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Last Update: May 15, 2019

Top 5 Wireless Headphones for Gaming

Published 00:12 AM
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There was a lot of hue and cry when Apple released the AirPods, but the fact is, wireless headphones and earphones have been mainstream for a long time now. In fact, the best wireless headphones in the market are as good as any wired ones. There are plenty of smartphone users who have taken to wireless headphones a long time back.

What’s more, you can connect wireless headphones to modern TVs and laptops too. 🎧 💻

But the most important benefit is, of course, going cable-free. You don’t have to spend half of your life untangling the wires while being furious at the fundamental design flaw. So, going wire-free is definitely tempting.

But, if you do a simple online search for the best wireless gaming headsets or headphones, you’ll see that there are literally thousands of them on the market. And there are different types too. Closed-back, open-back, on-ear, and over-ear are just a few popular types. So, what’s the best type? And more importantly, what are the best wireless headphones that you can buy today?

Well, we sat down to answer the very same question and here’s what we’ve come up with. There’s a product for every budget.

1

Best Choice: Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7BK SonicPro

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Specifications:

  • Design → Closed
  • Weight → 1.85 lbs
  • Battery life → 25 hours
  • Range → 30 ft

Key Features:

  • Frequency Response of 5Hz to 40,000 Hz
  • Equipped with a removable cable
  • 45mm Drivers
  • Swivel design

Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7BK SonicPro Review:

While Audio Technica might not be the biggest name in the business, off late, some of the their recent offerings have been excellent. Leading that pack of brilliant headphones is the Audio Technica ATH – MSR7. The MSR7 was mainly designed for people who were looking for portable headphones. However, they’re far, far better.

Now, the MSR7 is not cheap by any standards. It costs more than $200, which isn’t loose change. However, the quality of the product justifies the price very well. If you are a fairly safe user, the MSR7 should last for years.

Also, the MSR7 is definitely not the best looking headphone. It’s a known fact with Audio Technica. But, if you compare it to some of the MSR7’s predecessors, the improvement is instantly visible. So, it doesn’t look all that great and is quite expensive. Also, we reckon it’s the best wireless headphone in the market today. Why?

Performance and practicality. The accuracy that the MSR7 is just amazing. And Audio Technica have refrained from making the MSR7 a ‘bass’ headphone that just makes you feel like someone’s trying to drill a hole through your ears.

There’s bass, no doubt. But it’s restrained. Almost natural. We like the low-end performance too. It’s precise, punchy, and again, does not compromise mid-range for bass.

Most headphones designed for casual users have a V-shaped sound, meaning there are peaks in bass and treble. These headphones do offer ‘cheap thrills’, but accuracy is compromised. Not in the MSR7, though. Accuracy seems to be the goal and if it is, Audio Technica have nailed it.

Now, not having ‘super-bass’ or a ‘bass-bazooka’ might seem like a bad point, but it really isn’t. It’s not as if the MSR7 doesn’t offer any bass at all. In fact, the bass is really good. It just doesn’t make your ears hurt.

Practicality is something else that we like about the MSR7. It truly is portable, the ear pads are nice and big, there’s good quality foam, a carry case is shipped as standard, and there are two wires (1.2m wire with a button which works with phones and a 3m wire without any button) as well.

Are there drawbacks? Of course. The headphone is a bit too plasticky. It creaks a little too much, and the upper-mid range smoothness could be better. Also, the headphone isn’t a looker.

However, these are faults that can be forgiven, especially if you consider the fact that luxury brands easily charge $100 – $150 more for similar performance. Yes, they offer better build quality, but the MSR7 won’t be breaking into pieces anytime soon.

So, in conclusion, the Audio Technica ATH – MSR7 manages to blend performance, price, and practicality very well, making it our choice for the best wireless headphone today.

