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Wireless headphones reviews

Cutting the cord can help keep harmony in the home.
 
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01 .Introduction

wireless headphones

Headphones are an ideal way to listen to music or TV without disturbing others in the room. They can also help shut out the surrounding ambient noise, letting you enjoy your latest album or movie without having to turn the volume up too much. Unfortunately, a standard pair of headphones with a cable can limit where you listen – a problem if you are watching TV and want to sit a few metres away.

CHOICE tested 12 headphones that use wireless technology to transmit audio from a televisionmusic system or radio to the listener, with some of the models allowing you to move around the room or throughout your home while you listen. Households with one or two members who are hearing impaired can use wireless headphones with the volume levels set to suit, while the rest of the house listens to the TV at normal volume levels.

Some loss in audio quality when using wireless headphones compared to the same-quality headphones with a cable is inevitable. However, the overall sound quality of the top-performing models in this test is still surprisingly good.

Models tested

  • AKG K912
  • Creative Labs WP-300
  • Jaybird SB2
  • Philips SHD8600
  • Philips SHC5100
  • Philips SHC2000
  • Sennheiser RS110
  • Sennheiser RS170
  • Sennheiser PX 210 BT
  • Sony MDR-RF4000K
  • Sony MDR-RF925
  • TDK WR700

How we test

All 12 headphones were given to six trialists (three male, three female) with ages ranging from 25 to 71 to determine how the headphones perform for comfort, ease of use and ability to keep out ambient noise. Each user wore the headphones for a period of at least one hour to simulate normal use.

Technical tests take into account internal noise, passive noise reduction, frequency response and total harmonic distortion.

Range is tested by measuring the maximum distance at which the signal can be received without noticeable interference or degradation.

Ease of use is assessed on how easy the controls are to use, and how easy the headphones can be adjusted and cleaned. The headphones are also assessed for comfort and the score is a combination of scores submitted by a user trial as well as our tester’s evaluation.

Energy Our tester measures the energy consumption of the power adapter both on standby and during use. Where applicable, products may meet legal requirements even if we score them 0%; however we believe that if even if one product can maintain less than 1 W on standby, then all the others should be able to.

 
 

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Results table

Full results for all models are shown in the table below.

PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS FEATURES
Brand/model (in rank order) Overall score (%) Performance score (%) Ease of use score (%) Standby energy score (%) Range score (%) Earcup type Headband / neckband Transmitter type Claimed range (m) Measured range (m) Claimed battery life (hours) Weight (g)* Charging dock Price ($)
Verbatim 41925 (A)
www.verbatim.com.au
72 74 62 100 56 On-ear, closed Neck BT 10 4 4 45 110
Sennheiser RS 140 (A)
www.sennheiser.com
61 63 75 0 62 Over-ear, closed Head FM 100 51 23 291 450
Philips SHC 1300
www.philips.com.au
57 59 68 0 78 On-ear, closed Head IR 7 5.5 15 154 100
Sennheiser RS130 (A)
www.sennheiser.com
56 58 70 0 57 Over-ear, open Head FM 100 42 22 275 350
Philips SBC HC8540
www.philips.com.au
54 59 64 0 48 Over ear, closed Head FM 100 25 15 331 250
Philips SBC HC8440
www.philips.com.au
53 55 69 0 52 Over-ear, closed Head FM 100 32 15 224 200
Sennheiser RS 120
www.sennheiser.com
52 51 68 0 59 On-ear, open Head FM 100 45 20 228 250
Sony MDR-IF140K
www.sony.com.au
42 17 70 77 78 On-ear, closed Head IR 7 5.5 60 126 139
Sony MDR-IF240RK
www.sony.com.au
41 18 69 70 66 On-ear, closed Head IR 7 4 35 128 229

(A) Discontinued, but may be available in some stores.

Using the table

Scores The overall score is made up of:

  • Performance: 55%
  • Ease of use: 30%
  • Standby energy: 10%
  • Range: 5%

Price Recommended retail, as of February 2009.

How we test

Technical tests take into account internal noise, passive noise reduction, frequency response and total harmonic distortion.

Range is tested by measuring the maximum distance at which the signal can be received without noticeable interference or degradation.

Ease of use is assessed on how easy the controls are to use, and how easy the headphones can be adjusted and cleaned. The headphones are also assessed for comfort.

Energy Our testers measure the energy consumption of the power adapter both on standby and during use. Where applicable, products may meet legal requirements even if we score them 0%; however we believe that if even if one product can maintain less than 1 W on standby, then all the others should be able to.

Your say - Choice voice

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