Best fast pair headphones for your Android phone Android Central 2021
Fast Pair is a technology that lets you quickly pair your best wireless earbuds and best wireless headphones to your Android phone without having to dig through multiple menus. Instead, simply place them into pairing mode and bring your headphones and phone close together. There aren't too many options on the market (yet), but the Harman Kardon Fly are the best we can find, thanks to their overall battery life, sound quality, and comfort. Here are some of our other favorites for the best Fast Pair headphones for Android.
- Best overall: Harman Kardon Fly ANC
- Best battery life: JBL Live 650 BTNC
- Best neckbud: 1More Dual Driver BT ANC - Silver
- Best value: Google Pixel Buds A-Series - Olive
- Best integration: Google Pixel Buds (2020)
- Best Active Noise Canceling: Bose QC35 II - Black
Best overall: Harman Kardon Fly ANC
Harman Kardon makes headphones under its own branding, though you may not have known that, given the Samsung subsidiary's penchant for in-car audio. These were some of the very first headphones to support Google's Fast Pair feature, so you can bet the quick pairing process leads to a good head start. JBL is a Harman property, so there are some similarities here.
The Fly ANC produce sound quality on par with JBL cans in the same price range, which is to say that they pump out enough bass to satiate most tastes. The mids and highs complement the noticeable low-end, but unlike some JBL headphones, these are more balanced out of the gate. Of course, you can always play around with the equalizer in the My Harman/Kardon app to get more of the sound you're looking for. Active noise cancelation (ANC) also holds up well, doing an adequate job blocking out most background noise.
Battery life is pretty decent at up to 20 hours per charge, and offer up fast charging to go with that. Plug-in via USB-C for 15 minutes, and they can play for up to 2.5 hours. So while there are plenty of headphones at the same price (or cheaper) that outdo the Fly ANC on battery life, at least you won't be waiting too long to get them back up and playing again.
That extra playing time matters more when they're comfortable to wear, which should be the case here. The over-ear design comes with a fair amount of cushioning to keep things sturdy yet lightweight at the same time. If you like, you can also use these headphones as wired cans with the included cable, plus the additional adapter for airplane in-flight entertainment systems.
- Good sound profile
- ANC support
- Quality build
- Comfortable fit
- Wireless and wired playback
- EQ through app
- Battery life could be better
- Only one mic for ANC
Best battery life: JBL Live 650 BTNC
The JBL Live 650 BTNC's strong suit is battery life with up to 30 hours of audio playback on a single charge. There's no fast charging, which is unfortunate, and the 650 BTNC use micro-USB for charging. This means that once they die, you're looking at waiting around two hours for a full charge. However, the headphones should last you for a few days before needing to recharge, even if you use them for 10 hours straight.
The sound quality is quite good. The overall bass is boosted, which makes the sound signature warm. However, the rest of the sound signature is balanced. Dynamic range is excellent, and their soundstage is pretty bad, being narrow and unnatural sounding.
Comfort is decent. You won't experience any ear fatigue or discomfort when they're on your head, but you may experience your ears getting warm after extended listening sessions. This means you'll likely be taking breaks after a few hours of usage to let your ears cool down. That being said, the Live 650 BTNC are relatively portable, as the ear cups can fold and swivel to stay flat.
The Live 650 BTNC feature active noise-cancelation (ANC), and it's exactly where you expected it to be — just as good as previous generation Sony and Bose ANC headphones. It'll drown out most consistent, low-end noises but will struggle with pretty much everything else. The Live 650 are fantastic for traveling in this regard.
- Long battery life
- Good ANC performance
- Solid, warm sound
- Earcups fold for portability
- Micro-USB for charging
- Ear cups get warm
Best neckbud: 1More Dual Driver BT ANC
If you're looking for Fast Pair neckbuds, the 1More Dual Driver BT ANC are right up your alley. One of the Dual Driver BT ANC's major strong suits is battery life, with up to seven hours on a single charge. The buds charge over USB-C and even offer a wired mode when your battery is low with a USB-C to 3.5mm cable. Unfortunately, you can't charge and listen wired at the same time because there's only one USB-C port on the buds.
Comfort-wise, the Dual Driver BT ANC are exceptional. Thanks to their neckbud design, the buds rest around your neck when not in use. There's no special sauce here either; the buds simply go in your ears. No wings or hooks to worry about. So it's unlikely that you'll experience any discomfort or fatigue with them. You can, however, turn them off by magnetically attaching the two buds.
The Dual Driver BT ANC feature active noise-cancelation (ANC) as well. Their ANC performance is as expected from a set of earbuds. It aids with passive isolation, but it won't blow anyone away. It's great for reducing background noise, especially while commuting, but we wouldn't recommend flying with these.
