Searching for a pair of wireless earbuds you may end up with three options: totally wireless earbuds, Bluetooth earbud with a short cable and earbuds with a neckband. Totally cordless earbuds in ear headphones exhibit some drawbacks like short battery life and average sound quality, and regular Bluetooth earbuds with a short cable are designed for sports rather than office use or for calls.
With its long battery life, overall design and sound quality, the LG Tone Platinum HBS 1100 took the top spot on our list for 2018. Continue below to read our full review of the LG Tone as well as other top selling models…
Behind the neck Bluetooth headphones come in and fill the gap about usability and battery. They have 2 earbuds that attach to a stylish neckband. Aside from holding internal components, the band lets the earbuds dangle freely when not in use, so you won’t have to manage earbuds or if they fall out they are just there. And in terms of sound quality, some of them may impress to audiophiles and have call quality that outperform others. If you like around the neck design, here are top 5 you could buy in 2018.
Top 5 Behind Neck Bluetooth Headphones Comparison
|Headphones:||Battery Life||Design||Sound Quality||Features|
|up to 10 hours||8.5/10||8.5/10||Retractable Earbuds/Mic Noise Cancellation|
|8 hours||9/10||8/10||Water-resistant, earbuds magnetically clip|
|Up to 10 hours||8/10||8.5/10||Table|
|up to 20 hours||8/10||7.8/10||NFC|
None-sealed style* lets wearers hear the ambient sound. Sound quality, call quality, design, battery, comfort and fit, value were evaluated for each model.
LG_TONE| Release date: 2016 | Style: Around the neck, neckband | Weight: 60 grams | Play Time: 10 hours | Bluetooth 4.1 Qualcomm aptX / Qualcomm aptX HD | Driver type: Balanced Armature | Bluetooth range: 30+ feet |NFC: Yes | Dual Mic for calls | Mic Noise cancellation: Yes |
LG constantly improves their notable around the neck headphone Tone Series. The latest HBS-1100 become more flexible and better in terms of controls and Bluetooth connection than previous models. The ANC feature enables you make calls in noisy environments. Note that this doesn’t work like ACN earbuds, it just filters out the noises when you have a conversation on your phone. Click here to read our full detailed review of the LG Tone Platinum HBS-1100.
|If you already have HBS-900 and want upgrade to HBS-1100, don’t expect the sound will be better|
Overall the HBS-1100’s sound quality is good, and it would be rated excellent if the highs can live up more details and clarity.
Available to order on Apple website for $150. BeatsX is the first Bluetooth headphones from Beats with help from Apple engineer team. It has a new, flex form cable that sits around your neck. But the cable is rather long and showy, making it look quite bulky. BeatsX are very comfortable and fit snugly even without earhooks or wingtips that we commonly see in other sport earbuds.
In terms of sound quality, it represents a particular sound signature of Beats, a strong, plentiful bass. The Beats X will be a W1-chip product, which will have a longer battery life and stable Bluetooth connection.
|Supported by W1 chip, BeatsX will automatically identify and pair instantly with any Apple devices using the same cloud ID, and the connection setup is quick and easy.|
BeatsX introduced the fast-fuel feature that allows you to get two hours of playback with just 5 minutes of charging.
Sennheiser_HD1_Wireless| Release date: 2017 | Style: Around the neck, neckband | Weight: 1.86 oz (53g) | Play Time: 10 hours | Bluetooth 4.1 Qualcomm® apt-X™ Driver type: Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30+ feet |NFC: Yes | Mic for calls | Mic Noise cancellation: Yes
You might have known the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear, which is rated as one of best wired earbuds under $100 with typical V-Shaped sound signature. This model has been upgraded to wireless, called Sennheiser HD 1 Wireless In-Ear. It sports a classy leather neckband and its earbuds fit exactly the same as Momentum In-Ear but more securely and comfortably.
|Sennheiser HD 1 Wireless In-Ear is the Bluetooth version of well-known, V-shaped sound signature Momentum In-Ear.|
Though the Sennheiser HD 1 Wireless are expensive and lack of some features like magnetic attachment or non-retractable but they deliver great sound with a bunch of detail. Clear and bright treble, pronounced mid–ranges, and strong bass defines its V-shape sound, which is identical to Momentum In-Ear’s. But being Bluetooth, the sound tends to be more sculpted.
