How to choose headphones for your phone

When choosing headphones for your phone, you should start from the look and acoustic characteristics of this accessory.

How to choose headphones for your phone: what to look for

The main criteria when choosing a headphone for a phone are:

  1. Type ("plug-in", invoices, etc.);

  2. Execution (wired, wireless);

  3. Type of speakers (ferrite, neodymium, microarmature);

  4. Acoustic characteristics (impedance, frequency range, volume);

  5. Additional parameters (plug shape, microphone availability, wire type, wire mount type, noise reduction system).

  6. When choosing headphones for modern smartphones, the jack is also important.

Types of Headphones

There are several types of headphones designed for use with a smartphone:

  1. “Inserts”, they are “droplets”;

  2. "Earbuds" with earhook;

  3. Intracanal, they are also “gags”;

  4. Overhead;

  5. Full size;

  6. With transverse acoustic conductivity.


The most traditional version of headphones. They are inserted into the auricle, and their speaker is facing the ear canal. This design provides optimum acoustic performance. In addition, if the headphones do not play at full volume or are not pressed into the sink (for example, under a hat), they provide audibility to the outside world, which is especially important for mobile use.

The disadvantage of the design is the unreliable fastening. Headphones fall out if you tilt your head or pull the cable.

Earhook "Earbuds"

This version of the headphones eliminated the disadvantage of the previous one. Thanks to the additional arc covering the auricle, they hold tight to the head - even more reliably than the intra-channel ones. At the same time, they retain low weight and ease of use. Such headphones are recommended for athletes or just people who lead an active lifestyle.

The design drawback is the difficulty of wearing headphones and glasses at the same time, as well as possible discomfort due to pressure on the auricle. However, it passes quickly, as the user gets used to the headphones.

In-ear headphones

This version of the headphones also eliminates the disadvantage of the first type (“earbuds”). Intracanal devices, as the name implies, are inserted directly into the auditory canal, where they are firmly fixed with soft but elastic ear cushions. Therefore, the headphones do not fall out even with sudden movements, inclinations or mechanical actions with the wire.

The disadvantage of the design is its danger. Listening to music at high volume can damage your hearing, and wearing headphones for an extended period can cause or aggravate ear diseases like otitis media or “sulfuric plugs”.

As a result, in-ear headphones are suitable for short use and listening to music at medium or low volume.

Over-ear headphones

This type of headphone is equipped with a headband that can pass through the crown or back of the head. They are distinguished by medium-sized speakers, comparable in size to the auricle itself. When worn, they press the auricle to the skull, completely covering it.

Speaker sizes larger than droplets or in-ear headphones provide deeper and richer bass that fans of heavy music like rock and electronic will like. However, specific acoustic characteristics depend on many factors.

Having a “semi-closed" design, such headphones do not completely hide the sink. This ensures that especially loud sounds like a car horn or screams are retained. And this, in turn, is very important for mobile use.

In addition, such headphones usually have optimal sizes, thanks to which they are noticeable, but do not catch the eye. This will avoid various awkward situations.

Full-size headphones

Full-sized, they are also monitor, headphones have large ear pads and a headband, usually passing through the top of the head. They completely cover the auricle. Ear pads of such headphones pass along the scalp, and in some models even partially along the cheeks.

The large size of the monitor headphones allows you to install large and very powerful speakers in them for effective bass reproduction - right down to the tangible. Also, some models are equipped with several speakers in each monitor to create a real sound environment. However, specific acoustic characteristics vary by model.

Due to their design, such headphones are well insulated from the sounds of the world (both closed and open). This can be dangerous with mobile use - a person simply will not hear a car signal, scream or other acoustic warning.

In addition, like “plugs”, such headphones are not recommended to be worn for a long time due to the risk of the appearance or development of specific diseases.

Conductivity Headphones

Cross-conduction headphones open their ears completely. Their "dynamics", which, in essence, are "mechanical vibrodrives", are fixed on the temporal bones and transmit sound directly through the skull directly into the inner ear. Therefore, the auditory meatus remains open, and the surrounding acoustic environment is not blocked by music.

There are three drawbacks to such headphones. Firstly, it is impossible to wear glasses with them. Secondly, people with ICP or brain injuries (concussion, bruising, stroke) from using such headphones may feel worse. And finally, it is required that they fit snugly to the head - only in this case the sound will be “heard”.

However, these headphones are great for wearing outdoors. They do not isolate from the external acoustic environment - and therefore danger signals like a car horn, screams, dog barking, etc. will be heard.

However, headphones with transverse conductivity are practically not found on the market due to the extremely small number of manufacturers. And they are not cheap.

Which headphones to choose?

Ideal headphones for mobile use are droplets and overheads. Slightly less - due to the limitation of the perception of the acoustic environment - in-channel and “droplets” with behind-the-ear mounts are suitable. For the most part, full-size ones are not intended for mobile use, since they isolate the listener from the external sound environment.

