There’s no need for an MP3 player anymore if you’ve got an Android smartphone. Grab the Play Music app and upload up to 20,000 songs to Google Music for free and you never need to be without the tunes that get you smiling ever again.
Everyone likes to listen to music, but not all of us like earphones. The ear bud style that tends to ship with most Android smartphones can be uncomfortable and the sound quality is rarely very good out of the box. We decided to check out some affordable headphones to find a good mix of over the ear comfort, portability, and sound quality. True audiophiles might be happy to drop hundreds of dollars, but most of us aren’t, so we set an RRP limit of $100 for this roundup. If you’re in the market for a new set of cans then take a look.
You don’t have to pay a fortune for decent sound quality and the Wicked Audio Evac headphones deliver a surprisingly decent depth of sound for the money. They’re a good fit for your Android because they are really portable. The cable is four feet and it’s a really thin cloth cord. You can fold the cushioned on-ear cans up to stick them in your pocket and they’re easily adjustable for comfort with a set of metal sliders that plug into the canvas strap. There’s a standard gold-plated jack as well.
They come in military green, black or white and the minimalist design is subtle and understated. The Wicked logo adorns each can, but other than that there’s no branding. The RRP on these is $60, but you’ll see them going for around $20 and at that price you can’t really go wrong. Keep your proof of purchase and you can take advantage of a free lifetime warranty.
If we push our budget up the max we can snag a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones with a built-in hidden microphone for taking calls. Once you’ve paired them via the Bluetooth menu on your Android you can enjoy music without wires, you’ll even find a set of controls on the right can for taking calls, skipping tracks forward or back, volume up and down, and play or pause.
The leatherette ear cushions are pretty comfortable, but they can make your ears seriously hot, especially if the weather is warm. The cans fold flat and there’s no cord so they score well for portability. The sound quality for streaming music is pretty good, but they aren’t so great for calls. The price of a wireless life is having to recharge them after eight hours of use. The RRP on these is $100, but you can snag them for under $60 and they offer a decent set of features at that price.
Coming at you through the passage of time all the way from 1984 the retro Porta Pro headphones from Koss combine good quality sound with lightweight portability. They offer impressive deep bass and a good range. There’s a unique “Comfort Zone” setting for the ear plates and a standard adjustable headband. They also totally fold up for easy storage in the little pouch that comes with them.
Over a long period these aren’t really comfy, in my opinion, and the metal headband is great at catching hairs. In terms of design you’ll either love or hate the eighties look. What is good is the sound quality and the price tag. The RRP is $50, but you’ll get them for closer to $30 if you shop around.
The original PX 100s were a super popular release from Sennheiser offering great sound quality and real portability. The sequel, PX 100-II, is a pretty decent set of headphones as well. These are solid over-the-ear cans with strong bass and good range. The killer feature is really the portability because they fold up to the size of a pair of sunglasses, which makes them perfect for taking out and about. The single sided cord is also handy if you have them plugged into your Android in your pocket.
They have a pretty nice understated look and they are comfortable for long periods. The two leather cushions on the headband make a big difference in that department. Considering the sound quality on offer here and the great portability these are worth a look. The RRP is $70, but search online and you’ll find them for under $50.
For anyone on a really tight budget Sony has you covered with these headphones. The sound is solid when you consider the RRP of $20. You’ll also like the cushioned cans and they’re collapsible for easy storage. These are actually pretty good for noise reduction as well. The design is very light, maybe a little flimsy, but the plain black or white is stylish in a minimalist way.
They aren’t comfortable if you wear them for a long time. The headband isn’t padded and some people complain that they’re a bit tight, although they are adjustable. If you’re really into sound quality then you won’t appreciate the muddy mid-range and limited bass, but what do you expect at this price? Shop around and you’ll get them for closer to $15. You won’t find many options to compete at that price.
You can easily drop a few hundred for a pair of Bose headphones or go for a Beats Solo set at nearer $200 and there’s no argument that the sound quality will be better. These five options may not be the best headphones you can get, but they are affordable, and for listening to tracks on your Android smartphone when you’re out and about they’ll do very nicely.
For really tight budgets we’d opt for the Wicked Audio Evac headphones. Audiophiles without money to spend should stretch to the Sennheiser PX 100-II headphones. Considering the wireless Bluetooth functionality the Creative Labs WP-350 headphones are great value too. What do you think? Tell us what headphones you’re rocking with your Android and why.
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What about earphones?
Monoprice actually has a pair for around $7 (not a typo) that are surprisingly good, the “Enhanced Bass Hi-Fi Noise Isolating Earphones” model #8320. They were so cheap I gave them a try and was pleasantly surprised. Plus, if you lose them, they’re cheap to replace.
Yep, the monoprice buds are ranked at #16 overall on head-fi.org . They sound really good.
I’d recommend Klipsche S4/S5 awesome bang for the buck, but it might be a little hard to find S4As (S4s with a mic and remote for android devices)
You should have included Urbanears Plattans, decent sound for the money, fold down quite small, and the single sided fabric cord has a mic that works fine with androids. As far as Beats Solo’s giving you better sound quality…lol, save your money and get some Noontec Zoro’s…
Get some 1 quid ‘phones from the pound shop. Sure they won’t be as good as £400 Beats, but they play music….
Beats are an over priced gimmick lol
And the plattans isn´t?
Plattans are around the €50 mark, I got mine for €20…Beats Solo’s are €180…pretty big difference in price lol
I didn’t feel like doing research into them so I got the ibeats earbuds for $100 and they sound nice
Monoprice MEP-933 earbuds – ~$8, ranked #16 overall on head-fi.org
Grado SR60i – $80, ranked #18
Audio-Technica ATH-M50S – $150, ranked #2
Hell yeah, I love the Grado’s
I just got a pair or Grado SR60i’s that totally rock the house. love using them with my GS3
I have a motorola s10-hd which I got for 39.99 new from Newegg and I love it. Bluetooth and the sound is great, plus it has ear buds instead of cans so it doesn’t roast your ears in warm weather or when working out.
Just a heads up… You can upload up to 20,000 songs, not 10,000 songs.
Thanks for the heads up, amended
“or go for a Beats Solo set at nearer $200 and there’s no argument that the sound quality will be better.” actually there is a lot to be said against that. for one Beats headphones sound abysmal, outclassed by headphones that cost a fraction. They put out lots of dull droning bass with flat midranges and little to no soundscape. If they sold for about $20 they would be acceptable – barely – as replacements for the old apple headphones, but anything more than that is a clear case of fashion over form.
I just got these
and nearly every reviewer and I agree that they dound better than any beats
I really liked Wicked Audio Evac headphones due to because of low cost as you have said
I’m still rocking my Bose QC2. But the best part about the Bose NC headphones is that you can upgrade for $100. So when they upgrade and you need to replace yours you’re not buying a full $300 set again. About to do this for the QC15 (my QC2 are approximately 5 years old and the ear cushions are falling apart from excessive use. Was $30+ for new cushions or $100 for the upgrade to the QC15s. Easy choice for someone who flies a lot.