The end of financial year is quickly approaching, but there is still plenty of time to secure a deal on a new pair of headphones. While most of the headphones on sale for EOFY 2021 are getting a little old now, some still include technologies that we frequently see in much newer headphone releases.
What to look for in EOFY headphones
When it comes to features and functionality, look out for headphones that have true wireless functionality (TS) and active noise cancellation (ANC). Wireless connectivity lets you stream audio directly to your headphones from your smartphone or another Bluetooth enabled device, which offers a degree of flexibility to use your headphones on the go, like when you are exercising.
Additionally, ANC is a “great if you can get it” extra option that helps to block out unwanted noise, such as noise from public transport, providing you with a more pristine listening experience. Other technologies that are specifically designed to make sound clarity better, like beam-forming and aptX technologies, are also indicators of headphones that may have good sound quality, since these technologies are usually incorporated to optimise the integrity of the sound signal. They're not essential to finding a good pair, and there is no guarantee you will get the kind of sound quality you're after, but at the very least they can indicate the lengths the manufacturers have gone to provide you with an optimal listening experience.
How we selected headphones
Our following list of six headphones have been selected from among the many 2021 EOFY deals on offer and have been chosen because they appeared to be particularly good value at the time of writing.
- Some headphones in this article have been reviewed by PC World. For those headphones, we’ve endeavoured to provide our thoughts about their sound quality and other features of interest.
- Those units we haven’t reviewed yet have been selected based on features and functionality listed in their specifications that we thought would be of some value to our readers.
These earphones have been on the market for some time, which explains the current EOFY deal. They feature true wireless (TS) functionality with Bluetooth 5.0 for streaming music and taking calls directly from your smartphone or other Bluetooth enabled device. They also include four microphones and beam-forming directional field technology to improve voice audio clarity during phone calls. The Jabra Elite 65t Earbuds connect to the Jabra Sound+ app, allowing users to choose a voice assistant, customise their music profile and monitor their battery life. Jabra says they can last for 5 hours on a single charge, or up to 15 hours with their case.
In our review of the Jabra Elite 65t we thought they produced exceptionally crisp sound but that they didn’t quite keep out as much ambient noise as we would have liked. Consequently, we thought they would be best suited to using in quieter environments. Read our full review of the Jabra Elite 65t earbuds.
The Sennheiser HD 450BT features active noise cancellation (ANC) technology which audibly reduces ambient sound. Considering the inclusion of this technology, we think its current price represents a particularly great deal. These headphones also include USB-C connectivity and fast-charging for powering them up quickly. They support Bluetooth 5.0 for continuous streaming of audio from your smartphone. For audio clarity, these headphones incorporate aptX technology that compresses and decompresses sound as it travels from your Bluetooth device to your ears. This technology works to preserve the original audio quality of the sound you are listening to.
In our review of the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ we were impressed by their sound quality that was better than the Samsung IconX buds. We would have liked these headphones to have had ANC, that we think could have reduced ambient noise. If you own more than one Samsung device the Galaxy Buds+ will sync into your technology ecosystem since once you pair them with your smartphone, they are automatically discoverable on any other devices tethered to the same Samsung account. Read our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Buds+.
If you are a heavy user of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones II provide additional connectivity to these devices since they feature a button that, once held down, connects you up with these devices. These headphones also sport ANC and this feature has two modes that allows you to adjust how much ambient noise you block out in different environments. For added comfort, the QuietComfort 35s incorporate Alcantara material, which is the same covering material used in yachts and high-end cars.
The Bose SoundLink Wireless Headphones II have an easy pairing earcup that lets you pair-up with your smartphone just by tapping it. These headphones have Active EQ and TriPort technologies that Bose claims allows them to provide crisper and clearer audio even at the extreme ends of your volume knob, either on low volume or higher volume. The Bose SoundLink Wireless Headphones II also sport multi-function controls on their right earcup, enabling you to switch tracks or change volume without having to use your phone.
Kogan’s Pro Urban II Wireless Headphones have a built-in SD card slot and FM radio, which means you can listen to music when your smartphone is out of reach. That’s not to say they can’t stream audio from your phone; they also support Bluetooth 5.0 for listening to music and other audio over a wireless signal. A 3.5mm audio port allows the Pro Urban II headphones to be used as wired headphones. With controls on the earcups you can skip tracks and turn up the volume manually. These headphones offer up to 25 hours continuous wireless playback for a long listening time between charges.