Gone are the days when headphones with active noise cancellation or ANC were a rarity and ruled only by Bose and Sony. Today, the scenario has changed for the good and if you look hard enough, you will find quality headphones with active noise cancellation in the budget section as well. Of course, they won't have the same levels of noise cancellations as their premium counterparts. That said, most of them get the work done in negating distracting sounds and noise.
Read on to find our recommendations for the best headphones with active noise cancellation or ANC under $200. As it's going to be a long one, let's jump right on, shall we?
It all depends on how much you expect from your headphones. If you are looking to block out minor noise during gaming or while you work, the $60 Anker Soundcore Life Q20 makes for a good buy. This pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones has a surprisingly decent and balanced sound quality, especially compared to other headphones in this price range. The bass has a reasonable thumb, again, something which you won't find at this price range.
Again, it's worth mentioning that the noise cancellation isn't in the same league as Bose and Sony. If a train rumbles by your side, you will be able to hear that.
Other than that, the build quality is decent for a $60 headphones. The headbands roll up quite conveniently, and you will be able to throw them in your bag and get going. The fit is comfortable, and the memory foam earcups and the comfortable headband sweetens the deal.
The Soundcore Life Q20 has a fair bit of controls on the earcups. There's the handy Noise Cancellation button followed by the buttons for volume control, music playback buttons, and a Bass Boost button. And did we tell you that it comes with voice assistant support as well?
The battery life is around 30 hours with ANC, and it doubles if you choose to keep the ANC off.
Another pair of affordable wireless headphones with active noise cancellation is the Cowin E7. This pair of headphones boasts a stylish design complete with adjustable headband, faux leather earpads, and a battery life of 30 hours. On top of that, these earphones have a great noise cancellation mechanism on board and does a good job of negating ambient sounds even at low volumes. These features make it perfect to use them when you're studying or meditating in the middle of a busy day.
The sound quality is good enough for casual listening. As long as you are not diving deep into the intricacies of tones, the odds are that you'll be satisfied.
You will find buttons for playback, Bluetooth, and NC on the earpad. Though they are easy to access, the placement is pretty cramped, and it may take a bit of time to get used to them.
On the bright side, the range is great and the 30 hours playback time means you can rest assured about the charge running out. Plus, there's a fair bit of fast-charging tech involved as well. A mere 10 minutes of charge will get you 45 minutes of playback time.
On the downside, the finish of the earphones is not impressive.
Plantronics is back again with a pair of affordable wireless headphones. The successor to the popular BackBeat Pro, the BackBeat Pro 2 SE has managed to fix the holes which plagued the previous version. For one, the BackBeat Pro 2 is compact and lightweight, making it easy to wear them for long periods. And the padded headband and earpads further sweeten the deal.
Performance-wise, the BackBeat Pro follows the path of its predecessor and manages to deliver clean and balanced audio, with a pronounced bass. Yep, bass lovers, this one is for you.
Controls are easy to access and handle. The volume rockers are at the earpads and you simply have to rotate the counter to get to your desired sound volume. Like its counterparts above, you will find a toggle for ANC. Speaking of the ANC, it manages to block out the ambient noise completely. It also bundles a handy OpenMic button, which lets you adjust the ambient noise level, which is a plus.
The good news is that you can switch on the ANC feature even when they are wired, thus saving precious battery juice. Speaking of battery life, these bundles over 24 hours of battery juice. On the downside, the BackBeat Pro 2 doesn't pack NFC like its counterpart above. When it comes to the looks of these headphones, we will let you be the judge.
The Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 SE headphones are quite popular on Amazon. Fakespot estimates 77% of these reviews are reliable and can be trusted.
If you do not want to spend as high as $200 on a pair of headphones, the mid-priced Sony WH-CH710N makes for a good buy. The noise-canceling is good for the price and manages to cancel out the noise of nearby objects. The soft padding of the earcups also plays a great role in noise cancellation. At the same time, the sound quality is good for the price. It's pleasing to hear with a mellow bass, meaning you won't be overwhelmed with booming bass.
The Sony WH-CH710N brings Bluetooth 5.0 to the table along with support for AAC Bluetooth codec (no LDAC, sorry). Along with that, you will get USB-C fast charging. A mere 10 minutes on the charger will buy you playback time of 60 minutes.
Speaking of battery life, here you get a solid 35 hours on battery life. Cool, right? And the best thing is that you can also go the wired way if you do not want to get into the hassles of pairing.
All the controls are at the earcup, along with the toggle to turn off the noise cancellation. There's a nifty Ambient Mode as well, which you can use if you want to stay aware of your surroundings.
However, the looks of the Sony WH-CH710N can at best be described as mediocre, thanks to the plasticky body. There are no hinges and the headband doesn't fold inwards, making them a tad difficult to handle from the portability perspective. On the bright side, they are extremely lightweight and weighs just 141 grams, less than the flagship smartphones these days (**wink wink**).
The WH-CH710N supports voice assistants like Google Assistant and Siri.
The Sennheiser HD 450BT costs about $50 more than its Sony counterpart and delivers a better audio experience and noise cancellation. Again, we would like to iterate that the NC is not as good as its pricier counterparts, but for $200, it gets the work done satisfactorily. At the same time, these noise-canceling headphones also bring Bluetooth 5.0 and support AAC, AptX, and SBC Bluetooth codecs. And that's not all. The earcups are coated with memory form and make for a comfortable experience while listening to your favorite songs.
The noise cancellation is solid and blocks out noises, hums, and even low rumbles at low volumes.
As we noted earlier, the audio performance is a tad better than the Sony earphones. They are pleasant to listen to, all thanks to the absence of an overpowering bass.
Like most of its counterparts above, these can also be used as wired headphones. The best part is that you can have NC enabled when it's wired. All the controls are at the earcups, and along with the buttons for track management and volume management, you will find a dedicated voice assistant button as well.
And the battery life of 30 hours sweetens the deal. In a nutshell, you do not have to worry about the battery running down anytime soon. More importantly, the Sennheiser HD 450BT looks stylish and is comfortable to wear, and the memory form earcups add to the comfort quotient.
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These were some of the affordable headphones with ANC. If you are willing to go the wireless earphones route, you can check your Sony WF-1000XM3 or the Sony WF-SP800N. The SP800N is the affordable option out of the two and delivers a good sound profile. The battery life is around 9 hours on ANC with the charging case providing and additional charge cycle.
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