Wireless headsets vs. wired headsets

Written by james johnson
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Wireless headsets vs. wired headsets
Wired Bluetooth headsets have benefits and drawbacks. (headset image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com)

While wireless headsets have been all the rage over the last several years, they are not always the best option for every type of cell phone user. Wireless and wired headsets both offer their own advantages and disadvantages that should be considered when purchasing a hands-free option for your mobile device.

Battery Considerations

According to CNet Asia, wireless Bluetooth devices are notorious drainers of battery life. In fact Bluetooth can consume up to three times the battery life of traditional infrared ports. This battery drain occurs because Bluetooth is a form of radio connection that must constantly send and receive data when turned on.

Wired headsets are only activated when plugged in to the phone and in use by the phone's audio system. If your phone has a poor battery lifespan or you need extra juice, a wired headset is probably a better option.

Range By Distance

Bluetooth (wireless) headsets, as of May 2010, are capable of a reach of up to 30 feet from their device's place of origin. This technology is often handy if plugging your phone into a conference call port at a meeting or for transmitting calls to your headset when walking around your office.

The cord on a wired headsets is generally several feet long and can get tangled and be a nuisance to carry around.

Multiple Connection Abilities

Bluetooth headsets are able to connect to multiple sources once they have been paired with those devices. For example, you can answer a business call on your headset and then answer your personal device's call when it arrives (but not at the same time). With Bluetooth there is no need to pair your device each time a call is received once it has been synced to the device a first time.

Wired headsets must be unplugged from one device and then plugged into the next. While special wire connections, called Y splitters, are available for headsets, it would also mean carrying your devices very close together to use them one after the other.

Higher Chance Of Connectivity (Bluetooth)

Many of today's top computers, cell phones, personal multimedia players and even sound systems use Bluetooth technology. Since Bluetooth is backwards compatible (new Bluetooth headsets are compatible with older Bluetooth specifications) you can connect to an increasing number of devices.

Wired headsets come in 2.5 mm or 3.5 mm sizes and each device is required to carry the correct size port to connect. Wired headset users can purchase 2.5 mm to 3.5 mm adaptors, adding to the components that must be carried around. Typically it is also much easier to install Bluetooth technology than it is to add a headphone jack.

Ease Of Use

Wireless headsets require more set-up. Typically you will need to read a short user manual to determine how to sync your Bluetooth headset and figure out the pairing method used by your devices. Bluetooth headsets also require you to get used to the volume controls found on the headset and any other features you will have to reach for when the device is attached to your ears.

Wired headsets offer a plug-and-play set-up and the controls are often found on a small control panel that dangles from the cord, allowing for full sight controls as you use the wired headset.

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