Top Five Bluetooth Wireless Headphones and IEMs under $300 for 2019

2019 has been a fascinating year from a wireless headphone perspective – we’ve seen a lot of new companies jump into the wireless space, just as Apple changed the entire game in 2018 with their Airpods. The Airpods were a quantum leap above the Bluetooth dongles many manufacturers are just starting to put on their IEMs. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they sound all that great. In fact, they pretty much sound like what you’d expect: wireless earpods.

I’ve made it a point to listen to a fair number of Bluetooth headsets recently, and while the overall quality has come a long way from just a few years ago, there are still a lot of products that range from mediocre to dismal. Not to fear though, because a number of companies both young and old are building some excellent pieces as well. Some of these products I’ve already reviewed, others are ones I have in for review, but all of them are products I think are at least worth your time to listen to if you’re in the market for a quality pair of Bluetooth audio headphones or IEMS. Even better still, they’re all under $300 USD, so you don’t have to be Jeff Bezos to afford a pair.

Sennheiser HD4.40 $99.95 USD

First up, and least expensive on the list is the Sennheiser HD4.40. This headphone is one that’s almost a no-brainer. It’s got a bit of a midbass bump, and a slightly warm tuning, but it works great for modern pop music, is detailed without being offensive, and the functionality and build quality are solid for the price. At under $100 there’s not much to criticize. Sure, the plastics could be nicer, or the clarity could be better, but the Bluetooth is fuss-free, and the pads are comfortable. The headphone is quite compact due to the slim headband design – an area of significant space savings – and the design is a lot sturdier and better thought out than I expected when I first tried them in person. If you’re looking to move up to a first nice pair of wireless headphones, or if you’re an audiophile looking for a cheap-and-cheerful mobile solution, this is a great option to check out.

MOZero $129 USD

MOZero’s headphone has already had a review from me HERE, so check it out if you want to know my full thoughts. The long and short of it is that these are really nice wireless noise-cancelling headphones. The sound signature is dark, but very natural sounding for a Bluetooth headphone and not overly bassy at all. Again, this tuning works really well to keep many styles of popular music in check in the treble, it doesn’t throw too much brightness in your face nor does it sound dull. The battery life is a fair bit above average on this headphone, and although the control scheme is a tad funky at first, once you’re used to it, it’s a very simple headset, with a mere three buttons. If you’re looking for a set-and-forget all-purpose headset, you can’t do much better than this one. Just remember that the noise-cancelling can’t be turned off, so if you’re sensitive to that, you’ve been warned.

Focal Sphear Wireless $129 USD

Focal is a company that is constantly surprising me. From the launch of their Original Spirit One, to the release of their Elear, Clear and Utopia headphones, as well as the $3,000 USD Focal Stellia, which I reviewed recently, they’ve demonstrated a strong commitment to excellence in the headphone space, and to exceeding expectations. The Focal Sphear, which I’m currently reviewing, didn’t really grab my attention when it was released, and was almost an afterthought on my part. I’m glad I agreed to take a look though, because while this unit isn’t packed to the gills with the latest technology like the next two products from Cleer and Sennheiser, it is packed with phenomenal sound quality. This is probably the most balanced sounding piece of gear on this list – if you’re an audiophile, or just an on-the-go listener who demands your equipment be neutral enough to play anything, this is the choice for you. No, its not as detailed as some of the full-size headphones on this list, but it more than makes up for that with a perfect balance of clarity and dynamics. The Bluetooth can be a tad finicky, but battery life is good, the units themselves fit nicely and discretely in your ears, and most importantly the Focal Sphear is probably the highest sound-to-dollar-value product on this list. Seriously good stuff.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless $269.95 USD

Sennheiser’s Momentum series of headphones has always been a solid offering, but the last few years they have been quietly building some tremendously competitive and cool product offerings. As one of the first ‘audiophile’ companies to offer a true wireless option, Sennheiser is no doubt one of the first into the premium true-wireless market place. Of course, premium is subjective, and I was surprised to hear that the price of MOMENTUM True Wireless was less than $300 USD – not at all what I was expecting, but a pleasant surprise for sure. My initial impressions are quite positive – the whole experience is several notches above Airpods, as it should be at this price. Serious audiophiles may not be tremendously impressed, but for the size and convenience, there is a lot of sound on offer here. The touch controls are a little odd, battery life isn’t as good as some, and the Bluetooth can be a tad fussy at times, but overall the experience is everything you’d expect from a flagship product with this much functionality packed in. For those who simply must have true wireless, there isn’t much fancier or high-tech you can get than this.

Cleer Flow II $279.99 USD

Cleer’s Flow, another product I had some serious listening time with recently, just got an update. The Flow II adds Google Assistant to an already great product. This is without a doubt the most feature-packed unit on the list, with multiple options for Active Noise-Cancelling, three ambient listen-through settings, touch controls and wired and wireless functionality. The most important thing though is that the Flow II sounds spacious and balanced in a way I’ve not heard from Bluetooth headphones before. There’s an actual sense of sound stage with this headphone, something that can’t be said even for some of the other very good products on this list. Furthermore, it’s one of the best put-together headphones at the price I’ve had the pleasure of using. It folds nicely, has a well-thought-out design and case (other than the mass of buttons and touch controls all on one earcup), and generally looks and feels quite classy. Furthermore, it’s one of the only Noise-Cancelling products I’ve ever used that doesn’t completely ruin the sound quality of the headphone when activated. It’s not cheap, but for the well-heeled technophile, or the fussy audiophile who’s looking for more convenience than a DAP or amp/DAC strapped to their phone, this is a superb choice.

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