BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES VS TWS EARBUDS: WHAT TO WEAR IN 2022
Bluetooth Headphone | TWS Earbuds | Wireless Earbuds | Wireless EarPods
It’s the era of wireless— better connectivity and enhanced sound feats. Whether you chew over TWS, Neckbands or Bluetooth headphones, each has one factor that makes them unique. Pitting them against one another may be unfair but it’s fun, as you get to know what your needs are. Consumers yearn mostly to suit their respective lifestyles, which means having a cool gadget for recreational purposes. A valid prospect but that’s just the tip of the iceberg; a li’l more detailing can help us wanderers. When selecting online, people trim it down to design most likely as that becomes a deciding factor to suit one’s wants. But there’s more to it.
The Curious Case of Big and Small
The stakes are quite high that you’ll use a pair of wearable audio pieces to keep filling up the juice you need to carry out daily chores while you elbow grease at home or the office. Or you might need it as a necessity while working out or attending calls. During such times, you might not ponder on the minute details of the sound coming out as your key focus is on the objective in front of you. The deciding factor in such a case becomes the comfort value which in this case is the size. So what’s the choice— the big over-ear headphones or the compact in-ear TWS? If your stuff requires a lot of manoeuvrability, then headphones should be the ideal choice. Things like hitting the gym, yoga, running, jogging, trekking, hiking, etc involve continuous body movements and for that, you need to buy a nice pair of headphones as they provide you with options to adjust the cups according to your head dimensions. If your daily routine involves stuff like conference calls, listening to music while you type or lay down on your bed after a tiring day, the ideal choice would be TWS earbuds as they are small, less weighty and won’t fall off unless you bob your head too much.
Both earphones and headphones have their ration of pros and cons which you need to take into consideration before placing your money. Facets like design, sound quality, microphone, connectivity, power and features become vital before you make your buy. Let’s have a look at both the audio titans separately.
Headphones— For Serious Sound Pursuers
While there’s no question that headphones and headsets are particularly favoured when it comes to the top-quality sound you witness in sound editing and mixing studios. They are bigger with enhanced drivers and come with more features that suit a particular need. For audiography and sound engineering, you need headphones that conform to the entire sound setup and focus on every minute aspect of sound production. They are very different from the high-end consumer headphones that are mostly about bass, treble and noise cancellation.
Open Back and Closed-Back Headphones
Studio headphones are commonly divided into Open Back and Closed-Back headphones. Open Back headphones allow audio leakages to give an airy and transparent room for the sound to flow. They do not block the ambient noise. Open backs are primarily needed during sound mixing. Closed-Back headphones, on the other hand, are effective during recording tracks. They have bigger ear cups with abysmal noise-cancelling abilities to generate a more isolated experience.
But these two technologies aren’t just experienced inside recording rooms; even regular headphones and headsets can be seen having open or closed backs. You can see people sporting both types in different places. While the general preference is closed backs, consumers who put up in isolated spaces or love to work with sound use the open back ones.
On-Ear vs Over-Ear Headphones
There is another distinction among headphones which is classified as On-ear and Over-ear. You might have guessed by the names that both the entities represent the headphone earpad sizes. In terms of technology, both On-ear and Over-ear have been heavily competing with each other as both have their own distinct merits. Let's skim through them.
Supra-Aural headphones, also called On-ear headphones, sit on your ears rather than covering them entirely. They are smaller and less bulky. A pair of On-ear headphones can produce the best of sounds, but since they rest on your ears, they might not be comfortable for longer durations. Moreover, due to smaller padding, the sound might not be completely trapped and can leak which means ambient/external sounds may encroach on your space as well and vice versa. But overall, they create a more airy and natural noise effect.
Over-ear headphones cover your ears entirely for an immersive sound experience. This way you are completely disconnected from the ambient noise and only get to hear whatever output is playing. Due to their sound design pattern, they are also known as Circumaural headphones. You can travel in public places with them without bothering the crowd around you. The one factor that gives over-ears a sliver of an advantage over on-ears is the comfort level. Over-ear headphones are more relaxing because they don’t put weight on your ears but this also has a cost. Since it completely shrouds your ears, they tend to get hotter and sweat profusely after prolonged usage.
