Best Black Friday 2020 headphone sales: Samsung, Sony, Beats, Jaybird and more deals available now

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This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

The Black Friday deals are already in full swing, and if you’ve been thinking about buying a new pair of headphones, we have you covered. Several of the deals listed here are for some of our favorite models. The sales aren’t limited to just one type of headphone, either — there are excellent bargains on on-ear, over-ear, noise-canceling and true-wireless headphones. 

In some cases, prices for headphones are matching their all-time lows or even dipping below all-time lows. Here are the best headphone deals available right now. I’ll update this list as more models continue to go on sale and other deals expire.

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Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live earbuds came out a few months ago and we’re already seeing them discounted. It’s not a huge discount, but $30 is almost 20% off. They have perhaps the most innovative design of the year and I rated them highly, although the noise canceling is relatively light. A word of warning: While they fit my ears very well, due to their bean-like shape, they won’t work for everybody. Read our Galaxy Buds Live review.


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Sony’s newest noise-canceling headphones — and arguably the top noise-canceling headphones out there — recently went on sale for $300 as part of Amazon’s Prime Day. They’re now available for $278, the lowest price yet. Read our Sony WH-1000XM4 review.

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The Jabra Elite 45h was released a few months ago and is now on sale for $80, 20% off its list price of $100. It’s one of the best on-ear headphone values right now, with very good sound quality, a sturdy design and comfortable fit (for on-ear headphones, anyway). Additionally, it performs very well as a headset for making calls and includes a sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice in the headphones so you don’t talk too loudly. Battery life is also good.

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Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus have been out a while but they remain one of the better true-wireless options for the money, with very good sound, call quality and battery life along with a comfortable fit. They’re a solid value at $110 or $40 off their list price.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus review.

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This is a great price for the Jaybird Vista, a good set of true wireless sports earbuds that really lock in your ears (they’re one of top picks for runners) and are fully waterproof. The Vista has been out a while, so it’s due for an upgrade — maybe that’s why it’s on sale — but if a new model comes out any time soon, it’ll probably cost around $180. The sale ends today (Nov. 17) but could return again. Read our Jaybird Vista review.

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Swedish company Urbanista’s London true-wireless earbuds are a good alternative to the AirPods at less than half the price. Currently, on Amazon, the white version is $100. It had been as low as $80 with a 20%-off instant coupon.

They look a lot like Apple’s AirPods Pro and have noise canceling with a transparency mode, as well as a sensor that detects when you take the earbuds out of your ears and pauses your music. They sound better than the AirPods Pro, with clean, well-balanced sound and punchy, well-defined bass and nice detail. On top of that, they’re good for making calls, with good noise reduction so people hear you well, even if there’s noise in the background.

Their only downside is that their touch controls are somewhat limited and not quite as easy to use as those of the AirPods Pro. They also sound distinctly different when you have them in ambient (transparency) mode and noise-canceling mode. Battery life is rated at five hours — the same as the AirPods Pro — but that’s not as good as some of the latest true wireless earbuds with noise cancellation. The compact charging case, which charges via USB-C, gives you an additional four charges.  

Sony

The WF-XB700 is in the company’s Extra Bass line and lists for $130. I’ve tried them and really liked their fit. Their sound quality doesn’t measure up to that of the WF-1000XM3 or WF-SP800N (it lacks some clarity), but if you like bass, they’re decent-sounding earbuds. I thought they were a little expensive at $130. At $50 off (for the black version), or $79, they’re a much more enticing option. They did hit $68 recently, so that’s not an all-time low. Read our Sony WF-XB700 Extra Bass first take.

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The Beats Solo Pro are a very good set of on-ear noise-canceling headphones. The only issue is they’re overpriced at $300. At $180, they’re downright enticing. This is below the earlier sale price of $200 that we were seeing a few weeks back, but a bit above the $170 we were seeing earlier. Read our Beats Solo Pro review.

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The Beats Powerbeats Pro (list price $250) remains a top true-wireless sports model with many of the same features as Apple’s standard AirPods but in a water-resistant design with better sound. You can get certain colors for as low as $160 (spring yellow). Some other colors are $200 and the moss green color also has been on sale for $160 so keep checking back if it’s not in stock. Read our Beats Powerbeats Pro review.

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The WF-1000XM3 earbuds list for $230 and are now frequently on sale, although $168 is near their low price. They’re still the best-sounding wireless earbuds in this price range and also feature active noise cancellation technology to reduce ambient noise.

The only drawback is the WF-1000XM3 earbuds aren’t rated as sweat-proof or waterproof headphones. That said, I’ve used them for light workouts with a bit of a sweat at the gym without a problem. They use Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC, but not aptX.

Note that we’ve been expecting Sony to release the next-generation WF-1000XM4, but at this point, we may not see those before 2021. Read our Sony WF-1000XM3 review.

Sony

If you can’t afford Sony’s WH-1000XM4, the company’s more entry-level WH-CH710N noise-canceling headphones are available for a nice discount. They don’t offer the sound quality, build quality or noise-canceling performance of Sony’s 1000X models, but at $88 they offer good value for money. I don’t think they’re worth anywhere near $200, their list price.  

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It took a while, but now we finally have a new true wireless noise-canceling sports model from Sony: the WF-SP800N. Funnily enough, I wrote at the end of my mostly positive review that I’d like to see them more in the $160-$175 range. They were recently down to $127, but the current $148 price is still $50 below list, and $20 below their usual street price.

This isn’t quite the WF-1000XM3 with a water-resistant body. It’s missing Sony’s QN1e processor, but there’s still a lot to like about it, including very good sound, solid noise canceling and good call quality. It’s definitely a significant upgrade over the WF-SP700N, which came out in 2018, and its “arcs” (sports fins) lock the buds in your ears. Just make sure you get a tight seal from one of the included ear tips or else both the sound and noise canceling will be lackluster. Read our Sony WF-SP800N review.

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The Jabra Elite 85h is a good value alternative to pricier premium noise-canceling headphones from Bose and Sony. It features good sound, a comfortable fit and excellent voice-calling performance, which makes it a good option for working from home. It was previously on sale for $150 and will return that price starting on Nov. 21. Read our Jabra Elite 85h review.

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Jabra’s Elite Active 75t earbuds are the more rugged version of the Elite 75t, which will also be on sale starting on Nov. 21 (they’ll be $140 or $40 off). They previously hit those price points, so they’re not new lows but near them.

Both models are among the best true wireless earbuds out there and now can be upgraded with active noise canceling via a software upgrade. (New models that shipped to stores recently may already be equipped with the upgrade.)

The Elite Active 75t buds look nearly identical to the Elite 75t, but upon closer inspection, you’ll notice the finish on the case and earbuds is different. Instead of the hard smooth finish of the Elite Active 75t, the Active 75t have a soft-to-the-touch finish with a touch of grip to it. Or, as Jabra put it, they’re “built with a durable coating for dust and sweat resistance and features an increased IP water-resistance rating from IP56 (of the Elite Active 75t) to IP57, making them waterproof.” Read our Jabra Elite Active 75t review.

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Bose’s Noise Canceling 700 Headphones ($379) are the company’s current flagship noise-canceling headphone, but in recent weeks, we’ve seen the older but arguably more comfortable QuietComfort 35 II, get big discounts. It recently dropped to $200, the lowest we’ve seen for it, and it will return to that price on Nov. 20.

Note that with Sony discounting its new WH-1000XM4 to $278, we may see the Noise Canceling 700 Headphones also get some nice discounts as we head into the holidays. Read our QuietComfort 35 II review.

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