Best new headphones of CES 2019

Several new headphones have been announced or are on display at CES. Here are some of the top models we've found.

David Carnoy
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
David Carnoy
1 of 27 Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Jabra Elite 85h

Last year Jabra had a major headphone hit with its Elite 65t totally wireless earphones. Now it's going after Bose, Sony and others with its new Elite 85h over-ear premium wireless headphones that it says will deliver "best-in-class" performance when they ship in April for $299 or 299 euros (no word yet on UK or Australian pricing).

2 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC

I got a chance to listen to Beyerdynamic's upcoming premium noise-canceling headphone, the Lagoon ANC, which is due to ship by late spring (around the end of May) for around $400. I only listened to a handful of songs, but the headphones sounded clean and detailed with well-defined bass. They were also comfortable.

They feature the same MOSAYC sound personalization system as the company's step-up Amiron Wireless. I look forward to comparing these to other top wireless noise-canceling headphones as soon as I get my hands on a review sample.

See more info from Beyerdynamic.

3 of 27 Amazon

JBL Endurance Peak

The Peak is the newest addition to JBL's Endurance series line, which includes the Run, Sprint, Jump and Dive headphones. The Endurance Peak is a sports model with touch controls. I previously likened the Endurance Sprint (which has a wire between the buds) to a more affordable version of Beats Powerbeats3 headphones.

  • Four hours of battery life
  • TwistLock and FlexSoft technologies
  • PowerHook
  • IPX7 waterproof
  • Rugged charging case delivers six additional charges (for 24 hours of battery life)
  • Hands-free calling
  • Full-function touch control
  • Colors: Blue, black and red
  • Price: $120 (roughly converting to £95, AU$170)
  • Availability: now
  • See it Amazon

4 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

JBL UA True Wireless Flash

JBL continues its partnership with Under Armour with the UA True Wireless Flash. I should be getting these in the next few weeks and will let you know how they sound, fit and perform as soon as I have a chance to play with them for a week. The TalkThru and AmbientAware features are designed for runners and bikers who want to let some sound in (such as traffic noise) for safety reasons.

  • 5.8mm diameter dynamic drivers
  • Bionic Hearing with TalkThru and AmbientAware technologies
  • UA Storm Proof sweat- and waterproof technology with an IPX7 rating
  • Up to five hours of battery life
  • Rugged aluminum charging case delivers five additional charges
  • Three size options of the Sport Flex Fit Ear Tips included
  • Complimentary 12-month MapMyRun Premium membership included 
  • Price: $170 (roughly converts to £135, AU$240)
  • Available: now
5 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

JBL Reflect Show

After getting a quick look at the Reflect Flow at CES, I'd say this may be the best of JBL's new true wireless earphones. Priced at $150 (roughly £120, AU$210), they're a little less expensive than the UA model and have similar features but stronger battery life.  They'll be available this summer.

  • 30 hours of combined playback
  • IPX7 waterproof
  • Rugged 20-hour charging case
  • TalkThru and Ambient Aware technologies
  • Easily connect to Google Now and Siri
  • Ergonomic fit and design
  • Four color options: Black, blue, lime and tea
  • Price: $150
  • Availability: summer 2019
6 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

JBL Tune120TWS

This is JBL's budget true wireless option that carries a list price of $100 (converts roughly to £80, AU$140). I handled it for a bit at CES,  and it was similar to other models at this price point (translation: it doesn't have a premium feel). The big question is how reliable the wireless connection will be and how good it sounds. I'll let you know as soon as I get my hands on a test sample this spring.

  • JBL Pure Bass Sound
  • Four hours of battery life (16 hours of combined playback time)
  • Compact 12-hour charging case
  • Hands-free stereo calling, connect to Google Now or Siri with a simple touch
  • Ergonomic fit and design
  • 15-minute quick charge gives you one hour of battery life
  • Six color options: White, blue, black, green, yellow and pink
  • Price: $100
  • Availability: spring 2019
7 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

1More True Wireless

1More was showing off its first set of true wireless earphones at the show. They'll be shipping within the next month for $100. They sound pretty decent but I haven't had a chance to test their wireless performance.

