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A typical image of a gamer is a guy/gal wearing a headphone while sitting at their battlestation. Earbuds are also another good choice if you want to immerse yourself in the gaming world. Compared to bulky headphones, they are low-profile, handy and offer just as good sound quality.
The gaming market has witnessed the rising of earbuds and with it the increasingly diverse and number of models available. With so many choices, how do you choose the best gaming earbuds for yourself? In this guide we’ll provide you with everything you need to know to be able to choose the most fitting gaming earbuds for your needs.
With the explosion of mobile gaming, on-the-go gaming has now become more accessible and feasible than ever. Nintendo’s Switch console now allows a gamer to play AAA titles everywhere. The amount of people playing games on their smartphones is also higher than before. Thus, earbuds have become popular as more people turn to it as an audio solution for gaming on the go.
Despite their small sizes, the best gaming earbuds can bring a solid sound quality to the table. However, not all gaming earbuds were created equal. Some offer better quality and more features than others. You need to consider some important factors to see which are the best gaming earbuds for your specific needs.
1. Wired or Wireless
Firstly, here comes one of the most common questions: are the best gaming earbuds wired or wireless? Well, there are no right answers for everyone. Both of these options have their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s up to you to decide which one is up to your alley.
If you value bass boost and treble qualities above all else, go for wired gaming earbuds such as Marshall Mode EQ or Focal Sphear S. They also tend to be cheaper than their wireless counterparts. Plus, you don’t have to worry about running out of battery, you can use them all day long. The downside is the physical act of plugging them into the 3.5mm jack and dealing with the cables.
On the other hand, wireless gaming earbuds such as JayBird X3 offer the freedom of a cable-free experience. You are no longer bound to a certain radius around your TV or monitor anymore. In addition, wireless earbuds are compatible with almost every modern device since most of them come with Bluetooth technology. However, wireless earbuds cost more than wired ones, and you have to keep watch of their battery life also.
2. Comfort & Design
You will likely be wearing earbuds for an extended amount of time, so choose something that rests on your ears comfortably. Check the eartips to see whether an earbud will fit into your ears nicely or not. The best gaming earbuds should come with a variety of eartips for you to choose from.
Another thing you need to look out for is the cushion or foam on the earpads. These provide extra comfort for long gaming sessions. KLIM Fusion and Turtle Beach Battle Buds are very comfy to use.
Earbuds are designed to be used by users when they are out and about. Therefore, some of the earbuds such as Razer Hammerhead are equipped with sweat or water resistance. These features help the device stay cool for a longer duration. The best gaming earbuds won’t build up heat or sweat in your ears after an hour or so.
Drivers in this case refer to the hardware component that is in charge of producing sound for the earbud. This is undoubtedly the most crucial part of any audio devices. The size of drivers determines how loud your earbuds are. However, bigger drivers don’t always mean higher quality. It’s the quality of the driver unit that counts.
The sound quality is not determined by the drivers’ size alone, the number of drivers also play an important part. Check out this gaming earbuds 1MORE E1001-GD which features triple drivers, thus bringing a superior listening experience to your ears.
4. Frequency response
One big factor you need to take into consideration when choosing the best gaming earbuds is the frequency response. This refers to the earbuds’ capability to reproduce a range of frequency with accuracy.
The range of human hearing for most people is 20Hz-20KHz. Therefore, the best gaming earbuds fall within this frequency response range. Sephia SP3060 or Betron B25 are good options. You can find the frequency response of an earbud on its package or product website.
For communications, a mic is a must-have. In the heat of a battle, speaking to your teammates is quicker and far more efficient than typing it down. There are two choices when it comes to mic on earbuds: in-line and attachable.
In-line mic means it is integrated into the cable of the earbud itself. Some of the earbuds with built-in mics include Brainwavz Delta and Sennheiser Momentum. Then there’s the attachable mics which is like the boom mics on headphones. The best gaming earbuds such as Powerbeats Pro or Insten will have dual microphones. It means that they feature both of these options.
