Un-plug and play
The times they are a changin’ in the world of headphones. The once-standard 3.5mm audio jack that most people used to plug their headphones into their smartphones, now seems to be on the way out. Smartphone makers such as Apple, LeEco and even Motorola are not using it anymore—one reason being the trend towards slimmer designs. Of course, you can always fiddle around with adapters that allow you to use your favourite headphones.
But if you’re not in the mood to lug around a different set of headphones for every device, then perhaps it is time to make your audio experience wireless. Some audiophiles might wince at the idea because wireless music-streaming sometimes reduces the quality of the music, but for most users, the convenience trumps all other elements of the music listening experience. The sheer convenience of headphones that do not need to be attached physically to the sound source is undeniable. So if you are in the market for a pair of headphones and do not want a clutter of wires around you, here are some options.
The Austrian audio brand AKG always gets the balance between great looks, comfort and performance absolutely spot on. And the Y45BT is no different. These on-ear headphones have two 40mm audio drivers, and work beautifully with a variety of music. They also have the Near Field Communication (NFC) feature, which makes it easier to pair with some newer Android phones. Buy them if you don’t want to compromise on sound but want something light around your ears.
Samsung Gear IconX
The IconX come in a little box that charges them. They track your fitness too and have 4 GB internal storage, so they can function as an audio player even when they are not paired to your phone. The catch? The sound quality isn’t great and the battery life is limited (they barely get past an hour-and-a-half on one charge). It’s the geek’s choice—for while it may not always be functional at present, it’s a sign of things to come
Jabra Halo Smart
This has a rather unconventional design, with a band that snakes around your neck, but the Halo Smart is likely to appeal to those who love functional headphones. They come with support for Apple’s Siri and Google Now assistants, using a dedicated voice button. These headphones can be configured to read out calendar notifications, mails, texts and social media updates for Android users. And a single charge is enough to keep your ears filled with music for 15 hours.
V-Moda Crossfade wireless
These are most definitely going to win beauty contests. The sharp personality has been inspired by V-Moda’s own wired Crossfade headphones, and they are customizable too—you can even have funky colours for what are known as the shields, outside each earpiece. The memory foam cushions around each earpiece can be worn comfortably for many hours at a stretch. The sound output is extremely colourful, with good noise isolation and great detailing. The battery lasts around 12 hours on a single charge.
Bose QuietComfort 35
These headphones are for the audiophiles out there. If you’re looking for the best-quality sound in headphones that are unencumbered by wires, then the QC 35 is the best option. These come with noise-cancellation as well as a noise-rejecting dual-microphone system for clear voice calls. The finish is premium, with a battery that lasts a staggering 20 hours. What’s more, you can even attach them to the music source via wires if you want to, perhaps when the battery runs out and you cannot charge it immediately.
One of the most talked about accessories launched alongside the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are the Apple AirPods. They essentially look like the normal EarPods but with the wires removed, connecting to your iOS device over Bluetooth, and come with a special charging case. But, of course, there is more to them than sheer wireless connectivity. There are stacks of sensors in the two ear buds—they are always on and always connected, they sense when you have removed them, when you are speaking, and can even summon Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri (tap twice on them). Their design might not launch a thousand ships, and some might wish for more than 5 hours of battery life on a single charge, but we reckon these are indeed the tech marvels in their ecosystem.
*Prices may vary