Have you been wondering what the outcome of wireless earbuds vs wired would be? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
I have been listening to headphones (mostly earbuds) for 20 years, testing many models in the price range from 100 to 400 dollars. Since a year there is a new player in town, wireless Earbuds. And they have some unique benefits But, as with anything, they are not yet perfect. It’s a good idea to think through your options before you spend hard earned money on them. Let’s look at some of the facts.
Any cordless headphones are going to need batteries to stay on. This is because, without a cord, no electricity goes through to the parts that you wear. So you will need to charge them and make sure they are charged before you need them. If you will be going with the wireless option, you may want to get a spare battery that you can have on hand in case your headphones run out of power. The better models are supplied with a carrying case that also charges them. This allows you to listen for 4 to 6 hours at a time, with 30 minutes of charging in between.
With wired options, in most cases, you don’t have to worry about dealing with batteries. Noise-cancelling headphones do need batteries, though.
Wires to no wires
Wired headphones are a pain to deal with when you think about how much the wire can get in the way. Sometimes the wire can be too short and make it hard for you to move around your device. If the cord is too long, it can be very difficult to work with when you are trying to do something and listen to music at the same time. This is the biggest advantage of wireless over wired earbuds. The first times you are using wireless you will be completely amazed at how much freedom you get. Or, to look at it differently, how much you have been constrained by those wires. If you are playing music from you phone or media player there is almost nothing you can’t do. You can run, lift weights, cycle, mtb, commute, skate, with total freedom.
Connecting to the Source
The quality of music and sound that come through wireless headphones are more limited than their wired counterparts. The problem is that the sound must travel through the air, and there are many things that can get in the way of this signal. You may not be able to be too far away from the device you’re streaming from or else your signal could cut out. Other devices that transmit similar signals can also interfere. Minimizing bluetooth interference.
It is not a very common problem though. You are already using smartphones, tablets and computers that are all sending and receiving signals. However when you listen to music you will notice any hiccup in the sound very easily so the quality of the connection is paramount. This is one area where you can notice the difference between different brands and models.
There is a limit to how much data can be sent over Bluetooth. If you are using a streaming service or Mp3’s then you will not run into problems with this. But it’s not enough to play highres audio file without any degradation.
A big problem with headphones and earbuds is that the wires have to bend and twist a lot and can end up breaking. You probably have had a pair where you stopped being able to hear out of one of the earbuds, and then eventually they both quit working. Sometimes you can replace the wires but you will pay for that. Most wires that I have replaced cost me around half the total price of the set (of earbuds).
A great advantage of using the wireless versions of these is that you simply cannot have that problem.
If you must go with the wired version, you may want to get one with a plug that goes into your device with a right angle so you’re not putting a lot of pressure on the cord when unplugging them. This also wears on the headphone jack in you phone, laptop or Mp3 player.
Stick with wired earbuds if you want to play highres audio without any loss in sound quality. And if you want to listen uninterrupted for as long as your audio player or phone can last.
Go with wireless if you like to move a lot while listening to music. If you are listening to quality streams or Mp3’s and don’t mind taking a 30 minute break from listening once or twice a day. And of course if you like to listen to music in the coolest possible way right now.