As posted on The Simple Pleasure of Wireless Headphones
I am not an audiophile, but I do love convenience. And comfort. And it is quite inconvenient when you just want to use your headphones to drown out the subway and find yourself tangled in a cord like an invasive weed, or when the sound is dominated by the rustling stethoscopic vibrations of said cord. It is more convenient to have no wires at all. If you are also a fan of convenience, perhaps you should try some wireless Bluetooth headphones.
I spend so much time every day staring at my phone while listening to music. Primarily during my commute, but I also spend a couple hours every weekend walking in the park while listening to podcasts. And, as I tend to check my phone every few minutes, I frequently remove the said device from my pocket and then slide it back in a moment later. Headphones add the complication of wire management to this pocket ordeal; I typically stuff the excess wire, as most headphone cords are longer than they need to be, into my pocket along with my phone so that it doesn’t swing in the breeze while I walk. Managing the wire length is a tiny annoyance, but it repeats every few minutes. Running the wire beneath a jacket or shoulder bag strap adds another complication.
Consider the wireless headphone.
With wireless headphones, I can easily grab my phone and slide it back into my pocket with zero issues. Phone, meet pocket. And the lack of wires opens other pocket opportunities that would be otherwise difficult to utilize with a wired device. Back pocket. Inner jacket pocket. A whole new world opens up—a world of pockets.
I say headphones, but I’m referring to earbuds, my preferred method of sealing reality out of my ear canals. Specifically I have been using Anker Soundbuds Sport IE20, as recommended by The Wirecutter as a cheap but reasonable option at $37. There are even cheaper models in the rapidly maturing wireless earbud market. (Many are framed as fitness devices, and indeed wirelessness is even more appealing when you’re running or otherwise doing something that may be inhibited by a headphone cord wildly flailing about.)
At $37, do you get beautiful sound quality with the Ankers? No. You get adequate sound quality. Decent, even! For context, I otherwise use ten dollar Monoprice earbuds, which are widely acknowledged for their rather good sound and stupid cheap price. I also like Koss PortaPros for daily use at work, and I use Grado SR60e at home. All of which is to say that I am not an audiophile, but I have good taste. (And I should clarify that I don’t use the Bluetooth earbuds when seated at my desk because wires don’t matter when you’re stationary).
The Ankers sound fine. This particular model has a clever magnetic mechanism that automatically turns them on and off but it can easily activate in your pocket accidentally. For less than forty dollars, though, they are a completely reasonable quality for the price.
But it’s not the specific model that I’m advocating for. Rather, I am just trying to set you free. Free of the wires.
Many have been reluctant to embrace the new technology that arguably adds more complications than it solves. Yes, you have to charge them every few days. Yes, the sound occasionally flickers out due to unseen spectral interference or whatever. But I enjoy not being tied down by a wire. I enjoy not fumbling with a wire beneath my winter coat while I try to check my phone. And I no longer hear that stethoscope effect you get when something rubs against the headphone cord. It is nice.
There’s nothing inherently nice about being tethered to your device, and you can choose to be free.