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USB-C headphones

USB-C headphones may already be a thing of the past, but there are still plenty of people who only have a single port on their phone. If you’re not a fan of wireless headphones, then 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. Whether you want a true pair of earbuds or are just looking for a way to use your favorite pair of cans that you already know with your phone, any of these USB-C headphones should get the job done.

Best USB-C headphones:

  1. Libratone Q Adapt USB-C headphones
  2. OnePlus Type-C Bullets
  3. Razer Hammerhead ANC
  4. AIAIAI TMA-2 MFG4
  5. Get an adapter instead!

Editor’s note: For a more in-depth look at each product listed here as well as some other useful information, make sure to check out the full article over on our sister site Soundguys. We will update this list of the best USB-C headphones as more models roll out onto the market.

1. Libratone Q Adapt USB-C headphones

Pictured are the Libratone Q Adapt earbuds on a Pixel 2.

The Libratone Q Adapt USB-C in-ears are one of the few earbuds Google sells on its own website for the Pixel phones.

Reasons to consider the Libratone Q Adapt USB-C headphones:

  • The Libratone Q Adapt USB headphones feature 4 levels of adjustable active noise cancelling which, while not spectacular, get the job done with the right set of eartips
  • The USB-C port allows for an instant connection to the Google Assistant. 
  • These have the Made for Google certification, so if you have a Pixel phone you can expect them to work perfectly. 
  • The build quality here is pretty great, and these should hold up to everyday wear and tear with little issue. 

2. OnePlus Type-C Bullets – the best bang for your buck

Pictured are the OnePlus Type-C earbuds on top of a bag.

OnePlus brings what they’ve learned by making bang for your buck phones to earbuds with the Type-C bullets.

Reasons to consider the OnePlus Type-C Bullets:

  • While they don’t have the most unique design we’ve ever seen, the OnePlus Type-C Bullets fit surprisingly well especially if you swap in your own ear tips. 
  • At around $25 you’d be hard pressed to find a better pair of USB-C earbuds that work with almost everything. 
  • The slim, flat cable means that you won’t spend the first few minutes of taking them out of your pocket trying to untangle them. 

3. Razer Hammerhead ANC – best for active noise canceling 

Pictured is Adam wearing the Razer Hammerhead USB-C earbuds with the logo glowing.

TheRazer Hammerhead ANC offers some noise cancelling, but it’s the glowing earbuds that steal the show.

Reasons to consider the Razer Hammerhead ANC:

  • Razer pulled no punches with these and the build quality here is top notch.
  • The glowing green Razer logo might be a bit much for some, but if you’re into that sort of thing it is definitely unique.
  • While they’re not going to rival some of the best noise cancelling earbuds, the Razer Hammerhead ANC do offer some decent noise cancelling if you want to block out some ambient noise. 
  • To help better isolate your ears from outside noise, these come with a pair of Comply memory foam ear tips in the box. 

4. AIAIAI TMA-2 MFG4 – best on-ear solution

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.

Reasons to consider the AIAIAI TMA-2 MFG4:

  • The minimal design and all-black aesthetic will appeal to many, not to mention the on-ear design makes these smaller than giant cans and thus more portable. 
  • They have good sound quality and don’t move around on your head too much thanks to the solid clamping force. 
  • Can always upgrade the parts in the future as almost every major component of these headphones is modular. 

5. 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.

Reasons to consider the Master & Dynamic USB-C to 3.5mm audio cable:

  • If you already have a favorite pair of headphones with a removable cable, this is one way to not need to replace the entire thing. 
  • The cable is well-built with a braided fabric that won’t tangle easily and tough metal connectors. 
  • Comes in white or black color options so you can pick the one that matches your style. 

What you should know about USB-C headphones

Pay attention to fit

Huawei freelace earbuds in ear (45 of 60)

How your earbuds fit your ears is always an important factor to consider.

As is the case with all headphones, how they fit your ears is one of the most important 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 to isolate outside sounds will make it easier to hear the music that 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.

What about the Google USB-C headphones?

Google Pixel Buds - wired remote

Unless you got them free with the phone, don’t bother buying the Pixel USB-C earbuds.

In short, don’t bother. 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 OnePlus Type-C Bullets 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 just to get it to listening levels. They’re also somewhat uncomfortable because of the loop adjustment system that basically wedges them in your ear. Again, if you were going to separately buy a pair of these we wouldn’t recommend it.

Universal doesn’t mean compatible

For reasons we can’t explain, some manufacturer’s have decided to ignore the fact that USB-C is supposed to be universal. In our full testing, we found that some headphones simply didn’t play nice with some phones. An example of this is the HTC U-sonic headphones which are incompatible with non-HTC devices. As you can see, those didn’t make this list.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

Under Armour True Wireless Flash JBL: A woman wearing the earbuds.

Editor Lily Katz getting hands-on (ears-on?) experience with a pair of earbuds for her review

SoundGuys is the sibling site to Android Authority, and the team there have made it their goal to bring objective reviews and information to help educate people before they make a purchase they may end up regretting. 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 we come in. Make sure to check it out if you have any interest in all things audio!

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