Headphones for smartphones are accessories so popular that their range is growing every year. How to understand it and buy those that suit you perfectly? Try following our guide.
Wired or wireless?
The first fundamental question that you have to solve. It is difficult to say which type is preferable.
Wired headphones do not require a power source. They will never be discharged and will not be silent, and this is what many users like. But there are also disadvantages: the wires are always tangled, besides, not every gadget has a connector for connecting such accessories.
Wireless headphones give you complete freedom of action. No wires, no need to untangle anything. But they work on battery power, and it tends to discharge at the most inopportune moment.
Wireless headphones can also be divided into two classes. The most popular today is TWS (True Wireless Stereo). These are two miniature devices that connect via Bluetooth. Another option is «almost wireless». This is the same miniature device, but interconnected by a wire and a neckband.
Everyone has benefits. With TWS, this, of course, is compact and comfortable to wear. But neckband headphones are always ready to use, they do not need to be looked for in your pocket or bag. They are ideal as a headset — for example, to answer a call, just put one of the headphones in your ear.
One of the latest models with a rim — Huawei FreeLace Pro with an active noise reduction system (more on that later). A five-minute charge via USB-C is enough for 5 hours of use. A full charge of the battery provides up to 24 hours of continuous sound (with noise reduction turned off).
When you have already decided on the presence of wires (or their absence), you should think about the type of headphones. There aren’t many of them.
They are inserted directly into the ear canal and held there by a silicone seal. Excellent isolation from external noise. But not everyone is suitable — someone with such «gags» is simply uncomfortable.
They are also inserted into the ear, but not into the canal, but into the auricle. With this placement, there is practically no discomfort. But there is no sound insulation, moreover, this type is not always securely held in the ear.
As the name implies, they are worn on the ears — the speakers are installed in cups that have a headband. This type can be divided into two: some (open type) only cover the auricle, that is, put on it. Others (closed) completely cover the ear, leaving the shell inside. In the latter case, the noise isolation is better, but the headphones are also more massive.
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Noise cancellation: passive and active
The desire to listen to music, and not its mixture with city noise, is quite understandable. Two technologies can be used to get rid of extraneous sounds.
Passive noise isolation. These are various options for physically blocking the auditory canal. For example, in vacuum headphones, isolation is achieved through the use of a silicone seal: it is this that protects the channel from noise. It is more difficult with overhead models, but if the cups cover the auricle and fit snugly to the face, the noise isolation will also be at a good level.
Active noise cancellation. Much more sophisticated technology. Special headphone microphones pick up noise, and then the devices generate the same sound wave in antiphase. As a result, much less extraneous sounds enter the auditory canal. This technology is used in headphones not lower than the average price range.
Active noise cancellation is already available not only in full-size on-ear headphones, but also in compact models — for example, HUAWEI FreeBuds 3i.
Water protection level
Vacuum headphones and earbuds are often produced in versions with protection against ingress of water and dust. This does not only mean rain — for example, such models are often used for sports and fitness. Accordingly, they should not be afraid of sweat drops.
Here in this article we talked in detail about security standards. Here we note that most often the headphones are protected only from splashes, and only some models allow short-term immersion in water.
Water protection is in most sports headphones — for example, JBL Reflect Flow.
And in JBL Endurance DIVE you can not only not be afraid of the rain, but even swim in the pool. They have a built-in MP-3 player, so you don’t even need to keep your smartphone nearby.
As we have already found out, such models must be protected from water. But this is not the only feature. Since sports involve active movements (unless, of course, it is chess), gadgets must be securely held in the ear. For this, special attachments to the auricle are used — most often, behind-the-ear arches. With these headphones, you can safely run, jump, jump …
There are several other characteristics that only music lovers pay attention to. Let’s say frequency range. It is known that the human ear hears sounds in the range from 20 to 20,000 Hz. Accordingly, good headphones should cover this «plug». Here are a few more parameters that you should not delve into if you do not have perfect hearing. We just give the recommended values to make it easier to choose.
- sensitivity: not less than 100 dB);
- frequency range: not less than 20 — 20000 Hz;
- resistance: 16-32 ohm.
We tried to explain in the simplest possible way how to choose the right headphones for your phone. If you need more actionable advice, check out our selection of the latest headphones for 2020 — there are models with different features and budgets.