By Tony Wang
Here’s our list of the best 8 Headphones in New Zealand. We’ll go over their sound quality, battery, design, and some positives and negatives to help you decide.
When it comes to buying a pair of headphones, the choices out there are numerous. Well-known brands with enticing sound production and noise cancellation features are abound. While some are designed to be used for sports such as running or swimming, there still are many types and designs and uses. But where do you start?
You only have to think about where you’ll use it for. For instance, if you travel a lot, then you need the sort that has a lighter weight, longer-lasting battery, terrific sound quality, and perhaps with a built-in mic to answer calls hands-free. Or if you plainly want to enjoy a movie you can go for an over-ear (type of headphones that a DJ uses) that will clearly take in the sound from your Netflix streaming, blocking out the trifle of noises around your house.
Next thing to do is take a look at the spec sheet. It will help to narrow down your choice and perusing it will give you a better idea of the sound range, its battery power consumption, volume continuum, iPhone compatibility and its dimensions. Just some extra information if you’d like. We also suggest that you try it and feel if its comfortable for your ears for hours of listening before you buy.
But don’t worry too much about the technicality. We’ll tackle it one by one and this will only take a minute.
What types of headphones should you get?
In-ear or earbud headphones – earbud headphones are set just outside of your ear canal, making them closer to your ear drum. This enables you to hear the full quality sound coming from your smartphone or Mac. Because it is sealed in your ear, outside noises are reduced and others will hear less from your headphones unless the volume has been cranked up loud.
They are the most common type as they are the least expensive and usually come together with a newly bought smartphone. As we know, its shape and structure differ to a degree, the oldest having a plastic frame that gets awfully uncomfortable after a while, others come with a hook to better hold on to your ears, and the ergonomic neat ear pod of Apple that is designed to fit and not fall out, and that which uses a silicone air bud for comfort and seamless acoustics.
The bottom line is you have to see that they fit your ear comfortably even when using it for hours at a time without them falling out or losing hold.
On-ear or supra aural headphones – The headband makes it pretty straightforward to put on your ears. Cushioned ear pads press over your ears and deliver great audio. Being a size bigger than earbud headphones, it houses a larger driver and hence more powerful to deliver music to your ear drum. And since it’s not totally covering your ear, the sound can leak out to others who are near you. In the same way, it lets you hear a bit of ambient sound in your environment.
In terms of comfort and hold, on-ear headphones are better than earbud phones. What’s also nice about this is it’s very easy to put it on your ears.
Over-ear or circumaural headphones – are the largest of the three kinds. Because of its even larger size, it can deliver the best quality sound (but this may not be true, only generally). The urethane ear cups are worn over both ears and its padding helps in absorbing the pressure, although some models become too heavy and causes slight discomfort for longer durations of use.
If you watch TV series or movies a lot or probably game a lot, and want to experience total uninterrupted sound, this will be the choice.
As you may have heard, the over-ear could be of two kinds: open back or closed back. This refers to the ear caps. With open back types, the back of the ear cap is only enmeshed or covered in an open frame you can almost see the speaker. This lets you hear more ambient sound, except that your music can leak out to others. Whilst, the closed back, offers a stronger sound and cancels out the ambient noise outside more than the former.
Some useful terms to familiarise yourself before buying headphones
It’s the core and heart of your headphones. Models vary in their size and shape and the driver for them may be constructed differently. But almost all are comprised of a diaphragm, voice coil, and magnets. When the headphones are turned on, the parts make the diaphragm vibrate which then sends the sound waves over to our ear as sound.
Impedance is the measure of electrical resistance of a device. It is indicated in ohms. Simply put, the more electrical resistance the headphones have, the more battery power it consumes. However, the packaging may indicate the battery time of the headphones so this shouldn’t be a problem.
3. Sound pressure level (SPL) or sensitivity
When you look at the specifications of a headphone, you’ll see its unit in decibels. It’s the measure of the level of volume that it can reach at the highest. Most good branded headphones have a range of 85dB-120dB.
But take care not to listen at blared volumes (higher than 85dB) as it might damage your ears and cause hearing loss. You may check the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website for more info about this matter. Just go for a volume that is comfortable to the ear and not loud every time as a simple rule of thumb.
4. Frequency Response
Frequency Response dictates the sound range that it can play in. Some models have a greater emphasis on bass, while others in treble, and yet others are mostly in between. The collection of sounds that we hear everyday ranges from 20-20,000 Hz. This can help make your choice of headphones through the sound quality that you are going to get. More bass makes it more comfortable to the ear than higher pitch distorted ones.
