Welcome to The Esquire Endorsement. Heavily researched. Thoroughly vetted. These picks are the best way to spend your hard-earned cash.
There are different stylistic genres of headphones. If your intended usage falls under the “sweat til you drop” category, then you might choose something that would look right on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s head. If you want art, then a brand like Master & Dynamic makes headphones that are crafted masterpieces. If you want deep bass and streamlined design, it’s Beats by Dre that’ll look right over your ears. But all of these very good pairs of wireless headphones are expensive as all hell. And if you assumed the vast majority of cheap headphones look and sound cheap because they are cheap, you’d be correct. But Status’s BT One wireless headphones are the exception. They only cost $99 regularly, and $74 right now thanks to a winter sale, but you’d never know just looking at and listening to them.
They sound really nice. Seriously.
The big question hovers: If they’re inexpensive, will they sound inexpensive? The short answer is no. I’ve found the sound to be unmuddied and rich, and impressively so. You wouldn’t guess it came from a budget-friendly pair of headphones. Status says it focuses on sub-bass frequencies to produce clear sound with some oomph, and the headphones don’t disappoint there. And that sound is supported by strong Bluetooth 5.0 technology that connects to your phone with ease, whether for the first pairing or ten thousand listening sessions after, and doesn’t falter over hectic commutes, switching to another device, long phone calls, or any such Bluetooth-challenging moments.
They have all the features that good headphones should have.
Audio aside, these BT Ones are well-designed for other reasons. There’s one switch to flip ’em on and off, then three buttons to handle every other command: playing and pausing music, answering a call, rejecting a call, adjusting the volume, cuing up your preferred digital assistant, or whatever else you need to do. Easy. Your fingers won’t be perplexed by a panel of 10 different buttons, as is the case with some other headphones. The headphones are adjustable in size, feel comfortable and cushy resting on your ears, and fold up for packing away. One my favorite features is the included cord, as dumb as it may sound in the wireless category; after commuting on Bluetooth, I can switch to corded mode to plug into my laptop at work, saving battery. It’s the little things.
The price is unbeatable.
Just in case I didn’t stress this enough before, these headphones only cost $99 when they’re not on sale. That is less than $100. It is a fraction of the cost of all those fancy headphones I listed above. Sure, you don’t get active noise cancellation. But what you do get is style and audio that really outperforms your expectations. The BT Ones (which are also available in all black) quite simply look cool, too. Normally, you have to shell out for that. Here, not so much.