How to buy a Bluetooth headset

How to buy a Bluetooth headset? [Guide & Tips]

The wireless headset market already has a wide variety of models and brands. Before choosing a new device for you to listen to music, it is important to consider some factors so that it satisfies your needs. Check out how to buy a headset Bluetooth .

How to buy a Bluetooth headset

Headphone format 🎧

You can find four wireless headset formats. From that point on, which style you like best, will help to filter the available options:

  • Auricular (earbud) : it is the common headset that is inside the ear, but without entering the ear like the intra-earphones. It does not have any type of insulation from outside noise.
  • In-ear : these are the headphones that enter the ear canal and have that silicone protection for fixation and a little isolation from the sound, making it a better choice for people who live in noisy environments.
  • Supra-auricular (on-ear) : those that are outside the ear and above it, the well-known headphones, with an arc that goes over the head. They even have some noise isolation, but it will depend on the construction and adjustment for each user, since this model does not cover the entire ear.
  • Circoauriculars (over-ear) : those that cover the whole ear, one of the best types for isolation of external noise and sound immersion. Because of this, they are also the biggest and most difficult to transport (not a problem for those who always have a backpack or bag).

Bluetooth 4.1, 4.2 or 5.0? 📶

Pay attention to the Bluetooth version in the headset

Although we are already in version 5 of Bluetooth, some headphones are still found in version 4.1 or 4.2 of the technology. And what does this change?

Well, the main difference between versions 4.1 to 4.2 is low power consumption. The new version (5.0) brought twice the speed and four times more reach between the connected devices.

If you have the profile of a person who moves a lot within the environment that will use the headset, it is good to think about a model with version 5.0.

Bluetooth 5.0 also brought improvements in terms of interference with other wireless technologies (Wi-Fi and mobile networks). If you plan to use the handset in environments with a lot of wireless transmission equipment or walking on the street, consider a model with the latest version of Bluetooth.

Do you need active noise cancellation? 🔇

The active noise cancellation is a technology that allows the user to isolate the outside world (when it works well) from the emission of sound waves contrary to those who come from outside, voiding frequencies and allowing greater sound immersion.

It is an interesting resource mainly for people who live surrounded by external noises and need to isolate themselves from these unwanted sounds, be it from the air conditioning equipment, the airplane’s turbine, the sound of cars on the street or from other people talking.

It is common for this technology to be present only in earbuds and in-ear earphones, which already offer natural isolation due to the construction that closes the ear canal or covers the ear. They are the most expensive, too.

The question is, do I need this type of noise cancellation?

If you don’t work or listen to music in a loudly polluted environment, choosing active noise cancellation becomes an unnecessary investment. If it’s just for use at home or other quieter locations, it pays to invest in a model that focuses on other technology, like battery life, for example.

Battery capacity 🔋

This is another important feature when choosing. There are headphones that last 6 hours and headphones with a capacity for 60 hours of playback. The models known as headphones (supra-auricular and circoauricular), because they are larger, allow the addition of a battery of greater capacity.

Still, most of the smaller headphones (in-ear and in-ear) also come with a case that works like a portable battery, for some extra recharging during the day, so the headphones can accompany you on a daily journey.

Again, this should not be a deciding factor if you do not usually use the headset for several hours in a row and in a fixed environment that allows you to recharge it from time to time.

It is important to remember that the battery wears out naturally over time. In one year, that promised duration, while the headset is new, should drop by half or something close to that. So consider the life of the device as well.

Will you use it to exercise? 🚴🏼

Whoever uses the headset for physical activities should pay attention at the time of purchase to check if the headset offers resistance to water and sweat , especially because you do not want to damage it in the first few weeks.

Some models, especially the earbuds, have IPX4 protection – which certifies the resistance against water jets for up to 10 minutes in an alternating way.

Choosing a headset with resistance to these elements will give you peace of mind when using it outdoors even to prevent damage from rain. However, do not abuse it: just like the battery, the resistance weakens over time.

In-ear headphones are the most recommended models for those who practice physical activity, mainly because, some, offer a rod for attachment to the ear that prevents it from falling during the activity.

The earwires, which cover the entire ear, tend to overheat that region, especially during an activity. Therefore, use for long periods becomes uncomfortable, not to mention that it is heavier.

How to buy a Bluetooth headset

Watch out for audio codecs! 🎛

An audio codec is responsible for encoding and decoding the digital file and transmitting it to Bluetooth headsets. It is from them that you can obtain a reproduction quality, both in audio fidelity and in latency for games or video consumption.

Remember that it is not enough that only the headset supports the best codec, the source (from which device the audio will be transmitted) also needs to support the algorithm.

  • SBC:
    This is the codec present in most Bluetooth devices. It is the simplest and does not have a high transfer rate like the others. However, because it is a universal format, it is present in all wireless devices.
  • ACC:
    It is considered an improvement over the SBC because it delivers better quality from greater compression, managing to operate at lower transfer rates than the SBC.
  • aptX:
    The codec has a higher transmission rate than the previous ones, to offer a quality close to that of a CD. However, the format had some problems with loss of quality.
  • aptX HD:
    It came to solve the problem of the previous version, delivering more sound quality for a higher transmission rate.
  • aptX LL (Low Latency) :
    As the name suggests, this version of the aptX codec has come to improve the latency – time between transmission and audio playback – in the Bluetooth headset.
  • LDAC:
    It is the codec that allows you to vary the transmission rate according to the audio played, which optimizes the energy consumption of the Bluetooth headset. In addition, the transmission has almost twice the speed of aptx HD and triple the speed of SBC.

What can be summarized is that: if you are looking for audio fidelity in relation to the original file, you should look for a wireless headset with support for the most advanced codecs (aptX HD, LDAC).

If you don’t call much and just want to listen to music while you move around with the phone, any one of them will be enough (even cheaper).

For those who intend to watch or play with the headphones, whether connecting to TV, cell phone or computer, it is desirable to opt for headphones with aptX and aptX HD support, which offer a lower latency.

Other codecs, with higher latency, for playing video content can generate a noticeable delay in the scenes – be it the noise of an explosion or the speech of a character out of sync.

Of course, not everyone can see the difference between codec quality or playback latency. But, if you consider yourself sensitive and critical about the quality of the audio that enters your ears, consider investing in better technology.