5. Noise Cancellation feature
Headphones with a noise cancellation feature keeps out low frequency background noise from the outside. Within are chips and microphone that records the sound around your environment, and creates an opposite soundwave so that it succeeds in taking away the noise. Note that it only works on low sound frequency, for instance the hum of the fan while you’re listening to your music on your headphones or maybe people talking softly but it can’t take away the motor that’s revving up the road for it has a higher sound frequency.
Best Overall Quality Over-Ear Headphones
1. Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones
Superb sounding headphones with noise cancelling prowess
Wt: Approx. 8.99 oz | Frequency Response: 4 Hz-40,000 Hz | Impedance: 47 ohm (connecting via cable w/ headphones on), 16 ohm (when connecting via cable w/ headphones off) | Sensitivity: 104.5 dB / mW (1 kHz) (connecting via cable w/ headphones on), 101 dB / mW (1 kHz) (when connecting via cable w/ headphones off) | Battery: 30 hours | Wireless: Yes | Noise Cancelling: Yes
Price in The Market – NZD 439.99, click here to see
Pros: Wonderful sound. Noise cancelling features like Adaptive Sound Control and Quick Assistant. Very light to travel with.
Cons: Less quality on calls. Design doesn’t show much improvement over its predecessor.
If you want a top of the line sound quality, lighter weight, and ambient sound feature, then Sony WH-1000XM3 over-ear headphones is for you. It comes with several smart noise cancelling features. First is Adaptive Sound Control that lets you stroll around with music without the noise outside bothering you.
Another is upon activating Quick Attention, the music you hear will promptly lower down to a level for you to tend to your other tasks without putting it down like buying a novel by the cashier. You can also directly answer your calls by a simple double tap on the panel.
Fitted with the most effective and advanced HD noise cancellation processor QN1, you can be sure that it achieves those ends and conserves more power as a result.
Charging the battery only takes 10 minutes for a 5-hour play and being charged to full gives you 30 hours of non-stop music and enjoyment.
In comparison with its archrival, Bose QC 35 II, it’s been reviewed that Sony emerges as the victor in terms of its seamless sound and helpful features.
There are two colors to choose from: silver (pictured above) and black. And for a price that is not too expensive at NZ$599.95.
Best Voice Assisted Headphones
2. Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Decent headphones with dual mics that follow your voice commands
Wt: 10.9 oz | Width: 6.7 in | Depth: 3.2 in | Height: 7.1 in | Earpad material: Leather | Battery: 20 hours | Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 4.1 | Wireless: Yes | Noise Cancelling: Yes
Price: NZD556.42, follow this link here
Pros: Decent headphones with adjustable noise-cancelling levels. It offers custom painted headphones for customers. It features smart voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Cons: Shorter battery life. Sony is better sounding than QC 35 II.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II lets you hear pure and well-balanced sounds even at high volumes thanks to EQ Volume Optimizer that’s built in its driver. Like the Sony WH-1000MX3, it has noise cancelling features that counters the urban noise so as to enjoy each note of the music without fail.
Voice commands of Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa has got your back. Tell them to arrange your meeting, what movies you’d like to add in your list, you can even have Alexa quickly tune you in to R&B tracks.
About its battery, it can hold up to 20 hours of play when fully charged. It can also continue the audio while it is plugged in.
Its app connects with the Bose from where you can personalize your settings, access Bose AR, a pioneer audio augmented platform that’s accessible with Apple and Android phones.
Customers will without a doubt love the custom paint service of Bose that gives you the freedom to design your headphones—ear caps, ear cups, outer and inner headbands, and the spacers too. So, you have limitless possibilities on this thing, you can even have a collection if you can afford. Or connect it with your friend’s QC35 II headphones (Yes you can) and listen to the same song at the same time.
Sleekest design with variety Headphones
3. Beats Studio 3 Skyline Wireless Headphones
Classy designed headphones that have faster Bluetooth capability
Wt: 9.17 oz | Height: 7.2 in | Battery: 22 hours | Bluetooth Version: Class 1 Wireless Bluetooth| Wireless: Yes | Noise Cancelling: Yes | Other Features: Micro USB port, Apple W1 chip
Price: NZ$499.95, look it up here
Pros: Attractive signature Beats design in its headphones. Having Siri for voice command helps a lot. 22 hours of battery charge. Industry leading Bluetooth connection.
Cons: Sound is not that good compared to others. It is also expensive.
