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Best headphones for Christmas

Treat yourself or your significant other to an audio upgrade with our picks of the best cans around.

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Jason Jenkins
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Justin Yu
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David Carnoy
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1 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bowers and Wilkins P5 Series 2

It's Christmaaaaas and there's one tech gift that's bound to put a smile on anyone's face: headphones. We all know that the ones that come with phones and MP3 players are rubbish, so why not treat yourself or your significant other to an audio upgrade? Here are our picks of the best you can buy right now.

Let's start with the new P5 Series 2s -- comfortable, warm-sounding on-ear headphones that you can easily listen to all day long.

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2 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Beats Solo 2

These Solo 2 cans may not win audiophile hearts and ears, but for their intended audience -- namely, people looking for exciting-looking headphones with lots of high-quality bass -- these are excellent on-ear headphones.

£135.20 at Amazon

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3 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose QuietComfort 25

Bose can't put a foot wrong with its noise-cancelling headphones, and the new QC 25s are no exception. The new design features better audio performance and noise reduction, plus an improved folding design that allows them to fit in a more compact carrying case.

£269.95 at Amazon

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4 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics BackBeat Fit

In-ear wireless sport headphones have proved difficult to do well. And while the Plantronics BackBeat Fit aren't perfect, they're one of the top picks in the category and cost less than some of their rivals.

£73.51 at Amazon

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5 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Klipsch R6i In-Ears

If you're shopping for a fan of hip-hop or techno (and variations of those genres) looking for comfortable in-ear headphones with very plump bass, the R6i will certainly fit the bill.

£79.00 at Amazon

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6 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear

The Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones deliver the type of sound you'd expect from a pair of cans in this price range. They have a smart look to them too, with good build quality.

£128.95 at Amazon

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7 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Beyerdynamic DX 160 IE

Perfect for the audiophile on your gift list, the Beyerdynamic DX 160 IEs deliver a metric tonne of bass with a dynamic range of sound.

£64.90 at Amazon

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8 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Grado Prestige Series SR80e

We've long been fans of Grado headphones and are really impressed by the quality of sound you get from this new £100 model. If you don't need the isolation of a closed-back design or a built-in microphone for phone calls, they're great headphones for the money.

£99.95 at Amazon

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9 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

KEF M500

Great sound makes these headphones a winner for anyone looking to replace a pair of stock headphones with a serious upgrade.

£241.36 at Amazon

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10 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless

If you can overlook their inflated price tag, the Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless are a solid choice for those looking for an in-ear Bluetooth sports headphone.

£135.99 at Amazon

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11 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

V-Moda XS

These are very well built, relatively comfortable headphones that offer strong performance in the sub-£200 price range.

£170.00 at Amazon

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12 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Beats Studio Wireless

Some say the Beats Studio Wireless are overpriced. They would be right. But they are also well-built, comfortable wireless headphones, with excellent sound and strong battery life.

£215.19 at Amazon

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13 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose Freestyle Earbuds

While they may not be the best sounding in-ear headphones for the money, the Bose Freestyles' design and comfort level are excellent, and they make a great gift for people who want in-ears but don't want the tips jamming into their ear canals.

£114.95 at Amazon

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14 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony MDR-10RBT

If you want a quality full-size wireless headphone, but don't want to spend more than £150, the Sony MDR-10RBTs are arguably your best option.

£126.11 at Amazon

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15 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics BackBeat Pro

If you -- or someone you know -- works in an open-office environment, Plantronics' feature-rich BackBeat Pros are worth checking out.

£164.99 at Amazon

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16 of 16 Sarah Tew/CNET

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

The ATH-M50x have loads to offer, with superb performance and a comfortable fit to go along with the detachable-cord system and extra cords.

For loads more gift ideas, check out the rest of our Christmas Tech Gift Guide 2014.

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