Bluetooth headphones for audiobooks. Yes, that’s what this article is all about…
Let me guess… You’re a compulsive reader, but over the past few years you’ve been trading in your good old books for audiobooks, which are more convenient to take on vacation.
So it’s essential that you have the right equipment to enjoy them to the fullest…
Here is a short but effective selection of 4 Bluetooth headphones for audiobooks that will allow you to immerse yourself completely in your favourite stories without disturbing your towel neighbour at the beach!
Bose QuietComfort 35 Bluetooth Headphones
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For many years, Bose has led the way with QuietComfort 25, powerful and comfortable active noise-canceling headphones that are wired.
In 2016, Bose introduced the QuietComfort 35, the same design as its predecessor but with a Bluetooth connection, to make a new name for itself in an untapped market.
The all-new QuietComfort 35 II model is an update from Bose to bring a new feature, a control button for the virtual assistant (Google Assistant or Siri).
Before proceeding to the actual headset test, it’s important to take a moment to review the included hardware and cover.
Concerning what is provided, you will of course find the folded headset allowing a certain space saving, a USB socket to charge the headset and a jack socket.
The connections are very minimalist when you see the price of the headphones and the overall quality of the product. For example, we deplore the fact that we don’t have a conventional power outlet to be able to plug in our headphones and recharge them more quickly.
Bose Quietcomfort 35 II audio headphones are audio headphones that completely cover your ears. That’s important where more than 60% of headphones in this class don’t fully cover your ears. We’ll see how useful this type of configuration can be later.
These Bluetooth headphones for audiobooks are easily foldable for a headbanded headset which allows it to be easily stored in the associated cover. It is therefore easily transportable everywhere with you.
The QC35 II is equipped with several buttons, including volume and pause buttons.
A button on a headset turns on the headset and starts the Bluetooth connection. This button is very convenient to use, especially when the headset goes into standby mode and disconnects.
But also a button to activate the virtual assistant, Google Assistant or Siri.
With Google Assistant, one press of the button allows notifications to be announced. One press to activate the command and pronounce an action.
A 2.5mm mini-jack cable is provided, to continue using the headset in all conditions.
However, this mini-jack changes habits and limits the use of other cables. Finally, Bose provides an application on the headphones to manage features, adjust noise reduction or adjust to musical styles.
With Beats Studio 3 in your daily life, Bose is more enjoyable to use. It compresses the head on the sides much less and it’s easy to forget on long trips or on long reading sessions.
Also, unlike the Beats model, QuietComfort 35 II allows you to rotate the earcups forward to keep the headphones around your neck or flat on a desk.
Finally, the thickness of the ear cushions is not too thick and they are not hard. The QuietComfort 35 II Bluetooth headphones for audiobooks is easily adjustable and adaptable.
Comfort is also ensured by the accessibility of the headphones. Bose has included voice prompts for ignition and battery level with the headphones. This feature can be distracting at first, but can be enjoyable as you go.
This headset for reading benefits from the latest Bluetooth standards, allowing simultaneous connection to two devices.
When it comes to battery life, Bose says great. Indeed, we were able to use the headset for 1 week, or 25 hours!
Recharging is done in 1 hour, with a feature that allows us to recharge in 5 minutes for 30 minutes of use.
When compared to QC25, Bose QuietComfort 35 II provides correction for small defects.
As always, Bose delivers near-perfect musical equalization. Everything is brought to the forefront with these headphones, from vocals that sound clear, to bass that plays without overdoing it, to instruments that thrill us. Even at maximum volume, the sound doesn’t get distorted.
The QC35 II are high-end consumer headphones that have the skills to be used by musicians, and of course by avid readers like you!
JBL E55BT Over-Ear Bluetooth Headphones for Audiobooks
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The JBL E55BT is a simple, no-frills headphone with a simple, no-frills construction combining a textile headband and plastic earphone shells.
These contain two 50 mm loudspeakers whose inner protection on the inside shows the direction in which the helmet should be worn with the indications “L” and “R”.
On the outside, we find the white JBL logo on top of the headband but also discreetly engraved on the shells, blending in with the colour of the headphones.
The separation between the headband and the earphones is made by the small swivel joint, bearing an elegant “E-SERIES” marking.
Finally, all the controls are united on the right earpiece: power, volume, playback.
The other earphone simply contains the USB microphone port.
The buttons as well as the shells benefit from a very correct construction, even if the plastic may seem “hollow” and of a quality without more at first glance.
The finish is therefore very respectable considering the price.