See more info here.

8 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

Audio-Technica QuietPoint ATH-ANC900BT

The ATH-ANC900BT is Audio Technica's new top-of-the-line QuietPoint wireless noise-canceling headphone that features 35 hours of battery life and Bluetooth 5.0. It'll face some serious competition when it ships this spring for $300. But I thought it sounded quite decent in my quick listening test at the show. 

9 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

Audio-Technica Sound Reality ATH-CKR7TW

Audio-Technica was showing off two new true wireless earphones at the show, including the top-of-the-line ATH-CKR7TW. It's just started shipping for $250.

See it at Amazon.

10 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

Audio-Technica Sonic Sport ATH-Sport7TW

This is Audio-Technica's new true wireless sports model, the ATH-Sport7TW ($200). They're shipping in the next month or so and deliver up to 3.5 hours of battery and include a charging case that adds 14 hours of playback (four additional charges).

11 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

Audio-Technica ATH-M50XBT

Audio Technica ATH-M50XBT ($200), the wireless version of its popular ATH-M50X, actually started shipping at the end of last year, but this is the first time Audio Technica is showing them at a trade show. You can buy them now.

See them at Amazon.

12 of 27 Pioneer

Pioneer SE-E8TW

Pioneer's E8 is a sports model that's being shown at CES 2019 and will be available in late January in yellow, gray and pink for $150 (no word yet on international pricing). At first glance, it seems to share some similarities with Bose's SoundSport Free earphones, with a little shorter battery life of only three hours.

Here are the E8's key specs.

  • Three pairs of secure ear fins included (the fins lock each earbud into place)
  • Ear Direct Mount Structure features angled drivers and nozzles that aim sound straight into the inner ear, avoiding damping issues
  • 6 mm drivers
  • AAC codec
  • Internal batteries provide up to 3 hours of continuous playback on a single charge
  • The E8's charging case can replenish the units twice, extending listening time to about 9 hours
  • Lightly shaking the charging case causes the LEDs to display the remaining battery charge
  • Ambient awareness earphone tips allow low-level ambient sound into the ear
  • IPX5 water-resistant
  • Hands-free multifunction button controls playback, phone, and voice-assistant functions
  • Pioneer Notification App for Android can read out mail, news and more on the go
  • Price: $150 (no international pricing yet)
  • Availability: late January
13 of 27 Klipsch

Klipsch T5 True Wireless

The T5 True Wireless, which will arrive in stores this spring with a price tag of around $200, are part of Klipsch's new line of T5 in-ear headphones that made their debut at CES.

14 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

Nuheara IQBuds Max

Somewhere between Apple's AirPods and medical-grade hearing aids you have Nuheara's new "intelligent" hearing buds. The Australian startup has produced two earlier versions of its IQbuds, and on Sunday unveiled its IQbuds Max, which it describes as the first intelligent earbuds to feature active noise cancellation.

There's no word yet on pricing or exactly when they're shipping, but company says they will cost more than last year's $500 IQbuds Boost.

15 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

Sol Republic Soundtrack Wireless

The spiritual successor to Sol Republic's popular Tracks HD headphones, the Soundtrack on-ear wireless headphones deliver 30 hours of battery life and will be available in multiple color options.

Price: $150

Availability: July 2019

16 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

Sol Republic Soundtrack Pro ANC

The Soundtrack Pro ANC is Sol Republic's new wireless noise-cancelling headphone. It's equipped with 40mm drivers, 24 hours of battery life (with ANC and Bluetooth or 48 hours with Bluetooth only).

Price: $200

Availability: October 2019

17 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

Sol Republic Shadow Fusion with Tile

Sol Republic's Shadow Fusion is a neckband-style in-ear wireless headphone, but has one unique feature: With Tile tracking technology integrated into it, you can find your headphones using the Tile app. The buds adhere to each other magnetically.

