Outdoors, summer is a time for outdoor activities. During these three months we spend at home a minimum of time, which means that the opportunity to listen to music on a computer or media player is rare. Most people solve the problem with headphones and a phone. And although during this hot period we are not burdened with countless layers of outerwear, the notorious active rest implies an active lifestyle, which significantly limits the convenience of using wired headsets.
Therefore, summer is one of the main reasons (not to mention the 'extinction' of the mini-jack in smartphones) to acquire wireless headphones. Next, let's talk about what points you should pay attention to when choosing this accessory. I must say right away that we will only touch on the options with Bluetooth – connection, since there are literally only a few models with a radio channel on the market, and they are not intended for smartphones, but for cars.
The sound quality and operating time of the device depend on which generation of this standard the headphones support. For music lovers, versions Bluetooth starting from 4.1 and 4.2, presented in 2013 and 2014, respectively, are suitable. In 4.1, the sound quality was improved by increasing the data transfer rate, and in 4.2 – by increasing the volume of transmitted data packets.
The latest generation (2016) is designated by the 5.0 index. Compared to the previous version 4.2, devices with Bluetooth 5.0 are able to establish two connections at once, and also have 2 times faster transmission speed, 4 times longer range and 800% greater signal penetration through obstacles, while same sound quality and better energy efficiency.
An important role is also played by the support of codecs, which significantly improve the sound quality. These include:
- aptX – allows you to transfer uncompressed audio files through Bluetooth without losing quality (like listening to files from a CD)
- A2DP (Advanced Audi o Distribution Profile) – advanced audio distribution profile. Responsible for transmitting stereo sound over the radio channel Bluetooth to any receiving device.
- LDAC is a proprietary Sony technology that transmits Hi-Res audio (bitrate up to 990 kbps) over a Bluetooth connection. In addition to flagship Sony smartphones, LDAC support has been implemented in OS Android 8.0.
- aptX HD – In 2009 Qualcomm introduced an improved version of the familiar aptX profile. This design features the ability to transmit audio at 24 bit / 48 kHz at 576 kbps.
All of the above is true only if this or that technology is supported by both devices: that is, if your smartphone has a Bluetooth 4.2 module, then there is no point in buying headphones for the benefits of BT 5.0, and vice versa.
Wireless headphones are divided into 3 types:
- full-size exterior;
- plugs connected by a wire;
- True-wireless models like Apple AirPods and Samsung Gear iconX.
For obvious reasons, full-size ones are not particularly vilified in summer (except at home, under air conditioning). But the sound quality in them is much higher, however, and they are more expensive.
Although plug-in models cannot boast of such a rich sound, their indisputable advantages are comfort, lightness and high ergonomics. They do not take up much space in your pocket or bag, they charge quickly and only allow you to use one 'ear' if necessary (for example, when talking with other people, on a walk, in class at the university, while riding a motorcycle / scooter, etc.) .P.).
Imagine the situation: while on the road you are listening to your favorite podcast, but then the headphones report a low battery, and there is no charging nearby. The mood is spoiled, there is no desire to listen to music, and the road is still long. Models with 3.5mm audio jack don't have this problem – just plug in the cable and continue enjoying the content. But this privilege is available only to owners of external headphones.
If you plan to use headphones also for conversations, then, of course, you need to pay attention to models with a built-in microphone. In wired analogs, the microphone is located in a special block on the cable, but here this element is located in the device body itself, because of which the microphone hole can be clogged with dust and at the same time it is difficult to clean, deteriorating the quality of the transmitted speech (fortunately, such a drawback is rather an exception than the rule).
Protection against external noise
Earplugs and large, closed-back headphones overlap the sound path, significantly reducing the amount of 'sound clutter', allowing you to abstract from your surroundings without having to buy expensive active noise canceling headphones. The latter monitor the volume level of external noises using microphones, as a result, inverted sound waves are created, relieving the user of all the joys of the subway or construction site.
However, despite the high price and the obvious convenience of this technology, headphones with active noise cancellation have certain drawbacks, such as a significantly increased battery consumption when this function is turned on, and 5-7% of people get headaches from the operation of the ASh system. Therefore, before making the final decision on the purchase, take such headphones from one of your friends or colleagues for a while, and if this is not possible, then at least for a few minutes listen to the model you are interested in in the store before buying.
Batteries and autonomy
Both built-in rechargeable batteries and removable AA-batteries can be used in wireless headphones, in both cases the most tenacious models work from a single charge up to 28 hours in music playback mode, the average battery life Bluetooth of headphones is 12-20 hours .
You should not chase big names, in the world of audio equipment the overpayment for a brand is even higher than in the smartphone market (in percentage terms, of course). Often it is enough to compare the characteristics and dig a little in the reviews to find a completely high-quality solution for a third of the amount that you originally planned to spend.
Let's draw the line
When choosing wireless headphones, the number of important nuances is even greater than when looking for models with a cable. The gradual disposal of wires in our life is good news. Especially when technical progress solves such an annoying problem as the daily untangling of the headphone cable. You quickly get used to good things, and many users, after 2-3 days of using such a technique, can no longer give up its convenience.
In order not to force you to waste time looking for headphones that are suitable for you Bluetooth, I want to tell you about the ten best models for every taste and wallet.
- Cheap but angry. The budget option of wireless headphones implies a price tag of up to 2,000 rubles. For lovers of plugs, the JBL T110BT for 1,600-1,700 rubles is suitable, but you can pay a little extra and take full-size SVEN AP-B570MV for two thousand.
- The next threshold is 3,500 rubles. Exactly for this amount you can buy Koss BT190i plugs with an aggressive design, which are also suitable for sports. If you want to save money, your choice is the Alpine SHS-N206 on-ear headphones with foldable design for 2,700. However, they are only suitable for use in the car, as they use infrared for data transmission.
The Samsung EO-BG950 U plugs and full-size JBL E45BT with excellent build quality and rich functionality fit perfectly into a budget of up to five thousand rubles.
In the middle price segment – up to eight thousand – audiophile Marshall Major IIs are in the lead in terms of sound quality and build reliability.
Having paid 11,000-13,000 rubles for headphones, you step into the territory of true-wireless stereo headsets, of which the aforementioned Samsung Gear IconX and Sony WF-1000X are best friends with the OS Android. Both models are distinguished by well-thought-out ergonomics and good sound insulation.
Having risen to the mark of 17,000 rubles, you will receive the widest range of models with impeccable workmanship and flagship characteristics.
Here you can also find true-wireless headphones – we are talking about the top-end Bose SoundSport Free (16 490), and for those who are more important about sound rather than ergonomics, full-size Beats Solo3 Wireless or Marshall Monitor Bluetooth are better suited with A2DP and aptX support for Beats and Marshall, respectively.
If you are looking for an uncompromising premium solution and the price does not play a big role, then there can be only one recommendation here – Bose QuietComfort 35 II worth 23 thousand rubles with an unsurpassed active noise cancellation system, high autonomy with low weight, and about the build quality and materials there is nothing to say.