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We shine a spotlight on the tech trends taking personal audio to new heights

Headphones may look more or less the same as they did five years ago, but so much has changed. Whether it’s the convenience of a totally wireless connection, the relief of active noise cancelling or the user-friendly slickness of voice controls, there’s plenty of innovation to get excited about.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s hot in headphones.

Voice activation gets real

Gadget lovers have long dreamed of telling their electronics what to do – and that dream is now a reality. With voice-activated helpers like Google Assistant, even complex commands can be understood and carried out. After waking your gadget up with “OK Google,” simply ask it to play your favourite album, set an alarm or tell you what tomorrow’s weather will be. If you’re out and about, you can ask it to recommend the best local restaurants (and even make a reservation at one), find the nearest petrol station or for directions to the bus stop. It’s super simple and brilliantly time-saving.

Case study: Bose QC 35 II (Guide price: £329.95)

The second generation of Bose’s acclaimed QuietComfort model, the over-ear wireless QC 35 II, supports Google Assistant via your smartphone, allowing you to use voice controls any time you’re wearing them. They're also equipped with Bose’s acclaimed noise-cancelling technology, assuring you of a peaceful time and clear music playback no matter where you are.

Click here to find out more about Bose's superb smart headphones.

Noise cancellation gets smart

Want to hear your music in crystal clarity without cranking up the volume? You need some noise-cancelling headphones. With built-in mics to measure ambient noise and digital signal processing to counteract it, these headphones are able to cut out background babble, leaving you with a quiet environment whether you’re listening to music, enjoying an audiobook or simply seeking some peace and tranquility in a noisy spot.

Case study: Beats Studio³ Wireless (Guide price: £299.95)

Beats’ Studio³ Wireless headphones have built-in Pure Adaptive Noise Cancelling tech, which calibrates audio performance at the same time as cancelling out external noise. They'll automatically adapt to the level of noise too, so won’t work too hard in quieter environments. They’re equipped with Class 1 Bluetooth, which offers long-range wireless capabilities when paired with an Apple iOS device.

To find about more about the Beats Studio³ Wireless headphones, click here.

True Wireless kills all cables

Bluetooth-equipped wireless headphones have been around for years, but previously needed neckbands to house the required electronics. Today’s tech allows manufacturers to fit everything in the earpieces, however – a smaller, neater solution know as “True Wireless”. True wireless headphones can also be recharged on the move thanks to their battery-equipped cases, and have built-in mics for making calls, plus touch controls for pausing music and adjusting volume.

Case study: Sony WF-1000X (Guide price: £199.95)

In addition to their true wireless convenience, these tiny headphones come with noise-cancelling tech that adapts to your environment, and their performance can be customised via the Sony Headphones Connect app. The built-in battery offers up to three hours of playback, and two more three-hour charges can be had from the included charging case.

To find out more, head to this link.

To find out more about the latest headphones from the experts at Currys PC World, click here.