Noise-Canceling Headphone Reviews from

I was recently contacted by Elizabeth Reynolds from regarding their analysis of active noise-canceling headphones. For the upper ends of the price range, the headphones listed are definitely solid purchases. As someone partial to Bose, I certainly can’t argue with their placement!

There are a few more affordable headphone options for consideration, though, for those not able to spend $200+ for headphones. I’ve listed a couple of my personal favorites below. All the links below are for Amazon’s Smile, where a portion of your purchases will go to a charity of your choice at no cost to you.

Over The Ear


Audio-Technica ANC7B is my go-to pair when it comes to affordable over-the-ear active noise-canceling headphones. While they go for ~$200 new, you can get factory refurbished headphones for less than half that price. I picked my pair up for $67, and they’re going strong more than a year in! Reducing background noise by 90%, these are amazing for long flights. An added bonus is that you can use the headphones with a dead battery by leaving ANC off. The headphones come with a carrying case, and extra adapters to use them on old-fashioned airline outputs.

Audio-Technica also released an ANC9 version which has 95% reduction. These headphones also have three distinct settings for sound isolation, allowing for greater control over your experience.


TaoTronics also has an over-the-ear offering that is even more affordable coming in at $54. This can further be reduced, for a limited time (with use of coupon code KINJA22J), bringing the final price to $37. In addition to these headphones being wireless (Bluetooth), they have an integrated microphone so you can take phone calls while you use them.


Bose’s QuietComfort25 headphones are currently marked down from $300 to $170, which is an excellent price for a pair that my coworkers have been using since their introduction to the market in 2014. I can safely say you will not regret this purchase.

In The Ear


TaoTronics also has a pair of in-ear headphones. The nice thing about these headphones is that you can charge the embedded battery while using them. This is not common for most ANC headphones, so this is a very nice feature. As with their over-the-ear headphones, this pair has an integrated microphone. For those that want to go wireless, a Bluetooth version is available. Both pairs come in at under $60.


It should come as no surprise that I also mention Audio-Technica’s ANC23 in-ear headphones. Offering an in-ear 90% isolation solution with a comfortable fit, it’s hard to say no for $40!

New Camera!

It’s not news that I have a bit of a problem when it comes to technology… I really like my toys! I even like reading about toys I have no intention of buying (curse you, responsibilities!), just to geek out over the underlying hardware.

After playing with my girlfriend’s Canon DSLR, I was quite impressed with what you can do with a real camera instead of just a phone (as convenient as it is). This, in turn, launched me into an investigation of Mirrorless and MFT (Micro Four Thirds) cameras that I could use while traveling. While comparing the different form factors, I was able to learn quite a bit about camera sensors and crop factors, angle of view, and exposure bracketing.

The Winner: Fuji X-E2


The FujiFilm X-E2!

After a great deal of deliberation and reading reviews on usability (digging through menus versus dials, extensive documentation, etc.), lens support (3rd party, and so on), and the underlying hardware, I settled on the Fuji X-E2. Using Amazon Smile, I found a used body and 18-55mm lens for only $580. As I was flying through JFK, I had a hard time saying no to seeing the SkyDeck. 😀

Sky Deck at JFK Terminal 4 Sky Club

All the images below are straight JPEG captures from my camera. While the RAW images were nice, I was so impressed with the JPEG that I didn’t feel it necessary to do any real post-processing. If you are curious, here is an HDR image of the Sky Deck created using exposure bracketing (+/-1EV).

HDR created through Corel AfterShot Pro

Here is what a similar post processed (exposure bracketed +/-1EV) HDR image of the Delta B764 looks like, if you are curious.

HDR created through Corel AfterShot Pro

Overall I am thoroughly pleased with what this camera can do, and I already have a few lens purchases planned for next year.

The Runner-Up: Sony α6000

Sony α6000

While digging through all the reviews and various photoblogs, I came across a lot of high praise for Sony’s alpha line of mirrorless cameras. The α5100 and α6000 had quite a few fans scattered throughout the internet, and the continuous shooting (11fps on the α6000!) and impressive Hybrid (Phase Detection + Contrast) Auto-Focus certainly do impress. The α5100 wasn’t really an option for me since being force to use only an LCD is fairly limiting when you are outside in the sun (as with day-time shots at airports). The Electronic View Finder (EVF) on the α6000 is a much bigger selling point to me than the continuous shooting speed improvement, if I had to pick between the two.

What I found interesting was that the Hybrid Auto Focus has iffy success with the E-mount lenses (even though they are officially supported with one another). The other big problems with the α6000 come down to the lack of in-depth documentation on the various settings (which Fuji has a-plenty, thankfully), and the more “point and shoot” nature of the dials. All of that said, the same things that fall into the “cons” column for me might be seen as “pros” for other users. I can see this as an excellent transition camera, but it lacked the control that Fuji exposes in a more user-friendly manner. I’ve included a few lens recommendations if you’re interested. Give it a gander!

Lens Recommendations


Honorable Mention: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk2

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

Winning the Wirecutter “best mid-range mirrorless” title, Olympus’s E-M10 Mk2 is an impressive piece of technology. The main reasons for this are the fact that it is an MFT (or m43, or μ43, etc.) camera, so it has access to over 70 (relatively speaking) inexpensive lenses and has 5-axis In Body Image Stabilization. There are quite a few features that would be nice for folks interested in video capture and time-lapse (4k time-lapse capture, 60p video capture, and quite a few other perks were introduced). In the end, though, the sensor size is simply too small for what I would like to do, so I opted for the larger APS-C model by Fuji. As with the Sony, above, I’ve listed a few lens recommendations below. One thing to note is that since this camera has stabilization within the body itself, be sure to turn it (or the lens stabilization) off if you use a lens that also has image stabilization. This is most common with Panasonic lenses as they have image stabilization which the bodies lack. If using an Olympus lens with an Olympus body, the camera does all the work for you.

