The Best iPhone 7 Wireless Headphones

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The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are two of the world's most popular music players, packed with exclusive technology. One technology that's missing, however, is the good old 3.5mm headphone jack. That's driving a lot of iPhone owners over to wireless headphones, but not every pair will make the most of your phone's audio capabilities. These headphones are our best picks specifically for the iPhone 7.

Getting rid of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 means that in almost all cases, if you're not using the earbuds that came with your phone, you'll have to use an annoying $9 dongle to connect your headphones to your iPhone. Wired headphones that use Apple's Lightning port exist, but they aren't very common. We've reviewed one pair so far, the ridiculously expensive (but also awesome) Audeze iSine 20.

Head over to the Bluetooth aisle, though, and you can use everything in the shop, from inexpensive sub-$50 pairs, to high-end noise-canceling options. Wireless headphones are now much higher quality and more reliable than they used to be, with less popping, longer battery life, and fewer seemingly random disconnections.

The iPhone 7 uses a special W1 Bluetooth pairing chip to make wireless connections easier, and it uses the AAC music encoding scheme to transmit high-quality audio. No Android phones have the W1, and the AAC situation is an iPhone thing.

The W1 is Apple's proprietary chip for easier Bluetooth pairing. Once they're set up, W1 headphones connect and disconnect from iPhones automatically, without fiddling with settings and without fail. That gets rid of one of the major complaints about Bluetooth headphones, which is that you may periodically, mysteriously have to dig into your phone's settings and manually connect.

We've reviewed all three of the first set of W1 headphones: Apple's Airpods, the Beats Solo3, and the Beats Powerbeats3. They're not bad, but you're definitely paying a premium for the easier pairing and improved range the W1 provides. Looking at the chart above, between the Beats Solo3 and the Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless, you're basically trading that W1 connection on the Beats for better all-around audio quality and a more comfortable fit on the Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless.

It's easier to find native AAC headphones. There are currently three ways to transmit music over Bluetooth. SBC, the most widely accepted codec, doesn't have as high a maximum level of quality as Apt-X or AAC. Most headphones support Apt-X, but iPhones don't. iPhones support AAC, but most headphones don't. Files purchased from iTunes tend to come in AAC format, and transcoding them from AAC to SBC may involve a slight loss of quality.

Dickering over AAC vs. SBC involves potentially imperceptible differences in sound quality. Recent high-quality SBC implementations are comparable with 192kbps AAC, according to the SoundExpert testing site. But audiophiles trying to eke the best quality out of their iPhone/Bluetooth combination are definitely going to want AAC headphones (if audiophiles deign to use wireless at all; many don't.)

All of our wireless headset picks above, except for the inexpensive Skullcandy Method Wireless, support direct AAC transmission.

Keep in mind, there are plenty of other great wireless headphones on the market that, and even without the W1 chip or AAC support, will sound just fine. For more top picks, check out The Best Wireless Headphones.

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