Samsung_Level_U_Pro| Release date: 2016| Style: Around the neck, neckband |Earbuds: Sealed in the ear | Weight: 1.61 oz (46g) | Play Time: 9 hours | Bluetooth 4.1 Qualcomm® apt-X™ Driver type: Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30+ feet |NFC: Yes | Mic for calls | Mic Noise cancellation: Yes |
The Samsung Level U pro appears in the most ergonomic a round-the-neck design. Its collar should fits nicely on everyone’s necks. The earbuds give an extremely comfortable fit, and are lightweight. The rest of the headphones is sweat resistant which makes it ideal for workout sessions. The button layout is well placed and can be easily accessed without any hindrance whatsoever, you just fell and can reach the control you intend. It has flexible urethane joints that can easily accommodate various user requirements. The sturdy yet sleek metallic finish lends a whole new attraction to its overall visual aesthetic.
There are a two-way speaker unit and Ultra High-Quality Audio (UHQ) technology that provides superior sound than any other competitors in the market. The free Level App that is available for Android devices lets you access advanced control settings of these headphones, using which you can have your text messages read to you. Bass quality is good as expected, treble is accurate, and when complemented by a volume monitor, it makes for an incredible musical experience.
Level U Pro is an affordable Bluetooth headset that might not offer the greatest sound that one may come to expect from a Samsung device, but it certainly does offer crystal-clear voice quality and rarely has any issues related to connectivity.
Sony-WI-C400| Release date: 2017 | Style: Around the neck, neckband | Weight: 35 grams | Play Time: 20 hours | Bluetooth 4.2 | Driver type: 9mm Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Single mic for calls | Vibration for incoming call: Yes | Mic Noise cancellation: Yes | NFC: Yes | Sweatproof: No
Sony new budget behind neck headphone, the Sony WI-C400, has great battery life that is roughly 19 hours and 45 munites based on our drain test. Neatly, the headset offers a handy way to manage the cable – you can adjust the length of the cable by sliding a ball located on the neckband. The buds are pretty small and lightweight, and they look polished and feel quite comfortable in the ear.
The Sony WI-C400 has natural sounding profile. The bass isn’t huge or has a strong impact but it’s still present. The midrange is quite good and treble is clear and it doesn’t seem to be muffled like most Bluetooth earbuds do in the price range.
Though this Sony headset is an exellent value at around $50 (at the time of writing), it isn’t the most comfortable and its call quality would be better.
Others Models We Considered
For Budget Buyers: LyreBeats-NB1 Neckbuds
LyreBeats_NB1| Release date: 2017 | Style: Around the neck, neckband | Weight: 20.5 grams | Play Time: 7 hours | Bluetooth 4.1 Qualcomm CSR8635 | Driver type: Dynamic | Bluetooth range: 30 feet | Single mic for calls | Mic Noise cancellation: Yes
Rounding out the list is the LyreBeats-NB1, whose greatest distinction is the metal buds. Those buds are in unique style and built to last.
The battery of NB1 can handle more than 8 hours of continuous play. The earbuds are waterproof (IPX4) and designed to fit snugly in the ear for comfortable listening even during strenuous activity.
Built-in Neodymium magnets, the LyreBeats-NB1 delivers clear treble and enjoyable sound. Plus, CVC 6.0 noise cancelling technology ensures quality calls, so it would be an alternative for regular headset.
LifeBEAM Vi AI Personal Trainer ( the around the neck headphones that you can interact with)
Neckband Bluetooth headphones are not just about the flexibility, sound quality and solid connection but they can be your personal training assistant. Vi is one of very first smart neckbands to integrate HRM feature and voice coaching, which make your workout sections more motivated and enjoyable.
The HBS-900 is in the line of the most popular behind the neck Bluetooth headphone series, LG Tone–top selling neckband style headphones. They gained that popularity because of many factors. What truly sets apart this product from the others in the market is their stylish design, modern look, and sound quality that is hard to match. This model looks appealing as it has a metallic finish with a particular economic design that is bound to gather attraction. There are retractable earbuds that make cord management a simple task and easy access to the jog button lets you change music and volume on the fly.
