While manufacturers are making sure to cut off all cords as part of their increased focus on wireless earbuds, it doesn't mean wired connections are no longer an option. Bluetooth headphones are great, but if you'd rather do without the latency and charging process, some of the best USB-C headphones are a great alternative to both. Just plug and play — and that's it.
Plug and play with these USB-C headphones
Simple as it gets
These earbuds already stand out with the all-white finish, but they also have a booming sound that may come as a big surprise for earbuds coming in at this price. They also come with different ear tip sizes so you get the perfect fit.
When sound really matters
While the Momentum 3 Wireless are Bluetooth first, they work just like a pair of USB-C wired headphones. Even better, you can charge them while you're listening to music. A premium design and solid sound with active noise cancelation (ANC) mean you get a great package.
Samsung all over
Samsung won't throw these in a box with a phone or tablet anymore, but these AKG-tuned earbuds are more than capable of delivering good sound for what you're paying. There are no extra bells and whistles here, but they do sound better than you'd expect.
They just work
These USB-C earbuds from Cooya won't take much out of your pocket, and they keep things simple by just focusing on the basics. You get in-line microphone and media controls, along with a few ear tip sizes in the box to find the best fit.
Virtual surround sound
Creative's Super X-Fi (SXFI) technology is built into these impressive USB-C earbuds, putting 7.1-style surround sound between your ears while watching movies, listening to music, or playing games. They sound great even without that, and the SXFI app includes an EQ to customize the audio profile.
Just Google it
Google stopped including earbuds with the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, but the Pixel USB-C Earbuds are still readily available and sound great. They'll fit right with the adjustable loop, and activating Google Assistant is only a button press away. The price is right, too.
TriLink put some thought into making these earphones, focusing on great sound through their certification for Hi-Res audio. It doesn't hurt that they also use a flat cable to avoid tangling, and if you can get them to fit right, they'll offer great passive noise isolation.
Around the neck
Neckbands aren't as common as other earbuds, but 1More does a good job with these by making them sound great and including effective ANC performance. Doesn't hurt they also come with an airplane adapter, though battery life only lasts up to seven hours per charge.
There's a combination at work here that puts together Creative's SXFI tech for virtual surround sound, excellent audio performance, and an effective mic, which all creates a great set of gaming headphones. Use them on a console, computer, or try them out on a phone or tablet.
If you have to, get in on USB-C
USB-C audio isn't as prevalent in 2022 as you might think, despite the headphone jack having already become nearly impossible to find on mobile devices. A few options stick to the 3.5mm jack, but wireless headphones and wireless earbuds are the norm. This is usually fine, but Bluetooth can introduce latency, which may be fine if your phone can fill the gap on YouTube videos and streaming music, but not for gaming or live TV. That's where you can't compensate for latency unless you plug in.
So, the selection may be somewhat limited, but you can find a great set of headphones using the new connector.
The Palovue SoundFlow are at the top of the list because they offer sound that totally belies their budget price, making them easy to recommend. However, if you're OK with spending more on over-ear headphones, give the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless a shot for their excellent sound, ANC, and premium design.
Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar. Often times, that will be with a pair of headphones or earbuds playing tunes. When he's not testing something, he's working on the next episode of his podcast, Tednologic.
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