia owner, you’d be hard-pressed to find a pair of headphones that sound as good as these with noise canceling tech built-in. Even if you’re not, Sony’s wares are still worth a listen – and maybe a purchase – if you aren’t too put out by its $400 (£330 / AU$700) price tag.
Read the full review: Sony MDR-1000X
If you want the same level of excellent noise-cancellation as the Bose QC35s but want to save a bit of money, consider opting for the last-generation QC25s.
The biggest sacrifice you’ll be making is wireless, but in our opinion the QC35s are also the much better sounding pair of headphones.
Nevertheless, the QC25s represent a great mid-range pick. You’re getting a finely-tuned set of headphones that provide over 35 hours of very good noise-cancelling performance with one AAA battery.
Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort 25
If you’re a frequent traveler you’re probably all too familiar with headphones that can’t hold a charge, can’t block out sound and, for the most part, don’t sound very good. If you’re tired of buying headphones like that let us introduce you to the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, one of the few headphones on the market that can do all of the above and cost less than half as much as one of the bigger names like Beats, Bose and Sony.
If we had to boil it down to its core, the BackBeat Pro 2 offers an excellent travel headphone with incredible battery life, supreme comfort, the ability to pair two device as once and, most importantly, good sound quality for the cost.
Read the full review: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2
The Sennheiser Momentum 2 On-Ear Wireless headphones are a really nice package. They sound good, look good, have good controls and acceptable noise cancellation but, admittedly, they’re a bit on the expensive side. They cost more than the Bose QuietComfort 35s but have slightly worse wireless performance, and much worse active noise cancellation. Overall, they offer a a fun sound, with big bass matched with pronounced-but-not-sharp treble and mid-range chunkiness similar to what you hear in the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ears or Sennheiser IE 5.00s. They’re bold and full, but not too serious.
We think you’ll be better off with something a bit higher up our list, but there’s still plenty to like about the Momentum 2.0 Wireless.
Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless
The Bose QC 30s are the only in-ear headphones on this list, after all, it’s much easier to block out background noise when you’ve got two thick cushions sitting around your ears.
Given the limitations of the form factor, Bose has done a fantastic job on the noise-cancellation of the QC30s, which is frankly better than a lot of over-ears out there.
The downside is that these aren’t the best sounding headphones on this list, but if you’re willing to make that compromise then it’s hard to find fault with them.
Read the full review: Bose QC 30
The Samsung Level On Pro Wireless are one of the few headphones we’ve tested that feel like they’re meant as a package deal for another device. Yes they’ll work with every Bluetooth and 3.5mm jack-equipped handset on the market, but you’re better off sticking to a Samsung device in order to squeeze every ounce of aural goodness from the UHQ audio codec.
It’s one of the comfiest pair of cans on the market, and they’re also much cheaper than a lot of the competition. If it had a better sound quality for the vast majority of cell phone users it would be an easy recommendation but, as it stands, really makes the most sense at checkout when purchased alongside Samsung’s Next Big Thing.
Read the full review: Samsung Level On Pro Wireless Headphones
The PXC 550’s greatest strength is their sound. Other wireless noise-cancelling headphones might offer a better user interface or better noise-cancellation technology, but ultimately none of the above match up to the sound quality of these Sennheisers.
However, that said, there are a couple of irritations that prevent us from being able to fully and unreservedly recommend them, such as unresponsive touch controls These annoyances aren’t quite deal-breakers, but there are definitely other noise-cancelling headphones out there that don’t suffer from the same issues.
Read the full review: Sennheiser PXC 550
Lovely to wear, great to look at and fantastic for sound, the Sony H.ear On MDR-100ABNs would be a fine buy for anyone looking for noise-cancelling wireless headphones with the added bonus of Hi-Res Audio.
At £220/$350 (around $AU480) they’ll certainly be at the higher end of most budgets – but I wouldn’t hesitate to hand over that sort of money for headphones that have enough tech in them to last years.
Read the full review: Sony H.ear On MDR-100ABN
We’re constantly reviewing new noise-cancelling headphones, but let us know on Twitter if there is a set that you’d like us to take a look at.