The Pixel 2, like its competition, has ditched the headphone jack, opting to include a single USB-C port on its bottom. While it makes waterproofing the device much easier, it restricts the kinds of accessories you can connect to your smartphone. Specifically, every pair of headphones you have ever owned, along with anything else depending on a 3.5mm auxiliary cable.
Image credit: Libratone
You could, of course, drop some cash on Google’s own Pixel Buds, designed with their smartphone in mind. Or, you could get some USB-C headphones. Here’s what you should consider before pulling out your wallet: most USB-C headphones are expensive. The ones that aren’t pricey? Well, they’re just not that great.
Good USB-C Headphones Will Cost You
If you’re dead set on buying wired USB-C headphones, getting some quality ones won’t be as easy as picking up a pair in the airport vending machine. A quick search on Google Shopping for “USB-C headphones” yields a ton of devices, ranging from $10 to $150, from more than a few suspect brands. What’s worse, most of them are ill-equipped, lacking basic features like a built-in microphone.
If you want something more familiar, you can look to companies like Sennheiser, but you’ll be paying $150 or more for the privilege of having a compatible pair of headphones from a more trusted brand.
How to Put Off Purchasing USB-C Headphones
You can alleviate the stress of finding some good USB-C headphones by connecting your current headphones to a Bluetooth adaptor. Companies like Griffin make clip-on Bluetooth adapters so you can continue to use your traditional 3.5mm-equipped headphones, pairing them to your Pixel 2 (or whatever smartphone you own) while remaining mostly wireless.
Just plug your headphone’s 3.5mm cord into the clip-on adaptor, then pair the adaptor with your smartphone the same way you’d pair a set of wireless headphones. You can stick it in your pocket, clip it on your belt, and still be connected via Bluetooth.
USB-C to 3.5mm Adaptor
If you’re still hooked on your headphones, and don’t mind a direct connection to your device, you could always employ a headphone adaptor. Google sells a $12 USB-C to 3.5mm adaptor that connects your wired cans to your fancy new smartphone. The dongle is a bit cumbersome (and larger than Apple’s own Lightning to 3.5mm adaptor for it’s iOS devices), but at least you can use your old cans.
Of course, when you need to charge your phone, you’ve got to remove that adaptor and use a USB-C cable (or buy an even more unwieldy headphone/charger adaptor).
Some Good Bluetooth Headphones
Sure, you might have some reservations on using Bluetooth headphones. You’ve got to pair them, charge them, and deal with the occasional bout of interference whenever you’re next to a traffic light or electronic pedestrian crossing sign.
But they’re cheaper than ever, and some boast some pretty good audio quality for the price. One of our favourites in the office, the $160 Jabra Move Wireless, is inexpensive, boasts pretty good audio quality and are more comfortable than the wired USB-C options available.