On the hunt for some cheap noise-canceling headphones this side of Memorial Day? The Beats Solo Pro, Bose QuietComfort 35 II, and Sennheiser HD 4.50 are all on sale right now. There’s no need to worry about them being cheaper when the Memorial Day sales kick off, either: It’s hard to imagine any of these headphones being discounted by a whole lot more than they already are — maybe $5 to $10 more if anything. So if you’re looking for some cans right now, then look no further than these stellar headphone deals.
— $91, was $180
For just $91 on Best Buy, a huge $89 off their normal retail price of $180, the Sennheiser HD 4.50 are surprisingly inexpensive for a pair of noise-canceling headphones. However, it’s apparent where Sennheiser had to cut corners in order to lower their cost: Build construction. What you get is an all-plastic affair and although there’s memory-foam cushioning, the synthetic leather covering the earcups doesn’t scream opulence. Thanks to the memory foam, though, wearing these circumaural headphones even for long periods of time won’t feel like a pain endurance test. You don’t get any fancy case for storing these headphones, but they do swivel flat and the simple canvas bag that they come with is fine.
For controls, the right earcup features a multifunction button for music playback and accepting calls, and volume up and down buttons which you have to press simultaneously to turn the ANC on. The 4.50’s noise canceling is decent but can’t compete with more premium noise-canceling headphones. It’s enough to eliminate the low hum of air conditioning, normal crowd hubbub, and traffic noises, but not enough to completely muffle the roar of a plane’s engines. If you’re a frequent flyer and want to be fully immersed in your in-flight entertainment, these may not be the headphones for you.
The sound quality is really good. The bass is full-bodied but not overpowering, the treble sparkles, and the mids are warm and very natural. The 4.50’s sound signature would definitely work well with a variety of music genres.
Battery life is also top-notch. With ANC on, you get 19 hours of playback and an even longer 25 hours if you’re going to use Bluetooth. Once it’s out of juice, just connect the cord and continue listening to your music with a wired connection.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50’s noise canceling is good but far from perfect. There are definitely other headphones out there that can offer total music immersion. However, if you’re budget-conscious and don’t really need that much noise-canceling power, you won’t find a better or more reasonably priced pair than these. Get them for just $91 at Best Buy today.
— $250, was $300
For the longest time we’ve been complaining about Beats headphones’ over-reliance on bass power. While the Beats Solo Pro still has plenty of low-register punch, it’s no longer as overwhelming as previous models. Its sound signature has been effectively refined and balanced and will no longer make your ears bleed. Everything else that you’d expect from a pair of Dr. Dre headphones is present here: Cool and sleek design, incredibly easy operation (for iOS users anyway), and excellent noise-cancellation. Unfortunately, the battery life isn’t as amazing as we’ve hoped for, and these headphones have a serious lack of an audio jack. Still, we think the Solo Pro are the best headphones that Beats has churned out so far, and they’re currently on sale at Best Buy for an awesome $50 off. Get them for $250 instead of $300.
It’s worth noting that Apple is doing its share to preserve the environment, as the Beats Solo Pro are made of 36% recycled plastic. These headphones are understated, with a matte rubbery finish that not only looks good but is also easy to clean. The problem? The material is so grippy that it’s guaranteed to pull on your hair, plus the headband’s clamping force, while not excessive, would make your skull and ears hurt after a couple of hours.
The Beats Solo Pro no longer have a power button. Instead, unfolding them will power them on and put them into a pairing state, while folding them turns them off. While intuitive, this means you can’t wear these around you neck when idle as the battery would still get drained. The sole physical button on the Solo Pro allows you to turn active noise-canceling (ANC) and transparency mode on or off. You tap it once to turn on ANC, and tap it again to turn on transparency mode (this feature allows you to listen to the sounds around you without needing to take the headphones off). You double-tap it to turn both ANC and transparency off. That’s it. Finally, there’s a three-way rocker on one side of the headphones that lets you toggle volume, change tracks, take calls, and activate a voice assistant.
These headphones’ noise-cancellation is pretty good, capable of smartly adapting their intensity depending on your environment. Being in a relatively quiet coffeeshop means the Beats Solo Pro’s built-in algorithm and microphone array won’t be working too hard, but once you step out onto the street these features will automatically detect the increase in noise and increase the noise-canceling level. Armed with Apple’s H1 chip, you get access to features like proximity pairing, making it fast and easy to pair the headphones to your phone, and there’s also iCloud pairing so you can listen from any other iCloud-connected products with ease, like your MacBook.
Unfortunately, battery life isn’t the best, and the lack of a 3.5mm jack for wired listening requires careful consideration. With ANC off, these headphones are capable of lasting 40 hours, but turning them on cuts the playback time in half.
Despite a couple of shortcomings, the Beats Solo Pro are the best noise-canceling headphones that you can get if you’re an iOS user. Get them for $250 at Best Buy today.
— $299, was $349
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II, or QC35 II for short, was one of our favorite noise-canceling headphones for 2019, earning a solid 4 out of 5 rating in our review last year. Out of the box, you’ll immediately notice that these are well-crafted headphones. The earcups are encased in supple leather and the headband has soft microfiber padding. They’re very lightweight and fit on the head quite comfortably; wearing them for long periods of time won’t be an issue. You’ll find the control buttons beneath the right earcup, alongside a USB Type-C charging port and, thankfully, a headphone jack. Buttons include the standard ones: Volume control, play/pause, and track advance or reverse. There is also one that calls up either Alexa or Google Assistant for voice-activated commands. The QC35 II come with a zip-locked protective case so they’ll remain scratch-free during travel.
These headphones’ noise-canceling prowess is amazing. The feature comes in three settings: Low, medium, and high. Obviously, if you still want to hear a bit of what’s happening around you, you can set it at low. To become completely oblivious to the world for total music immersion, crank it up to high. The thunderous roar of plane engines can be completely eradicated, and quieter sounds won’t even stand a chance. These headphones are also outfitted with a noise-rejecting dual-mic system that ensures noise-free phone calls regardless of how loud your surroundings are. Bluetooth connectivity is also pretty impressive. The QC35 II can pair with multiple devices simultaneously.
As far as sound quality goes, the QC35 II are excellent. Music sounds great, with punchy bass, adequate midrange presence, and zesty treble. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better-sounding pair of cans for the price. Unfortunately, some of the music’s richness and subtlety gets lost when the noise cancellation is at its highest setting, but not enough to ruin your listening experience.
These cans’ battery life is tremendous, capable of lasting up to 20 hours when used wirelessly with noise-canceling on — and an even more impressive 40 hours when wired. Perfect for frequent flyers who travel long distances, the QuietComfort 35 II headphones are currently available at Dell for $299 instead of their usual retail price of $349 — a cool $50 worth of savings.
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