But headphones with permeability are the choice for geeks.

Main selection criteria

Execution (wired or wireless)

According to the performance, the headphones are divided into three types:

  1. Wired with 3.5 mm Jack (analog);

  2. Wired with Lightning or USB Type-C (digital);

  3. Wireless (working via Bluetooth).

Wired with 3.5mm jack Designed for use with the vast majority of smartphones. The main advantage of such headphones is versatility. Not only smartphones, but also portable players, computers and other multimedia devices are equipped with a 3.5 mm jack.

Another advantage of wired 3.5 mm headphones is the ability to fine-tune the sound. Using equalizers and special engines, if you have the appropriate skills, you can customize the acoustic picture in detail. And, of course, the sound quality will vary significantly depending on the bitrate of the music.

Wired Headphones with Lightning or USB Type-C Designed for use with appropriate smartphones that are not equipped with a 3.5 mm Jack connector - for example, Apple iPhone 7 or Google Pixel 2, respectively. Being digital, they do not provide detailed settings for sound quality, but they can create additional audio effects - for example, surround sound (like virtual 7.1).

Wireless headphonesthat work according to the Bluetooth standard, communicate with the smartphone according to this standard. This provides almost complete freedom of action. For example, you can leave your smartphone on the table and go to another room.

Being also digital, they do not provide enough custom sound. But some models right out of the box (for example, Sony or Marshall) provide a fairly high quality.

However, with the choice of wireless headphones there is a separate series of subtleties.

Speaker Type

There are three types of speakers - ferrite, neodymium and microarmature.

  1. Ferrite is the cheapest. They are found mainly in budget headphones. Provide a "flat" sound, suitable for undemanding users.

  2. Neodymium provides deep bass and optimal sound mid and high frequencies. Suitable for most users.

  3. Micro-armatures provide surround sound in which you can hear every note, but none of the frequencies prevails.

There are also headphones with several speakers (for example, Xiaomi Dual Drivers), which use neodymium magnets and microarmature structures. It is clear that they combine the merits of each of these types.

Acoustic characteristics

  1. Impedance is the degree of resistance of the wire. For use with mobile devices, it is undesirable to use headphones with an impedance of more than 35-40 Ohms, since they will lead to a strong discharge of the device.

  2. The frequency range is part of the spectrum that headphones can reproduce. The human ear distinguishes between 20 Hz and 15 kHz. However, deep bass lovers should buy headphones with a lower end of the range of 10 Hz.

  3. Volume determines the maximum volume that headphones can emit. In no case should you purchase models whose limit exceeds 120 dB. They can damage the ears.

Extra options

  1. The shape of the plug determines the durability of this connector. For use with smartphones, it is recommended to choose headphones with an L-shaped connector. Straight plugs fray quickly in pockets.

  2. The presence of a microphone allows you to use headphones as a headset (hands-free).

  3. A twisted wire is more practical, since it does not hang down and does not interfere at hand.

  4. Wire fastening can be one-sided and two-sided. The first option is more practical, since the cable does not "cover" the head.

  5. The noise reduction system isolates the user from the external sound environment. Not the best option for mobile carrying, but allows you to "close" from the noise of the subway or plane. The disadvantage is that the active noise cancellation system can cause headaches, while the passive one is implemented exclusively in a structural manner and significantly increases the size and weight of the headphones.

How to choose wireless headphones

When choosing a wireless headphone, you should pay attention to the following options:

  1. Type of headphone;

  2. Bluetooth standard.

Wireless headphones can be performed in two versions - in the form of in-channel with a separate unit or in the form of overhead or full-size.

  1. Intracanal are ordinary "gags" that attach to a small block hanging on the neck. It also houses the control buttons and microphone for the headset. Such headphones are not very convenient, but usually very cheap. In addition, a weak battery is usually installed in the unit hanging on the neck, which lasts about 6-8 hours.

  2. Overhead and full size also similar to "ordinary." Nevertheless, the monitors themselves hide the battery, sound card, wireless receiver and other accessories. On-ear and full-size headphones are more autonomous and have better sound quality. But they are very large.

The Bluetooth standard defines the autonomy and range of the headphones. Moreover, it is desirable that it be the same in the smartphone and in the headphones. The Bluetooth 4.0 standard is quite energy-intensive, which is why both devices are quickly discharged and have a small radius of action (they will not “break through” the wall, for example). And 4.1 consumes less energy and provides a greater range.

For use with modern smartphones on Android 8.0 (for example, Nexus 6P or Google Pixel), you should buy headphones with support for aptX HD codecs. They provide the best sound.

In the following articles, our experts tell how to choose a charger for the phone and the secrets of choosing a memory card for a smartphone.

Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a guide to the purchase.

Watch the video: How to choose the right headphones for you. Pocketnow (March 2020).