Buying Wireless Headphones? 6 Things You Need to Know

MakeUseOf | 9/21/2018 | Andy Betts
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Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone in 2016. Companies like Google, Motorola, and HTC followed soon after. Suddenly, once-niche wireless headphones were thrust into the mainstream.

Buying Bluetooth headphones can be confusing, though. From sound quality to getting them set up, each model works differently. There’s a lot to understand, so let’s get started.

Headphones - Think - Bluetooth - Headphones - Phone

When you think of wireless headphones now, you likely think of Bluetooth headphones. If your phone doesn’t have a headphone jack, then Bluetooth is your best option for listening to music.

Your other choice is to use a USB-C headphone dongle. That’s a messier solution, and gets worse if you need to charge your phone at the same time.

Bluetooth - Devices - Number - Electronics - Range

Bluetooth is convenient because it’s supported in all mobile devices, as well as a growing number of other electronics. It has a range of about 32 feet, and is pretty energy-efficient.

It’s also improving rapidly thanks to the move to kill off headphone jacks.

Couple - Wireless - Headphone - Technologies - Use

There are a couple of other, older wireless headphone technologies still in use. Both are mostly used for TV, and both need a separate transmitter. Infrared is quite rare now, and requires a line of sight connection between the headphones and transmitter.

Radio frequency, as seen in products like the Sennheiser RS120, is more powerful.

Ranges - Feet - Signal - Walls - Home

It can work at ranges of up to 150 feet, and the signal can pass through walls, so it’s usable with a home stereo as well as a TV. However, it’s prone to interference and isn’t secure in the way that Bluetooth is.

Many modern TVs now offer Bluetooth as standard. If yours doesn’t, you can add a Bluetooth transmitter easily enough.

Sound - Quality - Bluetooth - Headphones - Codec

The sound quality you’ll get on your Bluetooth headphones depends on what audio codec they use. The codec is a piece of software that encodes the audio at one end and decodes it at...
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