+Pros
  • Balanced sound
  • Removable cable
  • Microphone for mobile phone usage
  • Excellent comfort
-Cons
  • Heavy
  • Not foldable
2

Premium Pick: Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless

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Specifications:

  • Design → Closed
  • Weight → 380 grams
  • Battery Life → 30 hours
  • Range → 30 ft

Key Features

  • Dynamic, Tesla drivers
  • 50mm drivers
  • Frequency response range is 5 – 40,000 Hz
  • Detachable 1.2 m cable

Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Review

If money isn’t a concern and performance is all you seek, the Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless is the perfect headphone for you.

Now, first off, it’s important to state this. You can get the same performance for a lot less money if you’re okay with buying a wired headphone. The reason why the Amiron costs so much is that it offers ‘wired-headphone performance’ without wires.

Also, the Amiron isn’t really portable. Yes, if you have a big briefcase, you can stick it inside it, but if you’re a light traveler, the Amiron isn’t for you. So, it isn’t easily portable and it’s also quite expensive. These are the complaints against the Amiron. But, everything else, is just amazing. In fact, the Amiron is one of the best over ear headphones there is.

Let’s start off with the build quality and aesthetics. Very few headphones are built to the standard of the Amiron and fewer still, manage to look this good. The industrial metal design looks stunning and gives it a sturdy feel, while the super-soft padding on the ear cups make it easy to wear the headphones for a long time.

Apart from the ear cups and the headband, everything else is metal. The only design complaint is that the headphones don’t fold and the ear cups don’t rotate enough for them to be flat. Also, the headphone is quite large. Actually, very large. So, if you go out wearing these, you will look a bit… conspicuous.

One aspect where you’ll have no complaints is the performance. The sound is extremely detailed and accurate at all volumes. The wide soundstage is fantastic and you’ll never ever have a connectivity problem.

Like with the Audio Technica that we saw earlier, the concentration is on clarity rather than bass levels. So, if ear-numbing bass is what you’re after, these cans aren’t for you. However, the bass isn’t bad at all. It extends low and has acceptable impact.

The mids are excellent and highlight vocals. And per usual, the energy, detail, and clarity are amazing. Then there’s the app. Most apps that accompany headphones don’t really do much. A bit of volume control there, some basic eq settings and that’s about it. But the app that comes with the Amiron wireless is great.

When you install the app for the first time, it performs a quick ear test, so that it can adjust the volume accordingly. Apart from this, there’s Bluetooth control and a whole host of music controls.

The Amiron also packs in a lot of Bluetooth goodness. Apart from the proprietary Sony codec, pretty much all the other codecs are supported. That includes AAC, aptX, aptX HD, and SBC.

On the practicality front, the connectivity is controlled through a button on the right ear pad. You also get a wire, which makes the Amrion a wired headphone. There’s USB-C charging, so the charging time is superb. You shouldn’t have any problems getting at least 25 hours of battery backup.

So, on the whole, the Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless is an excellent Bluetooth headphone if you have the money to afford it.

+Pros
  • Build quality is second to none
  • The sound is detailed and spacious
  • Great battery life
  • High quality codecs if you stream
-Cons
  • Large – Not really portable
  • Expensive
3

Best Value: Jabra Move Wireless Headphones

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Specifications:

  • Design Type → Closed
  • Weight → 1.03 lbs
  • Battery Life → 8 hours
  • Range → 25 feet

Key Features:

  • 40mm drivers
  • Frequency range is between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz
  • Detachable cable provided
  • 29 Ohm impedance

Jabra Move Wireless Headphones Review

In comparison to the other headphones on our list, the Jabra Move Wireless might seem like a cheap, inexpensive headphone. But  it’s also one of the best headphones on the market today. Yes, it doesn’t have a lot of fancy features, but as far as quality of sound is concerned, it’s amazing.

The Move was primarily aimed at people who were looking for a headphone that they could wear to the gym. Lightweight, but sturdy and strong. However, since the launch, the popularity of the headphones has increased quite a lot.

The design of the Move is fairly uncontroversial and generally pleasing. There’s so super-soft padding for the headbands and instead, dirt-resistant mesh fabric is used. Below, a sturdy and light stainless steel bar keeps everything together.