Price: $130

Available: February 2019

18 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

Sol Republic Amps Air Plus

An upgrade to the Amp Air (I didn't like version 1.0 but there was a version 2.0), the Amps Air+ are a true wireless earphone with active noise-cancelling and hear through ambient environment awareness feature. Sol Republic says it's also improved the fit and stability of the earphones.

They're sweat-resistant (IPX5 certified) and deliver 5 hours of playback with the charging case providing an additional four charges.

Price: $200

Availability: October 2019

19 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

Marley Liberate Air

Marley is an "eco-conscious" brand and its upcoming Liberate Air ($150) true wireless earphones are designed with bamboo, natural wood fiber composite and Rewind fabric composed of recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate).

Shipping in July, they feature Bluetooth 5.0, tap controls and 7 hours onboard playtime with the battery case providing additional charges.

20 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

Marley Exodus

Marley's new Exodus over-ear wireless headphones are equipped with 50mm drivers and 30 hours of battery life. Made out of sustainable FSC certified wood, stainless steel, recyclable aluminum and natural leather,  they're due to ship in March for $200.

21 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

Marley Exodus ANC

The Marley Exodus ANC adds active noise-cancelling for $50 more ($250), but won't ship till September. Battery life is rated at 24 hours (with ANC and BT, but 40 hours with BT only).

22 of 27 AfterShokz

OptiShokz Revvez

Bose is shipping its Frames audio AR sunglasses, but if you're looking for sportier spectacles that have integrated audio, you should keep your eye on the upcoming OptiShokz Revvez bone-conduction audio sunglasses from AfterShokz.

Designed to allow cyclists, runners, hikers, golfers, skiers and others to listen to audio and make calls on the go while maintaining "ambient sound awareness," the OptiShokz Revvez are launching via an Indiegogo campaign on Feb. 19.

There are five lens options -- the lenses are interchangeable -- and early-bird pricing has been set at $99 or a 45 percent discount off the Revvez' list price of $179. Alas, there's no prescription lens option. They're due to ship around June, although delays are always possible.

23 of 27 Jabra

Jabra Move Style

Jabra's popular "value" on-ear headphone, the Move, now comes in a Style Edition with in three new colors (navy, gold beige and black) and a bump in battery life from 8 to 14 hours. It's available now for the same list price as the previous version ($100, £100, AU$159).

24 of 27 AfterShokz

AfterShokz Xtrainerz

Every so often someone asks me what headphones they can use while swimming. The small list of viable options is about to get bigger with the arrival here at CES of the AfterShokz Xtrainerz (pronounced "cross trainers") MP3 headphones. They use bone-conduction technology to transmit sound to your ears through your cheekbones. They'll ship this spring and will cost $150, with no word yet on international pricing. 

Because Bluetooth can't pass a signal through water, like other "swim" headphones the key here is that these guys have 4GB of built-in memory to store your MP3 music files directly on the headphones. Alas, there's no Bluetooth mode, so you can't stream music to the Xtrainerz from your phone when you're out of the pool. 

25 of 27 Creative

Creative SXFI Air

After unveiling its Super X-Fi "halographic audio" technology last year, Creative trotted out a couple of new SXFI headphones at CES -- the $160 SXFI Air and $130 SXFI Air C (see next slide). Both ship in February and are available for preorder now. 

The idea behind the technology is to deliver a "high-end" surround sound audio experience in a pair of stereo headphones. I'll have a full review once I get my hands on a final shipping unit.

The USB and Bluetooth SXFI Air is designed to work with the iOS and Android devices, Sony PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, as well as Windows and Mac PCs. 

26 of 27 Creative

Creative SXFI Air C

The wired-only (USB) SXFI AIR C has a detachable ClearComms microphone, 50mm drivers and a customizable RGB light ring. It works for movies, music and games on PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Macs.

It retails for $130 and ships in February.

27 of 27 David Carnoy/CNET

Klipsch T5 Neckband

Along with its T5 True Wireless earphones, Klipsch was displaying the other models in its new T5 line at CES, including the upcoming T5 Neckband (second from the right), which will ship this spring. Klipsch didn't say exactly how much it will cost, but I suspect it'll be in the $120-to-$150 range. 

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