Beats by Dre is Apple’s confident foray into the headphones industry. Firstly, the design is nice and has an attractive smooth finish. With the Pure Adaptive Noise Cancelling feature it shields you from external distractions and at the same time customizes the sound output that aligns with your preference and music options.
Featuring the Apple W1 chip, it has a Class 1 Wireless Bluetooth and syncs from farther ranges and instantly with your other devices.
It can play a whole day for you with 22 hours of battery charge. Along with that, Beats headphones is designed to handle hours of playing music giving you the best comfort and fit through its pivoted headband and pressure-easing soft cushions.
Let the clever voice assistant Siri do the work for you. Voice it out with the b button and you don’t even have to do anything. You can command it to play a classic song, to answer calls, turn the volume up, amongst other things.
In price, it’s a lot less than either Sony or Bose but its sound quality merely harbors on the average.
Best Ambient Sound Quality for Sports Headphones
4. Sony True Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones (WF-SP700NB)
Frequency Response: 20 Hz–20,000 Hz (Bluetooth Communication) | Driver: 0.24″ (Dome Type) | Battery: 3 hours | Wireless: Yes | NFC: Yes (case)
Price: NZ$349.99, check it out here
Pros: Small and very comfortable to wear on the ear. It erases the sound from outside with its superb noise cancellation. Bluetooth connectivity. Sweatproof and splash proof during your workout.
Cons: Short battery life. It can’t be used when swimming. Exorbitant price.
These wireless sports 2x bean-sized earbuds will keep you company during your morning run. They are Sony branded, so expect good music playback and sleek design. It has an IPx4 rating which designs it to be sweat and splash proof (but not swim proof). The earbuds are soft and comfortable to place in the ears with hooks to stay in place during movement. Bluetooth capability lets it sync to other devices in a jiffy.
It comes with a neat charging case for the two earbuds saving up to 6 hours of extra battery. And since the pair’s battery only lasts for 3 hours or shorter, a rather safe approximation, you’ll just have to bring the charging case along with you.
Google Assistant is once again at your service. And you can answer calls hands-free. What’s more Ambient Sound mode will let you hear music while walking around the normal hustle and bustle around your neighbourhood.
In summary, Sony True Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones (WF-SP700NB) is basically good for those workouts in the gym when you just need a quick music to have with you that doesn’t get in your way. Oh and, don’t forget to bring your charging case!
Best for Bargain Sports Headphones
5. JBL Endurance DIVE Wireless Sports Headphones w/ built-in MP3 player
Comfortable MP3/headphones for swimming and leisure
Driver Size: 10mm | Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz | Impedance: 16 ohm | Sensitivity: 1kHz/1mW (dB) | Battery: 8 hours | Wireless: Yes | Noise Cancelling: No | Charging Time: 2 hours | Talk Time: 7 hours
Price: NZ$179.99, purchase today in The Market
Pros: Automatic turn on and off (PowerHook). You get 8 hours of battery life for a sports headphone. 1 GB storage of music files. It is very comfortable to wear on the ear. One touch control without distracting you from your workout.
Cons: No voice assistant. No noise cancelling feature
An EISA awardee 2018, JBL Endurance DIVE has many features you’ll be proud of. Better than the Sony sports headphones we reviewed, these wireless headphones have a rating of IPX7 that’s waterproof for swimming. It’s never been more fun to listen to music with its built-in MP3 player for 1 GB capacity (can store 200 songs or more).
Plus, when it is fully charged it can hold up to 8 hours of music playback. Charge it 10 minutes and you already get an hour of playing it.
Moreover, it features FlexSoft and TwistLock engineered for a flexible and soft earbud that’s secured over your ear with a hook. Its controls are accessible from an ergonomic touch and tap which doesn’t involve much so that your workout will continue without getting distracted from it.
The Endurance Dive’s special feature is its automatic on and off. It turns on as soon as you wear it and off when you take it off. It also comes with a silicone headphone case to carry it with you wherever you go.
For its features and price, it seems to be an exponentially better option than the Sony wireless headphones. You get your good money’s worth with JBL Endurance DIVE.
Best Headphones for Home Theater and Music
6. Grado GW100 Wireless Headphones
Ace open back headphones featuring Bluetooth 4.2. The Old school Audio Wonder.
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz | Impedance: 32 ohms | Sensitivity: 42dB +/- 3dB 99.8 dB (SPL) | Battery: 15 hours | Wireless: Yes | Noise Cancelling: No | Bluetooth version: 4.2 with apt-X | Working Distance: 10m
Price: NZ$395.91, order here
Pros: Acoustically great headphones. Nice classic style. Bluetooth connectivity. Affordable.
