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What are the best USB-C headphones?

The headphone jack is dead, long live the headphone jack. Instead, here are the best USB-C headphones to try.
By
December 24, 2021
USB-C headphones

USB-C headphones never took off as a replacement for 3.5mm headphones, but plenty of people still need them for wired listening. If you’re not a fan of wireless headphones and don’t have a headphone jack, that leaves you with USB-C headphones as your only option. While the category had a slow start and an even quicker death, there are still a few notable options that might be worth your money depending on what you’re looking for. Here are our picks for the very best USB-C headphones you can buy.

Best USB-C headphones:

  1. Shure AONIC 50
  2. OnePlus Type-C Bullets
  3. Razer Hammerhead ANC
  4. 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro
  5. AIAIAI TMA-2 MFG4
  6. Get an adapter instead!

Editor’s note: For a more in-depth look at each product listed here, as well as some other helpful information, make sure to check out the full article over on our sister site SoundGuys


1. Shure AONIC 50 — best on-ear option

A picture of the Shure Aonic 50 noise cancelling headphones lifestyle
Lily Katz / Android Authority

One of the few new options on the list, the Shure AONIC 50 headphones are our top on-ear pick for the flexibility they offer. You can choose from USB-C, 3.5mm Aux, and Bluetooth connections so you can listen comfortably from just about any device. Lily Katz put the AONIC 50 through their in-depth paces, and you can read all of her thoughts right here. They’ll cost you more than any other pair on this list, but the AONIC 50 boast up to 20 hours of battery life and support for all of the most popular codecs.

Highlights:

  • Choose between Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5mm aux, and USB-C connectivity.
  • Large removable earpads are easy to clean and replace.
  • High-end sound is excellent for working from home or commuting.

2. Samsung AKG earbuds — best bang for your buck

usb c samsung akg
Amazon

USB-C earbuds don’t have to break the bank to fit the bill — take the Samsung AKG earbuds, for example. You should be able to find a pair for around $15 on sale, and they more than justify the price tag. All of Samsung’s latest Galaxy Buds are tuned by AKG as well, so you know that sound quality should be no issue. The built-in DAC, interchangeable eartips, and volume controller should make it even easier to perfect your listening experience.

Highlights:

  • Can typically be had for just $15.
  • Tuned by AKG.

3. Logitech G333 — best for gaming

usb c logitech g333
Logitech

These headphones from Logitech are slightly cheating when it comes to USB-C options. They feature a standard 3.5mm connector as well as a dongle in the box for easy adaptation. You also get three sets of interchangeable ear tips and a handy carrying pouch to keep your earbuds close at hand. Logitech packed dual drivers into the tiny form factor, which means that you should catch the lows, mids, and highs without much trouble.

Highlights:

  • Dual drivers to cover lows, mids, and highs
  • Included USB-C dongle for easy adaptation
  • Plenty of colors to choose from

4. 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro — best wireless earbuds

1More Dual ANC Pro 8 1024x576
Adam Molina / Android Authority

It’s not cheating if headphones can connect via USB-C, but you’d rather use them with Bluetooth, right? These earbuds from 1More take a behind-the-neck approach that keeps the wires completely out of your way. You can choose between two levels of noise-cancelling for the best experience, and an IPX5 rating means that these ‘buds should stand up to your daily life. While USB-C playthrough is possible with the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro, it’s easier to plug in these USB-C headphones for three hours of playback on 10 minutes of charging.

Highlights:

  • Three hours of playback after 10 minutes of charging.
  • IPX5 rating ensures that you can put these earbuds to the test.
  • The wireless design allows for USB-C playback or Bluetooth connection.

5. AIAIAI TMA-2 MFG4

Pictured are the AIAIAI TMA-2 MFG4 USB-C headphones on a dummy head.
AIAIAI teamed up with Google for these USB-C headphones with the release of the Pixel 3.

While these AIAIAI USB-C headphones may be one of the older options on the list, they were designed with Google for enduring quality. Originally launched alongside the Pixel 3, the TMA-2 MFG4 headphones have a timeless minimalist design and modular options for all main components. You can easily upgrade with the latest parts while keeping a comfortable frame that you know and love. 

Highlights:

  • The minimalist black design is appealing, and the on-ear design keeps the size down.
  • Good sound quality, and don’t move around on your head too much.
  • Can always upgrade parts as almost every major component is modular.

6. Master & Dynamic adapter — perfect if you already have a favorite pair of headphones 

Hero image of the Master & Dynamic USB-C to 3.5mm cable.
The Master & Dynamic cable is a well-built connector that can plug right into any headphones with a 3.5mm input.

You don’t have to spend money on a new set of headphones to find a perfect USB-C setup. If you already have your perfect match, why not just grab an adapter and keep things simple? That way, you can save the presets and EQ that you may have already tuned without taking much extra time. The braided design feels luxurious, and it ensures that your cable can handle bends and folds for a long time to come.

Highlights:

  • Keep your favorite pair of headphones and update the connector.
  • The cable is braided for durability, and metal components should handle wear and tear.
  • Comes in white or black color options so you can match your style.

What should you know about USB-C headphones?

Pay attention to fit

Huawei freelace earbuds in ear (45 of 60)

As is the case with all headphones, how they fit your ears is one of the most essential aspects. This is doubly true with earbuds. When you don’t have a proper fit, not only do you have to worry about them constantly falling out, but you’re also going to have a lot of outside noise to contend with. Having earbuds that help isolate outside sounds will make it easier to hear the music you actually want to listen to. Isolation is key, and it’s the reason why people spend extra to get a good pair of earpads or ear tips for their favorite headphones.

Universal doesn’t mean compatible

We can’t explain why some manufacturers have decided to ignore the fact that USB-C is supposed to be universal. In our full testing, we found that some headphones didn’t play nice with some phones. An example of this is the HTC U-sonic headphones which are incompatible with non-HTC devices.

We’re essentially saying that if the ‘buds didn’t make this list, then it might be a good idea to stay away. There’s nothing worse than buying a new set of USB-C headphones and finding out that they don’t work.

What about the Google USB-C headphones?

Google Pixel Buds - wired remote

In short, don’t bother to buy a pair. While we were looking forward to Google releasing their own inexpensive pair of USB-C earbuds and providing a good option, the ‘buds that come with the Pixel phone are far from perfect. That said, nothing beats the price tag of “free,” but if you were going to go out of your way to purchase these, don’t bother. Just go with the Samsung AKG earbuds instead.

While access to the Google Assistant at the press of a button is pretty nifty, it doesn’t make up for the terrible isolation resulting in you maxing out the volume on your phone to get it to listening levels. They’re also somewhat uncomfortable because of the loop adjustment system that basically wedges them in your ear. 

Why should you trust SoundGuys?

Under Armour True Wireless Flash JBL: A woman wearing the earbuds.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

SoundGuys is the sibling site to Android Authority, and the team there has made it their goal to bring objective reviews and information to help educate people before they make a purchase they may regret. How you listen to music and enjoy sound is subjective, but the technical aspects of a pair of headphones or a Bluetooth speaker can be measured objectively. That’s where SoundGuys come in. Make sure to check it out if you have any interest in all things audio!