You’ll get decent audio quality for a Bluetooth headphones, thanks to Harman Kardon signature sound, which sounds quite clear and is able to catch up with a level of detail. But it’s hard to tell the Infinim can lift up the detail, while highs is not edgy or crunchy as so far other headphones in this category have met, keeping its sound pleasant to hear.
The Tone is a ideal choice for those of you if you like the warm sounding with less bass (the bass is present but not that much). Those criteria in sound couldn’t be obtained without the Aptx compatibility that delivers high-quality music and features like MEMS and HD voice ensures that all voice communications remain crystal clear all the time.
It works well as a headset. The headset has built-in mic with noise reduction capacity, but if you make call while biking in the windy environment, it does interfere your voice. You can also have a voice read your SMS on Android devices thanks to the Tone and Talk application.
Though the collar is not as flexible as other sets, it does excel in ability to hold integrated battery that can last for 14 hours. For connection stability, audio lagged or connection drop rarely occurs if you put your phone on the table or stuff them in your pan pocket.
While this model may be slightly more expensive in comparison to other LG Tone Ultra models (LG Tone Ultra (HBS800) sounds slightly better with ANC) along with the lack of active noise cancelling feature, the retractable earbuds make it more than worth buying at an extra cost. Coming from one of the leading technology companies in the world, the HBS-900 Wireless will certainly rock your world with an entirely different musical experience.
Sony is a brand that needs no introduction as it is perhaps one of the three global electronic giants. The Sony SBH70 is another stellar Bluetooth headset released by the company as it comes with a behind the neck form factor, has in-ear headphones, and weighs just 50 g making it extremely flexible and enjoyable to use.
This lightweight headset makes use of vented acoustic design and is made of metal to add more glamour. Build quality is solid as this device can withstand rain drops and will not go wrong even if you had dropped it in a water puddle by mistake.
The Sony SBH70 is flexible, light weight and comfortable to wear. It appears that the earbuds looks almost like Apple earbuds. Because of unsealed style they do let the ambient sound in, so it’s not quite suitable you tend to use it in your noisy office. The open-style of earbuds have an advantage of offering more airy, open sound, but less bass compared to sealed style like the Shadow or LG-tone.
SBH70 has good music streaming quality as it can play loud and pump a balanced bass that never gets over-whelming. The sealed ear channel design can turn out to be a hit or miss depending on people’s preferences as it doesn’t block all types of external noise well and the cost situational awareness. However, people who like to hear what’s happening around will totally love the un-sealed ear channel build.
As far as call quality is concerned, you can count on the echo, noise and wind cancellation feature to provide you with exceptional voice quality. The HD Voice compliant microphone is another bonus that further adds to this model’s utility.
This Bluetooth headphone is a cost-effective alternative to its higher-priced version, the Level U Pro. This model offers a highly comfortable fit, sleek and stylish body design that will make anyone take notice, and is extremely light in weight so that it can be used in almost all scenarios.
This is an around-the-neck type device that is ideally suited for use while workout sessions or any activity that demands a high level of physical involvement. It is splash and sweat resistant, so you don’t have to worry about this device getting damaged.
The sound quality is as you would expect from a headphone that this range, but Samsung being the pioneer that they are, has introduced few exclusive features to make it stand out. The bass and treble quality are balanced, and you can expect to hear music in its finest details. This model is especially perfect for those who do not like jamming the buds inside of their ears.
It has well-placed buttons that you can easily access, and the vibrate feature alerts you to any incoming call without disrupting your flow of work. Call quality and connectivity is good enough to be likable, making the Level U model definitely worth the price.
Jabra Halo Smart
The Jabra Halo Smart sports rugged and sturdy neckband and the earbuds fit resonably comfortable.
It has a great battery life, which can last all day as the company claimed 17 hours for headset function and 15 hours for listening music.
For music it does sound good, and the sound tends to be balanced. The treble is not very sparkling rather it’s pleasant to hear while bass remains calm. If your purpose also is a quality voice call, the Halo Smart did it right with clear voice.
