Are Bluetooth Headphones good for gaming?
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If you are an ardent fan gamer, you will need a good gaming console, a silent gaming mouse, a good gaming chair, and of course, a good gaming headset. But are you able to provide a good gaming experience with a pair of Bluetooth headphones?
Although a Bluetooth headset is not necessarily better than its wired counterparts in gaming, they are unquestionably viable and a good alternative. They have a competitive edge considering their high flexibility, and they offer the same essential factors as a wired headset.
But you should consider a few things if you are looking for a Bluetooth headset for gaming, like latency, battery life, and price.
In this article, I will go through the most critical factors to consider if a Bluetooth Headset is good for gaming and what you should look for if considering buying one.
1. Are Bluetooth Headphones Good For Gaming?
Yes, below are some of the reasons they are ideal for gamers. But be aware that you need to consider a few things, like latency, that can affect your gameplay.
The most significant benefit of Bluetooth headsets over other types is their high user convenience. Compared to wired ones, you won’t have to carry tangling cables across your neck each time you’re sleeping or traveling.
Besides, with the common breakages in the wired headsets, you will appreciate the importance of going wireless. You will only find them wired when you are charging their batteries. This is the main reason why the majority dislike wired headsets and love wireless ones.
Besides, with the chance to go cordless is the freedom to move without the wires tangling up. You won’t need to worry about your headsets falling off while you’re walking and when gaming with the laptop, there is no risk of dropping it to the floor.
And you can even travel as you game with your mobile phone while enjoying a hands-free experience.
Whether you are cooking, walking, or traveling, wireless headsets will remain your best travel companion.
Since most modern Bluetooth headphones have a greater range, they are ideal for most people. Besides, some even support the connection of multiple devices simultaneously, provided you keep them closer to ensure the connection remains strong.
Provided the devices are within 30 feet, the connection will remain strong, making it ideal for people who love gaming with their TV.
READ MORE! How to boost your Bluetooth signal to cover your entire home
But avoid going too far away from the TV or gaming device as this will result in poor connectivity.
Wireless headphones will give you a better range and connectivity, and they can receive signals on distances up to 30 meters. This will provide you with a chance to enjoy your favorite games hassle-free.
Sound Quality and Low Interference
If your previous Bluetooth headsets experienced sound lagging, I recommend the brands that manufacture high-quality headsets. It will give you better connectivity and range, resulting in an improvement in your gaming experience.
Note that Bluetooth is now about 2 decades old and the older Bluetooth technologies are less effective in transmission.
For instance, Bluetooth 5 was introduced in 2016, and the latest 5.2 version was released in January 2020. Each update has increased transmission speeds and effective range.
Also, ensure the device supports the newest Bluetooth codecs with less latency and faster audio transmission speeds.
READ MORE! Do Wired Headphones Sound Better Than Bluetooth Headphones?
Audio latency is the time for audio data to travel from the source to the speakers or headphones. Or simply, it’s the ms (milliseconds) required to process and convert the digital data to audio before it passes the wireless connection to the headphones.
It’s also the delay that the audio signals experience before they reach your headphones.
Latency is the short delay that occurs from the time the source sends the audio signals to the time it is received on the Bluetooth headphones.
It’s hard to recognize latency when listening to audios with your Bluetooth headphones; however, if gaming, you will quickly notice it because the pictures will not be matching the videos.
The typical latency for the wired headsets is 5 to 10 milliseconds, and the typical latency for Bluetooth Headphones has usually been between 30 to 300 ms.
Bluetooth codecs affect the lagging in the Bluetooth devices, and standard codecs include SBC, aptX, LDAC, and LC3. Each of these codecs has its unique data compression speed and compression algorithm, affecting sound latency and fidelity.
If you want a good gaming experience, you don’t want the latency to be more than 30-50 ms. The codecs AAC, aptX LL (Low Latency), and LC3 will have the least latency when using Bluetooth.
What codec you can use depends on your device; IOS devices use AAC, Android devices work best with aptX. If you use Windows 10, then AAC will give you the best quality.
