CNET: Top 4 headphones

If you’re looking for a new set of headphones, the first thing you’ll notice is that you’re faced with a multitude of options. We’ve cobbled together this list of top picks for those who prefer brevity — and fewer options. These four models are CNET’s picks for the top headphones in a variety of configurations and styles.


Sony WH-1000XM3

Product Review:

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

The good: The excellent-sounding Sony WH-1000XM3 is more comfortable and 20 percent lighter than its predecessor. It offers slightly improved noise canceling and performs better as a headset for making calls. Battery life is strong, and it has some nifty extra features geared toward frequent travelers.

The bad: Your ears can get a little warm inside the ear cups; I encountered some adaptive noise-canceling hiccups.

The cost: $348.00 to $349.99

The bottom line: With its more comfortable fit and improved performance, the Sony WH-1000XM3 becomes the noise-canceling headphone to beat.


Jabra Elite Active 65t

Product Review:

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The Jabra Active Elite 65t are fully sweat-resistant truly wireless earphones that fit comfortably and securely. They sound excellent, perform reliably and are great for making calls, with two microphones in each earpiece. Battery life is decent at 5 hours and the included charging case delivers two extra charges. A quick-charge feature allows you to get 1.5 hours of juice from a 15-minute charge.

The bad: The relatively tight, noise-isolating fit isn’t for everyone. Motion sensor doesn’t have much use at this point.

The cost: $159.99

The bottom line: The Jabra Active Elite 65t truly wireless earphones are the best alternative to Apple’s AirPods, but the stepdown non-Elite model will save you a bit of cash.


Tribit XFree Tune Bluetooth Headphones

Product Review:

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The Tribit XFree Tune sounds terrific for the money. It’s comfortable to wear and seems relatively well built. The headphones fold up to fit into an optional carrying case and battery life is rated at a healthy 24 hours at moderate volume levels.

The bad: The carrying case boosts the price by $5. The Tribit logo could be less prominent. Amazon product page touts noise-canceling technology but it’s only for voice calls, not true active noise-canceling.

The cost: $50.99

The bottom line: You won’t find better full-sized wireless headphones for under $50 than the Tribit XFree Tune.


AfterShokz Trekz Air

Product Review:

CNET rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (Very good)

The good: The AfterShokz Trekz Air is a slimmed down bone-conduction headphone that offers improved sound and is very comfortable to wear, leaving your ears open to hear the outside world. It works well as a headset for making cell-phone call and comes with a nice carrying pouch.

The bad: While the sound quality is improved, it’s still not as good as what you’d get from a comparably priced “traditional” headphone.

The cost: $110.00 to $118.49

The bottom line: The AfterShokz Trekz Air is a very likable sports headphone, particularly for people who want a secure fitting headphone that doesn’t cover or prod their ears.


The following CNET staff contributed to this story: Executive Editor David Carnoy and Senior Editor Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, please visit

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