The main asset of the JBL E55BT Bluetooth headphones for audiobooks is its versatility as it is a lightweight Bluetooth headset that delivers powerful sound while offering a superb range.
The headset is very light and quite comfortable thanks to the earphone cushions, which are thick and flexible enough to quickly adapt to your ears. Note, however, that the headset begins to feel on your ears after an hour of listening, but nothing that can’t be adjusted by repositioning the headset for a few seconds.
Good surprise on the autonomy side, since we were able to use the headphones continuously for nearly 18 hours at high volume and wirelessly.
So the JBL E55BT is very durable and there is no doubt that it can last the full 20 hours with the volume turned down. Recharging is also quite fast and takes about 2 hours for a full cycle.
We were also surprised by the acoustic insulation offered by the headphones. The ambient noise is very attenuated as soon as you put the headphones on your head, without even playing music. And this is enough to leave the headphones on your ears in transport for example, if only to regain a little peace and quiet…
Comfort is a very important aspect in the choice of helmet brands and JBL has taken this into account for this model.
When wearing the JBL E55BT, you can see its stability, optimal weight distribution and comfort.
Indeed, the padding of the headband and earcups provides a lightweight structure (231.6 grams) that can be worn for long hours. With this weight, the helmet is well worth its place among all the devices of the same range existing on the market.
On top of that, you should know that with the E55BT’s ear-cover format and the small depth of its pads, your ears are in contact with the imitation leather while avoiding any sensation of pain.
And if, after long hours of use, you feel tired and want to take a break, you can simply pull the headband down over your neck and the pads down over your collarbones.
If you don’t have a protective cover or bag, it’s a good idea to keep it available while you’re on the move.
Alternatively, you can fold up the earcups and store it in your bag, along with your favorite books, at the end of use if you have one. It’s quite handy to move a headset when it folds up, as you just need to store it comfortably in a space in your bag and you’re done!
Another remarkable point is that now you no longer need to overload yourself with cables to listen to your music, the Bluetooth technology of this headset makes it easy and very convenient to use.
However, there is the possibility to use the wired mode with an audio cable located on the right earpiece.
The big strength of the JBL E55BT Bluetooth headphones for audiobooks is of course its very respectable audio performance considering the positioning of the headset.
The 50mm drivers deliver a bass-laden sound while leaving a good balance of high and midrange frequencies, which stand out sufficiently in the mix (vocals, solo instruments, etc.).
The sound is powerful and free of static or other saturation at high volume levels, allowing comfortable listening in most of today’s often loaded musical registers.
From classical to hard rock, dubstep to hip-hop, the JBL by Harman headphones do very well in the face of direct competition. The percussive bass of the circum-aural allow for a good immersion in the music, while keeping the sound in the headphones thanks to a gap-free fit between the head and the cushions.
From its audio performance to its impressive battery life, Bluetooth mobility and small features such as the convenient ability to connect to two devices at the same time, the JBL E55BT headset is already a must-have thanks to its low price!
Apple AirPods Pro Bluetooth Earbuds for Reading
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Less than a year after the release of AirPods 2, Apple unveiled its first in-ear models with the AirPods Pro.
The tips are made of silicone and are a little different from what we are used to see from the competition.
Indeed, the part that goes into the ear canal is integrated in the earmolds and not the earphone itself. As a result, it is a little more comfortable.
But that’s not all, Apple has integrated a kind of air outlet in the earphones, so, unlike the competitors’ in-ears, there is no air trapped in the ear canal and it avoids this echo effect as if your head was underwater, it is very appreciable in everyday life.
On top of that (via iOS only), there is a test that allows you to use the microphones of the AirPods Pro to determine whether you are using the right earmolds or not.
Apple insists that it is normal to use different sizes for each ear. The in-ear design is important because the AirPods Pro offers active noise reduction, but it also provides a better fit. Not everyone will necessarily like this choice but it is a prerequisite for active noise reduction and it allows the AirPods Pro to be worn by more people.
The in-the-ear design of these Bluetooth headphones for audiobooks also has the advantage of allowing better orientation of sound in the ear. You hear more nuances of sound and enjoy a balanced and clear sound.
The range of frequencies covered is wide without collapse, with good mid and high frequency stability. The bass seemed a little more present, without becoming ubiquitous, but it is difficult to know whether it is the signal processing that produces this impression or the in-ear format.
But it doesn’t stop there. Because the in-ear format is also the sine qua non that enables active noise reduction (ADR) with true wireless headphones.
The ear is less insulated from unwanted noise than with a fully covered model, but this type of device is also lighter and more compact.