As many around the neck headphones, they just sit there on your neck. The matter of comfort lays on the earbuds, if they fit comfortable then that’s the way you feel like the Halo Smart did. The magnetic clap feature is also a plus for Jabra, you look more stylish when 2 buds are locked on your chest. If they are not pricey and look sturdier compared to other sets, they would be a great pick for this holiday.
QuietControl 30: Bose did release their first neckband-style wirless in ear headphones, Bose’s QuietControl 30, with noise cancelling feature. But the quietControl 30 is no ordinary noise cancelling headphones, that you can manually control how much the ambient sound come in your ear by pressing buttons on the inline control. We will cover this headset, please check back for update.The first ANC Bluetooth around-the-neck headphone isn’t top-notch for NC capacity, so is its sound quality.
RHA MA750 Wireless: Another neckband Bluetooth earbuds to watch out. We were impressed with their build quality and excellent look but the sound quality is not good as its look. As discussed in our post about how the sound degrades if we move to Bluetooth, you will loose some detail and richness of sound compared with wired version. And while the wired model, the RHA MA750 is a great headphone its wireless version isn’t.
Skullcandy Ink’d Wireless: Look cheap but its decent battery and sound quality may surprise you.
Sol Replublic Shadow
It didn’t take long for this brand to become famous since the time it first arrived on the market in 2011; the reason being that this company has managed to release impressive devices at affordable rates. The Sol Republic Shadow is another fantastic release as it features everything that one may want out of their in-ear Bluetooth headphone. It is good looking, has a sturdy build, and offered at a reasonable price. This model is light, foldable, and can be bent according to the user’s convenience.
While the audio quality may not blow your brains off, it is definitely on par with some of the best models that are available now. The bass quality is surprisingly robust and crisp and stays clear throughout the lowest frequencies. Volume range is extensive and can be cranked up until the point when no other environmental sound is audible. In a direct comparison with the popular set, LG Tone SBH 900, The Shadow offers a wider frequency response with more details and stronger bass. Due to the balanced sound, the bass of Shadow isn’t huge.
The headphones is supported by latest technology for streaming sound, AptX, which supposedly delivers a more aggressive sound and higher fidelity. Though, for tracks with complicated mixes packed in, the sound is not resolved well, so you hear things struck together.
For people who frequently make or receive calls, it is a good headset if used in offices. When making calls outside wind blowing or traffic noise are captured by microphones, but you still hear caller’s voice clearly once you fix the earbuds jamming into your ears to increase noise isolation.
However, people who may want to use the Shadow while exercising might be disappointed that is not exactly built for that purpose. The entire design, flat cable, collar, make the sets daily use rather than for sports–they don’t have wingtips. Yet, I found it is a solid pair at the gym and you can wear it all day long since is light weight in your ear, doesn’t make you feel much about its presence. Two metal earbuds, which are connected to the band by flat cable, are rugged and fit snugly. Included silicon eartips are varied in size and provide a decent noise isolation. The collar is nice and contour well to your necks coated with flexible rubber, though you can’t bend it to any shapes, and it flops a little bit if you move fast.
With Multiple Point Technology, the Shadow can pair simultaneously to 2 devices. As promised, Bluetooth connectivity stays within 30 feet range from the host, and you have to keep the phone in your pocket at all times to get the best connectivity. The button layout could have been better but it’s still good enough not to complain.
New pairs for pending reviews: Sony 1000X (Bluetooth, Noise Cancelling, Neckband headphones), UA Sport Wireless Flex with fast charging and glowing LED for safe running outdoor.
So Why Around or Behind The Neck Bluetooth Headphones
Conveniently put them on when you want to listen to music or have a incoming call. They also offer a better voice call quality and for me it is a great headset for hand-free calling experience.
In the future, this type of headphones will have built-in bio-sensors, which is able to track and analyze you performance, at the same time with AI they will coach you to a real results. Vi headphone and Artificial Intelligence personal trainer is an example of how far hearables could go. Possibly the real-time translation is also a feature that headphone makers want to integrate to their headset.
Updated on 04/27/2018