Buying a good pair of noise-cancelling over-ear headphones can be a daunting task. The offer has widened significantly in the last few years, even in the consumer market's mid-to-high tier. To pick the right product when there's such a vast choice, you could look at specifics, read reviews about the level of noise-cancelling, assess battery life, try to understand how good they sound based on subjective opinions by reviewers and previous customers. Or you can change your perspective, and get the model with the best design, prioritizing aesthetics and comfort over technical features that, let's face it, are very much comparable for every product in the 300 to 600€ range.
BeoPlay HX and BeoPlay Portal
Bang & Olufsen recently added the HX model to their BeoPlay line of products. The new headphones feature adaptive noise cancelling and are lightweight and compact, especially compared to most of the other heavy-weights in this price range. We like their simple and elegant lines, the subtlety of integrated controls, and the finishes, with a range of colour options spanning from black to brown leather and metal. If you're a gamer, the gaming version of the B&O HX, called B&O portal, is worth checking out. B&O designed it in collaboration with Xbox as part of the unique Limited Series accessories range. The price is the same, 499€, but colour options are different, and there's a better microphone with beamforming technology.
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless
Especially in the white and brushed metal version, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless can be a very stylish product that fits nicely on the head thanks to a well-designed extension mechanism. When not in use, they can be folded and transported in their carrying case. They offer an excellent bang for the buck, considering they're not the newest product on this list.
Bower & Wilkins PX Wireless
When I tested the Bower & Wilkins PX Wireless, a bit over a year ago, I remembered being very positively surprised by their fit on the head, their ergonomics, and the very high quality of the noise-cancelling feature. They're not the newest on this list, and their style might use a little brush-up, but that means you'll probably be able to pay less for a product that's still very high quality.
Apple AirPods Max
Apple's top of the line addition to the AirPods family deserves a top spot in this list for their iconic and straightforward design. They're just a few months old, but their look is already widely recognized as purely Apple. According to all the reviewers who tested them, their sound quality is impressive, but so is their price. They're also heavy and not so easy to carry around like most other foldable headphones from this list. If you have an iPhone, you love Apple's unique design voice, you'll mostly use them at your desk or on your sofa, and the price isn't an issue, then they're definitely a great choice.
Yes, Montblanc, the iconic luxury brand, sells a pair of noise cancelling headphones — and a good one at it. They look a bit too puffy and oversized, but they’re clearly coherent with the iconic brand’s design style. If you’re interested in a luxurious product and you don’t mind paying more to have a Montblanc logo on the side of your head, then they might be a very good choice.