READ MORE! Windows 10 finally gets support for AAC codec: Improving Bluetooth audio
Low Battery Usage
Since the Bluetooth headsets will require low power to generate signals, they don’t use much energy. Their lower battery usage will ensure a longer battery life; this means you don’t need to recharge them often for you to enjoy an exciting and uninterrupted gaming session.
Also, most BT headsets only require about 3 hours for a full recharge. And for those which have the quick-charge feature, it will take only about 30 minutes for you to get a full recharge. The newer models can last for over one day, even with continued use.
Most Bluetooth headsets will allow you to use the headset as a wired headset while charging.
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The best feature of gaming headphones is that they have a microphone which also serves as an additional bonus. Gaming headsets have a retractable microphone, and this is useful when communicating with fellow gamers.
You won’t need to take time out of your game to listen to what your partner says when your device has this feature.
Bluetooth gaming headphones are designed with the needs of a gamer in mind. They usually have an adjustable headband that will fit comfortably on your head. This will ensure you enjoy playing your game for long hours regardless of the position you’re doing it from.
It’s always a countable accessory, especially if you’re a regular gamer.
The noise cancellation headphones will reduce the unwanted sounds to allow you to focus on your gaming. These devices have a unique technology that will enable you to game comfortably without using higher volume levels.
And for passengers in airlines, they can sleep on the aircraft or enjoy music without any disturbances.
It is ideal for noisy environments and will improve your gaming experience.
Just like other types of devices, your primary consideration when buying Bluetooth headphones is their durability. Though some consider the sound quality alone when buying high-end headphones, I recommend checking their strength because it will determine their longevity.
It would not make sense for you to purchase high sound-quality headphones that are less durable. Therefore, you need to balance between the headphones’ specs for you to find the ideal headsets.
READ MORE! Why do my Bluetooth headphones keep disconnecting from my phone?
Compatibility with Devices
When you compare wired and wireless headsets’ compatibility, the wired types are more compatible with almost every device. They have a 5mm jack that connects to a headset plus in mobile phones, laptops, PCs, Switch, Playstation4, and Xbox One.
However, for the Bluetooth headphones, their compatibility is lower as most have a USB transmitter that you must connect to the gaming device to listen to sound via headphones. Though it is very compatible with a PC, we cannot say the same for the consoles as things could go south.
READ MORE! How To Make Your Computer Bluetooth Capable (Solved)
PS4 and Switch gaming consoles also allow you to connect the USB transmitter. However, things are different for the complicated Xbox One console.
It only allows select wireless headsets when pairing hassle-free, and it gives you the benefits of wireless headsets as long as it’s compatible with the gaming device.
READ MORE! What Bluetooth Headphones Works with PS4?
2. Buying Guide: What’s Important To Consider When Buying Gaming Headphones?
The first thing you must consider while choosing the best gaming headset is the platform you use. If you are a PC player, you need to check if the headset is compatible with your PC; if you like to play on PS4 or an Xbox, double-check the headset compatibility.
Most premium headsets are compatible with most devices, but you need to check this.
Pro gamers would agree that a high sound quality feature matters a lot and make a massive difference in the game.
The prime factor of sound quality is to enable you to hear gunfire, explosion, and your enemies’ footstep. These all things take your game to the next level. But to be a YouTuber, podcaster, or twitch streamer, sounder quality means a lot.
Sound quality is the top consideration when you want to switch from wired to wireless headphones. However, note that sound quality depends on several factors, especially the quality of the drivers and codecs.
The drivers usually range between 20mm to 50mm, whereas many gaming headphones do have 50mm drivers. The larger drivers regulate the loudness of the headphones and typically give a deeper bass. But the larger the drivers are, they might have more trouble with the higher frequencies (treble). So look for reviews that mention the higher tones.
If you want to analyze your headsets’ sound quality, you should look at its bitrates (kbps). The bitrates are the amount of data being transferred to audio, and they determine the audio quality.
First, you should ensure the playback source and your audio settings on your computer or console match. The best gaming headphones offer the opportunity to adjust to different bitrate settings to suit the needs of other games.
Most games have an optimal bit rate of 16-bit 4400 Hz, and you will probably not need to go any higher.
