The tussle i.e. wired vs. wireless headphones is nothing new to audiophiles. However, with most smartphone manufacturers ditching the headphone jack, wireless headphones have seen an unprecedented jump in the number of users. While both wireless and wired headsets have their advantages, there are some areas where one excels more than the other.
Apart from being very convenient, the technology in wireless headsets has gotten better over the years to the point that they offer solid competition to their wired counterparts in sound quality. However, a high price and the need to frequently charge wireless headphones can be off-putting for some. So, are wired headphones better than wireless?
Wired vs. Wireless Headphones: Let’s end this debate!
A detailed matchup between wired vs. wireless headphones from a general user’s perspective follows. Let’s see if we can settle this debate once and for all!
The Wired Headphones
Wired headphones have been around for a long time, and they have seen significant development in the techs they use to produce sound. Wired headphones use an analog interface such as a 3.5mm jack, TRS, TRRS, and even a USB to connect to a sound source. These gadgets don’t need an additional power source and can draw power from the headphone jack itself.
There are multiple reasons why so many people still think that the latter comes out on top in the battle between wireless vs. wired headphones.
Better sound quality
Wired headphones are better at the one thing you use a pair of headphones–producing quality sound. While wireless headphones have come a long way, most of them are not even close to wired headphones regarding sound quality and fidelity.
The analog signals that wired headphones use can handle more data than digital signals like Bluetooth, resulting in richer and fuller sound quality. Wired vs. wireless headphones sound quality clash is one-sided.
Another thing that works in favor of wired headphones is their repairability. Most wired headphones are easier and, more importantly, cheaper to repair than their wireless counterparts.
No need to worry about battery
You get unlimited playtime with wired headphones as they don’t require an external power source. You are good to go as long as your headphones are plugged in and your phone or computer has power!
Easy to use
The wired headphones are the epitome of the ‘plug-and-play’ concept. At times, there is no need to follow complicated steps to get the headphones connected. All you do is plug them in, and they work!
While we did make a good case for wired headphones thus far, certain disadvantages can’t be denied.
- Wires can often be limiting, restricting your movement.
- You are tied to your source.
- Tangles, oh god, the tangles that inevitably make you want to smash them like the mighty Hulk.
- Compatibility issues are still there. For instance, many high-end phones have ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack, so you are now forced to live the dongle life if you want to go with some wired headphones.
The Wireless Revolution
Wireless headphones do not need to be physically connected to a source to transmit sound. The audio transmission can occur through the three most common protocols-
- Radio Frequency (RF)
- Infrared Frequency (IF)
While you can still find headphones working on RF and IF technology, most modern headphones work using Bluetooth technology.
Bluetooth tech has seen tremendous growth over the last few years. The current version of Bluetooth, 5.2, boasts an impressive range of up to 240m and consumes less power.
So, are wired headphones better than wireless? The advocates of wireless headphones might think otherwise. Here are a few reasons for wireless headphones being better-
Freedom to move
As no wires are attached, you are not restricted in your movement. You can have your audio device several meters away from you and still enjoy music. So, in the mobility department, the battle between wireless vs. wired headphones, the latter loose by a distance.
As long as Bluetooth is available, you can connect your wireless headphones to almost anything from mobile phones and laptops to tablets.
Wireless headphones are certainly more portable than wired headphones. Most of them are compact and have no wires. So, you can conveniently carry them with you anywhere you go without having to worry about the cords.
While the advantages of wireless headphones are aplenty, they do suffer from some drawbacks.
- They run on battery, and hence, you will need to charge them rather frequently.
- They are significantly more expensive compared to wired headphones.
- Repairing them can be more difficult and expensive.
- Connectivity and pairing issues can arise.
- The sound signals must be compressed to be transmitted using Bluetooth technology, and they lose the wired vs. wireless headphones sound quality battle.
- Depending on the version of Bluetooth used, you may experience significant latency, especially while playing games and watching movies.
- Bluetooth headphones’ radiation can also be an issue for some.
Wireless vs. Wired Headphones: Which one should you buy?
When it comes to choosing between wired vs. wireless wired headphones, there is no clear, universal answer. The choice will still depend on what you want from your headphones, lifestyle, and budget.
If you are an audiophile or a musician, you are better off using a wired headphone than a wireless one. The same goes for gamers who can’t afford the latency of wireless headphones.
However, if you value your mobility and don’t want to deal with the cords, go for wireless headphones. Athletes and people with an active lifestyle should opt for wireless headphones.