3.5mm Headphone Jack Exists For A Reason: How it Arises, Fall, and Arise Again

3.5mm Headphone Jack Exists For A Reason

3.5mm Headphone Jack Exists For A Reason

Speaking of HiFi phones, some people may now be able to name one or two models, but I guess many people have been completely unaware of what HiFi phones are still on the market today.

It is true that in previous years, in addition to Apple, almost all cell phone manufacturers in the Android camp have done a lot of articles on sound quality; for example, equipped with XXX audiophile DAC chip, invited audio masters tuning, sound quality to the level of some HiFi players. However, it all ends up in the consumer does not buy, if summed up in one sentence – people do not have a clear understanding of what is “good sound quality”.

Mobile HiFi is how the rise of

In November 2012, Vivo launched the model X1 smartphone (equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack), and the biggest highlight of this phone is the Hi-Fi level of music playback performance; and this is mainly due to the CS4398 (DAC) + CS8422 chip solution from Cirrus Logic used in the Vivo X1.

It is said that the sound quality of the Vivo X1 is up to the level of professional audio players, and Vivo is proud to say that the X1 is the world’s first smartphone with an integrated professional Hi-Fi grade audio solution.

HiFi cell phones in the domestic full rise or from 2014, when Vivo, Meizu, Xiaomi, and many other domestic cell phone manufacturers have stepped into the HiFi cell phone market, there are a hundred of the trend of competition. However, when cell phone manufacturers are emphasizing HiFi sound quality, most ordinary consumers do not have any concept of this gimmick.

In a way, cell phone manufacturers overestimated the demand for “sound quality” of ordinary consumers, and a relative niche demand to expand the scope of a universal demand, thus leading to a misalignment between product positioning and consumer demand. Today, it seems that the cell phone manufacturers will be the average consumer demand for the pursuit of “HiFi” called pseudo-demand, it is not uncommon.

The Fall

Mobile HiFi is the end of about 2016 Apple released the iPhone 7 (eliminating the 3.5mm headphone jack), as well as the launch of the disruptive true wireless headphones – AirPods. These two products have completely changed the landscape of the cell phone industry and headphone industry.

We all know what happened in the next five years – almost all cell phone manufacturers have eliminated the 3.5mm headphone jack on their flagship models, and truly wireless headphones became the breakout product of the whole industry.

Yet, even so, the headphone jack on the phone has not completely disappeared. On the contrary, in some scenarios, it still has the advantage of wireless headphones can not be replaced.

The Rise: 3.5mm headphone jack still has its meaning

From 2019 to date, the 3.5mm headphone interface has gradually returned to the people’s view. The major cell phone manufacturers have acted, OPPO Find X2 Lite, Huawei Mate30, Realme GT, iQOO Z5, and other flagship models, you can see the return of the 3.5mm headphone interface.

There is no doubt that today is an era of wireless, wireless mouse, wireless keyboard, cell phone charging have also become wireless. Since these digital products can be made wireless, then for cell phone manufacturers as well as consumers, 3.5mm headphone interface carries the meaning of what is it?

In terms of daily use experience, currently subject to the limitations of Bluetooth transmission technology, truly wireless headphones in the transmission of sound will usually have a delay of about 100 ~ 200ms. Of course, for most people listening to music and watching videos, this level of latency is acceptable. However, the experience of team game hacking at this latency level is terrible.

Currently, the mainstream flagship phones on the market will use high refresh rate screen, in general, the flagship phones will use 90Hz-120 Hz refresh rate screen, some gaming phones even have a higher refresh rate screen (such as 165Hz), so that players get a clearer and smoother experience. The main reason for manufacturers to make efforts on this hardware is to give users a better gaming experience and allow players to get a head start in the game.

But there is a real problem is that if you use wireless headphones in the game, the sound transmission of that 100 ~ 200ms delay is undoubted to these top hardware drag, sometimes a few hundred milliseconds of delay is enough to determine the winner of a game. Wired headset through a wired connection rather than Bluetooth, so the delay when the wired headset transmits sound can be ignored. So, for most handheld gamers, the return of the 3.5mm headphone jack does have positive implications.

How far can the headset interface on the phone go?

In the future, wireless is the trend, true wireless headset still has a broad prospect. But at this stage, the experience of true wireless headphones can not meet the needs of all scenarios, especially in the game experience, there is still a lot of room for improvement. It is also because the current true wireless headset still has many shortcomings, so some consumers are still willing to embrace the 3.5mm headphone interface.

For next year’s flagship, we are also happy to see the 3.5mm headphone jack is retained. At the same time, we also hope that iQOO, OPPO, Huawei, Xiaomi, and other cell phone manufacturers insist that in the future can promote the industry to rethink the stay of the cell phone headphone interface.

Of course, if the delay of the real wireless headset can be 30ms or even 10ms in the future, consumers will happily choose to use true wireless earphones to team up and enjoy the convenience and freedom brought by true wireless.

Note: This article was originally published on ZOL by Binzi.

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