In an effort to drown out the cacophony of Phnom Penh city streets, I recently embarked on a hunt for the very best wireless noise-cancelling headphones. I tested over a dozen options available here in Phnom Penh and below you can find my top pick.
As it’s 2018, I’ve excluded wired options. With the advent of Bluetooth technology and Apple’s omission of headphone jacks in its latest handsets, it’s time we all cut the cord.
Structurally, they are very well-made. Crafted from a mixture of metal and plastic, not a creak can be heard when adjusting the headphones to fit and they are supremely comfortable for extended wear. Plush faux-leather earcups surround the wearers ears and the headphones neither grip your head too tightly like a vice, nor are too loose to deteriorate its NC abilities.
Touch controls on the right earcup can adjust volume, control playback, as well as answering and ending calls and the headphone fold up well for portability. Battery life is very strong, offering the user 30 hours of playback time on a full charge.
The previous iteration of these cans did an admirable job in blocking out noise yet was never quite at the level of the Bose QuietComfort35’s. The Japanese manufacturer has closed the gap with this latest effort.
Its killer feature is what it describes as ‘Smart Listening technology’. These high-tech headphones can detect your surroundings, whether in an airport, walking on a busy street, or even sitting in a quiet cafe, and balance the noise cancelling levels to suit the environment. While audio quality is more often than not a casualty for enhanced noise cancelling, Sony has introduced atmospheric pressure optimising, ambient sound control, surround and sound position control. The atmospheric pressure optimiser, designed for plane use, is truly remarkable reducing troublesome plane jet engine noise to a buzz.
The Sony WH-1000XM2 is available at all good electronics stores. This reviewer bought his pair for $349.99 using the Cambo Quick (Amazon US to Cambodia) delivery service. They can also be found at the Sony Showroom by Sunsimexco on Norodom Boulevard.
An honourable mention is the Bose QuietComfort35.
The Bose QC35 is the market leader in active-noise cancelling and do an even better job than the Sony’s. Like its rival, they are very comfortable and fold-up for portability. As the Sony’s they are priced at $349 and are available at the Bose showroom on Preah Monivong Blvd.