Bluetooth and wireless headphones are all the rage right now. Whether you are buying a large, expensive pair of over-ear headphones like the Apple Airpods Max or Sony WH-1000XM4, or small earbuds like the Apple Airpods Pro or Bose QuietComfort earbuds, finding a wireless headset is only a click away.
Before we jump into the Reasons not to buy Bluetooth Headphones, we need to understand why so many people are making the switch to wireless.
Why do people buy Bluetooth headphones?
Bluetooth headphones still have some great things going for them. These include being…
This is the biggest pro of Bluetooth headphones. With wireless headphones, there is no cable to deal with. Whether it’s an issue of the cable being too short, people tripping over it, or just the pain of carrying around an extra cable in your bag.
Everything seems to eventually go in the wireless direction. Just like telephones and speakers, headphones are steadily making the transition.
For working out
Without the hassle of any cables, wireless headphones are best suited for the gym. If you are trying to be physically active, but the cables keep getting in the way, it can quickly make your workout session a nightmare.
Not only that, but most wireless headphones come with some form of water resistance. So, when people ask which headphones are best for workouts, the answer is generally wireless ones.
Hi-res audio codecs
The quality of Bluetooth audio has quickly been improving with better processing chips being built into the headphones. With this comes not only audio improvements but actual data streaming increases through better audio codecs. So, what are audio codecs?
Audio codecs essentially take the information, compress it into a specific format, and then sends it to the headset. Normal SBC codec transfers information at a speed of around 256kbps. It isn’t the best of the codecs, with a lot of loss due to the low compression size.
AAC is up next, which has better lossless compression and goes up to 320kbps. aptX, owned by Qualcomm, is another common codec. This codec, from the manufacturer of Snapdragon chipsets found on a lot of mobile phones, has an even better lossless compression. And can send up to 576kbps if your device has the AptX HD variant.
Sony’s LDAC codec…
It is the best audio codec and sets the standard for all codecs to look up to. Their codec, which is available on their flagship headsets, can transfer music virtually lossless, with a rate of 990kbps. This means there is no compression of the file whatsoever, leaving it exactly the way it is originally.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy Bluetooth Headphones
Now we have an idea of why people are buying wireless headphones. So, let’s take a look at Reasons not to buy Bluetooth Headphones.
Quality of the music
Even with improvements in audio quality made over the years, nothing comes close to listening to music over a wired headset. This does not mean that every single wired headset will sound better than wireless ones. But, the best wired headsets are miles ahead of the best wireless headsets.
Why do wired headphones sound better than wireless headphones? Because the sound produced by speakers is made using energy, specifically electricity. So, the more juice you provide, the better they will sound.
Pushing the limits of a headphone to make it sound as good as possible requires more juice than most batteries can supply. Even if it does, it will drain too quickly, giving you an hour or two of use. This leads us to the second issue.
Wired headphones can be used anytime, anywhere. Just plug them in and go. Wireless headphones have batteries that keep them going. This means that eventually, they will need to be charged.
Sure, some headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones have a battery life of around 30 hours, which is exceptional. But having to take off your headset and charge it when you want to listen to your favorite tunes or play games still hurts.
The other issue is that batteries do not last forever. Within a few years, your battery life will have decreased a lot. Eventually, you will need to either get a new battery or replace the whole headset.
Wireless headphones are still sold as a novelty. That is why they are usually crammed with extra features. This makes them seem like better value, but the opposite is true. So many of the built-in features are not useful and come off as gimmicks.
Things like active noise cancelling, or ANC. It has only been done well recently and is still used by many manufacturers as a gimmick instead of a real valuable asset. This gives them more reason to ask more for their product.
A great example of this is Apple’s Airpods Max, which retails at around $549. This is the price of a decent midrange phone and is even more expensive than their iPhone SE 2. At that price, you can get a pair of professional, industry-standard Sennheiser HD660S or Beyerdynamic DT1770 Pro headphones that sound far superior.
As we mentioned before, the battery won’t last forever. But that isn’t the only thing to worry about. There are good reasons why Bluetooth headphones break.
With a lot more electrical components inside a pair of Bluetooth headphones, there is a lot more that could break. Not to mention the added weight of the battery, making them bump against everything in your bag more aggressively. Let’s not even talk about a faulty, exploding battery.
Connectivity and reliability
This will genuinely depend on the quality of your mobile device and headphones. As Bluetooth gets better, this issue has become less prominent but can still be found on cheaper devices.
The one thing we experience a lot with cheaper Bluetooth headsets is audio-visual lag. This is when the transfer rate of the data from the device to the headset is slow. The video on the phone shows, but the audio takes an extra second or so to get to the headset, making it impossible to watch anything with the headphones.
Secondly, dropouts. This is when the connection cuts out due to interference or signal quality. Again, not something found on expensive headsets, but it occasionally happens with cheaper headsets. This won’t be an issue with wired headphones, no matter how low the price.
So, is Bluetooth the only wireless option available on the market? Not at all. Another option is RF headphones. These headphones use RF signals that connect with the headset. They usually require a USB transmitter plugged into the device and, of course, headphones.
Are RF headphones better than Bluetooth headphones? The short answer is, yes. RF signals are much stronger than Bluetooth signals. Bluetooth is usually best used within 30 feet, but the highest quality RF headphones have ranges up to 350 feet.
This makes RF a superior wireless option. That is why a lot of gaming headsets like the SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless uses it. If you want a high-quality wireless headset for music and movies, we recommend Sennheiser’s RS197 headset.
Need Some Great Wired Headphones?
You’re in luck because we have plenty. Check out our in-depth Sennheiser HD-800 S Review, our Sennheiser Pro Audio HD 25 Professional DJ Headphone review, our Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Review, our Audio-Technica ATH-WS1100iS Review, and our Marshall Major III Wired Review for amazing items you can buy in 2021.
Or, take a look at our comprehensive Samson SR850 Review, our Beats EP Review, our Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Headphones review, our Sennheiser HD 599 Review, and our Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Review for even more awesome wired headphones currently available.
Reasons not to buy Bluetooth Headphones – Final Thoughts
Bluetooth headphones still have quite a way to go before they can be considered by music industry experts or audiophiles alike. They still lack the clarity and output power that can be found in wired headphones.
They make great gym options and are easily carried along. But when it comes to quality, nothing (at the moment) compares to wired headsets.
Until next time, happy listening.