Headphones vs Headsets
A small battle within a battle; this is a short and interesting one. While a headphone and headset are basically the same, there lies a difference and quite a visible one. Bluetooth headphones have a mic that is a part of the gear themselves, whereas headsets have a physical microphone attached to them. So headsets are headphones with a mic, albeit with contrasting designs.
Again, like other differences, headsets serve as better options during gaming or conversational activities where you want your voice to be very clear when spoken. Although the same can be achieved via headphones, having an actual microphone makes it more assuring, doesn’t it?
TWS Earbuds— For a Wholesome Experience
Over the last few years, wireless earbuds (or earpods) have become increasingly popular. With enhanced sound techniques, clarity in output and graphics, they do quite well on their part as being one of the most sought after gizmos. TWS earbuds, more than sound-producing accessories, have become the staple lifestyle gadgets that you can literally wear while doing anything. You open a magazine, newspaper or internet ad, you see celebs endorsing a product but with a pair of cool buds cleverly juxtaposed in their ears.
TWS/TWEs are very different from their mammoth counterparts; not only in terms of appearance but in terms of sound production as well. A pair of Bluetooth earbuds are holistic audio devices that get your leisures streamlined, in the meantime making you smarter. They do have less nitty-gritty than headphones but unlike them, you do not need to be a connoisseur of sound to get the maximum out of a pair of earbuds, you just need to know the basic tenets of technology. That’s why they have such wide appeal.
In terms of technology, certain aspects matter among the TWS enthusiast community that buyers take cues from.
- Design: Gone are the days when they said, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, now it’s the foremost thing that people gawk at meekly, thanks to online shopping. The design includes the shape and size of the TWS earpods, the colour(s) style and gradient and whether they are in-ear with silicone rubber padding or IEM canalphones. Fitting becomes a critical factor in this case. Whether the earphones have or do not have the padding, there is always a bit of risk associated with the fittings, especially if they are the latter.
- Features: These are basically the backbone of the TWS buds. The technology, gestures and resistivity features compile the prowess of Bluetooth earbuds. Speaking of Bluetooth, if you’re buying a pair in 2022, it should be at least Bluetooth 5.0 and up as it brings better connectivity with a longer range and higher bandwidth. They should also have smart control gestures for basic functions like play and pause music, change tracks or accept, decline and end calls. In terms of protection, the rating should be IP55 and above to get considerable resistance against water and dust particles and ABS material for a sturdy finish.
- Sound Quality and Technology: Quite similar to headphones, the discipline of sound in TWS is supposed to be balanced. While glancing over a generation obsessed with bass, the basic principle that a good pair of TWS offers is to keep the bass neither too heavy nor too low. Dynamic drivers should be between 8-15mm as they generate a likeable amount of bass and loudness. But do not think bigger dynamic drivers result in better (more) bass or volume, that’s a solid myth. Do look for products that support audio codecs like AAC, SBC, LDAC or AptX. The overall sound experience will be determined after continuous use of the buds during music, calls and gaming.
- Microphone: Over the years, audio engineers have shown some exceptional improvements in earphone mics. Nowadays, the most discussed technology associated with it is Active Noise Cancellation or ANC. The ANC is also an important requisite. While it may not be as effective as in headphones, its best use is illustrated during phone calls. Sounds like the wind or fan whirring should be eliminated so that the person on the other end is able to hear your voice crystal clear.
- Battery Backup: As indispensable as the above qualities, the battery backup can make or mar the utility of TWS earbuds. The higher the battery backup, the better. On a single charge, the buds should be able to play 4-5 hours of music at 100 per cent volume. The case should have enough juice to power up the pods at least 4 times when the battery level hits nadir.
Calling the Shots
While the comparison is quite like apples versus watermelons (size, bruh) as it comes down to subjective preference. But here’s a bit of sage advice that’s worked out for me at least, might as well for you, if you like experimenting— look out for a good pair of TWS earbuds like the Quantum SonoTrix 1 that has all the aforementioned specs and will give you a good understanding of audio functionalities and the standards to be expected from true wireless peripherals. Spend a good time with it and then move on to the audio cups, the musical headbands. Bluetooth headphones are costlier and take time to help you understand the additional details but are also a subsequent step after spending time with wireless earpods. You can even compare the devices for similar objectives and find out the difference yourself.