It’s a topic of great debate in the gaming community: are wired or wireless headphones better? Both have their pros and cons, but what it really comes down to is your personal preference and the device you’re using. Some gamers playing for long periods will want the flexibility to move around without getting tangled up in wires. Others may prefer the sound quality of wired headphones.
Continue reading as we compare the advantages and disadvantages of wired and wireless headphones to help you decide which one to opt for.
Wired headphones connect to devices via headphone jacks and a cord.
- Cost — Wired headphones are generally cheaper than Bluetooth headphones because it’s more expensive to make Bluetooth devices. Replacement parts also tend to be cheaper for wired headphones.
- No charging needed — Wired headsets get their power from whichever device they’re plugged into (such as a laptop or television). This means you don’t need to charge them separately and can use them for as long as your game lasts.
- Sound quality — Wired gaming headsets use analog signals that provide better sound quality than wireless audio signals because they can handle more data. The audio won’t go through as much processing as it does with wireless counterparts, so the in-game sound will be much cleaner and crisper.
- Connection — It can’t get much simpler: just plug the cord into the device, and you’re ready to go! Make sure you don’t move around too much, though, or you might accidentally pull the cord out.
- Limited mobility — A long cord tying you to a device can limit your movement. You may be unable to move more than a few meters (sometimes less) from whichever device you use. This could cut the conversation with your mates short if you need to dash from one room to another. Getting the cable caught or tangled around other objects is also very easy.
- Tangled cables — There’s nothing worse than fishing out your headphones only to find the cable is knotted and tangled. While it can be tempting to wrap the wire around your headphones, this is a quick way to wear it out. It can also put pressure on the connection point, which makes it more likely to break.
- Cable damage — As mentioned above, it’s very easy for headphone cables to fray and break down. This could affect the sound quality, prevent audio from playing in one ear, or create static.
Wireless headphones can connect to a device (such as a laptop, television, or phone) without using a connection cable. Most devices use Bluetooth technology to connect from one device to another.
- Free movement — You’re not restricted by wire length, so you can move wherever you like. This is particularly helpful if you use mobile devices (such as a laptop or tablet) and want to move from room to room. Just remember to keep in range of your device. Otherwise, the Bluetooth will lose connection.
- Compatible with most devices — Most modern devices have Bluetooth and can be easily paired with wireless headphones. After you’ve manually paired the devices for the first time, they should automatically connect to each other in the future.
- Active Noise Cancellation — Although not all wireless headphones have this feature, it is becoming more common. It mutes background noise (such as cars and wind) so you can fully concentrate on the audio coming from your headphones.
- Cost — Wireless headsets tend to be on the pricey side. You’re better off choosing a wired set if you’re on a tight budget.
- Charging time — Wireless gaming headsets need to be charged every so often. It can be frustrating when you’re gaming for a long time, and your headphones run out of charge. Some headphones have a better battery life than others, which is something to bear in mind when you’re looking to buy your next set.
- Connectivity issues — Not every device can connect with wireless headphones. Xbox One, for example, doesn’t have a built-in Bluetooth audio support. However, there are ways you can connect your wireless headphones to your Xbox or another device if you specifically want to use Bluetooth headphones.
- Audio delays — Wireless devices often experience some sound delay. This can prove a problem for gamers who rely on good audio quality and responsive sound.
A wireless gaming headset gives you free movement, and many models feature Active Noise Cancellation to block out background noise. However, charging time and battery life is an important factor if you plan on gaming for hours on end. Unlike a wired headset, a wireless headset must be charged before using it. On the other hand, wireless headphones provide better sound quality, but you might get annoyed by tangled leads.
There are pro points for both types, but wired headphones are probably your best bet if you’re after high-quality audio and want to game for hours on end.