6. Noise Isolation and Noise Cancelation
These features help separate you from the background noises so you can concentrate on the game. These two terms may be a bit confusing to distinguish for first-time buyers. Here’s how they differ:
As the name implies, earbuds of this type will physically block unwanted noises from entering your ears. The way earbuds achieve this is simple, by tightly sealing off your ear canal with the foam or buds. Simply put, noise isolation method uses ergonomic design and choices of material to “sound-proof” your ears. Noise isolation earbuds like MEE audio M6 PRO are great for a room environment.
This feature is a little bit different to the one above. Noise cancelling uses technology and power to create waves that cancel out the external sounds. Noise cancelling earbuds are often more expensive and drain more battery than their noise-isolation counterpart. Earbuds with this feature such as TaoTronics TT-EP002 is an ideal choice for going to public places.
1. Why choose gaming earbuds over headphones?
There are many reasons why gamers would choose earbuds over traditional headphones for gaming:
Portability: Earbuds are small and can fit into a pocket. You can bring a pair of them on your commute without hassle. Plus, wearing them won’t mess with your hair style as mush.
Comfort: Unlike bulky headphones, you can wear earbuds for extended duration thanks to their lightweight design.
Cost-effective: The best gaming earbuds can save you a lot of money compared to buying a dedicated gaming headphone which you don’t use much.
2. Are gaming earbuds compatible with all devices?
Not all gaming earbuds will be compatible with all kinds of devices. Most wired earbuds use a 3.5mm jack which is compatible with most devices. You can also connect wireless earbuds with a variety of devices through Bluetooth. The important thing is remembering to check the compatibility listed on the manual or product website.
3. Is there anything else I should pay attention to?
Beside the important factor in the buying guide, there are some extra thing you should know:
Volume control and Mute button: When you’re in the middle of the match, you don’t want to pause your game to adjust the volume. Having these buttons on the earbuds is convenient as you can adjust the sound settings mid-game.
Adapter: Essential if you’re a PC gamer. Adapters split your single earbud cable into two to enable it to connect to the mic and sound connectors on your computer.
Cable extension: If you are using a wired earbud and don’t want to stay too close to the monitor or TV, get one of these.
Warranty: Most gaming earbuds come with a one-year limited warranty. Some have their warranty lasting as much as five-years and as least as six-months.
4. Can gaming earbuds produce surround sound?
Yes, they can. Surround sound is one of the unique and important factors for gaming audio devices. This feature helps the player determine the location of the enemies or sound sources in a 3D world. Such spatial sound design will not only make the game immersive but also give the player a competitive advantage.
5. What are some good brands for gaming earbuds?
There are various big names that you can’t go wrong with. Sennheiser, Sony, HyperX, Razer, Bose, Beats, Turtle Beach, Cooler Master, etc. The iconic brands will bring you the best guaranteed performance and quality.
If you are feeling a bit adventurous, you may experiment with lesser known brands at a lower price. Some of the brands in this tier include 1MORE, MINDBEAST, Betron, Optoma, Cambridge
Other mainstream wireless earbuds can be great choices for gaming purposes. Apple Airpods, Samsung Galaxy Buds, Sony WF-1000XM3, Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro, etc. to name just a few. However, these are more expensive than other options.
The best all-round gaming earbuds of our choice is Bose QuietComfort 20. It is very comfy thanks to the soft and secure StayHear+ tips for your ears. Beside noise cancelling feature, it also features an “awake” mode to let you be aware of your surroundings at the press of a button. You can enjoy your favorite games without disruption thanks to 15 hours of battery life on this earbud.
If you want to go wireless, then Gaming Earbuds Zime Winner True Wireless Earphone is a no-brainer choice. Its sound profile is bass-heavy, hence making it suitable for gaming. The biggest advantage of this wireless earbud from Razer is the amazing low-latency. On the downside, its mic and battery life (4 hours) are not as good as other options.
For the budget option, there are no earbuds better than BENGOO G20 Gaming Earbuds, in-Ear Gaming Headset Headphones. The sound quality is superb with the explosions and gunshots being punchy and weighty. The in-built mic is also good with clear voice capture. The earbud is also comfortable for long gaming sessions with included different-sized eartips.
In conclusion, gaming earbuds represent a great alternative choice for headphones. They are more portable and affordable with equal sound quality. We hope that this article has helped you in choosing the best gaming earbuds for your needs.