One of the other advantages with the design is the bold colors. Irrespective of what color you choose, they are bright and will stand out. The ear cups have sufficient padding and the right one houses the 2-in-one power and Bluetooth switch. Below the left ear cup is the slot for the 3.5mm wire. If the battery drains out, you can use the wire to make the Move a wired headphone.

As far as the performance is concerned, yes, they aren’t as impressive as the other headphones on this list. But, it costs a fraction and for that price, the performance is quite good.

The mids and highs are rendered with surprising accuracy and clarity, though it’s definitely tuned more towards bass. For the price, in the market today, there are very few headphones that can challenge the Jabra Move Wireless in sound quality.

The negatives? Oh there are definitely some negatives. One, if you have got the volume too high, rest assured that the person next to you is hearing the song almost as loudly as you are. Also, a lot of noise comes makes its way in. And at places, you can definitely feel that the Move is built to a price.

However, these aren’t huge faults that will ruin your music or call experience. What’s more, you get a battery backup of 8 hours and at least 20-22 feet range. Again, this isn’t the best headphone ever, but for the price, there’s nothing else that really comes close.

+Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Looks amazing
  • Lightweight
  • Full sound
-Cons
  • Feels cheap in places
  • Considerable sound leakage
4

Best Battery Life: Sony WH-1000XM3

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Specifications:

  • Design → Closed
  • Weight → 275 grams
  • Battery Life → 20 hours
  • Range → 30 ft

Key Features:

  • 40mm drivers
  • 46 Ohms impedance
  • Frequency between 4 Hz and 40000 Hz
  • Uses the LDAC tech

Sony WH-1000XM3 Review

While we’ve listed the Sony WH-1000XM3 as a noise cancellation headphone, what’s important to note is that it’s an excellent headphone even without the flagship feature.

As far as noise canceling goes, Bose has been the leader for many years. We can now confidently say that Sony has overtaken it… by a mile. The main reason why the XM3 is so good is that Sony approaches noise cancellation differently than Bose.

Noise cancellation in a Bose is usually a result of their noise cancellation algorithms. However, XM3 works differently. Sony delivers better audio playback and simultaneously, uses a dynamic algorithm.

A dynamic algorithm can sense the changes in your surrounding and create multiple kinds of sound to combat them all. Whereas the Bose algorithm isn’t really adaptable. It creates one, single, sterile sound. In the real world, that just isn’t enough.

All this tech, obviously, comes at a price. The XM3 is quite an expensive pair, mainly because of all the hardware that’s inside. And a lot of software needs processing too, meaning the XM3 houses a small processing chip inside it.

Also, the ear cups of the XM3 are touch sensitive. That comes with hardware and software requirements as well, making the headphone rather expensive. This hardware also makes these cans bulky. However, the XM3 is lighter than its predecessors.

There are a few practical, real-life updates as well. The headphones now get a USB Type – C socket and generally fit better. As unusual as it may sound, one of the big problems with the XM3’s predecessor was that it didn’t really fit any human head with snugly. We’re glad to report that positive changes have happened in this department.

Obviously, at this price, you get a few cool features too. Select Ambient Noise, and you’ll be able to hear the PA announcements in a train station or the airport while blocking all the other noise.

There’s also a feature called Quick Attention, which we like a lot. Usually, if you’re wearing a noise-cancellation headphone, you have to remove it every time you want to listen to someone. With the Quick Attention option, you can temporarily disable noise cancellation. This way, you can carry on a conversation without having to take off your headphones every single time.

Now that the noise cancellation part is done, let’s move on to audio performance. There’s not much to note here. The mids are decent and the highs are excellent. The bass has a good weight. However, the fact is that it’s not as great as normal headphones in this price bracket. Mind you, it’s no slouch either.

It’s just that headphones designed purely for audio performance do better than the XM3. It’s handy to note that the audio quality, in general, is noticeably better when paired to an Android phone rather than an iPhone. The headphones also come with an app which, apart from the normal things, can turn off the headphones remotely.

The battery performance is quite good as well. You should get a solid 30 hours of backup and if you’re running low on charge, the Quick Charge feature. Sony say that you get 5 hours backup with about 10 minutes of charging.