Also, consider if the manufacturer includes software where you can adjust the sound quality. Often you want to change the equalizer to match the type of game you are playing. If you are playing an FPS, it’s more important that you can hear footsteps than the deep bass in the music.
Surround Sound or Not
The headsets with authentic surround sound have multiple drivers in the earpads for different audio channels. Therefore, you will hear the sound at different angles, and it will be easier to detect the direction the sound is coming from.
This is because the sound is direction-sensitive and is therefore ideal for FPS games.
Games like “Call of Duty” are FPS games (first-person shooter), and the surround sound helps you determine the direction of the footsteps or shots from the enemy combatants. This is because of the positional audio, and you should also consider this when shopping for gaming wireless headsets.
Make sure your selected headset has a strong bass plus delivers 7.1 virtual surround sound.
Also, most surround headphones are designed for gamers as they ensure better gameplay. Some of the top headphones are Razer’s Kraken Chroma and Sennheiser PC 373D.
Comfort is the key feature to peak in-game performance. Obviously, you don’t want to wear a terrible headset that causes severe neck pain, and that’s why you consider this factor properly.
Although the best Bluetooth headset is made of light in weight material enables you to focus solely on the game. While using quality headphones reduces the risk of headache, earache, and neck pain after a few hours of use.
Check the material used in headbands and earcups as it matters a lot. Lather earcups are the most convenient plus stylish ones but can make your ear prone to sweating.
However, spongier earcups allow airflow but are mostly not comfortable to wear. Also, the padded headbands seem to be the most comfortable. But if you want to buy a cheap headset with plastic material, think a bit that you want to sacrifice your comfort.
Also, it would help if you considered pricing because the wireless headphones are pretty expensive compared to their wired counterparts. Some manufacturers, especially the newer companies, are offering decent headphones at an affordable price.
But you have to understand that with wireless headphones, the price will affect the quality of the headphones.
If the headphones have poor noise isolation, then their sound quality will majorly be affected. This is even more important, especially when you are playing a game that utilizes directional audio cues.
Most headsets with noise cancellation in the market usually have the features “Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) and “Passive Noise Isolation.”
Most people usually interchange the two for one, but they mean different things. For starters, the passive noise isolation headphones block the outside sound with their physical design, such as tight fits and closed backs.
On the other hand, the active noise cancellation headphones use second sounds to cancel the first actively.
3. What is the difference between a wireless headphone and Bluetooth Headphone? (USB connected transmitter (RF) vs. Bluetooth)
RF technology transmits the sound using a stereo frequency modulation system from the TV to your headphones. They use 3kHz to 300 GHz signals though most use 2.4 GHz frequency that can travel up to 91 meters.
Most have a docking station or RF transmitter, and you may need an adapter cable to connect the technology. But turn off the TV before you connect the different parts to ensure it does not get damaged.
On the other hand, Bluetooth technology involves transferring audio signals from a paired transmitter to a paired receiver.
For this case, the transmitter is the TV while the receiver is the headphones. Their frequency range starts from 2.402 to 2.480 GHz, but they can change the frequency if other devices operate.
This is done to prevent interference with other devices that can affect the sound in your headphones.
READ MORE! What is the Difference Between Infrared and Bluetooth?
4. Are there headphones with both wireless (RF) and Bluetooth connections?
Yes, a lot of the premium wireless headphones made for gaming have both RF and Bluetooth connections.
Although, you can only use one of the connections at the same time because they can lead to interference if they use it simultaneously.
As an avid gamer, your priority would be finding the best Bluetooth headphones to allow you to enjoy a wireless and exciting gaming experience. Gaming is a fascinating activity, and since you usually spend most of your time on the chair, you will need headphones that won’t require you to get up regularly.
This is only possible with a pair of high-quality gaming headsets, as they will also allow you to indulge in other activities without affecting your gameplay.
It is the ultimate happiness, and once you’ve decided to go cordless, you should invest in a piece of high-quality equipment that will offer you value for your money and serve you for years.
READ MORE! Top 10 Best Bluetooth Headphones with Noise Cancelling (2021)
Espen is the Director of ProPairing and has written extensively about Bluetooth devices for years. He is a consumer product expert and has personally tested Bluetooth devices for the last decade.