Headphones don't have the most profitable start until 2018. Back in January, it seemed like the diversity of competing voice assistants, wireless audio protocols and special control schemes would cause fragmented market chaos. Everyone wants wireless headphones, and the device providers want to create a kind of walled garden effect around their special products.
The demand for more technologically advanced headphones has only increased during this year, but the threat of competition that is hostile to users among headphone makers has not yet materialized. Thanks in large part to the integrated wireless chip that combines Bluetooth radio with the sound assistant compatibility needed for iOS and Android, practically every manufacturer can issue a new pair of wireless headphones in 2018 that plays well with Siri and Google Assistant. So the fragmentation crisis has largely been avoided, although the rapid rate of increase has also made many people amazed at how quickly their new headphones are replaced.
Sony's third generation 1000X M3 can emerge as the champion of the new wireless noise cancellation. Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless raises the sound quality standards of truly wireless earphones, despite a number of usability weaknesses. The Audio-Technica M50xBT and OnePlus Wireless Bullets enhance the quality that we can expect from Bluetooth headphones and earphones that are more affordable. Even old school brands like Grado and Koss released their own wireless editions this year. The choice and quality of wireless audio equipment has never been better, and the loss of a 3.5mm audio jack from a smartphone is no longer a terrible nightmare like it once was.
OnePlus and Google are both introducing great USB-C earbuds this year – Type-C Earphones and USB-C Pixels, respectively – at super low prices that match the old 3.5 mm analog earphones that we carry with us – where is with us. 2017 official complaint that USB-C earphones are too expensive and too many wireless headphones compromise is no longer true. With companies like Apple and Lenovo starting to release headphone jacks from their tablets and cellphones, the trend towards wireless and USB-C headphones is on the rise. It's time for most of us to finally make the transition from an old analog connection.
Audiophiles will of course continue with their exotic XLR and quarter-inch connectors, and their market segments are well served in 2018 by two US boutique companies: Audeze and MrSpeakers. Audeze launched LCD2-Classic at the end of 2017, and was followed by the Closed-Back LCD2 in 2018, both of which set new highs for sound quality and pleasure that you can get for under $ 1,000. In fact, these two sets of LCD models are a good reason not to have to spend four more on headphones: both offer clarity, detail, and precision that is equivalent to headphones that cost several times more. Then again, MrSpeakers launched $ 2,000 Ether 2 at the end of the year, and the headphones' design and performance offered a very interesting argument why you should playing with headphones at exotic prices. Ether 2s has an incredibly wide and natural soundstage, which combines with sharp and beautiful organic sounds with some rivals. That said that the audiophile segment also developed.
There are several aspects of the headphone business that can be criticized, of course. First, even though battery life and wireless performance continue to increase, the process of pairing and connecting Bluetooth headphones to other devices remains uncertain and unpleasant for most users. Apple AirPods and their partner's heads and shoulders are smooth in front of competitors on Android. Another problem is one of price: headphone manufacturers seem to be more willing to add features and capabilities to existing products at existing prices rather than erode their profit margins. It's no coincidence that the most aggressive companies in 2018, OnePlus and Google, don't have headphones as their main business line.
Overall, the headphone market has become the most dynamic and attractive part of consumer technology this year. While smartphone makers are busy fiddling with screen notches, headphone manufacturers really increase the substance and style of their products. Microsoft, Dolby, Anker, and countless game brand brands are also expanding a number of confusing headphone choices this year, and the trend for 2019 is for everyone to continue the transition to USB-C, at least for charging, while all categories Headphones continue to improve faster than anything else in the field of technology.
Final Value: A
Verge 2018 report card: Headphones
- Good USB-C earphones are now affordable like analog ones
- Noise reducing wireless headphones are better
- Wireless earbuds also get improved sound quality
- Audiophile teeth continue to improve new excellence
Need to be Improved
- There are still a number of wireless models that are slow with MicroUSB charging
- Bluetooth pairing and synchronization remain awkwardly inhuman
- Prices don't fall as fast as possible