Negatives? It’s still not as light as we’d like it to be, and when all’s said and done, there aren’t many changes when compared to its predecessor. The call quality isn’t that good and though it seems justified, we think the Sony WH – 1000XM3 is slightly expensive.

But apart from these minor niggles, there isn’t much to fault about the XM3. It’s pretty much the best noise-cancellation headphone that you can buy today.

+Pros
  • Battery life
  • Comfortable for long durations
  • Quick Attention tech is amazing
  • Great audio quality
-Cons
  • Expensive
  • Seems fragile
5

Best Cheap: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

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Specifications:

  • Design → Closed
  • Weight → 289 grams
  • Battery Life → 24 hours
  • Range → 330 feet

Key Features:

  • 40mm drivers
  • Swivel style earcups
  • Frequency response between 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz
  • 32 Ohm impedance

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Review

Now, before we even get to the review, it’s important to note that there are a few headphones that offer better battery backup than the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 SE, but we think it’s the best one to choose, because it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

With that cleared, let’s get to aesthetics. While it’s definitely a matter of personal opinion, the Pro 2 SE is, we think, one of the best looking headphones in the market currently. But the fact is, people either love it or hate it.

The wood-color accents won’t appeal to everyone and might look cheap. The same is true of the ear cup design. It has quite a bulge and the silver mesh rings that house the noise-cancelling mics aren’t appealing to everyone. We personally like it, though.

However, the Pro 2 SE has more than enough to redeem itself. The left ear cup houses all the controls, including noise cancellation and music controls. It’s also quite comfortable to wear for a long durations, thanks to the leather lining round the ear cups.

If you’re a traveler who needs a noise cancelling headphone that won’t run out of juice quickly, these are the cans you need. The Pro 2 SE is light, small, and truly portable. In fact, they almost lay flat when you fold them. You are also supplied with a zippered carry case that is designed protect the Pro 2 SE.

The performance is excellent for a headphone at this price. Unlike some range topping headphones on this list, the Pro 2 SE is definitely tuned to produce more bass.

While the overbearing bass might come as a disappointment to people who like accurate sound, the fact is, at this price, there’s more demand for bass. Apart from this, there’s not much to fault with the  Pro 2 SE.

The audio output is crisp, clear, and very accurate. And there’s a way to get rid of the bass as well. You can use the wire provided and the bass calms down quite a lot. The mids are pretty good when they aren’t silenced by the bass while the highs sound a little veiled. But if you’re going on a long journey, you will be thankful for the rolled off highs.

In conclusion, the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 SE is a brilliant headphone for the price. The noise cancellation is excellent and it renders audio quite well too. What’s more, it has a super-long battery, so that you can relax on that long flight journey.

+Pros
  • 24 hour battery life
  • One of the cheapest noise cancelling headphones
  • Warm and loud audio
  • Controls are intuitive
-Cons
  • Heavy
  • Not everyone will like the styling

Best Gaming Wireless Headphones: Buying Guide

Before you go out and spend a ton of cash on a wireless headphone, there are things to consider. We list them out and explain them in our buying guide below.

The Need For Wireless

Obviously, the idea of going wireless seems great. But the fact is, you may not need a wireless headphone at all. They are expensive, not as reliable, and you have to charge them. That’s one more device that needs to be plugged in.

Focal Listen Wireless Headphones-min

So, consider if you really need a wireless headphone. Do you travel a lot? Are wires really an inconvenience to you at this point? And if your budget is the same for wired and wireless headphones, are you willing to compromise, at least slightly, on performance? If your answer isn’t an enthusiastic ‘yes’, perhaps you should reconsider.

Range and Battery

Range has been improving steadily over the last couple of years and most decent headphones should give you at least 15-20 feet range. On the other hand, you might not have really thought about how long the battery lasts. The figures vary greatly here. Some have a backup of just 6-8 hours while others keep going for 30. And as with most things good, battery life and price are directly proportional.

What’s also to be noted is that battery life may almost be irrelevant to you. If you only use your headphone on your commute to work, battery life doesn’t matter at all. Almost all wireless headphones deal with that just fine.