In this case, Apple achieves a very good performance. The RDA offered by the AirPods Pro is indeed very effective. Outside sounds are muffled but perfectly understandable – in a particularly noisy environment, it’s even a good way to hear someone talking to you. So if someone shouts your name, you’ll be able to recognize it, the sound is just muffled.
Active Noise Reduction adapts perfectly to changes in environmental noise, whether the user wears the earphones on the street, in the subway or on a plane.
Even when noises occur intermittently or occasionally – no doubt the H1 chip is to be thanked for this result.
With one microphone facing outwards and another facing inwards, it takes 200 measurements per second to produce a “counter-noise” that covers the noise produced by the environment.
During calls, the noise reduction of the AirPods Pro continues to be active and therefore provides good isolation from outside noise. However, the sound is far from exceptional and voices are muffled, both in reception and transmission. The conversation remains audible, but the sound quality remains very average.
In addition, the outdoor microphone serves primarily for noise reduction for the user and is therefore not used to reduce transmitted sound. If you are in a noisy environment, your caller will hear everything.
As far as battery life is concerned, Apple remains on almost the same basis. Count about 4h to 4h30 of continuous listening with the AirPods Pro and about 22 hours away from an outlet thanks to the charging box.
Where Apple has done well is that these figures are very close to those of the previous generation, but with a shorter stem, an active noise reduction that consumes a lot and a charging box that hasn’t gained too much weight.
Clearly, for everyday use, and especially if you’re looking for Bluetooth headphones for audiobooks, the AirPods Pro will do the job, but they may be a bit limited for some. To see according to your use of course.
Sony WH1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Headphones
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The Sony WH-1000XM3 is a popular circum-aural wireless headset with active noise reduction.
It is equipped with the aptX HD codec (as well as AAC, SBC and LDAC), which sets it apart from Bose headphones.
Connections include a USB-C port for quick charging and a jack output.
The Sony WH-1000Xm3 Bluetooth headphones for audiobooks has perfectly digested the small mistakes of its first versions. The headphones are lighter, weighing only 255g.
Its manufacturing quality is on the rise. It is just as pure, but with a less squeaky structure during handling and torsion tests.
The headband is closer to a human morphology and the ear pads are wider.
All these small points make the WH-1000Xm3 both robust and comfortable.
The ergonomics of the controls are almost unchanged and relatively intuitive. The Sony WH-1000Xm3 Bluetooth headphones for audiobooks use a hybrid system, combining physical buttons for power on and noise reduction, and a touch panel for volume and navigation.
The whole system is well thought out, even if the touch control is still a bit haphazard. It’s not uncommon to make a mistake in a manipulation.
In addition to an impeccable Bluetooth connection, the Sony WH-1000Xm3 is compatible with all the latest audio codecs for wireless: AAC, AptX, AptX HD and LDAC.
Codecs and sound settings are managed via the Sony Headphones Connect application. The application is a little unstable, but it is nonetheless powerful and allows you to enter detailed headphone settings, both for sound and noise reduction.
One can just reproach the Bluetooth connection for not being multipoint to connect the headset to several devices at the same time.
Battery life remains one of the strong points of the Sony WH-1000Xm3 headset for reading books. Depending on the codec used, it ranges from 22 to 30 hours with noise reduction enabled. With Noise Reduction off, it is possible to reach almost 36 hours.
The great strength of these Bluetooth headphones for audiobooks also comes from their sound insulation. In passive mode, it is already excellent. In active noise reduction mode, the Sony WH-1000Xm3 is simply the best model on the market. Not only does it go far in the frequency range, it does so with more cleanliness and attenuation than the Bose QC35 II.
The quality of its sound reproduction is not to be outdone. The brand has chosen a fairly universal, detailed and powerful approach.
The Sony WH-1000Xm3 is a bass guitarist, but it doesn’t get locked into its roundness. It places the midrange slightly backwards to bring out its small peak in the treble, which gives airiness.
The WH-1000Xm3 is perfect for its nomadic target. It is never too aggressive or too soft, but always dynamic and warm.
Without reaching the openness and level of detail of a truly good audiophile wired headset, it performs well to reproduce virtually any style of music.
The only downside is that, compared to the Xm2 version which we awarded an ON-topaudio Award at the beginning of 2018, its sound quality in passive mode (headphones off) is far below, soft and rather veiled.
Bluetooth Headphones for Audiobooks: Conclusion
I hope you enjoyed this selection of Bluetooth headphones for audiobooks and that you will pick one of these for your next reading session. Don’t hesitate to tell me what you think in the comment section below. I’d love to hear back from you!
Last update on 2020-12-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API