Best Multipoint Bluetooth Headphones and Earbuds for 2023 – CNET

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Multipoint connectivity is no longer a feature limited to premium headphones. It’s 2023, and most Bluetooth headphones and earbuds can be connected to multiple devices. However, not all of them can be paired simultaneously. This is the difference between multiconnection Bluetooth and multipoint Bluetooth, and they shouldn’t be confused. Multipoint Bluetooth allows two devices to be paired with your headphones or earbuds at the same time. 

Without true multipoint Bluetooth pairing, a given pair of headphones can be actively paired to only one device at a time, requiring you to manually switch over to another device if you want to access that as an audio source. With multipoint pairing, you can be using your computer to listen to audio but when a call comes in on your phone, you can answer your phone and your headphones or earbuds will automatically switch over to your phone so you can take the call.

Apple and Samsung offer a variation of multipoint Bluetooth pairing called “automatic switching,” which works only for their respective devices. For instance, you can have your AirPods Pro 2 connected to your iPhone and Mac simultaneously (and an iPad) but a non-Apple device can’t be in the mix for simultaneous pairing. Samsung’s various Galaxy Buds have a similar arrangement with Galaxy smartphones and tablets.

In the past, business-focused headphones — some of which featured integrated boom microphones — offered advanced multipoint Bluetooth pairing. But the feature has gradually come to more consumer headphones, which are what we’re focusing on here. (We also have a list of best headphones for working from home, which includes some of the more business-class headsets with boom mics and USB dongles for reliable wireless PC connectivity.) Unfortunately, multipoint Bluetooth pairing isn’t easy to implement reliably with true-wireless earbuds.

“Up until recently, Bluetooth chips supported a maximum of two simultaneous connections,” explains Jonathan Levine, CEO and founder of Master & Dynamic. “This makes multipoint easy for headphones, where a wire connects both ear cups. However, for a true wireless product, one of the two connections gets consumed by the other earphone — leaving only one available connection to an audio source. Cutting-edge connectivity protocols have allowed true wireless products to connect much more seamlessly and bypass the maximum limit of two connections.”

I’ve tested all the headphones and earbuds on this list and will add top models with multipoint Bluetooth connectivity as they’re released. Note that products in Apple’s AirPods line, which includes the AirPods 3, AirPods Pro 2 and AirPods Max, can automatically switch between Apple devices on your iCloud account, but they aren’t included on this list because the feature is exclusive to Apple devices. The same goes for Samsung’s earbuds.

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You’re receiving price alerts for Bose QuietComfort 45 Wireless (Triple Black)

Battery Life

Rated up to 25 hours

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Over-ear wireless headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

The QuietComfort 45 has virtually the same design as its predecessor, the QuietComfort QC35 II, which many people considered one of the most comfortable over-ear headphones — if not the most comfortable. It has the same drivers, according to Bose, and the buttons are in the same place. However, there are small but notable changes. First off, these thankfully have USB-C instead of micro-USB.

Secondly, the microphone configuration is different. Not only have the mics been shifted on the headphones, but there’s now an extra external microphone for voice pick-up, which means the QC45 has a total of six microphones, four of which are beamforming and used for voice. By contrast, the QC35 II has a total of four, two of which are used for voice. (The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 also have six microphones total.)

These headphones are excellent for making calls. They’re similar to the Bose Headphones 700 in that regard. They also include top-notch noise canceling and multipoint Bluetooth pairing, so you can connect them with a PC and your phone simultaneously. Read our full review of the QuietComfort 45.

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You’re receiving price alerts for Sony WH-1000XM5

Battery Life

Rated up to 32 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Over-ear wireless headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

When you have a product that a lot of people love, change can be risky. Such is the case for Sony’s WH-1000XM5, the fifth generation of the 1000X series headphones, which were first released in 2016 as the MDR-1000X Wireless and have become increasingly popular as they’ve improved with each generation. Over the years, Sony has made some tweaks to the design, but nothing as dramatic as what it’s done with the WH-1000XM5. Other than the higher $400 price tag, most of those changes are good, and Sony’s made some dramatic improvements with voice-calling performance as well as even better noise canceling and more refined sound.

