Paul Laffitte

Why true wireless earbuds suck

24 Apr 2022

A few days ago, my brother bought his brand new Samsung S20 FE and discovered not without surprise and a bit of irritation that the device didn't come with a mini-jack audio port like his previous phone. After discussing with him about why it is (or is not) a nonsense to ship smartphones without this feature. I finally advised him to either buy an USB-C adapter or a pair of true wireless earbuds. At the time, I hadn't tried this technology and was quite curious to test it out.

Two days later, the Amazon delivery man rang the doorbell. The small box contained a pair of unbranded earbuds, made in France China. The earbuds and box looked cheap (for only 30 bucks, it seems legit), and the sound (or should I say noise?) coming out of the devices was aggressive and irritating with way too much treble and clearly not enough bass. No problem, we packed the product straight back into its box and requested a refund from Amazon. Given that true wireless technology is cutting edge, buying at a low price should not be an option. So we headed to the Samsung Galaxy Earbuds 2.

2 days and 2 shipments later, the Earbuds arrive at my home. The earbuds come from the same company as the phone, so they should work like a charm. Indeed, they do, but what was our surprise and annoyance when we realized that the sound quality of this over-one-hundred-euros pair of earbuds would only match or, at best, slightly exceed the quality of the unbranded pair. Same treatment: in its box and sent back to Amazon for refund (sorry dear earth 🌎❤️). Later I also tried a friend's Airpods, I don't remember the version. I just remember that I was disappointed too, less than with the Earbuds but still... Maybe true wireless earbuds just suck?

True wireless earbuds are not for everybody

The first thing I want to say is that true wireless is not for everyone. If you're not used to buying earbuds, it's not for you, and if you want to listen to music, you should probably buy a pair of headphones anyway.

There is also the fact that this tech is quite expensive. Well, there are some awesome features... that may justify the price, but you may have better things to do with your money (or your ears) than buying a pair of earbuds.

Why I don't want to own a pair of true wireless earbuds

As you've probably already figured out, I wouldn't buy one of these earbuds for myself. I don't think you should pay that much for crappy audio quality. You could argue that they're just earbuds, that it is normal that they're not very good, and you're right, but as you said, they're just earbuds, so should we really pay a hundred+ euros for earbuds?

In the end, the answer depends on you, your preferences, your needs, etc. But for me, it is now clear that true wireless earbuds are simply not an option. A headset will always sound and feel better, but I have to admit that a pair of earbuds can be useful in some circumstances, in which case I don't mind having a pair of wired earbuds with an adapter.

To qualify my words a bit, if you like the techy side of true wireless earbuds, I can see why you might want to play with this fun new technology. Or even if you like its handy side, it might be a good option. I'm just not in either of those situations 🙃

Last update: 24 Apr 2022