Afraid your next smartphone might ditch the headphone jack? While some might scramble to buy an adaptor, early adopters know that it’s only a matter of time before Bluetooth headphones are par for the course. Thankfully, What Hi-Fi?, a leading independent audio and home-entertainment-tech magazine, has taken the guesswork out of finding the 5 best wireless headphones—and all of them feature Qualcomm aptX audio codec technology.
Sound quality used to be the top priority for audiophiles, but these days, most consumers also expect crystal clear audio from their headphones. aptX is an innovative codec that enables CD-like quality audio over Bluetooth. With traditional Bluetooth comes limited bandwidth. By applying a bit-rate efficiency algorithm to large files at the source, and then restoring them for playback on the device, aptX cleverly answers the challenge of how to reliably and consistently transmit crisp audio over a wireless connection. And with Qualcomm aptX HD, a newly enhanced version of the codec, it’s never been easier to achieve high-resolution wireless audio. In addition to being backward compatible with its previous version, devout audiophiles can rejoice as aptX HD delivers 24-bit, end-to-end audio that surpasses CD quality.
When all's said and done, it’s not hard to understand why Qualcomm aptX has been adopted by over 330 leading audio brands. Here’s a look at the five aptX-powered headphones that topped the What Hi-Fi? list.
- AKG Y45BT: Sporting a portable, foldable design, the Y45BT earned the distinction of best wireless headphones under $150. The headset also won praise at CES 2015 as one of CNET’s best new wireless Bluetooth headphones.
- AKG Y50BT: With a five-star rating, the Y50BT is a 2015 What Hi-Fi? Award winner and earned the distinction of sound quality that’s just as good as its wired counterpart.
- Philips Fidelio M2BT: This premium headset combines high-resolution audio with NFC for a more convenient wireless experience.
- Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless: Known for high-quality, luxury headphones, this headset marks B&W’s foray into the wireless arena—and also won a What Hi-Fi Award. Not bad for a first try.
- Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless: Wireless headphones with noise-canceling? These headphones are a cut above, winning the EISA Award for best headphones in 2015-2016.