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Wired vs Wireless earphones: Which one is for you?

The earphones/headphones market has evolved so much from high-end wired earphones to premium wireless earbuds.
Wired or wireless?

It can really get confusing though. Which one should you choose? Are wireless earbuds the future of audio? Do we still have a need for wired earphones?

Today, we aim to shed some light and give some answers to the questions you have in mind about the pros and cons of both wired and wireless earphones.

Read on!

Pros and Cons of Wired Earphones

Wired earphones are still alive and well. A lot of people still prefer wired options for a lot of reasons. One of which is audio quality. Wired earphones deal with an analog audio signal that can handle more data compared to digital signals present in wireless options. Audio does not have to go through as much processing before it reaches your ears. Audio compression that deteriorates the sound quality is not really needed to transmit data through wired headphones.

You also have more repairability with wired earphones. In case you snag your wires and severe connections, you have the option to get it repaired with parts more easily available compared to wireless earbuds. There's no worry about batteries, Bluetooth chips, and other complicated parts that could be hard to replace or repair.

Accessibility is also one thing that you can't beat with wired earphones. To use one out of the box, you just need to plug it in via the device's audio port. You are ready to listen as soon as you plug it in. No worries about pairing issues and signal strength.

 Also, you don't have to worry about battery life. Wireless earbuds have a limited amount of playback time before you need to put them back in their charging case or plug them in for a recharge. Wired earphones do not require batteries as they will be powered by your device itself.

For gamers, audio latency is non-existent since we are dealing with an analog signal. You can easily pinpoint enemies or directional audio cues since it's instant.

It's not a perfect solution though. One of the biggest flaws of wired earphones is the wire itself. Wires can get snagged into things and get damaged. It can also be tangled in your bag or pockets with little to no interference.

Another big issue is that more new smartphones come out without the 3.5mm headphone port. Compatibility is becoming an issue for wired earphone lovers. Nowadays, you will need a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter just to use your earphones.

Pros and Cons of Wireless Earphones

Sony's WF-1000XM4 is one of the few TWS buds with LDAC

Now, let's talk about wireless earphone solutions. Wireless earphones mostly use Bluetooth nowadays. One of its biggest conveniences is that it is wireless. You get a lot of freedom of movement. Most of the TWS earbuds or wireless over-the-ear headphones nowadays come with sweat-resistant features so that you can use them during your workouts. Even though you can also do this with wired earphones, the added risk of breaking your wires is high.
File photo: FreeBuds Pro 2

Earlier, we talked about fewer smartphone brands choosing to include a 3.5mm headphone jack. All smartphone companies are continuing to improve their Bluetooth functionality to improve wireless. Now, we have Bluetooth codecs such as LDAC that touts to deliver lossless CD audio quality. In addition, Active Noise Cancelation now became a must-have feature for more wireless earbuds to provide more isolation.

Being wireless also eliminates the dreaded tangled wires out of your pockets or bags. You just put your wireless earbuds into its charging case and pocket them or keep them in your bag. Out of sight, out of mind.

Now, here are the caveats of wireless earphones. You now have to deal with battery life. Most modern TWS earbuds can last around 6 to 7 hours on a single charge. The charging case will provide 3 full charges which could provide you around 30 hours of total playtime. 

However, let's say you forgot to charge your case and you ran out of juice during your commute. You now have no choice but to commute without your comfort music.

Most of the time, repairs for TWS earbuds or wireless headphones are a bit limited. You are most probably gonna require to go to your brand's service center and have it assessed by their experts. Compared to wired options, repairability is slim with wireless earphones.

Oh, this may be a minor disadvantage but TWS earbuds are easier to lose. Unlike earphones that you can dangle around the collar of your shirt, TWS earbuds can be accidentally dropped. Given their compact nature, you can easily lose track of where these may bounce around.

Audio latency, though improving over the years, still exists in wireless earphones. Game Mode does exist on higher-end TWS earbuds but it still cannot beat the instant response of wired solution. Also, Bluetooth signal interference is still present which could affect signal consistency.

Our thoughts

We cannot recommend one solution over the other here. But, we do recommend for you consider your needs for an audio companion. If you need high-grade audio quality, no-fuss accessibility, and repairability, go for wired earphones.

If you need freedom of movement, future-proofing, and decent audio quality still then you can go for wireless options.

Just take note of our pros and cons above!

What do you guys think?

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