Electronics – Portable Sound And Vision – Headphones
A great pair of headphones will keep you company with crystal-clear music while you’re away from home, but which models are well suited to a day at the beach? We’ve taken a look at headphones from big-name brands including Sony, Audio-Technica and Bose to help you pick the perfect holiday headphones for you. The headphones listed below might be on your shortlist if you’re picking a pair to travel with, but make sure you check our expert reviews before splashing out.
Noise-cancelling headphones for the plane
Sony WH-H900N h.ear on 2 Wireless NC (GBP199)
These wireless, noise-cancelling Sony headphones will block out irritating noises on the plane, and they could prove useful on the daily commute when you’re back at home. A free-to-download smartphone app pairs with the headphones, allowing you to adjust the sound from your mobile depending on the genre you listen to the most. It has NFC support, and it means you can tap the headphones against an NFC-enabled smartphone to speed up the process of establishing a Bluetooth connection.
Sony’s wireless headphones come with a feature called ‘quick attention’, which lowers volume and allows you to hear ambient sound if you hold your hand over the ear cup. For more details, check our Sony WH-H900N h.ear on 2 Wireless NC review.
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC40BT (GBP114)
Here are some wireless, in-ear headphones to consider. These Bluetooth headphones from Audio-Technica wrap around your neck and offer noise-cancelling features that aim to hide background noise.
A remote is built into the strap, which means you can answer phone calls without reaching into your pocket. The same controls can also be used to skip tracks and adjust volume. How many hours of listening will you get from these headphones on a single charge?
Bose QuietComfort 25 (GBP170)
These on-ear headphones use active noise cancelling technology to block out the outside world, leaving you to enjoy your music without distraction. They come in two variations: one with an inline remote for iPads and iPhones, and another designed for Samsung devices. Despite a chunky design these Bose headphones are lighter than they look, weighing in at around 220g.
Waterproof headphones for the poolside
Kitsound Outrun (GBP25)
The in-ear, wireless Kitsound Outruns have a curved design that wraps around your ear to keep the buds in place. On top of that they’re water resistant, which means they should survive a splash of water if you’re poolside or at the beach.
These affordable Bluetooth headphones come with a built-in microphone, so you can stay connected easily while you’re on the move. To see if these headphones are worth packing for your next trip, see our Kitsound Outrun review.
Bose Soundsport Free (GBP180)
These Bose headphones don’t come cheap, but if you’re looking for some wireless headphones to travel with for years to come, they might be on your radar. With an IPX4 rating, the Bose SoundSport Free headphones are sweat and weather-resistant.
The lightweight in-ear headphones ship with a case that doubles as a charger and are also bundled with StayHear+ sport ear tips aimed at fitness fanatics. Controls on the earbud let you play and pause tracks, take phone calls and activate a voice assistant (Google Assistant on Android and Siri on iOS). Is it worth paying close to GBP200 for these in-ear headphones?
Monster iSport Achieve BT (GBP60)
Monster’s headphones are built with sports in mind, designed to stay in your ears even while you’re running. Of course, even if you don’t plan to jog while you’re on holiday, the water-resistant materials used will keep the buds protected at the beach. Physical music controls and a microphone are included with these Bluetooth headphones, which wrap around your ear to keep them in position.
The best cheap headphones
If you’re picking up some headphones that you plan to take on holiday, you probably don’t want to spend big on premium over-ear models and would rather go for an affordable pair of headphones you don’t mind stuffing into your bag.
When testing headphones in our lab, we pay close attention to the things that matter most: sound quality, comfort and durability. As our rigorous lab tests have proved countless times, price isn’t always a clear indicator of quality.
- ^ Best Buy headphones (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ Sony WH-H900N h.ear on 2 Wireless NC review (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ Audio-Technica ATH-ANC40BT review (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ Bose QuietComfort 25 review (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ Kitsound Outrun review (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ Bose Soundsport Free review (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ Monster iSport Achieve BT review (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ top five best cheap headphones for 2018 (www.which.co.uk)
Pure has added two new DAB+ radios for personal listening on the move to its line-up. They’re both on sale for less than GBP100. But with so many radios on the market, are Pure’s new arrivals worth a closer look?
Pure Move T4, GBP99.99
The new Pure Move T4 is a pocket-sized radio designed to be used out and about. This compact DAB+ radio costs GBP100 and features a 2-inch colour screen, and there are 20 presets installed to help you quickly cycle through your favourite stations.
