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Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls.

Time was, long-distance calls were a luxury. Nowadays, voice and video calling apps such as Skype, Zoom, Google Hangout, FaceTime and WhatsApp have shrunk the world, enabling us to virtually meet up with friends, family and work colleagues no matter where they are in the world.

Whether you're working from home and need to do a conference call to Singapore or just have a video catch-up with your mum, you'll need one of our best headphones with a mic. They'll bump up audio quality and help you hear every word clearly.  

But what are the best headphones with a microphone for voice and video calls? Choose wisely and you'll be rewarded with the best call quality. The latest wireless models are a good bet as they allow you to go hands-free. And many feature Bluetooth 5.0, which should ensure a great match between audio and video, plus a 40m indoor range (compared to Bluetooth 4.2's 10m range).

If it's in-ear headphones you're after, you'll want a pair with decent battery life and an in-line remote control for answering calls. And if you tend to make calls outdoors or in busy offices, noise-cancelling technology will block out external sounds such as wind, rain, rumbling trains and loud chatter.

To help you make the right choice, we've recommended the best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls – read on to find a pair that matches your budget.

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony’s premium wireless headphones deliver a sonic masterclass.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Dynamic, rich, detailed sound
Great timing
Lightweight and comfortable

Reasons to Avoid

Not waterproof
No aptX support

These are probably the biggest headphone launch of 2020 so far. They succeed the Bose-baiting, Sennheiser-slaying, What Hi-Fi? Award-winning WH-1000XM3s, one of the most popular pairs of headphones on the planet. They are quite a big deal and – spoiler alert – they live up to the hype.

They’re as comfortable as ever, making them perfect for long video calls; they introduce useful features that elevate the user experience; and, most importantly, you’re getting a serious hike in sound quality for the money.

Their sense of musicality and enthusiasm remains as addictive as ever, but you can also hear big improvements over their predecessor across the board. They're confident and composed, especially when handling lower frequencies, and dig up lots more detail. Not only is that good news for music, it also makes them ideal for conference calls on Zoom or Skype.

And when you really need to focus, there's an impeccable noise-cancelling feature that uses a new algorithm and new System on Chip (SoC). The perfect headphones for work and play.

Read the full review: Sony WH-1000XM4

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

(Image credit: Bose)

2. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Improved wireless and noise cancelling, same sonic ability.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 20hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Next-gen noise-cancellation
Comfortable and stylish
Crystal-clear, upfront sound
Intuitive touch controls

Reasons to Avoid

Lack class-leading insight
Rivals have better battery life
Expensive

The name of Bose’s latest wireless headphones doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, but it does reflect the company's focus on improving noise-cancelling technology. The 700s use a new noise-cancelling system with everything from new acoustics to new digital signal processing – all running off Bose’s own NC chip.

The four-microphone system picks up and isolates your voice while cancelling out external noise around you, so you shouldn't have to raise your voice to be heard when calling friends or family. More importantly, the person on the other end of the call should be able to hear you clear as a bell.

For a hands-free experience, there’s built-in voice control; press a button on the earcup to summon Google Assistant or Alexa. As for listening to tunes, we found the sound is bold, clear and upfront. 

The Sonys above offer a more dynamic performance, but if you want the most sophisticated and versatile noise-cancelling tech around, the 700s are hard to beat.

Read the full review: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

(Image credit: Future)

3. Apple AirPods Pro

Superb noise-cancelling AirPods ideally-suited to voice calls.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 5hr (+19hr from case) | Charging: Lightning | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Exceptionally comfortable
Strong noise-cancelling
Balanced, easy-going sound

Reasons to Avoid

Noise-cancelling impacts timing
Sony rival sounds more engaging

If you're looking for a decent pair of wireless earbuds for music and calls, and you're an Apple user, the AirPods Pro are the obvious choice. They're light, easy to wear and fitted with superb noise-cancelling technology.

They also work flawlessly in terms of their wireless connection, so you won't have to worry about dropped calls, and they come with elliptical silicone tips that comfortably sit in your ears without burrowing into the ear canal.

Each bud has a force sensor on the stem – squeeze it to activate Siri, answer calls or skip a track. Inside, Apple's H1 chip enables the buds to switch seamlessly between iOS devices and allows for a stronger connection.  

Sound wise, they're not the best-sounding in-ears money can buy. But what they lack in punch and dynamism compared to, say, the Sony WF-1000XM3s, they make up for in natural, crystal clear tone (a sound profile that's ideal for voice calls).

In terms of features and convenience, these much-improved AirPods are a great choice for Apple users – at home or out-and-about. Undoubtedly the best headphones with a mic that Apple makes.

