Top 10: Headphones under £100
Whether it be in the office, on a run or on a train commute - we all love chucking on some headphones to block out the world. Here are our top 10 budget-buy pairs of headphones for your perusal.
The name might not be easy to remember, bu the Sony MDRZX310 offer a range of features that make them easy to put in this top 10. A 10-24,000Hz frequency range and 30mm drivers mean the headphones have a well-balanced sound with a decent sound stage, but they aren't bass-heavy so steer clear if you're a bass head.
Available in black, blue, red and white - the headphones offer swiveling earcups and a folding design for portability, as well as padded earcups for comfortable listening.
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Marshall Major III
The on-ear Major III are perfect for those who want a set of headphones that set them apart from the crowd, heralding back to the rock heritage that the Marshall brand was born from. They fold in on themselves, making them very easy to travel or commute with - however, they don't come with any kind of carry case.
As for downsides, they squeeze our head after a few hours of wearing and we can't decide if we like the single control button more than two or three buttons on earcups, but they're far most stylish that similarly priced headphones, offer a 30-hour battery life and that well-known Marshall sound signature - making them ideal for those that listen to predominantly rock, indie, alternative music. Bottom line: for the money, they offer great value.
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Soundcore Life 2
We'd argue that the Anker Soundcore Life 2 are one of the best pairs of over-ear, wireless headphones you can buy for under £100. A lot of the time, especially with audio kit, you're paying for the brand. And that's why the relatively unknown Soundcore are such good value.
With the Life 2, you get what you pay for - if not more. They're comfortable and lightweight, in addition to offering ANC, a long battery life and a rich sound quality. They can't compete with brands like Bose, but with a price difference of over £150, we think these are a much better value option - especially if you're new to the world of noise-cancelling headphones. They're also often discounted on sites like Amazon. Bonus.
AfterShokz Trekz Titanium
The Aftershokz Trekz are a little bit different to everything else on this list. The Trekz Titanium wireless stereo headphones are a safe alternative to traditional sports headphones. Bone conduction tech delivers music through your cheekbones as you cycle, run etc - meaning you get crystal clear music and hands-free calls without having ambient noise like traffic completely blocked out.
Designed with athletes in mind, Trekz Titanium are sweatproof, secure and comfortable. They also offer a six-hour battery life.
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The ATH-M20x are professional monitor headphones that feature high-quality materials and enhanced audio. They're an excellent choice for tracking and mixing, although comfort will be subjective - as we found with the Audio-Technica M50xBT headphones that we reviewed.
The contoured earcups with 40mm drivers seal tight for excellent sound isolation with minimal bleed and the pro-grade materials offer long-term durability. If you're looking for great sound quality, these are a steal for the price.
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Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT
The Sennheiser HD 4.40BT Wireless are a comfortable, over-ear headset that offer well-balanced, detailed sound. Bluetooth ensures hassle-free pairing the minimalistic design with foldable headband is robust for even heavy-handed users who will just throw the headphones into a backpack on the go.
The 4.40 BT also feature NFC for fast pairing with compatible devices, earcup mounted controls and an integrated microphone for hands-free calls.
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Sony's WH-CH500 offer detailed and dynamic sound from the 30mm drivers, combined with the freedom of wireless connectivity. There's up to 20 hours of wireless playback and the swivel fold design makes them ideal for taking on the go. There’s also a built-in microphone for hands-free voice calls and the option of black, silver or blue colourways.
There's no noise-cancelling or customisable sound at this price, but the sound quality is very good. As for comfort, the WH-CH500 tend to feel a bit tight for some users but this is subjective. Build quality is another downside, with the headphones looking and feeling fairly cheap and plastic - but you get the reliability of a brand like Sony for some peace of mind.
The retro industrial look will appeal to some but not all. If you quite fancy the look of the SR80e, then the features should only serve to sway you more - with the third generation of Grado's e-series offering improved sound and build quality over the previous incarnations.
While fashion-conscious buyers might want to look elsewhere, for those interested in function and sound quality - the SR80e are top-notch for this price bracket. The headphones offer a natural, full-bodied sound but bear in mind that the open-backed earcups will lead to some sound leakage. If you want high-quality, lively sound and aren't looking for total noise isolation then these are a fantastic option.
The on-ear Beats EP are the base model in the range, meaning they don't come with wireless connectivity or Noise Cancelling but they do offer adjustable sliders for the perfect fit and the RemoteTalk cable allows the wearer to take calls and control music with ease.
Available in black, blue, white or red - the Beats EP offer comfort and good value for money, albeit being a bit basic. Just watch out for the jack breaking as that's a commonly reported problem...
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While we think the Y50 look a bit like ear defenders, you know, like the ones that babies wear at concerts - the headphones actually offer reasonable bass performance and good levels of comfort from the padded earcups and partially padded headband. While they don't offer Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), they exclude a fair amount of external noise regardless.
They feature a detachable 1.2m cable with in-line and one-button remote/microphone controls, as well as a folding mechanism and pouch for portability.