The added bonus of a built-in kickstand means you don’t have to lean the Pure Move T4 against a wall if you want to listen hands-free. Pure says that you’ll get up to 22 hours from the Bluetooth-enabled Move T4 if you’re listening with headphones, or 15 hours when playing music through the speaker. We’ll be putting those claims to the test in our lab when we review the Pure Move T4 for ourselves.
The Pure Move T4 will be available from March at John Lewis in black or white.
Pure Move R3, GBP89.99
The second new entry in the Pure range is the Move R3. This DAB+ radio looks more like an MP3 player than a radio, coming with a 1.6-inch display and a pair of noise-isolating headphones. Pure promises up to 15 hours from it on a single charge which, if true, should be more than enough to last you a couple of days.
Audiophiles can manually tweak the sound on offer as the Pure Move R3 includes separate bass and treble controls. There are three dedicated-station preset buttons sat underneath the screen, and you can store up to 20 of your favourite stations. This portable DAB+ radio weighs in at just 88g.
The Pure Move R3 is available now from Argos, and from John Lewis from March in black or white.
Portable Pure radios in our test lab
For every Pure radio we test, we pay close attention to sound quality, ease of use and reception. Portable radios can also offer sound wherever you are. Buyers on a budget might have their eyes on the Pure Elan E3 (below left).
This GBP60 DAB+ radio is easy to use and lightweight, and arrives with 40 station presets. There’s a mini 2.8-inch colour display, and weekday and weekend alarm settings let you choose which station you wake up to. Did this radio impress our experts? Read our full Pure Elan E3 review to find out.
The stylish Pure Pop Maxi (below right) is the priciest portable radio from Pure that we’ve tested. It costs around GBP115 and is Bluetooth-enabled, which means you can stream music through it using your smartphone. A large volume dial sits on the top of the Pop Maxi.
Buying a radio in 2018
Without checking our expert reviews, you run the risk of buying a radio that is tricky to use with weak signal reception. We test the latest radios on the market to help you choose wisely, and our results prove that you don’t always have to spend big to pick up a Best Buy radio.
Take a look at some Which? expert testing facts below:
Google’s new Pixel Buds headphones feature real-time translation, so we decided to put it to the test to see whether learning foreign languages could become a thing of the past. Read on and watch our video to find out what happened. The Pixel Buds are Google’s new premium wireless earbuds, launching just after the Google Pixel 2 smartphone.
Their big selling point is real-time translation with Google Translate, exclusive to Pixel phones. We enlisted the help of three foreign-language-speaking colleagues from Italy, China and Norway, to put the Google Pixel Buds translation through its paces. See how well it performed in the video below:
As you can see, the Pixel Buds’ translation performed surprisingly well. In most cases, you’ll be able to understand what the other person is saying, even if the translation isn’t quite perfect. It performed well in Italian with few errors, and our Italian speaker even said she thought it sounded too Italian.
The two Norwegian dialects prevented it from sounding quite right to our Norwegian speaker, and with Chinese – a more difficult test compared to the European languages – it also performed remarkably well, although it didn’t always have natural-sounding phrasing. So while it’s not going to fool anyone that it’s human, the Pixel Buds translation feature seems to work well enough in day-to-day conversation to get by, for example if you’re on holiday and the taxi driver fails to turn up at the airport.
How the translation process works
When you speak, the Pixel Buds hear your voice, and your Pixel phone’s speaker plays the translation of what you said out loud to the person you’re talking to. When they speak back, your smartphone hears it and the Google Pixel Buds play the translation of what they said directly into your ears.
It all takes place using the Google Translate app on your Pixel phone. The Pixel Buds have a touch-sensitive pad on the right earbud that you hold down to cue the Google Assistant. You then say the language you want to translate, like this: ‘Help me speak French.’
The Google Translate app then pops up, and you’re ready to go. Just hold down the Pixel Buds’ touch-sensitive pad while you’re speaking, and let go when you want it to play back the translation. And to hear the translation of the person you’re speaking to, hold down the microphone icon in the Google Translate app while they’re speaking.
At each stage, you’ll see a transcript of what’s being said on the app screen.
Other Pixel Buds headphone features
The Pixel Buds are Bluetooth wireless earphones, Google’s answer to Apple’s popular Airpods and Samsung’s Gear IconX 2018. All of them work with carrying cases that also charge them, allowing their batteries to last throughout the day, despite the diminutive size. To make them even smaller, Google has opted to have a cord linking them (handy if you fear losing Apple’s Airpods).
The touch-sensitive pad on the right earbud allows you to play and pause music, change volume with a swipe and activate the Google Assistant voice assistant to perform a task with a long press.