In terms of sound, they are OK at best. The bass is only slightly boosted but is still balanced all around. The midrange is a bit uneven and bizarre across the board. The treble is overall recessed, giving the Dual Driver BT ANC a warm, forward sound that lacks quite a bit of air due to the lack of treble. However, the dynamic range is excellent, and the soundstage is decent for a set of earbuds.
- Solid battery life
- Wired audio option
- USB-C for charging
- Excellent comfort
- ANC performance could be better
- Sound is decent
Best value: Google Pixel Buds A-Series
These might seem a bit expensive to be considered "value" earbuds in this list, but they prove themselves in many other ways. For one, the Pixel Buds A-Series are virtually the same as the 2020 Pixel Buds, save for a couple of features that have nothing to do with either integration or sound quality. Second, they work seamlessly with Android. Just open the case the first time, and with one tap, they're paired to most modern Android phones.
And like their very similar siblings, you can access Google Assistant hands-free by just verbally calling for it. Or you can use a quick gesture on the earbuds themselves to do it. A dedicated app (or settings on Pixel devices) gives you access to some extra audio features, like Bass Boost and Adaptive Sound. Unfortunately, you won't get ANC or an ambient mode, though you get a pretty good fit to be comfortable with.
Transcribe mode helps Spanish, French, Italian, and German speakers translate into English. The opposite also works, improving how English speakers get translations from those languages too. With Sharing Detection, you can share one of your earbuds with someone, letting you each control volume individually.
Battery life isn't great, but at least they can charge relatively quickly via USB-C. Too bad wireless charging is one of the things you have to sacrifice to get a lower price.
- Wireless charging case & USB-C wired charging
- Integration with Android and Google Assistant
- Good sound
- Lightweight build
- Fantastic media controls
- Lacks active noise cancelation
- Battery life could be longer
- Comfort might not be great for everyone
- No wireless charging case
Best integration: Google Pixel Buds (2020)
Both the Pixel Buds (2020) and the first-generation Pixel Buds feature Fast Pair support. However, the first-generation Pixel Buds are discontinued and replaced by the true wireless Pixel Buds (2020), which is for the best.
The biggest draw with the Pixel Buds (2020) is that they integrate super well with the Google Assistant and Android devices. You'll be able to call up the Assistant hands-free and via a tap and hold gesture on the earbuds themselves. You'll get Fast Pair, which allows you to pair your Pixel Buds to your Android smartphone quickly.
The buds feature five hours of battery life on a single charge, with up to 24 hours with the charging case, which charges over USB-C and is wireless charging capable. The buds feature all of the standard battery life quotas and charging formats people have come to expect from true wireless earbuds.
They're comfortable for most, but some may find them extremely uncomfortable since they use an integrated wing and bud design, and the wing can't be adjusted. This means that the wing sometimes gets pushed up against your ear. The sound quality is also good, though they lack some treble making them sound hollow on certain tracks.
- Long battery life
- Wireless charging & USB-C
- Great integration with Google Assistant
- Great sound
- Can be uncomfortable for some
- Lack some treble
Best active noise-canceling: Bose QC35 II
It's no secret that Bose makes some of the best active noise-canceling (ANC) headphones on the market. While the new NCH 700 don't support Fast Pair, the older QC35 II do. So they're still a solid choice, despite being a few years old.
In terms of sound, the QC35 II are great. Their sound signature overall is very balanced, with minor inconsistencies most people won't hear. However, where they fall short is in dynamic range and soundstage. The lack of dynamic range can make the treble sound a bit sharp and piercing, and the soundstage is decent but relatively small compared to other closed-back, over-ear headphones.
Battery life is solid, with up to 20 hours of battery life on a single charge. The QC35 II charge over Micro-USB instead of USB-C, which is fine considering that the QC35 II is a couple of years old.
Comfort is where the QC35 II shine. If you're generally not a fan of over-ear headphones, the QC35 II might change your mind. They are the de-facto set of headphones when it comes to comfort. You won't experience discomfort or fatigue (other than an overload of treble) with them.
- Excellent sound quality
- Superb comfort
- Great battery life
- Great ANC
- Micro-USB for charging
- Treble-forward sound can be fatiguing for some
Fast Pair headphones are relatively rare as many manufacturers haven't adopted the technology yet. And the ones that do seem to treat it as an afterthought, often forgetting about the feature between generations.
However, the Harman Kardon Fly ANC are excellent headphones that provide dependable sound, good comfort, ANC, and decent battery life. While battery life could be better and may not be ideal for wearing them while active, they're just a great all-around pair of headphones.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar.
Peter Cao spends more time than he's willing to admit listening and analyzing music and headphones. When not on the clock, he's probably still doing the same, playing basketball, or playing video games.
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