Note that you do have to activate multipoint pairing in the Sony Headphones companion app for the feature to work.

Read our Sony WH-1000XM5 review.

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You’re receiving price alerts for Sony WF-1000XM4 (Black)

Battery Life

Rated up to 30 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Over-ear wireless headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

No earbuds are perfect, of course, and not everybody will love the fit of the Sony WF-1000XM4 buds. But if you’re looking for great-sounding earbuds with active noise cancellation, solid voice-calling capabilities and good battery life, these buds check all the boxes and are frequently on sale as Sony is expected to release next-gen flagship earbuds later this year.

Like the Linkbuds and Linkbuds S, these buds initially didn’t have multipoint Bluetooth pairing but Sony added the feature late last year. It does have to be activated in the companion Sony Headphones app in order to work.

Read our Sony WF-1000XM4 review.

Anker

You’re receiving price alerts for Soundcore by Anker Liberty 4

While their sound isn’t quite up to the level of higher-end buds like Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 that cost significantly more, the Soundcore by Anker Liberty 4 earbuds have a strong set of features, including a spatial audio mode with head tracking, multipoint Bluetooth pairing, up to nine hours of battery life, wireless charging and support for Sony’s LDAC audio codec that can offer sound improvements if you have the right setup.

Compared to top-sounding buds I’ve reviewed, they lack a bit of overall clarity, accuracy and bass definition. But most people will think they sound quite good — they play plenty loud and deliver strong bass — and you can tweak their sound profile in the app or create a personal HearID Sound profile (it’s also for noise canceling). 

Read our Soundcore by Anker Liberty 4 review.

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You’re receiving price alerts for Sony LinkBuds S (Black)

Battery Life

Rated up to 9 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless Earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 — splash-proof)

Unlike the “open” LinkBuds, the LinkBuds S are traditional noise-isolating earbuds with tips you jam in your ears. They’re more compact and lighter than Sony’s flagship WF-1000XM4 and also feature Sony’s V1 processor. While their sound and noise canceling don’t quite measure up to the XM4’s, they’re close and cost less. They’re the Sony buds for people who can deal with larger buds like the XM4 but want 80 to 85% of those buds’ features and performance for $80 less.

Initially, these buds didn’t have multipoint Bluetooth pairing, but Sony added it late in 2022. It does have to be activated in the companion Sony Headphones app.

Read our Sony LinkBuds S review.

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You’re receiving price alerts for Google Pixel Buds Pro (Charcoal)

Battery Life

Rated up to 11 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 — splash-proof)

The Pixel Buds Pro are Google’s first earbuds to feature active noise canceling. While it’s nice that they finally have a feature that a lot of true-wireless earbuds have had for a while, what ultimately sets the Pixel Buds Pro apart and makes them worth considering — particularly for Android users — is their distinct design and winning fit. That helps enhance their performance on both the sound quality and noise-canceling fronts. While not quite elite for voice-calling, they did perform well as a headset for making calls. A couple of features were missing at launch — spatial audio and a five-band equalizer — but the equalizer has now been added with a firmware update. We’re now just waiting for spatial audio with full head tracking.

Note that multipoint has to be enabled for it to work with these buds (read how here). 

Read our Google Pixel Buds review.

Jabra

You’re receiving price alerts for Jabra Elite 45h

Battery Life

Rated up to 50 hours

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

On-ear wireless headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

Released in mid-2020, the Jabra Elite 45h were essentially billed as the best on-ear headphones for the money. While there’s nothing fancy about them, they’re among the best value on-ear headphones right now, with good sound quality, a sturdy design and comfortable fit — for on-ear headphones, anyway. They perform well as a headset for making calls too, and include a sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice so you don’t talk too loudly. Battery life is also good and it has multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect to your computer and your phone at the same time, and easily switch between the two should a call come in on your phone. It mostly works.

Note that the $258 Evolve2 65, which has an integrated boom microphone, is essentially the souped-up office version of these headphones.

Sennheiser

You’re receiving price alerts for Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless (Black)

Sennheiser’s previous-generation Momentum Wireless headphones have always had a pretty distinct look that was part retro, part modern, and stood out for the exposed metal on their headband. For better or worse, that’s all gone now, and the new Momentum 4 Wireless, Sennheiser’s flagship noise-canceling headphones, look a bit more subdued and also a bit more like some of their competitors.

