Headphone and Earphones Audiophile 101 | Part 6. What is True Wireless Stereo (TWS)?
We published a review on both the “True Wireless” and “Wireless” earphone/earbuds so that you can get an idea of the specs, pros, and cons, etc, and this will help you make a decision on what might be best for your needs.
What is Wireless headphone/earphone?
It's easy to misunderstand the term 'wireless headphones/earphones', as 'wireless' refers only to the connection between the earphones and the device controlling the audio. It doesn't mean there won't be any wires in the box when you buy them.
In addition, some wireless headphones/earphones come with a detachable cord, which gives you the choice to either connect wirelessly or plug them in if you wish. This means you get the best of both worlds, and it can be particularly handy if you want to use your headphones/earphones with older non-wireless devices, such as a record player or CD player.
“Wireless” earbuds may have a wire connecting the pieces in your ears, but no wires to the audio source.
What is Ture Wireless Stereo (TWS)?
True Wireless Stereo (TWS) – “True Wireless” earbuds have a piece you put in each ear, with no wires between them, and no wires to the audio source. While wireless allows us to wear headphones a few feet away from our music players, True Wireless cuts the cord between the headphones/earphones, giving us true freedom.
True Wireless headphone/speakers
True Wireless earphones/earbuds
How do True Wireless Stereo (TWS) headphones/earbuds work?
How exactly do we get the music from your phone to your ears without anything between? Sounds pretty tricky, like magic! While Bluetooth connectivity may seem like a kind of wizardry, it’s actually very simple and straightforward. Bluetooth technology sends a signal kind of like an old school walkie-talkie or a radio. Your earbuds act as a tv dish, catching the signal and playing it appropriately. Just like a radio or tv, sometimes earbuds need to be adjusted in your ears to catch the signal best. Make sense?
The Main Advantages of True Wireless Stereo
There are many different manufacturers of TWS technology. Consequently, each of the brands has some differences, but the basics are pretty much the same. Here are some of the most common features.
1) No wires or cables attached
It’s maybe a bit difficult to believe but these devices and systems really don’t have any cables. The connection is established via Bluetooth and the rechargeable battery is the power source. This characteristic is probably the most important advantage of such a device because it actually enables you to move freely wherever you want.
For example, if you use a pair of truly wireless earbuds, you will notice that you won’t be able to feel them in your ears all the time – this is how light they are. Also, they enable you to move around freely without any cable dangling around or tangling in your pocket or bag. On the other hand, if you own a pair of true wireless stereo speakers, you will notice how easy it is to move them around the house or yard without the necessity to drag their cables all the way.
2) Compatibility with numerous devices & Quick Pairing
Any of true wireless stereo devices can be paired with phones, tablets, PCs, and even smart TVs. Believe it or not, some of them can pair even with VCRs and tape decks.
No need to plug in, pairing your Bluetooth earbuds with your device is easy. Like riding a bike, once you learn how, you can do it easily with any device. For most wireless headphones, once your true wireless earbuds are set up and paired to your device, they will automatically sync the next time they are turned on for use.
3) Quick battery recharge and Portable battery included
Battery life is a common problem that bothers all those who use wireless devices. The longevity of the batteries differs from manufacturer to manufacturer and varies from 3 to 12 hours. Some of the high-end ones can last even longer than that. If we were to believe them, up to 40 hours!
Majority of TWS devices come with a portable charging case. The charging spaceship usually uses a powerful micro-lithium ion battery that can keep your earbuds charged for up to 30 hours. Earbuds can be charged several times with the case. Some of the earbuds offer function with NFC case charging and quick charging with 15-20minutes for earbuds which is very good to use.
4) A unique and true experience of stereo sound indoors and outdoors
Although Bluetooth technology is not perfect, the audio quality is not bad. The old Bluetooth versions were much more limited when it comes to data transfer, but the new versions are much more capable and they can deliver pretty good audio quality (even Hi-Res audio in some cases). The new devices that support one of the latest Bluetooth versions combined with aptX HD or LDAC support can deliver an impressive sound quality.
