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Best Travel Headphones for 2024


JBL Live 670NC: The JBL Live 670NC is one of a relatively small number of on-ear headphones to offer active noise canceling. It’s something of a value model — no carrying case is included — but it does have memory foam ear pads that get you a comfortable fit for an on-ear headphone. Deliver clear sound with punch bass, it has 32mm drivers and improves on its predecessor’s battery life, offering up to an impressive 70 hours (or 44 hours with ANC on), and an extra three hours of battery with just five minutes of charge. This model includes the latest Bluetooth 5.3 (with LE Audio) and multipoint Bluetooth pairing. It also has JBL’s Ambient Aware (transparency mode) and TalkThru features. It’s available in black, white and blue and comes with a cord for wired listening.

Master & Dynamic MW75: The MW75 are Master & Dynamic’s best full-size headphones yet. Needless to say, they’re pricey at $599; most people will be quite satisfied with the $400 Sony WH-1000XM5, which is lighter and more comfortable and delivers best-in-class voice calling and noise canceling. The MW75’s build quality is hard to beat and they offer top-notch sound for a wireless model (I thought they sounded better than Apple’s AirPods Max headphones), plus strong voice-calling and noise-canceling performance. With their support for aptX Adaptive, they have additional appeal for Android users, who can get a touch better sound quality with the right setup. I was also quite happy streaming music with my iPhone 13 Pro using the AAC codec.

Master & Dynamic MW09: Master & Dynamic headphones and earbuds have always featured unique, eye-catching designs that include premium materials like aluminum, sapphire glass and Kevlar. Its latest MW09 flagship earbuds look pretty similar to its earlier MW08 buds, but have some upgrades on the inside that deliver better performance, particularly when it comes to battery life and noise canceling (it’s now very close to what Bose and Sony offer, although not quite at their level for ANC).

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offers improved noise canceling along with very good sound and voice-calling performance, plus support for high-resolution wireless audio streaming if you’re a Galaxy device owner with the right setup. Their biggest upgrade may be their new design and smaller size, which make them a better fit for more ears. Aside from their somewhat high price tag, their only drawback is that some of their key features only work with Samsung Galaxy devices.

Beats Studio Buds Plus: Alas, for those of you who bought the original Beats Studio Buds, which remain on the market for now, I’m sorry to report that these new Plus buds are significantly improved, with better sound, noise canceling and battery life. Additionally, they now deliver top-notch voice-calling performance.

Beats Fit Pro: While the Beats Fit Pro technically aren’t AirPods, they’re built on the same tech platform as the AirPods Pro (yes, Apple owns Beats). Unlike Beats’ earlier and less expensive Studio Buds and new-for-2023 Studio Buds Plus, the Beats Fit Pro include Apple’s H1 chip and have most of the AirPods Pro’s features, including active noise canceling, spatial audio and Adaptive EQ. I’d venture to call them the sports AirPods you’ve always wanted.

Google Pixel Buds Pro: The Pixel Buds Pro are Google’s first earbuds to feature active noise canceling. While it’s nice that they finally have a feature that most true-wireless earbuds have had for a while, what ultimately sets the Pixel Buds Pro apart and makes them worth considering — particularly for Android users — is their distinct design and winning fit. That helps enhance their performance on both the sound quality and noise-canceling fronts. While not quite elite for voice-calling, they also performed well as a headset for making calls. Read our Google Pixel Buds Pro review

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