The Momentum 4 Wireless offers superior performance over the Momentum 3 Wireless in every regard, though the biggest gains are with noise canceling and voice-calling performance as well as battery life, which is outstanding — up to 60 hours at moderate volume levels. There’s also a transparency mode that allows ambient sound in, as well as the ability to create a custom sound profile in the Smart Control app for iOS and Android using the built-in EQ, sound modes and a new Sound Personalization feature that “assesses the user’s listening preferences and adjusts the listening experience according to their taste.” 

Equipped with 42mm drivers, Sennheiser says the Momentum 4 Wireless offer “best-in-class” sound, which is debatable. I’d say the Momentum 4’s sound quality is right there with other models in this price range — they sound excellent, with the requisite well-defined, punchy bass, relatively wide soundstage (they sound pretty open) and smooth treble that brings out some of the finer details in well-recorded tracks. They’re a pleasure to listen to.

Read our Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless first look.

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Battery Life

Rated up to 7 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 — splash-proof)

Panasonic’s Technics EAH-AZ60 buds don’t have quite as premium a feel as the earlier EAH-AZ70W, but they sound sweet with clean, well-balanced sound, well-defined bass and good detail. They feature active noise canceling (it’s good), a transparency mode, multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect to your computer and phone at the same time and they have very solid voice-calling performance with good noise reduction. The buds are IPX4 splash-proof and are rated for up to 7 hours of battery life on a single charge at moderate volume levels. 

They’re missing a couple of features usually found at this price point: Namely, an ear-detection sensor that automatically pauses your music when you pull the earbuds out of your ears, and wireless charging (the former feature is more important). The step-down EAH-AZ40 also sound good but the EAH-AZ60 not only have larger drivers (8mm compared to 6mm), but they support Sony’s LDAC audio codec and have two additional microphones for voice calling and noise canceling (the EAH-AZ40 doesn’t have noise canceling). 

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The MW75 are Master & Dynamic’s best full-size headphones yet. Needless to say, they’re pricey at $599; most people will be quite satisfied with the $400 Sony WH-1000XM5, which are lighter and more comfortable, and which deliver best-in-class voice calling and noise canceling. But the MW75’s build quality is hard to beat and they offer top-notch sound for a wireless model (I thought they sounded better than Apple’s AirPods Max headphones), plus strong voice-calling and noise-canceling performance. With their support for aptX Adaptive, they have additional appeal for Android users, who can get a touch better sound quality with the right setup. But I was also quite happy streaming music with my iPhone 13 Pro using the AAC codec.

Read our Master & Dynamic MW75 first take.

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Battery Life

Rated up to 22 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (Qualcomm cVc 8.0)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

On-ear wireless headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

I was a fan of Creative’s original Sound Blaster Jam headphones that came out in 2015 and had a decidedly retro look and feel, with good sound for the money. Now they’re available in a 2.0 version that has some key upgrades, including Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C charging, improved call quality and multipoint Bluetooth pairing that allows you to pair it to two devices simultaneously. Battery life is rated at up to 22 hours.

I was able to pair this wireless headphone set with a Mac Mini and an iPhone 12 Pro and then switch audio between them. Often when pairing Bluetooth headphones with Mac and Windows PCs, one can encounter some issues, but once I got the headphones paired with both my PC and phone, they made a good pair of work-from-home headphones. Also, the price is right for parents looking for a decent set of kids’ headphones for remote learning and everyday use.

Comfortable for on-ear headphones, the Jam V2s are lightweight and have nicely balanced sound with good detail and bass that’s ample but not overpowering. Call quality was good in my tests with callers saying they could hear me well even on the noisy streets of New York. No carry pouch is included, but you do get an extra set of foam ear pads, which is good, because they will wear out over time.

The headphones have physical buttons for controlling volume and playback, and there’s aptX support for devices that support the wireless streaming codec. 

Read our Creative Sound Blaster Jam review.

