Headphones have never been as popular as it is today. In this modern era of apps and mobile technology, owning a pair provides lots of benefits even for the casual listener.
Wireless technologies come with modernization. This makes 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC as sought-after features for any audio device. They can sometimes be seen as status symbols, in the sense that seeing something wired could make a device look inferior or out-of-date.
However, even with the advancement of technology, wired headphones are not going anywhere. The utilization of wired headphones is still very much alive especially for those who truly understand audio.
To better understand it, here are five things to consider between wireless and wired headphones before finally purchasing one.
- Sound Quality
The quality of sound produced is the first thing to consider if you are choosing between wireless and wired headphones. This is crucial because listening to sounds or music is the main reason for having headphones in the first place.
Despite what you may have heard, wired and wireless headphones do not produce the same sound quality. One should realize that there are things called connectivity loss and signal interference when using wireless devices.
This is not to say that wired headphones are better than wireless ones. It just means that when using wireless headphones, you should be aware that there is a real chance of signal loss or interference that may affect the sound quality and output. Also, you must understand that you cannot expect the same sound quality you get from wired models from wireless ones.
The connectivity loss or interference you may experience in wireless earpieces would depend on your location. Your proximity from the actual smartphone or any media player you are using would also be a factor.
It is a scientific fact that signals cannot travel from one point to another wirelessly without having any losses or risking any delays.
However, the issue of too much connectivity loss and signal interference can easily be fixed just by keeping your smart device nearby. Putting your phone in your pocket or clipping it to your belt will help a lot in keeping the audio quality as high as possible.
On the other hand, wired headphones are not that prone to either connectivity loss or signal interference. This is why most professional audio practitioners prefer using wired headsets when performing their job.
Most high-end, hi-fidelity headphones are wired by design. If you are a serious audiophile who could sacrifice mobility for higher sound quality, then wired headphones may be more appropriate for you.
- Convenience and Mobility
This is the category wherein wireless headphones naturally beat wired headsets. It is easy to see that wireless earpieces are more portable and convenient. If you are someone who likes to move around and still bring your music device with you, then going wireless would be the better option.
Sure enough, both wireless and wired headphones are portable in the sense that you can both bring them anywhere with you. However, wireless ones are more movable as your earpieces and smartphone can be separated, and you still get to listen to your music. Wireless headphones give you more freedom to move around without worrying that they might slide out of your ears.
This is a great advantage if you are running, jogging, or just simply doing physical activities and you do not want your audio player to weigh you down. Moreover, wireless earpieces fit more snugly in the ear. It would also not get in your way when trying to wipe the sweat off of your forehead during workouts.
Earphone wires always have the tendency to get tangled both during use and in storage. Sometimes, they also hang loose and get caught in sports gear. While wires really help headphones emit crisper and more enjoyable sounds, they could also become irritating for some people.
Wired headphones could still be portable enough to bring with you during your daily commute. You could also perform physical activities with it if you do not mind cleaning those wire strands after absorbing sweat following your workouts.
Caring for your headphone wires is crucial for it to last longer. You have to be careful in using it as well, as it may lodge into something and rip if you play around too much.
If you are not training or working out and you still want to enjoy higher sound quality, then wired earpieces are fine to use even when you are on the move. It is indeed a matter of how much convenience you can sacrifice for a better listening experience.
Compatibility is something you should learn ahead of time. Before deciding what type of headphones to buy, you need to ensure that the earpieces you want can be properly linked to your existing media player.
Wired headphones may need additional accessories or adapters for it to function together with other audio devices. An example of this is the iPhone 7. Because the iPhone 7 does not come with a headphone jack, a separate adapter is needed to connect the 3.5 mm headphone wires to it.
Meanwhile, wireless headsets are compatible with any other smartphones or media players as long as both are Bluetooth-enabled. Most wireless earpieces, even the older ones, can still be linked even with the newest Bluetooth devices.
However, some smartphones do not carry a Bluetooth compatibility feature. In this case, there is simply no way you can use wireless headphones with it.
- Power Source
Wireless headphones have a separate battery pack to power it. Meanwhile, most wired ones get their power straight from the audio device where it is connected.
I say “most” because some wired headphones still require the use of batteries in order to cancel out noise while using it. Most of the time, two AA or four AAA batteries are needed to power it. Rechargeable batteries can also be used for more convenience.
Wireless earpieces always need the same batteries to work because they are separated from any power supply. Some wireless headphones feature an in-device rechargeable battery, like the ones used in mobile phones, which means it needs a USB cable to recharge.
