Bluetooth or Not Bluetooth: The Ultimate Headphone Question

It’s 2017 and the future of headphones is here. Now that Apple has officially removed the headpone jack on the iPhone 7 and other smartphone manufacturers talking seriously about doing the same there’s a big question looming on the horizon… “Is it time to go Bluetooth with my headphones?”. Sure going wireless means no wires and more freedom but how will it affect the sound? And what about charging? These are valid questions in the constantly changing tech environment of smartphones and headphones. Let’s look at some of the facts about Bluetooth and see if you’re ready to cut the cord.


Where We Are Now

Those of us who were kids when we saw Back To The Future dreamed that by now we’d have hovering skateboards and cars. But as fast as technology is changing we’re constantly teathered to the past. Quite literally in fact. As we dream of going wireless via Bluetooth, a lot of us are still working with older technology. Many people are still making it by with our older model smartphones that have headphone jacks and are quite satisfied to keep using a wired earphone or headphone. And why not? Smartphones these days can cost as much as one month’s rent or a morgage payment. Sure we have the option to go Bluetooth already but wired headphones tend to cost a bit less and sound much better. Don’t they?

The fact is we’re caught in the midst of a change in technology. There’s still a lot of smartphones out there with the headphone jack and most of the portable music players still have the headphone jack to get that premium audiophile quality. Bluetooth seems more like an attractive option as more headphones seem to be going wireless but nobody seems to know if Bluetooth is going to have the same quality and reliability.

The Truth About Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a bit of a mystery to most of us. The basic concept is easy enough to understand but what’s the sound quality like? Is it common to get interference like on a car radio?

Bluetooth is a constantly changing standard (with it’s own website) and when companies want to incorporate wireless Bluetooth options into their new headphones or other devices they look to the creators of that standard and adhere to the latest protocols put in place. For example when Bluetooth 5 is finally implemented into new tech, connectivity to pairing devices will be improved, data transfer rates will be many times faster and even range will be improved by 400%. But it will likely be 2020 (not as far away as it sounds) before devices with Bluetooth 5 start showing up because manufacturers need lead time to integrate this new standard into their technology.

The truth is the sound quality on Bluetooth headphones is already quite good. Bluetooth 4.0, 4.1 and 4.2 headphones are already on the market and the sound they put out is surprisingly good. Connectivity, range and frequency response have never been better with the latest wireless Bluetooth headphones and many consumers are already taking the plunge and cutting the cord. Headphone brands like Audio Technica, Sennheiser, BeoPlay, AKG, JBL, Skullcandy and Beats by Dre are all making wireless headphones with impressive sound and long battery life.

So Now What To Do?

The decision to go Bluetooth is similar to a lot of new tech decisions we find ourselves making. What’s the cost? Will it be better than what I’m already using? If I buy now will something better come out tomorrow?

The answers are possibly simpler than we expect though. If you have a smartphone with a headphone jack and plan to keep it for a while then consider sticking with a wired headphone. There’s a lot of amazing wired earphones and headphones that will keep you happy until you’re forced to make the change. You’ll get great sound quality and you won’t have to think about charging another device for a little while longer. And if you have the scratch to get a pair of bluetooth headphones too… do it! They’re better and more affordable than ever.

For the rest of the world forced into the wireless void there’s definitely a lot of great options in the realm of Bluetooth headphones and there’s more every day. The fact is wires may not ever completely go away altogether but the future of all technology is headed in the wireless direction and Bluetooth is a standard that isn’t going away anytime soon. Just do your homework, know your brands and find out what the best models are for your needs.

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