Since the iPhone 7 appeared, back in 2016, more and more mobile phones do not have the 3.5 mm headphone jack.
Because of that, in recent years, the Bluetooth headset market has seen spectacular growth. This has allowed the development of new technologies and protocols based on Bluetooth, which expands its uses and functions. Among them, one of the most prominent is TWS technology, but what is it, and how does it work? And what are its advantages and disadvantages?
What is TWS technology?
TWS (True Wireless Stereo) is a technology that allows two audio devices to be paired through Bluetooth connection, and in this way to be able to transmit the left and right channel separately to achieve the stereo sound.
How does TWS technology work?
TWS technology bases its operation on three devices:
The player: this is the original source from which stereo sound is emitted through the Bluetooth connection. It is usually a mobile phone, a computer, etc.
The master device: This is the Bluetooth device, usually a headphone or speaker that connects to the player from which it receives the full Bluetooth signal (left and right channel). It also connects to the slave device, sending it the audio signal to be played (the left audio channel)
The slave device: connects via Bluetooth to the master from which it receives the left audio channel.
In the TWS headset world, when there is no slave headset, the masterworks in mono mode.
Master and slave devices are automatically paired via Bluetooth. Once paired, they send a few messages back and forth and calculate the time it takes for a message to go and return.
In louder environments, this time can be longer, as Bluetooth devices have to “wait their turn” to broadcast.
Once the time it takes to go and return the signal between the master and slave devices is known, it is divided in half, and the time it takes for the connection to go, the delay time is obtained.
When the Bluetooth audio signal (A2DP) arrives from the phone to the master device, the master device will send the left channel signal immediately to the slave device but will wait the calculated delay period before playing it, so that once the signal reaches the slave device, both are synced and play simultaneously.
As we can see, the master device has to manage two Bluetooth connections simultaneously, which affects the sound quality and battery consumption.
The Bluetooth protocol has a fairly limited connection speed. For example, the latest version BLE 5.0 has a data transfer speed of up to 2 Mbps, this being in ideal conditions. At the same time, the older versions of the protocol have much lower speeds.
Therefore, the master device is going to have limited bandwidth, since it has to make two simultaneous connections: one to the player and one to the slave device.
So, if the Bluetooth audio quality with a single connection is usually quite fair, we can imagine that with two connections, the quality will be even worse.
Also, since you have extra work to do to keep both connections active, your power consumption will be higher, and your battery will drain a bit faster.
True Wireless Headphones (TWS). Advantages and the best models.
True Wireless (TWS) headphones are the latest trend in wireless headphones and the latest type of headphones to hit the market.
It is not surprising, as they do not have any type of cables, they offer total freedom of movement, they integrate perfectly with your smartphone and are one of those gadgets that you also want to have as soon as you see someone.
But not all are advantages, and as with everything new, there are still some aspects of being polished.
We are going to do a review of the pros and cons of True Wireless headphones, and we will also analyze some of the most recommended TWS headphones models in 2019.
If you’re wondering how a Bluetooth headset is different from a True Wireless headset, or if it’s already worth betting on it today, read on.
What are True Wireless headphones?
True Wireless technology allows you to design 100% wireless headphones. Unlike a standard Bluetooth headset, in TWS devices, the transmission is completely wireless, without any cable connecting the left channel with the right.
In Bluetooth headphones, both capsules are connected. In some models, we find a small pocket integrated into the cable that includes the remote control, battery, receiver, etc. The point is that the right and left earphones are linked by a cable.
The True Wireless is presented, therefore, as an evolution of headphones with Bluetooth connection. The left and right channels are separated, and in some models, they can even be used autonomously in the “hands-free” mode of the telephone.
Advantages of True Wireless headphones
Among the advantages of True Wireless headphones are:
They facilitate movement
Without a doubt, this is one of the strengths that TWS technology offers. As there is no cable in between, you do not have to worry about them snagging. So we can wear them at all times and play sports without having the cable bothering you.
This very direct association between TWS and freedom of movement is the main reason why the vast majority of True Wireless headphones fall within the category of sports headphones. Brands are betting on them to design headphones for running, Crossfit, cross-training, and other practices that appreciate this lightness and freedom.
This sporty and outdoor approach influences that almost all headphones of this type include some type of resistance to sweat and humidity, such as IPX5 (humidity) or even IPX7 (immersion) protection.
In short: if you are looking for headphones for sports, the True Wireless is the best choice.
True wireless headphones are lightweight and comfortable.
One of the most important aspects to choose headphones, and more so if they are in-ear headphones, is that they are comfortable. And this is something that True Wireless usually comply with, since in general, they are tiny and very light headphones specially designed to be easy to transport and that you hardly notice them in the ear.
If the headphones are comfortable in the ear and easy to wear, you end up wearing them a lot. It is a fact.
Easy to handle
Unlike common wireless headphones, which integrate the controls into the remote control, in TWS, the management is done from the capsule of one or both headphones, depending on the model. So you don’t have to search for the remote and then feel the buttons.
With just a few taps, you can use the buttons in a very intuitive way. It costs nothing to turn the volume up or down, change tracks or pause playback at any time.
To be able to answer calls and even communicate with Google Assistant or Siri, these headphones also incorporate microphones.
Its charging system is very practical.
One of the most striking features of the True Wireless headphones is that its case works as a charger.
This allows us to extend its autonomy, which is around 4-6 hours, up to 20-25 hours. You just need to insert the headphones into the case while not in use to activate the charging mechanism.
Many even offer a fast charging mode for the case and also for the headphones. If you have forgotten to put them in the charger case or have exhausted its battery, in half an hour of charging, you can get 2-3 hours of use.
If like most people, you use headphones for a couple of hours a day, it is practically impossible that when you need them, you will find yourself without a battery.