5)Tight Seal Blocks Out Noises
Usually, when you put earbuds in, you'll give it a slight twist to seal it perfectly into your ear canal. With this tight seal, you can block out ambient background noises and prevent sound leaks during calls.
6) Easy access to controls
Majority of truly wireless earbuds or speakers come with either remote control or an app for Bluetooth connectivity. These two allow easy and quick access to the basic controls, such as skip, forward or replay. Once paired to your phone, you can control without needing to look at your phone. Use the single button to control your music and calls. Besides these, you can control the volume this way. Moreover, you can most of these devices using Google Assistant or Siri.
7) Reduced power consumption
As technology develops, manufacturers are doing their best to save energy. We were already happy with regular wireless and its performances in this field. However, with a true wireless technology, we get even more. Depending on the manufactures, some can reduce power consumption by up to 65%.
8) Flexibility and mobility
All the new age wireless technologies are ideal for people on the go. Because of their convenient size and weight, they can be anywhere with you. No disassembling or dismantling, just place them wherever you want.
9) Better signal, a wider range
Ever since the development of Bluetooth technology, manufacturers are striving for better and better performance. This particularly goes for signal and range of paired devices. Although this is the most common problem with Bluetooth technology, things are getting better.
With this true wireless technology, things have gone a few steps forward, giving you more of what you need.10) Water-resistant and sweat-proof
Sweat-proof of most TWS design prevents external moisture from affecting audio quality. Dust-proof encasing prevents dirt particles from building up and seeping into the equipment. We point this out particularly for sportsmen who like to run or jog with music by their side. Just mind the difference between waterproof and water-resistant, and do be careful not to drop them in the river, pool or something like that.
The price depends on many things – build quality, durability, size, battery life, driver quality, etc. It also depends on the manufacturer and, in some cases, you’ll be paying an additional price for the brand. Still, true wireless stereo devices don’t cost a fortune. If you have enough money to spend on Bose speakers/headphones or similar products, go for it, but if you don’t, you can always find something cheaper. The market is so big and you will definitely find a reasonably priced device for you.
The Main Disadvantages of True Wireless Stereo
1）Limited battery life
Regardless of how long the battery life is rated, when it runs out, you'll be out of luck. Even if you are, you can be annoyed by the fact that you will have to wait until the charging is over in order to use your device again.
2）True wireless earbuds are easy to lose
When you’re using something so small, is that it can be easily lost. These earbuds are so small and so light that you won’t be aware that they are in your ears and when you are not aware of something like that, you can easily lose them.
Most of the true wireless devices are small and portable, which leads to the conclusion that there is not enough space to place all the necessary control buttons. Also, considering the new trends and features that our devices have, there should be much more buttons. Each earbud has a single button to control various functions, but they’re frustrating to use. The situation with the speakers is not much different except for the fact that they have much more space. However, the buttons on the earbuds might be too confusing or too small for your fingers, while the buttons on the speakers might be too confusing to use.
4）The sound quality is not on par with wired devices
Bluetooth is getting better every day but the files are still compressed and you can’t really compare wired and wireless speakers/headphones when it comes to sound quality. Also, one of the problems related to sound quality is the maximum volume of truly wireless earbuds. They are simply very quiet. The fact that can cause even greater problems is that many models of true wireless earbuds are sold as single devices. This means they are even quieter this way than when sold and used in pairs because two are always louder than one. After all, it is more difficult for you to hear the ambient noise when the earbuds are in both of your ears.
All in all, we have to admit that wired devices are still much better, but the introduction of certain Bluetooth codecs (LDAC, aptX HD) improved the quality of Bluetooth audio and even enabled Hi-Res audio reproduction.
All in all, I hope that these numerous advantages of TWS were more than enough to hook you into getting some stereos or ear-buds. As you can see, this technology is designed to provide the ultimate experience a top-quality sound with minimum effort and space.
Have you already experienced some of this technology and what are your impressions about it?