With the OnePlus 6T ditching the headphone jack, consumers are yet again robbed of the choice to listen through wired headphones. Yes, OnePlus includes a dongle with its new flagship, but companies like Apple force users buy one separate for wired listening. Surely, there must be a reason companies are punishing loyal consumers, right? We’ve been given plenty of reasons, but they’re not valid.
1: Ditching the headphone jack affords larger batteries
This one makes sense. After all, if the headphone jack was taking up too much space, and nixing it meant a bigger battery, great. Plus, there are plenty of truly wireless earbuds available, so it’s all good, right? It’s a rational point, sure, but it isn’t true.
Let’s look at the HTC U11.
As depicted by the chart below, the HTC U11 houses a 3,000mAh battery and lacks a headphone jack. However, its predecessor, the HTC 10 features a headphone jack and a 3,000mAh battery. In all fairness, math has never been my strong suit, but I can confidently say 3,000 equals 3,000.
|Headphone jack||Dimensions (mm)||Weight (g)||Battery (mAh)||Display (in)||Dual-lens||MicroSD card slot|
|OnePlus 6||✔||155.7 x 75.4 x 7.75||117||3,330||6.28"||✔||✘|
|OnePlus 5||✔||154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25||153||3,300||5.5"||✔||✘|
|Google Pixel 2 XL||✘||157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9||175||3,520||6"||✘||✘|
|Google Pixel XL||✔||154.7 × 75.7 × 8.5||168||3,450||5.5"||✘||✘|
|iPhone X||✘||143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7||174||2,716||5.85"||✘||✘|
|iPhone 8||✘||138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3||148||1,821||4.7"||✘||✘|
|iPhone 6||✔||138.1 x 67 x 6.9||129g||1,810||4.7"||✘||✘|
|Samsung Note 9||✔||161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8||201||4,000||6.4"||✔||✔|
|Samsung Galaxy S9||✔||147.7 x 68.7 x 8.5||163||3,000||5.8"||✘||✔|
|LG G7 ThinQ||✔||153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9||162||3,000||6.1"||✔||✔|
|LG V30||✔||151.6 x 75.4 x 7.4||158||3,300||6"||✔||✔|
|HTC U11||✘||153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9||169||3,000||5.5"||✘|
|HTC 10||✔||145.9 x 71.9 x 9||161||3,000||5.2"||✘||✔|
|Asus Zenfone 3||✔||152.6 x 77.4 x 7.7||155||3,000||5.5"||✘||✔|
It’s not just HTC, though; Apple is guilty too. Look at the iPhone 6 compared to the iPhone 8. The former retains the headphone jack while the latter dumped it. Curious how the iPhone 6 features a 1,810mAh battery and the iPhone 8 contains a 1,821mAh battery. True, the iPhone 8 edges out by a hair, but is the extra bit of juice worth the lack of a 3.5mm input?
2: Its removal makes phones thinner, lighter
It’s trendy to be thin. Flip through Vogue and all you see are thin models; turn on the TV and you’re inundated with petite actors and anchors alike. It’s no secret devices are in a race to the bottom when it comes to weight, and it’s ridiculous to see companies cite the elimination of the headphone jack as a means of making the phone thinner and lighter. It’s just not happening.
Let’s look back at the table above and do a cross-company comparison. The LG V30 features a headphone jack, 3,300mAh battery, expandable storage, and dual-cameras. It also weighs 158g. The 169g HTC U11 lacks a headphone jack, dual-camera system, and has a smaller battery. Please, explain how the headphone jack is just adding insurmountable amounts of weight to our smartphones.
If we want to compare within a brand, swing your eyes up to the iPhone rows of the table. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 6 each have a 4.7-inch screen and one rear camera. Yet, the iPhone 6 is lighter (129g) than the iPhone 8 (148g).
3: The future is wireless
With the internet of things (IoT) growing rapidly, this position seems to hold more weight by the day. However, it doesn’t mean the future will be completely wireless, and we’re certainly not in a completely wireless present.
Headphone jack demand stable YoY as per my Twitter followers. You’d expect it to decrease, no? pic.twitter.com/Qe9Q3cGznP
— Carl Pei (@getpeid) March 15, 2018
In an interview with TechRadar, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei stated, “We believe now is the right time…” when asked about ditching the headphone jack. According to whose watch? Pei’s? Tim Cook’s?
Pei furthered his point by saying 59 percent of the OnePlus community uses wireless headphones. Although this is a majority, that still leaves a large minority without wireless headphones — and that’s just the OnePlus community. Extrapolate this data out to other smartphone communities, and we have a significant chunk of users who still enjoy tethered listening.
When I asked Master & Dynamic founder and CEO Jonathan Levine about the state of wireless audio products he said, “Sometimes you just want to or need to plug in, and we understand this well.” While the company doesn’t plan to release new wired products, Levine appreciates the importance of supporting listeners who want to remain wired.
Perhaps if company heads stuck to their word and actually delivered phones with larger batteries, smaller dimensions, and lighter weights, we’d be more amiable about the headphone jack’s orchestrated extinction. The fact of the matter is companies are making empty promises and robbing us blind of choice. The ones that don’t even include a 3.5mm adapter should be ashamed.
If you’re paying hundreds — maybe even $1,000 — for a phone it isn’t stingy to expect a dongle. It’s rational. Now, you could argue an extra few dollars is just a drop in the bucket if I’m already paying an exorbitant amount of money for a phone. But if it’s a drop in the bucket for me, the average consumer, what is it for manufacturers?
Struggling to find earbuds as more companies ditch the headphone jack? Checkout some best lists from our sister site, SoundGuys.