Lens Recommendations

So – there you have it. I look forward to playing with my new toy over the coming weeks, especially over Thanksgiving and Christmas!

What do you travel with?

SkyRoam – Unboxing

Affiliate Link Note: If you use my link to SkyRoam, you’ll get $20 off your purchase (to buy, not rent), and I’ll get a few free days! You certainly don’t have to… but I wouldn’t object!

A few days ago, I posted that I was purchasing a SkyRoam [Affiliate Link] hotspot. It came in on Friday and I thought I would share the unboxing!

The packaging itself
The packaging itself

The hotspot arrived in neat looking packaging – very compact as you would expect. Contained within the package was the battery – rated at providing roughly 8 hours of use before recharging is necessary, the charging cable – standard MicroUSB, and the hotspot itself.

SkyRoam package contents: hotspot, Lithium-Ion battery, charging cable
SkyRoam package contents: hotspot, Lithium-Ion battery, charging cable
The hotspot itself
The hotspot itself
Orange back!
Orange back!

The hotspot is a sleek looking black-and-orange device with blue lighting for the buttons.

I’m really looking forward to using this overseas – registration of the device was a breeze!

SkyRoam Hotspot

Affiliate Link Note: If you use my link to SkyRoam, you’ll get $20 off your purchase (to buy, not rent), and I’ll get a few free days! You certainly don’t have to… but I wouldn’t object!

I’ll be doing some international travel this winter with my girlfriend and to maintain the level of connectivity that we have grown accustomed to, I decided to give SkyRoam [Affiliate Link] a go!

For $99.99 ($79.99 if you use my link, above), you get unlimited Wi-Fi in a variety of countries, including the UK, Qatar, and India – all of which we’ll be traveling through this December and January. That said, the price is only for the device itself, and you pay on a day-by-day basis beyond that.

I came across this product through a poster to  The Frugal Travel Guy blog, Caroline Lupini, who recently tested this in Uzbekistan! The other draw is that you are limited to 350MB/day before your speed drops, but again, for basic connectivity (email, blogging, and so on) that is plenty!

I’ll be sure to report back after giving SkyRoam [Affiliate Link] a shot this winter!

What do you do when you travel internationally?

Step Up Your Headphone Game

After years of traveling without active-noise cancelling, I decided it was time to take the step and move from sound-isolating earbuds to over-the-ear headphones. Though not the quintessential Bose QuietComfort25 [affiliate link], I am thrilled with my Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B [affiliate link].

I detailed some features of the ATH-ANC7B below, as well as some other headphones and earbuds that might appeal to you. Let me know what you use in the air!


The ATH-ANC7B has a microphone on each ear-cup offering a solid 90% noise-cancellation in addition to the noise-isolation that the cups themselves provide. These headphones come with two lines as well as a sturdy carrying case.

The Case
The Case
Cable Compartment! So much cleaner.
Cable Compartment! So much cleaner.
ANC Powered Off
ANC Powered Off
ANC Powered On
ANC Powered On

One thing to keep in mind is that the version of the ATH-ANC7B that I purchased does not have an in-line microphone for phone calls. For that, you would have to use the ATH-ANC7B SVIS [affiliate link].

Bose QuietComfort 25 [affiliate link]

In addition to an amazing feel on your head, the QuietComfort 25 comes with an in-line microphone and some of the best noise-cancellation and built-in equalization available. Boasting upwards of 30 hours of use on a single AAA battery, few headphones come close. This makes it ideal for long days of flying!

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 [affiliate link]

The ATH-ANC7B’s big brother! In addition to the comfort of the ATH-ANC7B, the ATH-ANC9 offers three different isolation profiles that target specific frequencies common to various environments: airplane, office, and study. The noise-cancellation is more advanced, as well, coming in at 95%. This is achieved by the presence of two microphones on each ear-cup.

Bose QuietComfort QC20 [affiliate link]

The QC20s are the in-ear version of the QC25. Though it lacks the additional isolation provided by the over-the-ear form of the QC25, the proprietary eartips make a big difference. I strongly advise against using these for the gym, however. There is nothing more frustrating than damaging expensive technology because a weight rolled over it! Though they are pricey, you do get what you pay for.

BeoPlay H3 [affiliate link]

The BeoPlay H3 by Bang & Olufsen is easily on-par with the Bose QC20. Unlike the other headphones listed here, the H3 uses a built-in Lithium Ion battery that offers 20 hours of ANC playback. You get the stylistic appeal and quality audio that B&O is known for, along with memory-foam tips on the earbuds.

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23 [affiliate link]

Don’t discount this pair from its price alone. The ATH-ANC23 boasts a solid 90% noise reduction for less than $60! You also get a carrying bag, extra ear-pieces so you can ensure a comfortable fit, and an extra adapter to use on planes that use the two-pronged audio plug. If you would like to have earbuds with a microphone, you will need to opt for the ATH-ANC33iS [affiliate link], though.

Travel Charger

I can’t say enough good things about the eneloop Rechargeable Battery Pack by Panasonic [affiliate link]. Other than the B&O H3, all headphones listed above use AAA batteries, and having a charger you can travel with is crucial. Amazon makes a charger with USB port [affiliate link] if you have Ni-MH batteries already. Both chargers will handle AAA and AA batteries, so you are set for other devices you have that need them, as well.