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In this modern age, wires are considered pesky and obtrusive. As a result, many gadgets, including the best headphones, seem to be dropping wires gleefully with each passing generation. Look at any headphone ranking, and you’ll see it is full of the best wireless earbuds and headphones. However, it’s important to remember that although many personal audio devices claim the wire-free badge, this can be misleading. To help clear up the matter, we’ll explain what is a true wireless technology and why you might consider it for your ear canals.
We also have a lot of helpful articles with tips, like how to store your earbuds.
You may be asking: what’s the deal with wireless vs true wireless?
Many “wireless” earbuds mean that, although there’s no wire connected to your source device, there is a wire that attaches to the left and right earbud drivers. True wireless means that each earbud is entirely separate, like Apple Airpods Pro. True wireless technology connects to a source device via Bluetooth, and all the volume control, active noise cancellation, and battery parts are built into the individual headphone unit.
The audio quality of wireless headphones is affected by the distance from the source and audio device.
So that’s how it works, but what does it mean in terms of sound quality and user experience?
When it comes to sound quality, it’s hard to determine because many factors play into the audio experience. But know that, ultimately, it has little to do with the lack of a wire connecting the drivers. However, while sound quality depends more on the brand, there are other items on the spec list that you should know before buying.
For more helpful resources concerning earbuds and headphones, you can check out our guide on how to turn on earbuds. And if you are running into any issues, we have a piece on troubleshooting earbuds that aren’t working.
It’s probably self-evident that portability and compactness are the main attraction of true wireless headphones. Even the charging is portable because most come with a chargeable case. Just drop the ear headphones into the case, and you have wireless charging on the go.
Another great thing about true wireless is that they are harder to damage. Cords are typically the easiest parts to break and are subject to wear and tear. True wireless ear headphones shed the cord and leave just the circuitry enclosed in the casing.
Lastly, the true wireless design is simpler to wear because you don’t have to worry about the cord getting caught or in the way.
Using wireless earbuds increases the likelihood of ear damage.
The main drawback to true wireless earbuds is the battery life. Because there’s less room to store parts, manufacturers must decrease the battery size. Additionally, true wireless models tend to have fewer features, like active noise cancellation, because of insufficient space.
STAT: Wireless headphones tend to last about 10-12 years. (source)