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Poll: Should the phone's headphone jack come back?

We've been testing the volume and sound quality of phone headphone jacks for years. We also assessed the headphones attached to the phones. Now phones have neither a 3.5 mm JACK socket, nor headphones included, nor an adapter for this socket. Is this a sign of the times or some error in the matrix?

The 3.5mm JACK socket was the gold standard

Initially, manufacturers used their own power sockets in phones and often integrated connectors for dedicated headphones. At the same time, however Nokia started promoting 2.5 mm JACK sockets and shortly afterwards 3.5 mm, which quickly became the market standard, or more precisely the latter. For a while, however, even the 3.5 mm JACK socket caused problems for manufacturers, because… the button on the microphone didn't work after connecting to another phone, and even then the depth of the nest was different and I needed an adapter for the first iPhone. However, over the years, the 3.5 mm JACK has served us well and manufacturers have used it in phones increasingly better analog-to-digital converters, including even quad DACs in LG's flagship phones.

The LG G6 had one of the best headphone jacks ever
The LG G6 (top) had one of the most powerful headphone jacks in phone history. This is despite the lack of a quad DAC in the European version of the LG G6.

There is no longer room for the 3.5 mm JACK socket, Apple said

Apple is known for controversial changes to devices and forcibly persuading people to adopt their own vision of convenience. Sometimes, over time, it turns out that she was right, but there are also situations that did not make users entirely happy in the end.

And that's where 2016 comes in Apple iPhone 7, which has no headphone jack. Even though the phone was rated as one of Apple's best series, the world of music freaks trembled. Because just a moment ago you could connect an iPhone 6S to a DJ console and the sound from it was phenomenal, but now you have to play with an adapter and the quality drops. It's not the same anymore – voices of dissatisfaction thundered.

Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus - the beginning of the end of the 3.5 mm JACK era in phones
Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus – the beginning of the end of the 3.5 mm JACK era in phones

The entire market blindly followed Apple, although initially – to wipe away tears – we received an adapter from Lightning or USB-C to the JACK socket, currently it has long been no longer a standard. And maybe that's a good thing, because the quality of these adapters was often questionable (e.g. HTC had a nice one), and there were constant compatibility problems. It is currently available for music lovers a powerful range of external DACs, which outperforms any free adapter or old 3.5 mm JACK connector from phones in terms of quality. However, the disgust remained. If you're looking for an adapter like this, it's a must take a look at our ranking of as many as 19 DAC models here.

Which DAC for your phone - ranking of 19 models
Arek did a titanic job of comparing as many as 19 DAC models, i.e. greatly simplifying high-class “adapters” from USB-C to 3.5 mm JACK.

Wireless headphones were supposed to be a remedy

You don't have to look far to find the actual reason for removing the JACK socket. Place in the housing a place, but manufacturers primarily wanted to make customers happy with a new category of equipment – True Wireless headphones, i.e. the so-called GRP. Apple got it right, because for years it has been the largest manufacturer of Bluetooth headphones in the world, deriving astronomical amounts from this segment. The point is that in 2016, Bluetooth headphones were hopeless.

Are wireless headphones worth it?
Now inexpensive and good Bluetooth headphones are at our fingertips, we can choose from various shapes and technologies that manufacturers spoil us with. However, when headphone jacks were starting to disappear in 2016, the TWS Bluetooth headphone market was in its infancy.

Low sound quality, terrible call quality, and real working time of 2-3 hours were the order of the day. Moreover, they cost a fortune compared to my favorite JACK fleas. Basic codec SBC or early AAC were far from the audiophile dreams of users. It wasn't really a device that would last for years, because although there was no tangled cable, the headphones were heavily used they kept their batteries on their batteries for shorter and shorter periods of time until they finally died.

Will wireless headphones always sound worse? Nonsense

There was even a myth that Wireless headphones will never give you the same sound quality as cable. The point is that technically they can, it is only moderately profitable in terms of energy consumption and data transmission. After all, our phones are capable of transmitting gigabits, not kilos or megabits, just that type WiFi headphones will discharge quickly, just like our phone. Still though it is possible to transmit 100% lossless sound wirelessly to headphones, in fact, omitting the interference of long cables may even make such a solution overcome the cable.

The perfect audio adapter for your phone

In practice, however, what we actually listen to is at best HiRes FLAC from Tidal — up to 24-bit and 192 kHz, and more realistically top 320 kbps from Spotify or 128-256 kbps from YouTube. They already support such bandwidths mid-range Bluetooth headphones. But the time will come for complete losslessness, according to rumors Sonos is to show its Wi-Fi headphones. So no, cable does not have this mythical advantage. However, it does not require batteries and is simply cheaper. And stubbornly still available if someone connects a decent DAC to the phone.

After all, it's a pity about the 3.5 mm JACK, isn't it?

Although I like wireless headphones, mainly because of their convenience in various types of private and business situations, I still evaluate the removal of the JACK connector from phones negatively. Following the idea that the phone should adapt to our needs, not us to it. Besides, removing sets from chargers is a similar attack on our convenience, but this is a topic for a separate article.

However, as Witek Tomaszewski has been telling me over the years, A good journalist should exclude his intuition when determining the facts. So I'm asking you an open question – Do you miss JACK 3.5 mm? Or maybe you are absolutely indifferent to him? The survey and comment section below is for you.

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