Top 5 Neckband Headphones of 2016

October 21, 2016

Neckband headphones (aka behind-the-neck earphones) are an increasingly common category of portable audio devices. In 2014, you'd see everyone with conventional wired earphones plugged in or maybe even corded Bluetooth buds. Now in 2016, you may be starting to see a stronger take up rate of neckband headphones. 
Neckband Headphones - Motorola VerveRider+

Popularized by the LG TONE series that sold an astounding 10 million units as of July 2015, it's easy to understand why other manufacturers want a piece of the pie. Among those who've taken the plunge in 2016 are Beats and Bose.
Neckband Headphones - LG TONE

What Are They?
Behind-the-neck headphones are basically audio devices with a collar that hang snugly around your neck. Almost all of them have Bluetooth capability to connect to your phone for music playback. The earbuds are connected to the collar by a cable. 
Neckband Headphones - Sony Concept N

So what's the appeal to this? There are many opinions on this. It's futuristic looking (think Star Trek), undoubtedly striking and possibly a fashion statement. One important reason is the convenience. Just plug your buds into you ear and when done, take 'em out and hang them around your neck. All this without needing to wind or stash them into your bag.
Neckband Headphones - Motorola VerveRider+

Now let's dive in to see what are the...
Top 5 Neckband Headphones of 2016

1. BeatsX
Neckband Headphones - BeatsX
Price - SGD 198 / GBP 129 / USD 149
Launched in Apple's September 2016 Keynote was the BeatsX. While much attention was on the AirPods, these mark the very first neckbands from Beats. It comes in white or black and has a battery life of 8 hours or 2 hours on a 5 min quick charge.

2. Bose QuietControl 30 (QC30)
Neckband Headphones - Bose QuietControl 30 (QC30)
Price - USD 299
The Bose QC30 is a stylish marriage between neckbands and the wired QC20. It provides noise canceling capability and ambient sound adjustment while retaining comfort and convenience. It lasts 10 hours on a full charge and gives 1 hour of playback with a 15 minute charge.

3. LG Tone Active (HBS-850)
Neckband Headphones - LG TONE Active HBS-850
Price - SGD 189 / USD 69
We reviewed the LG HBS-850 in early 2016. These are sweat-proof neckband buds and boast retractable earbuds. They come with good app support that allows voice prompts of messages. Excellent sound too.

4. Motorola VerveRider+
Neckband Headphones - Motorola VerveRider+
Price - USD 79.99 
We previously did a first take of the Motorola VerveRider+, a sports neckband pair of buds. The buds magnetically latch onto the ring for easy storage and last for a decent 12 hours of music playback.

5. Sony MDR-XB70BT
Neckband Headphones - Sony MDR-XB70BT
Price - USD 99
First seen at IFA 2016, the MDR-XB70BT boasts 12mm dynamic drivers and comes in 3 vibrant colors. It weighs 43g and can play music for up to 9 hours.

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