Smartphones without a headphone jack, all the advantages and disadvantages

Apple has cleared customs by eliminating the 3.5 mm audio jack, immediately followed by major competitors. Merit for the many advantages that this solution gives

A brave choice. These are the words used by Tim Cook during the presentation of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7S to comment on the decision of the Cupertino company to eliminate the 3.5 mm audio jack and replace it with a "mixed" solution consisting of an adapter for the Lightning connector and Bluetooth wireless headphones.

A choice that, at first, has found more than a few critical voices. The elimination of the headphone jack, in fact, has made more than a few audiophile purists turn up their noses, while more than someone already vaticinava a quick turnaround by the company of the bitten apple. After 12 months, it's safe to say that Apple got it right: there are more and more smartphones on the market without a headphone jack. The latest additions to this ever-evolving list are the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL: even Google's smartphones have said goodbye to the 3.5 mm jack, confirming the validity of Apple's choice.

Disadvantages of smartphones without headphone jack

The latest iPhone and Google Pixel are just two of the many smartphones without headphone jack that, in the last 12 months, have appeared on the market. Alongside them are the Motorola Moto Z2 Force and the HTC U Ultra, just to name a few: a sign that this technological solution offers undeniable advantages.

The main one is the greater space available inside the device. By eliminating the 3.5mm jack, space is freed up to dedicate, for example, to a larger battery or to new movement sensors that are more efficient than those already present in the smartphone (think, for example, of GPS antennas that are slightly larger and, for this reason, capable of better capturing satellite signals).

Without a headphone jack, you also eliminate the need to convert the digital audio stream - produced, for example, by a music streaming app - into an analog stream compatible with the standards of the 3.5mm jack. This ensures better audio quality, both for low-cost earbuds and high-end headphones. The USB type-C connector, moreover, allows to improve the efficiency of the anti-noise filters, guaranteeing a further qualitative leap.

Smartphones without a headphone jack, finally, have favored the development and diffusion of completely wireless earphones and headphones (see the Apple AirPods): a far from negligible advantage for runners or people who do sports and are used to listening to music during their physical activity. With no wires or "ties" whatsoever, sports enthusiasts will be able to move around without any major problems and interact with their smartphones (answering calls or receiving directions on how to continue their run or bike ride).

Disadvantages of smartphones without a headphone jack

First-time detractors, however, were not wrong to criticize Apple's decision to eliminate the audio jack from the iPhone 7. While there are plenty of advantages, they are partially offset by a number of drawbacks that make wireless headphones - or those that connect via USB type-C or Lightning connector - uncompetitive.

First of all, there is the economical aspect: the purchase of a smartphone without a headphone jack has forced users to put aside their 3.5 mm earphones and buy new ones or to buy an adapter (costing a few tens of Euros).

The use of the Lightning connector or the USB type-C jack also creates a sort of dualism with the charger: either you listen to the music or you charge the smartphone. Unless you decide to buy an additional adapter, going straight back to the previous point about increased costs for the user.

If, however, you prefer to opt for wireless headphones, remember that they will not work on the plane. If you have to activate airplane mode, in fact, Bluetooth will not be usable and you will not be able to synchronize headphones (or earbuds) with your mobile device. That's a minor disadvantage if you're on a short flight, but if you're flying across the ocean, you'll want to bring a wired headset. Whatever it is.