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We asked, you told us: No one really wants wires, but Bluetooth just isn't great
This week we wanted to know about your preferences in a headphone-jack-less world. Would you make do with a wired ‘solution’ via a dongle and your charging port, or do you prefer Bluetooth headphones?
Let’s keep talk of the headphone jack short and sweet: most of us prefer a phone that has one. That’s a given, we know all about it, and it’s ok. We love you too headphone jack.
Now, if our phone doesn’t have a headphone jack, we at least want an included dongle (memo to HTC). Still Bluetooth headsets have come a long way and are generally pretty easy to use. Shout out to our colleagues at SoundGuys who do their best to explain to you which headsets will suit you, week in week out, wired or unwired.
The problems with Bluetooth
Relying solely on Bluetooth? We admire your risk-taking lifestyle
But Bluetooth devices naturally need charging, so if you’re not extremely diligent you might be caught short – never good if your headset cuts out early on during a long flight or car trip. Then there’s the issue of audio delays, which can be murder if you need to be on a conference call. And the Bluetooth operating frequency at 2.44 GHz can mean operating in a crowded environment, sharing congestion with Wi-Fi signals in a busy city. Oh, and if you slip your phone in your pocket, you may lose some signal quality as well as your body absorbs the signal quite well. Relying solely on Bluetooth just doesn’t always work.
Each of these is a small little downside alone, and there are some solutions. But they add them up – and speaking of adding up, great cans are not cheap either, so you’ll want to do your research before slapping down what can be hundreds of dollars down for peak quality. (My favorites are noise cancelling, because offices and long trips are so much better when you’re tuned out.)
But is a dongle any better?
Wired via a dongle is hardly a perfect solution to having no headphone jack either. Losing or forgetting the dongle when you need it is not a fun time. Sometimes you have to pay just to have one in the first place if it isn’t in the box, and if that’s not all, you can’t charge your phone while you listen, unless you buy another dongle/adaptor/unnecessary thingmabob.
It’s a decisive win for Bluetooth headsets across the polls on every platform – only the Instagrammers differed by any significant margin, while Youtubers were most adamant about Bluetooth.
So, why did the votes go this way? Let’s take a look at your comments. (Note, we aren’t ignoring everyone who said “but I choose 3.5mm headphone jack!” but it’s not about that. A poll including the headphone jack would not have told any story – we like headphone jacks too, we just want more information!)
What you said in response to the poll was really informative and useful, so thanks for your contributions again people. What’s become clear isn’t that people desperately want a wired solution always, it’s just that it’s the best for now. Audio quality, no need to charge a battery, no audio delays. Bluetooth is a winner outright for some, but it isn’t yet for others because it’s only an average solution to wireless.
On to your comments:
- “Bluetooth headphones: I don’t think people hate being free of wires, it’s just that people hate the trouble that comes along with it (having to charge the headphones, sacrifice in sound quality, etc). If an OEM like Sony, Sennheiser, Audio Technica, etc can make wireless headphones that sound really good and have batteries that last months instead of hours, without having to make them cost an arm and a leg, I think a lot of people would be happy to use Bluetooth instead of the 3.5mm jack.”
- “Bluetooth forever. I don’t even know how many headphones I’ve ripped the wire out of. Half an hour if charging gets me 13 hours of play time. I’ll never understand why people want to stay in the past.”
- “I sometimes listen to music while charging my device and I hate dongles. Either way though, I’ll probably never buy a phone without a headphone jack unless it’s just that good.”
- “Wired headphones with a dongle: Because Bluetooth headphones have to be charged.”
- “I just want to have an instant response and no audio delays when using Bluetooth.”
- “As long as the dongle had a quality DAC/Amp inside, I’d choose that. Bluetooth is limited to 24/48 and I regularly listen to audio up to 24/352.8 with MQA from my V30.”
Don’t forget that although we at Android Authority enjoy a good speakerbox (and the love below), we bow down to the masters of fidelity: our colleagues at SoundGuys! Check them out, I swear Lily Katz offers a pure ASMR experience on YouTube too.
See you next week!