We have to admit buying a new pair of headphones is confusing. The headphone market gets disrupted with a lot of jack types, features (Bluetooth, ANC, HRM) and design (in ear, over ear, on ear, true wireless earbuds). Traditional 3.5mm jack is still ubiquitous, lightinng and USB C come in they aren’t about to replace the 3.5mm jack anytime soon, but inspect your phone well, probably Pexel 4 or Pexel 3 and it has a USB-C type port your new quest begins – and here are best USB C earbuds.
Don’t buy USB C earbuds
- A quality USB-C headphones are a way more expensive than 3.5mm plug earbuds. They only work with a few devices
- You have a cheaper option, get a USB-C Digital to 3.5 mm headphone adapter for $9 but hey you’ve got a lot of accessories and a pair of $100 earbuds (1MORE Triple Driver in-Ear Earphones are great)
- You have a few choice for USB-C earbuds
- Why not Bluetooth earbuds?
But you still crave for it
USB-C is better in a number of ways, one of which is if you stream music from services which offer Hi-Fi (lossless or near-lossless) option you will get the most out of USB-C earbuds since it’s digital, unlike the tradional 3.5mm jack earbuds your phone has to convert the audio signal which is digital to analog.
Libratone Q Adapt USB-C EarBuds For Pixel and Pixel 2XL owners
The Q Adapt earbuds are lightweight and extremely comfortable to wear, featuring the a nice braided fabric cable and solid inline control, they are well-built but honestly the $149 price tag is expensive for their look! But they may be qualified for the ANC function and sound quality.
Using USB-C instead of 3.5mm jack add a benefit that the NC feature is powered by phone’s battery – no more bulky battery compartment. The Libratone Q Adapt is a sports NC in ear headphone, they have 4 levels of cancelling out the noise, 80%, 60%, ambient aware mode, 100% respectively.
Tested in various environments, the Q Adapt justs work fine and its capacity to actively cancel out the noise is not phenomenal. For sound quality, the Q Adapts delivers an impressive bass which is strong and rumbling.
Razer Hammerhead USB-C Earbuds
Though the company didn’t market this set as a gaming headset and it doesn’t offer a big bass but with custom fine-tuned DAC the vocals come clear and the high range just lifts as if the mid-range is baseline, if you are a dedicate mobile gamer this USB-C Connector earbuds would work fine.
The build quality is great, flat cable is really durable, and the bi-flange ear tips may not accommodate in your ears at first, but they do isolate ambient noise – eventually if they still cause discomfort you have regular included eartips for a more comfortable fit.
- Durable design
- Good noise isolation
- Aluminiun housings may not for your ears – can be a bit heavy or cause discomfort.
Razer aslo has another Hammerhead option with ANC function, which have more refine look, dual driver and DAC, if you need ANC and more comfortable fit and better sound.
Sony STH50C with USB Type-C connector
I haven’t tried out the Sony STH50C yet, but worth to recommend here since they are low-distortion and integrated DAC support hi-res 24-bit/192kHz audio.
For budget buyers
Google Pixel USB-C™ earbuds
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear
- Airy, spacious sound
- Cable loop for more secure fit
- Unsealed design meaning worse noise isolation
- Housings look a lot like Airpods
- Weak bass performance
You can easily spot a pair of budget USB-C earbuds on Amazon such as TriLink, Razer Hammerhead USB-C with 10 mm Dynamic Drivers, except orginal design from established audio brands most of budget USB-C earbuds are idential to 3.5mm jack earbuds from other brands and they just replace the jack type so they have poor sound – not on par with any cheap earbuds listed in this post.
It is questionable USB C earbuds sound any better than 3.5mm earbuds, but their price is not what people are willing to spend. Investing on a quality DAC USB-C like HIFIME Type C USB DAC (ES9018K2M+SA9023) is also expensive if you’ve already had a quality headphone, but if your headphones are for audiophiles that it will be worth investing on HIFIME TYPE C USB DAC rather than the dongle from Google.