Read the full review: Apple AirPods Pro

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

4. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Some of the most refined-sounding wireless buds we've tested.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 7hrs (+21hrs from case) | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Refined, mature sound
Lightweight and comfortable
Nice to use

Reasons to Avoid

Relatively pricey
Timing can be bettered

The Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds are Sennheiser's answer to the Apple AirPods Pro. They make a great alternative for non-Apple users, with impressive features, decent battery life and an enjoyably balanced sound. 

They're more comfortable and nicer to use than their predecessors, and noise-cancelling is now included as part of the package, so they provide decent voice pickup in noisy environments.

Customisable touchpad controls are built into both buds and they're comfortable enough for a movie marathon or an extended video call. The addition of noise-cancelling also comes in handy when summoning Siri or Google Assistant, as you'll be able to hear their AI-powered answers loud and clear. 

Sound is taut and controlled with a fine sense of precision and focus. It's a tonal balance that works well with video content as well as voice calls. And there's little chance of the battery dying unexpectedly: these buds promise 7 hours of playback, together with an additional 21 hours from the charging case.

If your budget stretches, you'll be impressed by both the audio quality and the craftsmanship of these sleek, long-lasting buds.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

(Image credit: Apple)

5. Apple AirPods 2

Impressive true wireless earbuds with improved sound.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | In-line remote and mic: N/A | OS support: iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 5 hours (+19 with case)

Reasons to Buy

Nice tonal balance
Sophisticated sound
Flawless wireless tech

Reasons to Avoid

Lack of sound isolation
No buttons
Sound hardens up when pushed

Apple's second generation AirPods sound much better that the originals and pack in plenty of features including better pairing, which makes switching connections between Apple devices effortless. 

These Bluetooth 5.0 buds are powered by Apple's new H1 chip, so call quality is clear and connectivity solid. The improved audio quality makes for a sophisticated, musical sound that benefits from a neutral sonic balance.

Battery life is superb: five hours of listening plus another 19 hours available via the supplied, non-wireless charging case (you also have the option to splash out on Apple's wireless case). Another nifty feature, for devices running iOS13, is Audio Sharing, which allows a second pair of AirPods to connect to an iPhone and listen to whatever you're playing.    

Downsides? There's no interchangeable ear tips so you'll just have to hope that 'one-size-fits-all'. But if you're an Apple fan, these sleek buds are fantastic value for money, and a great bet if you're after some of the best headphones with a mic around.

Read the full review: Apple AirPods (2019)

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

(Image credit: Sony)

6. Sony WI-1000X

Noise-cancelling neckband headphones with superb sonics.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 10hr | Weight: 71g | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Punchy bass
Insightful midrange
Well balanced
Range of noise-cancelling modes

Reasons to Avoid

Neckband could be more flexible

Neckbuds are a divisive choice. Some people like the collar, others find it uncomfortable. The good news here is that the collar on the WI-1000X is of good quality and the design is perfect for music on-the-go – and hands-free calls. 

The big draw is the noise-cancelling technology: Sony has added an ‘Adaptive Sound Control’ mode that continuously tunes the sound profile to match your movement, ensuring decent audio and call quality whether you're sat on the sofa or in a noisy train carriage. Overall it's excellent, even if still not quite as effective as Bose's noise-cancelling tech (see above).

Sound is balanced and punchy and it's worth noting that these neckbuds support aptX HD Bluetooth, which provides the option to stream hi-res audio at 24bit/48kHz resolution. 

Some of the buttons on the neckband have dual functionality (longer presses activate different functions), but unless that lack of dedicated buttons grinds your gears, you'll be wowed by these hugely impressive earphones. Some of the best-sounding neckband headphones we've tested. 

Read the full review: Sony WI-1000X

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

(Image credit: AKG)

7. AKG Y50BT

Great-sounding headphones with a mic, and they won't break the bank.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: 4.0 with support for aptX | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 15hr | Built-in mic and controls: Yes | Weight: 199.4g

Reasons to Buy

Impressive clarity, detail and dynamics
Easy to use
Comfortable

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing at this price

You'll be delighted to discover that despite the affordable price, these dynamic on-ear cans are winners of multiple What Hi-Fi? Awards. They offer impressive detail and an excellent level of clarity over Bluetooth, meaning they're great for music as well as voice and video calls.

Features, design and build quality are superb. The 20-hour battery life is very respectable, but you can use them with a wire when they run out of juice. Intuitive earcup controls are the icing on AKG's attractively-priced cake.

Whether you're watching a movie or on a video call, the soft earpads are extremely comfortable (although over-ears will give you a slightly tighter seal). Sound is superb for the money, with enough dynamic power to shift effortlessly between frequencies. They're a seriously entertaining listen. 

