Deciding whether to purchase a pair of headphones or a pair of earbuds could be daunting if someone has no experience using these devices. Both come with unique features and different styles for different users. But regardless of what a person chooses, they could make several mistakes while buying headphones or earbuds. Beginners should pick a model that suits their tastes and avoid these seven mistakes when they head to the store or shop online.
Not setting a budget
Each pair of earphones and headphones comes at a particular cost. One could get earphones priced below $50 and even premium ones above $1,000. The price depends on the brand, model, build quality, and features. Without a budget, individuals might spend on earphones or headphones that have features they do not require. Therefore, one must ensure they set a budget before going ahead and buying a pair of audio wearables. People should also avoid buying earphones simply because of a lower price tag. Cheap products might have a limited lifespan and need replacement faster than anticipated.
Many people wear earphones and headphones for hours at a stretch, so they should be comfortable. Not all audio wearables offer a one-size-fits-all experience. Sure, one could adjust an ear cup or bud to suit the shape of their head, but that does not ensure comfort. In the case of a headset, the built-in batteries and buttons may make the wearable heavier. Moreover, the headband might be too tight based on the materials used and whether it is adjustable or not. In the case of earbuds, buying larger ones might add strain on the ears, so one should think before choosing. Customers should try the earbuds or headphones on multiple times for a few minutes or an hour to find the right fit for themselves.
Opting for noise cancellation
Many headphone and earbud manufacturers offer active noise cancellation. However, apart from raising the price of the audio wearable, the feature may drastically drain its battery. For example, if a good quality pair of headphones or earbuds offers 38 hours of battery life with ANC turned off, the life might be reduced to below 30 hours with the feature turned on. Therefore, one should consider getting a wearable with the feature only if they are constantly in noisy environments.
Going for devices with incompatible codecs
An audio codec is a compression technology that makes it easy to transmit data from a smartphone to an audio device in a certain quality. The smartphone and audio wearable need to share the same type of audio codec. If one gets earphones or headphones with an incorrect codec, it would result in different sound qualities. SBC is the default codec among most wireless Bluetooth headphones and earbuds. The audio quality rendered by this option is not suited to music enthusiasts. A higher codec, aptX, leads to fewer drops in audio quality and is suitable for casual music listeners. However, some devices may not support the codec. Another popular choice is AAC, which is an upgraded version of SBC. While it offers a lower bitrate, the sound quality is optimized to be similar to that of the aptX codec.
Buying audio devices with an older Bluetooth version
Many people may not know this, but different versions of Bluetooth exist. One should look for earbuds and headphones that have Bluetooth versions 4 or 5 because these offer better range and audio transfer speeds. For example, Bluetooth version 4 gives a connectivity range of 200 feet (60 meters) with a transfer speed of 24 Mb/s. Those who pick audio wearables with Bluetooth 5 will get a range of about 8 feet (240 meters) with transfer speeds of 50 Mb/s, which is a massive upgrade. However, various factors may affect the range and speed, including one’s location (inside or outside the house) and product quality.
Forgetting about latency
Latency has become a big factor when buying wireless earphones or headphones, especially for gaming. Latency is the time an audio signal takes to reach the audio wearable from the source device. If someone requires a pair that works nicely for movies, music, and games, they should look for models with the latest version of Bluetooth 5 and an aptX Low Latency codec. Earphones or headphones with these specs usually offer latency as low as 40 ms, which reduces the audio lag between devices by a big margin. Professional gamers might require audio wearables with latencies below 20 ms.
Not reading reviews
When shopping for any product, including earphones or headphones, one must ensure they always read the product reviews. Several existing customers rate products based on comfort, sound quality, connectivity, and other factors. Their feedback will help determine if the brand and product are the right choice. Moreover, reading reviews could help understand if a brand offers good after-sales support, like 24/7 customer assistance and quick replacements or repairs within the warranty period. Not doing sufficient research can lead a person to be stuck with an unsuitable audio device, leading to a waste of money. So, one must always read online reviews before heading out to buy.