It’s the end of the year, which (if you’re like me) means that it might be time to think about getting a new phone. I try my best to wear out my mobile phones before I replace them. For some reason, though, I always seem to need to replace them around the same time of year: the holidays. If you’re replacing your phone this year, make sure to check out this list of mobile headphones to pair with the new model.
What distinguishes headphones from mobile headphones is the inclusion of a microphone. However, I like to place a second requirement when I’m shopping around: that they’re earbuds rather than an on-ear or over-the-ear model. For me, the most important part of my headphones is that they’re as easy to bring around as my mobile phone. If my headphones won’t fit into the same pocket as my smartphone, they get nixed.
That being said, there are plenty of options for chunkier headphones that pair with mobile phones. The Sony Over-Ear Sound Isolating Wireless Headphones with Mic, for instance, let you chat on the phone without switching from your music headphones. Their over-ear model is larger than any mobile phone will ever be again (I hope), but they’re cable-free and deliver crisp sound with extra bass to both your phone calls and your favourite albums.
(And a perk about these headphones before you read on: thanks to their generous size, they work for up to 30 sound-isolating hours on a single charge.)
Truly wireless earbuds
This year, I’m dragging my feet on replacing my phone. The new iPhones are pretty pricey, and they have one feature that I see as a flaw: their lack of a headphone jack.
I am forever forgetting to plug in my electronics, so not having a headphone jack is a big problem for me. There are plenty of products, however, that exist solely for this reason.
There’s a freedom that comes to using truly wireless earbuds. With zero cords, they aren’t connected physically to your phone, and also aren’t connected physically to one another. They won’t ruin your selfie or tangle in your bag. If you’re like me and you listen to podcasts while cooking and cleaning, they’ll mean that you won’t have to carry your phone around in your pocket the whole time, getting tangled in your mobile headphone cord.
Apple’s own Apple AirPods In-Ear Bluetooth Headphones with Mic are by far the most common option for truly wireless earbuds, but they’re not the only option. The Bose SoundSport Free Bluetooth Headphones and Jabra Elite Sport In-Ear Noise Cancelling Wireless Earbuds are today’s top contenders for Apple alternatives.
The Bose SoundSport headphones offer brand recognition and a built-in microphone. They deliver up to 5 hours of listening time. With a sweat-resistant design, they can connect to devices up to 9 metres away.
The Jabra Elite headphones, on the other hand, are a noise-cancelling model with in-ear heart rate monitoring. There are 2 microphones in each earbud, with a waterproof design and Bluetooth connectivity up to 10 metres.
Semi-wireless mobile headphones
If you’re not set on truly wireless headphones, there are plenty of other mobile headphones that connect to your device via Bluetooth. The most popular by far are the Bose SoundSport In-Ear Wireless Headphones.
The SoundSports are the wired-together alternative to the SoundSports Free, and they’re fiendishly popular. (There are 2600+ reviews on Best Buy at the time of publication.) They have 6 hours of battery life, and pair via both Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC. The cord between the two earbuds houses a microphone and remote, and each earbud is covered in a soft silicone tip.
Because headphones like these pair via Bluetooth or NFC, they work with most models of smartphones. They don’t require a headphone jack, and for most people, they last all day. While they’re designed with music in mind, the inclusion of a microphone means that they’re great as mobile headphones, too.
(And hey! With a cord that connects each earbud, these are a lot less likely to fall out and be crushed. They’re also less likely to get lost in your bag.)
If you’re looking for a more affordable option for mobile headphones, Skullcandy has you covered. The Skullcandy Method Wireless In-Ear Sound Isolating Bluetooth Headphones are designed to stay in during a workout, and connect to your phone via Bluetooth. Instead of just connecting with a cord, the left and right sides of these headphones are actually joined by a flexible “DualLock fit,” which looks like a backwards headband.
The Skullcandy Method Headphones are good for up to 9 hours, and also feature a built-in microphone and controls.
Corded mobile headphones
As I mentioned, I’m a traditionalist. I love wired headphones, and I’m hoping that I will never have to stop using them. I can barely remember to charge my phone each night. Hand me a pair of beautiful, sexy, high-quality wireless headphones, and guess what? They’ll never get used.
I ended up giving my last pair of cordless headphones away outright, because I never charged them and I routinely forgot to bring them with me. So, when I’m looking at my options, I go corded all the way.
The Beats by Dr. Dre urBeats In-Ear Headphones with Mic are a very popular option for mobile headphones, and it’s easy to see why. They come in an eye-catching cherry red/matte black combination, as well as a few other colour combinations, that make them stand out on the shelf.
Once you buy them, the benefits continue to pop up. Like other Beats products, they can be used as mobile headphones–but they’re really designed for listening to music. They’re intended to deliver “punchy bass, soaring highs, and crystal-clear midrange” notes, with a lightweight design that takes up very little space.
The urBeats In-Ear Headphones with Mic are made from a single-billet metal housing, too, to cut down on vibrations and noise. The same hard chrome housing means that they’re more durable than regular plastic-and-silicone earbuds, so they’re likely to outlast your new smartphone. (Or, if you’re just upgrading your current one with better accessories, they’ll last you well into your next phone.)
Whether you’re upgrading your earbuds with your new phone, or gifting someone better earbuds than their in-box ones, there are plenty of options available.
Shop the full range of headphones online at Best Buy.