Cons: It lets in ambient noise from outside. Less battery power at 15 hours.
The first of its kind for open-back headphones having a Bluetooth functionality, Grado GW100 headphones take you to the golden years when things we use now were just getting invented. Talk about flying in a legendary Spitfire plane. Alright, Let’s cut to the chase. The beauty of this over-ear headphone not only is present in its design but also in its amazing sound quality.
You’ll enjoy playing your tunes with its 15 hours of battery life. Sync it to your phone. Watch movies with it. You will love this pair just like others who said, “Grado’s first Bluetooth headphones are everything I wanted them to be” and “Editor’s choice and Best Overall Headphone.”
Inside the box it has 3.5mm audio cable, micro USB charging cable and a Grado story sheet that regaled their start in Brooklyn in the 1950s.
Having the audio component open from the back, the sound that you hear escapes although the lesser thanks to its brilliant design. Conversely, sounds from outside might creep in unwantedly. So, if you’re going out on the streets with the quake barrage of ongoing construction and some traffic noises, chances are they won’t totally be blocked. Still with GW100, the good features more than outweigh the bad.
Plus, it’s very affordable to get for such a striking pair!
Best Headphones for Gaming Sessions
7. Edifier v4 Gaming Headset
Gaming headphones with a sleek and comfortable design that can make your gaming sessions better
Frequency Response: 20Hz 20kHz | Impedance: 24 Ohms | Battery: Not Rechargeable| Wireless: No | Noise Cancelling: Yes
Price: NZ$119.99, order here
Pros: Built for casual and pro gamers. Classic headphone design.
Cons: Not wireless. Can be a bit bulky
If you’re looking for a headphones that can make your gaming sessions even more exciting, then look no further than Edifier’s V4 Gaming Headset. It’s a noise-cancelling headphones that allow gamers to concentrate better on their games with getting distracted by outside noises.
What’s more, it has a 7.1 surround sound built-in sound card that improves the quality of gaming audios. It help gamers to stay alert during gameplays because the sound will appear as if they’re real.
Another thing to like about Edifier’s V4 Gaming Headset is its classic mesh design that doesn’t hurt even after long hours of gaming. If other headphones tend to cause discomfort after having been using for an extended period of time, then consider this one different!
However, since this isn’t a pair of Bluetooth headphones, the wires can get a bit distracting at time, especially during gaming. But if you can find a way to deal with the long wires, then I guess this would be the perfect pair of headphones for you.
Best Headphones for Portability
8. Audeze’s iSINE LX
Wired headphones with an avant-garde design
Frequency Response: 10Hz – 50kHz | Impedance: 16 ohms | Battery: Not Rechargeable| Wireless: No | Noise Cancelling: No
Price: NZ$199.00, order here
Pros: Built for avid music listeners. Innovative design
Cons: Not wireless. No noise cancelling feature
In terms of design, we have to say that Audeze’s iSINE LX takes the top spot. It features a new, innovative design that hasn’t been seen in headphones before — which is why we think it’s one of the best headphones out in the market today.
It’s an in-ear headphones that delivers super clear and accurate sound that makes listening to music even better. We can guarantee that you’ll spend hours listening to music when you’re using the Audeze’s iSINE LX.
What’s more, it has voice coil technology that minimizes distortion even at a high volume. It also has an LCD planar technology that helps create a comfortable listening experience as if it’s a live performance.
Stylish and Comfortable Headphones
9. STUDIO43 JET BLACK HEADPHONES
Wireless headphones equipped with Active AI Technology
Frequency Response: 20-20 KHZ | Impedance: 32 Ω OHM | Sensitivity: 102 + 3db | Battery: Rechargeable | Charge connector: Micro USB | Standby time: 300 hrs max
PRICE: $149.99 Order Here
PROS: Powerful, balanced sound, Strong and durable
CONS: Low Battery Life
Experience premium quality headphones for half the price with Studio 43! Featuring a lightweight leather material, Studio 43 allows you to be stylish yet comfortable as you wear it, and you’re surely be wearing it for a long time as it’s proven to last a longer time than your standard headphones.
Aside from its physical appearance, there are also a lot of high-tech specs these headphones can offer. It has AI intelligent voice command you can interact with so you can control settings hands-free. The sound quality is also a feat unparalleled. Optimised sound isolation speakers help keep the sounds from inside stay within the earpiece, and the outside noises stay where they are, outside.
Its overall features are something worth more than its low price, so you’re definitely lucky to get this one. Make sure to get a pair before it gets sold out.