Headphones have come a long way since their invention in 1910. It is hard to believe that the traditional bulky ear trumpets have evolved to modern headsets. Wireless earbuds are the latest entrant to the $5 billion headset business.
Newer models are released very often to satisfy the growing demand. However, it also makes it much harder to choose a good pair from the available brands. The following are some features you should consider when buying wireless earbuds.
Ear tips refer to the outer casing of the earbuds. A good pair should fit snuggly in your ear when you wear them. The reason for this is two-fold. For one, when the ear tips fit, it forms a good seal and enhances the audio quality. Secondly, the ear tip determines the level of comfort. Choose earbuds with soft ear tips as these are more comfortable. It could be memory foam ear tips, finned earbuds, and those that come with clips. Choose the best fitting pair.
Overall Size and Build
The size of the driver determines the size of a wireless earbud. Generally, slightly bigger speakers are louder than smaller ones. However, technology has made it possible for even the smallest earbuds to outperform their larger counterparts. Waterproofing is another important feature; it prevents sweat and rain from damaging the buds. You also need to look at the material. The casing and the buds should be strong enough to withstand minor damage. If the material seems fragile, then it might not be the best choice.
When shopping for wireless earbuds, decide on your non-negotiables. Sound quality, connectivity, control, comfort, and battery life must be on this list. Only then can you worry about secondary issues such as color and design. You won’t regret it if you use this approach.
Like all technologies, there are knock offs. Quality earbuds come with top of line Bluetooth chips and an excellent battery to power the device. As you would expect, these don’t come cheap. Any offers way below market prices are fakes. At the same time, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a pair of earbuds. You can get a decent pair between $50 to $100. Work within your budget.
The battery life of a wireless earbud is usually quoted in the packaging. Earbuds are recharged by popping them back in the charging case, which also doubles as storage space. You can recharge the earbuds a few times before you have to recharge the casing itself. A good pair should last between 5-8 hours. The recharging case should deliver 15-24 hours of playtime. Check for this critical feature keenly.
Look for wireless earbuds with adequate and responsive controls. You should be able to reduce the volume, pause music, and pick calls without reaching for your phone. Most pairs are equipped with in-ear detection. This feature automatically pauses the music whenever you remove the earbuds and resumes playing when you wear them. Take a closer look at the controls to ensure better user experience.
The overall quality of sound depends on a combination of sensitivity, frequency, and drivers. Sensitivity determines how loudness (volume) of the speakers. 100dB and below is good enough for earbuds. If it’s too high, the sound will be distorted. On the other hand, frequency determines how much bass you can hear (20Hz to 20,000Hz). The lower the frequency, the higher the bass. You should also check the codec support of the earbuds before purchase. Look for SBC, LAAC, LDAC, and aptX codec support. Android devices can work with all, but for apple, users focus on the first two.
Connectivity refers to how the earbuds connect to other devices. Bluetooth is still the most common method of connectivity. Look for the latest protocols, such as V5.0 and V5.1. These versions use less power and older protocols. Near Field Communication (NFC) is the other method of connecting devices. NFC technology uses radio frequency to connect to electronic devices. You can connect the earbuds by lightly tapping them on your mobile device, eliminating the process of having to pair your devices. Expect to pay a little extra for an earbud with this capability.