It's rare to find a pair of Bluetooth headphones that match their wired counterparts for performance, but the Y50BTs rise to that challenge. High-quality cord-cutters for those on a budget.

Read the full review: AKG Y50BT

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

8. Bowers & Wilkins PI3

Brilliant wireless in-ear headphones with a sporty side.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: n/a | Cable length: n/a | In-line remote and mic: Yes | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 8 hours | Weight: 31g

Reasons to Buy

Clean, insightful sound
Taut and weighty bass
Attractive design and fine build

Reasons to Avoid

Not IPX rated
Limited eartip options

Bowers & Wilkins' in-ear headphones might have taken a back seat to other designs in recent years, but the wireless PI3s are up there with the best headphones with a mic in this price bracket.

These attractive (if slightly chunky) in-ears feature a dual driver design and boast a flexible, comfortable neckband that incorporates an in-line battery pack, remote controls and a decent mic. B&W claims your voice will be heard in the same clarity as the music, which can only be a good thing as we found the sound to be solid, clear and balanced.

The eight-hour battery life is good enough and a 15-minute quick charge gets you two hours of playtime. They aren't technically waterproof but B&W claims they are "resistant to light rain, splash and sweat". Options are limited when it comes to the included ear tips, so they might be one to try before you buy to make sure you're happy with the fit.

All in all, these stylish in-ear headphones deliver a confident, entertaining sound, meaning they're a fine option from B&W.

Read the full review: B&W PI3

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

9. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

Superb noise-cancellers that enhance Sennheiser’s reputation.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 17hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Energetic, rhythmic presentation
Convenient usability features
Effective noise cancellation

Reasons to Avoid

Average battery life

The third-generation Momentum Wireless cans follow in the footsteps of two models that knocked it out the park, and this new pair continues the trend. Build quality is exceptionally good, with plush sheepskin leather earpads and stainless steel sliders. The on-ear controls have been improved too, giving you more control of music playback and voice calls.

But the main attraction here is the noise-cancelling technology, which eliminates most external frequencies with brutal efficiency. And via the Sennheiser Smart Control app, you can customise the intensity of the noise cancellation (‘Anti-Wind’ mode should prove its worth during outdoor calls).

Sound is energetic, dynamic and insightful and there's support for aptX, AAC and SBC Bluetooth. The Momentum Wireless also support aptX Low Latency, which aims to improve the synchronicity of audio and video content. The impressive sonic capability is backed by a 17 hour battery life and, while not all over-ears are suitable for use on the go, these fold-up for commuting. 

If you want a pair of premium over-ears that don't skimp on features, these deserve a place on your shortlist.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

10. Bowers & Wilkins PX7

Hugely impressive noise-cancelling headphones.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Lively, insightful sound
Three-tiered noise cancellation
Sophisticated, comfortable design
Competitive battery life

Reasons to Avoid

Earcups don't fold inwards

They might feel a little cheaper than previous B&W headphones but the PX7s offer a high degree of all-day comfort, making them a great go-to for both Netflix binges and extended video calls.

They combine proprietary driver technology and Qualcomm’s new aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec to great effect, serving up a solid, balanced sound, plenty of clarity and a tad more enthusiasm than their peers. 

They're clever, too, with the PX7's proximity sensor pausing the music when you lift an earcup – return it to your ear and the music restarts. The PX7s’ inability to fold into a more compact form for slinging in a bag is a shame, but they do come with a carry case in the box. Battery life has been upped to 30 hours, there's USB-C connectivity and 15 minutes of juice will deliver five hours of playback.

The Sony WH-1000XM4s (top of this list) convey music in a more authentic way, but the upbeat PX7s are still a fine bet. 

Read the full review: Bowers & Wilkins PX7

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

(Image credit: Bose)

11. Bose QuietComfort 35 II wireless

Noise-cancelling smart-headphones that are great on-the-go.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 20hr | Charging: Micro USB | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Detailed sound
Impressive noise-cancellation
Google Assistant built-in

Reasons to Avoid

Tough competition at this price

Bose pioneered active noise-cancellation technology for the consumer market, so it's no surprise that QC 35 IIs are mightily impressive in that respect. And because they've been out a bit longer than the 700s (above), you can pick them up at a very competitive price.

Aside from three levels of noise-cancellation, they're ultra-comfy and deliver a detailed and entertaining sound. The fact Google Assistant is built-in just adds to their appeal – it means you can control your tunes hands-free, or make calls to your contacts without fishing your phone out of your pocket.

Musically, the Sonys, B&Ws and Sennheisers towards the top of this list will impress you more. And unlike the B&W PX7s, they won't automatically pause your music when you lift up an earcup. Still, as some of the best headphones with a mic for making voice calls as well as listening to music, the Bose QC 35 IIs are a solid bet.

Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

(Image credit: Philips)

12. Philips PH805

Seemingly premium on-ear noise-cancellers for a less than premium price.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth version: 5.0 | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30hr | In-line mic/remote: No | Weight: 235g

Reasons to Buy

Controlled, full-bodied sound
Decent battery life
Good looks and build

Reasons to Avoid

Could handle more dynamism
Mild noise-cancellation

Very similar in look and feel to the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones, these are light and comfortable enough to wear through even the most epic-length conference calls. Battery life is strong and the Bluetooth 5 connectivity provides wireless range of up to 10m. There are three levels of noise cancelling, which you can toggle with the press of an earcup, plus solid 30-hour battery life.

Sound-wise, there's plenty to get stuck into. There's a good dose of warmth at the bottom end to provide solid sound effects and enough subtlety in the midrange to give dialogue some real character. There could be more treble detail and, dynamically, they're just short of creating truly powerful swells and silences, but there's still a lot to like for the money.

Read the full review: Philips PH805

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

13. Sennheiser HD 450BT

Smooth, durable performers with typical Sennheiser appeal.

SPECIFICATIONS

Finishes: Black or white | Bluetooth version: 5.0 aptX | Battery life: 30 hours | Control app: Sennheiser Smart Control | Weight: 238g

Reasons to Buy

Great balance
Superb battery life
aptX Low Latency Bluetooth

Reasons to Avoid

Crowded button array
Divisive bass

Sennheiser's reputation precedes itself – the German brand has been at the forefront of wireless and noise-cancelling headphones since such technologies went mass market.

And it shows. The 450BTs are well built and fit snugly on your bonce. The noise-cancelling is impressive for the money, but this is a budget pair, so don't expect world-silencing results.

In terms of audio, they give a smooth, rich balance that’s enjoyable, not to mention easy to listen to. Whether you’re listening to Frahm’s virtuosic piano playing or satisfying some electro funk impulse, their full-bodied and rounded – yet still plenty lively – delivery will amiably present warm piano keys and sizzling synths alike.

They can be a little bass-heavy at times, sacrificing some of the midrange. And the crowded button layout can be a little tricky to get to grips with. But there is still plenty to like, including aptX Low Latency support, which is far from a given in headphones of this price.

Read the full review: Sennheiser HD 450BT

Best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls 2020

(Image credit: Sony)

14. Sony WH-1000XM3

Premium wireless headphones, perfect for video calls.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth version: 5.0 with support for aptX | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30hr | Built-in mic and controls: Yes | Weight: 255g

Reasons to Buy

Detailed dynamic sound
Clever, intuitive features
Great noise-cancelling, battery life

Reasons to Avoid

Touch controls feel fiddly at first

Sony's wireless noise-cancelling headphones are one of the most comfortable pairs of over-ears we’ve ever tested, so they're perfectly-suited to extended voice and video calls, not to mention box-set binges. The open, spacious soundstage provides plenty of room for sparkling vocals and ensures that the person on the other end of the call can be heard clearly.

They also sport Bluetooth 5.0, meaning they have an outstanding 40m indoor range, giving you the freedom to pace around the room or gesticulate without getting tangled up in a cable. The quick-charging battery is impressive, too: it goes from empty to full in three hours, while a 10-minute charge returns five hours of playback. 

Perhaps the most impressive feature here is the noise-cancellation, the intensity of which can be adjusted to suit your surroundings. There's also Atmospheric Pressure Optimiser (which boosts the noise cancellation when you're flying), plus intuitive touchpad controls and Sony's Headphones Control app.

They've since been replaced by the XM4s at the top of this list, but that should mean they can be snapped up at a bargain price.

Read the full review: Sony WH-1000XM3

  • ajm.35
    These cans are not Bluetooth 5. They are bluetooth 4.2????
    Reply
  • Kyle_Ladrech
    The 1. Sony WH-1000XM3's call quality is so bad that I have to take them off of BT prior to calls. I don't want anyone making the mistake that these are good for voice. They have also begun to glitch on me after about 10 months of moderate-heavy usage.
    Reply
  • Big Aura
    I was demo-ing the B&W Px headphones and a call came in. The person on the other end of the line could barely hear me. Most BT headphones have the mic in the ear cup, so they struggle to pick up what you say. It meant I ended up buying a traditional set of wired-mic headphones.

    I expect it's the same for most of these (and that's what the guy in Sevenoaks said). Quite interested to know if this is just one of those AI aggregated reviews which doesn't actually consider the brief (i.e. headhones for calls) properly.

    Everyone's working from home now, so proper headsets that can play great music are essential.
    Reply