While it makes for some sleek-looking phones, I find the absence of a headphone jack on the best smartphones a real shame. Some of the best wireless headphones and best wireless earbuds are great, but to me, they’ll never match their analog ancestors.
I long for the days of plug-and-play headphones, and not just for the sake of nostalgia. It’ll probably never happen, but my one wish for the top manufacturers is to please bring back the humble headphone jack. Consider these 5 reasons the start of a new grassroots campaign to bring back wired headphones.
1. Wired headphones are harder to lose
I’m the kind of person who takes my earbuds everywhere I go, but this means I’ve also lost my fair share of wireless earbuds. Some are likely deep under couch cushions but I’ve also been separated from them in more exotic locations — on airplanes, trains, and vacations — and they’re never coming back (I hope they’re having a good time). The fact that there is no find my AirPods on Android is criminal. We Android users can be just as forgetful as iPhone owners.
2. They sound better
While Bluetooth has improved over the years, the best wireless headphones will never sound as good as wired ones. A Bluetooth connection to headphones is another degree of separation from the original audio and another level of sound processing we don't need. An analog connection will always trump a digital signal in sound quality. While we have to keep waiting for lossless audio on Spotify’s Hi-fi tier, I'll take all the audio improvements I can get.
3. You don’t have to charge them
Even with the rapid charging of phones today, I struggle to balance charging all of my devices. When going on a long journey, the last thing I want to hear is the dreaded beep of my headphones declaring they’re about to run out of juice. I hate having to ration listening to music and podcasts to avoid battery drain. Wired headphones and earbuds never run out of juice, and even if your phone needs to be plugged in, you can listen while charging.
4. They're less expensive
Not only are they easier to lose, but replacing wireless earbuds is more expensive. Even the best Airpod deals rarely drop below $100 for entry-level models while Apple’s wired Earpods are around $20. That’s a big difference. If you do have wireless earbuds or headphones, you better look after them.
5. There's no pairing issues
The amount of time I’ve spent pairing earbuds to my phone is obscene. Pairing and unpairing to switch between my phone and laptop has become such a pain I just switch my Bluetooth off completely when not using the other device.
I always have a little moment of panic listening to music on wireless earbuds in public spaces that it just won’t connect and the whole world will know I’m listening to Avril Lavigne. That’s not to mention seemingly random occasions where one headphone will connect while the other stays silent and you have to disconnect and reconnect again.
I know that deep down, wireless headphones are the future, and particularly useful for the gym and running, but for now, I'll just turn up the music and ignore them.