When looking for wireless options, make sure that it has power-saving features that could prolong its battery life. Also, be sure that it comes with its own charger, so you no longer have to worry about it.
Typically, the battery life of wired headphones lasts longer than those of their wireless counterparts. The wired ones may last from 20 to 30 hours depending on the usage. Wireless models only last about 8 to 12 hours, but some upmarket Bluetooth earpieces claim their battery life last up to 40 hours.
Wireless headphones are indeed more portable and convenient to use. However, some users find it burdensome having to charge another device aside from their smartphone or media player, and so they settle for wired headphones.
Then again, there are headphones right now that combine both wired and wireless capabilities. These products come with a connectible 3.5 mm cable in case the wireless earpieces lose their charge. This way, a user can avoid the frustration of having their batteries die in the middle of a song or podcast.
In general, wireless headphones are more expensive than wired headphones. Sometimes, the price is almost double for a wireless version of an earpiece with the same features. This is because wireless technology is more costly to produce. The added portability and convenience, plus the needed software and OS to make it work, do add to the production cost.
Also, wireless earpieces come with other unique features such as having the control buttons built-in on the device itself. This also adds to the cost of production.
This feature allows you to control the device without having to access your smartphone or media player. For instance, when you have to take a call while jogging, you no longer have to pull out your iPhone to answer the said call. Moreover, you can change your music directly using the headphones while running without needing to access your player.
If you are someone who wants to enjoy those benefits, then spending a little more on wireless tech would be all right. This is especially true for people who use headphones on a regular basis, perhaps to connect with family or listen to music while traveling or working.
Meanwhile, if you look at it based on feature-for-feature or price vs. performance comparisons, then wired earpieces are evidently more cost-effective than the wireless ones. Despite the limited mobility that wired headphones provide, the negation of signal interference and recession of connectivity issues make it a worthwhile purchase.
For someone on a tight budget, wired headphones are more practical because they are still portable, although not as portable as wireless models. Plus, the advantage of not having to buy batteries for your earpieces would also help you save money in the long run.
What Lifestyles Suit Best for Wired Headphones?
Finding the right headphones for yourself would mean assessing your own lifestyle. This is the first thing to figure out before looking for the best brands or models.
What are your day-to-day activities? Who are the people you hang out with most of the time? Do you often spend time at home or are you always traveling? These are just some of the questions to answer before buying a set of headphones.
Whether it is wireless or wired, you can only make the most out of your earpieces if it suits your daily regime.
The following are some of the best lifestyles for using wired headphones:
- Office workers – People who spend most of their time in cubicles would benefit most from having wired headsets. Those who have full-time desk jobs could take full advantage of the sound quality produced by wired products.They can simply connect their headphones to their mobile phones or laptops, and it would not get in the way of actual work. Listening to music while doing paperwork could even make them finish their jobs faster and more efficient.
- Audio Fanatics – If you are someone who prioritize sound quality more than anything else, then wired headphones are the only way to go. Pure audiophiles, including professionals such as disc jockeys and musicians, only want the best quality of sound produced when listening to their music.They are ready to sacrifice freedom of movement for the sake of enhancing sound output.
However, you do not have to be a professional to want to enjoy supreme sound quality.
Imagine sitting comfortably in your living room, wearing your high-end headphones, and listening to memorable music as you relax after a long day at the office. It is indeed the perfect way to end a day of hard work.
- People with Hearing Problems – People who have a hard time hearing would benefit from the sound quality produced by wired headphones.
What Lifestyles Suit Best for Wireless Headphones?
Here are the best lifestyles appropriate for wireless headphones:
- Traveler Junkies – Wireless headphones are essential for people who love to travel. The comfort and convenience of not having to manage tangled wires while on the road makes it a whole lot different.
- Sports Lovers – Both professional athletes and casual sports lovers can both benefit from having wireless earpieces during training. Wireless headphones allow you to perform cardio and strength workouts undisturbed by twisted and dangling wires.
- Video Gamers – Avid gamers would be able to level up their gaming experience with wireless headphones. Because of better mobility, users could feel like they are really a part of the game’s action. Wireless earpieces would also allow gamers to increase the distance between them and the TV monitor if they want to.
Both wired and wireless headphones have their own advantages and disadvantages. No type is particularly better or superior to the other. Picking the best earpieces really depends on your own lifestyle choices.
Examining yourself and understanding your own routine will allow you to maximize your budget.
If you are a professional or a simple music lover who enjoys sound quality at the expense of portability, then wired headphones are for you. If you are more of an adventure-type person who is always out on the road, then wireless pieces could be your best choice.
Then again, owning both types of headphones is not a bad idea if your budget can handle it.
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