Matte Black Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones

Portability

Headphones have to be portable, yes. But many aren’t. For example, the Beyerdynamic that we looked at earlier, isn’t portable at all. It doesn’t fold down flat and you really can’t rest it on your neck. It’s too big, heavy, and cumbersome. So, if you travel a lot, portability matters.

Check if the headphones fold flat. Also see if a case is provided and if it is, know that soft cases aren’t that great and you should ideally have a hard case. As much as headphone makers talk about strength and durability, the fact is that headphones aren’t made of cast iron. Any undue pressure on them, and they will break. If you’ve got your heart set on cans that don’t come with a case, make sure you buy one.

Bang & Olufsen H9i Natural Wireless Headphones

The App

Here’s what you need to know about most headphone apps: they’re almost useless. Yes, you get some basic functions and it all looks very cool, but headphone apps are very much a gimmick. There are exceptions, of course. Again, the Beyerdynamic is an apt example. It comes with an app and it’s amazing. It offers a lot more control than most other apps. But, it’s an exception and not a rule.


Frequently Asked Questions: Best Wireless Headphones for Gaming

We get a lot of questions about wireless headphones all the time. We answer the most popular ones below.

Why are wireless phones expensive?

Connectivity hardware and software. Eliminating a wire also eliminates easy data transfer. So, headphones have to have hardware that can receive data. They also need inbuilt software to control the hardware. All this drives the price up.

Aedle VK-X Wireless Headphones

Which the best headphone for gaming?

There’s no ‘best’ here. But in general, make sure that they are over ear headphones and are closed. Also, accuracy isn’t the most important factor in gaming headphones. Make sure to buy a headphone that is tuned more towards bass.

That way, you can enjoy the in-game sound effects better. More importantly, there really aren’t many wireless gaming headphones. Wired is the way to go.

What are closed and open wireless headphones?

Open system headphones have a vent on the ear cup that allows air to flow in. The advantage is that your ears can breathe and it’s comfortable for long distance travels. The disadvantage is that they are not great at sound blocking. So, the passenger next to you on the tube can hear your song. You can hear everything going on outside as well.

Sound Blaster Jam Headphones

Closed system headphones don’t have a vent. So, they are usually the preferred choice of design for noise cancellation headphones. The other advantage is that you get to ‘feel’ the music better. You are isolated from outside world and so is your music. The disadvantage is that your ears can sweat after a while and they aren’t really great for long distance travels.

Are wireless headphones better than wired headphones?

Simply put, no. The best headphones in the market are still predominantly wired. But then again, it’s not that simple. Suppose you have a budget of $200. You will get a better wired headphone for that money than a wireless one.

However, in the last couple of years, things have been changing rapidly. These days, wireless headphones are almost as good as their wired counterparts. Almost. So, if you don’t have a real need for wireless headphones, wired headphones are still the better choice.

Sony WH-XB700 EXTRA BASS™ Wireless Headphones

How much should I spend on a wireless headphone?

Surprisingly, this is one of the most asked questions. Obviously, the answer depends on your budget and needs. However, $200 – $250 will get you excellent headphones which offer great accuracy, energy, and clarity. Mind you there are some excellent choices for less than a hundred dollars as well.


Conclusion

So, these are the best wireless headphones in the market currently. Whatever your budget might be, chances are, there’s a headphone on our list for you. However, if you have any troubles deciding which one to go for, just go through the Buying Guide and the FAQ sections again. And finally, let us know which one you bought and why you chose that particular model. We love hearing from you!


Sources:

  1. Chris Woodford, How Do Headphones Work, ExplainThatStuff, November 29, 2018
  2. Wireless Technology, Wikipedia
  3. Surround 7.1 Sound, Dolby US
  4. What Headsets are Discord-Certified, Discord Support Blog
  5. Headphones, Headsets & Earphones: How to Tell the Difference, Audio Link Services, May 4th, 2017
  6. Clear Sound, Sleek Styling Headphones, Cal Alumni, UC Berkeley
  7. Vangie Beal, What is 7.1 Sound, Webopedia
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