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The No. 5909 are premium audio brand Mark Levinson’s first headphones. Yes, they’re expensive at $999 and probably a wee bit overpriced, but they’re excellent. They have a sturdy design without managing to feel hefty on your head (read: they’re substantial, but not heavy) and they’re comfortable to wear over long periods thanks to their nicely padded (and replaceable) leather-covered earcups and headband.

Not only do they have good noise canceling and excellent sound, but their voice-calling performance is top-notch, making them one of the best noise canceling headphones options on the market. Plus, they have multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can pair them with two devices, such as a computer and a phone, simultaneously.

The No. 5909 are high-res certified with support for Sony’s LDAC and Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive codecs that allow for near-lossless streaming over Bluetooth. Apple’s iPhones and iPads don’t support those codecs while certain Android devices do. Using the No. 5909 headphones over Bluetooth on my iPhone 13 Pro, it sounded a tad more natural and refined than the AirPods Max (the No. 5909 had a touch more “pure” and accurate sound).

I did notice a difference when I paired the No. 5909 to my Google Pixel 4 XL, which has support for LDAC, and using the Qobuz audio streaming service that offers high-res streaming. Overall, the sound had a little more depth and texture, and there’s a touch more sparkle, definition and openness.

Read our Mark Levinson No. 5909 review.

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You’re receiving price alerts for Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless (Black)

If you can’t afford Sony’s WH-1000XM5 or Bose QC45, the Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 (yes, there’s a bit of copying going on here) is a good alternative for $150, and we should see occasional discounts on it. While it may not fit some smaller heads, it’s comfortable to wear, with nicely padded ear cups and a dual-hinge folding design. Sound quality is very good and the headphones offer better noise canceling than the step-down Q35, as well as multipoint Bluetooth pairing (these are equipped with Bluetooth 5.3) and support for the LDAC audio codec for streaming high-resolution music tracks over Bluetooth, if you have a device that supports LDAC. Many Android phones do, although Samsung’s Galaxy phones don’t. 

Battery life is very good at up to 50 hours with noise canceling on at moderate volume levels and the headphones come with a hard carrying case for travel.

Jabra

Coming in at 16% smaller than the Elite 75t, the Elite 7 Pro are Jabra’s top-of-the-line earbuds in its new range and include the company’s new MultiSensor Voice technology with a bone-conduction sensor, four microphones and intelligent algorithms to deliver new “ground-breaking call quality,” Jabra says. The voice calling performance doesn’t quite live up to the hype, but Jabra has updated the buds’ firmware and added multipoint Bluetooth pairing and other small improvements. 

These have adjustable active noise cancellation, Jabra’s HearThrough transparency mode and Bluetooth 5.2. They offer up to nine hours’ play time at moderate volume levels with noise canceling on, and nearly three additional charges in the charging case — total battery life is rated at 35 hours. The charging case has wireless charging capabilities.

The earbuds’ IP57 rating means they are dust-resistant and fully waterproof (they can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water). For those who like to use only a single bud, you can also use either bud independently in a mono mode. 

Shokz

You’re receiving price alerts for Shokz OpenRun Pro

AfterShokz has changed its name to Shokz and released new ninth-gen bone-conduction headphones that offer improved bass performance compared to the company’s earlier flagship model, the Aeropex (now called the Shokz OpenRun). That makes the OpenRun Pro the best bone-conduction headphones you can get right now, although they still can’t match the sound quality of traditional headphones.

Bone-conduction wireless headphones don’t go on your ears — they actually deliver sound through your cheekbones. The big benefit of this technology as a safety feature for running is that, thanks to its open design, you can hear what’s going on around you — traffic noise in particular — while listening to music or having a phone conversation (yes, they perform well for voice calls). Also, some race coordinators don’t allow runners to wear anything in their ears, which is where headphones like this come in handy.

They do offer fuller sound with more bass, but it’s an incremental improvement, not a huge leap forward. Like other bone-conduction headphones these are strongest in the midrange where voices live so they’re best for podcasts, talk radio, newscasts and audiobooks. They’re also good for making calls and, like other Shokz models, have multipoint Bluetooth pairing.

Shokz also makes other more affordable models as well. The OpenComm, which integrates a boom microphone, also has multipoint Bluetooth pairing.

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