How we review over-ear headphones


Alex Choros
Aug 19, 2022
Icon Time To Read2 min read

When we review over-ear wireless headphones, there are five main considerations:

  • Sound: Do they sound good? Audio quality is pretty important for headphones, after all.
  • Comfort & Design: Are they comfortable to wear over extended periods of time?
  • Features: How long does the battery last? Is the connectivity reliable? Is the noise-cancelling good?
  • Vibe: What's the overall experience? 
  • Value: Are they good for the money?

While audio products can be quite subjective for many reasons, we have standardised testing procedures across the team designed to help us look at the category in a consistent way, and give you the best recommendations possible

Compare over-ear headphones

Battery life
Fast charging
Noise cancelling

Sound Quality

Sound quality is obviously an important part of testing when it comes to headphones. We always listen to tracks we love and are familiar with, but supplement this with a standardised testing playlist to help us better work out the best of the best.

The playlist covers a wide range of genres, spanning from saccharine pop to progressive death metal. These songs have been carefully chosen to test certain sonic characteristics. 

You can check out the playlist by hitting the button below.

Microphone quality is also important, so we take microphone samples from the headphones we review, and make them available on our Soundcloud for easy comparison.

Comfort & Design

Comfort and design are also important considerations in our testing process. You don't want to wear headphones that feel like a vice grip, especially on a long-haul flight. 

Some of the questions we consider as part of our editorial testing include:

  • Do they pass the headbang bang test? 
  • Do they use gestures or physical buttons? Are they any good? 
  • How compact are the headphones and their case? 


Bose QC45s

When it comes to more general functionality, we look at a broad range of features we'd expect to find on headphones and benchmarks they should pass. 

  • How long does the battery last? 
  • Is there noise cancelling and is it any good? 
  • Is connectivity reliable? 
  • Do they have an ambient mode? 
  • Can you use them as wired headphones? 


In addition to more concrete factors, we also consider a product's vibe. It's overall energy, it's aura. The parts that you can't just encapsulate through a checklist of features. The overall experience of using it. A good vibe doesn't fix a bad product, but it can further elevate an already solid device. 


Value is ultimately the final lens we evaluate headphones through. We're not just asking if headphones are good, but if they're good for the money. 

Not everyone needs or wants expensive headphones, so we always make sure more affordable options are considered on their own merits. 

When looking at price during the review process, we always refer to retail price as a baseline - even if there might be temporary discounts available. 

Alex Choros
Written by
Alex Choros
Alex Choros is the Group Reviews Editor for Clearlink Australia's local websites -, Safewise, and WhistleOut - and the Managing Editor for WhistleOut Australia. He's been writing about consumer technology for over eight years and is an expert on the Australian telco sector, to the point where he knows far too many phone and internet plans by heart. He also contributes to Gizmodo and Lifehacker, and makes regular appearances on 2GB. Outside of tech, Alex loves long hikes, red wine, and death metal.

Related Articles

Sonos Ace header
The Sonos Ace promises a familiar look and a different sound
Sonos' first wearable could be a future fan-favorite.
Graphic of Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X controller and PlayStation 5 controller
How to buy a PS5, Xbox or Nintendo Switch through your telco
Want the latest console but don’t want to pay full price upfront? Talk to your...
Surface Laptop and Surface Pro Copilot Plus
Microsoft’s new Surface hardware is a big bet on AI and ARM
It's time to pick up where the Surface Pro X left off.
jbl flip 5 hero image
The best JBL speaker picks
JBL = Just Buy Loud.