Wireless headphones have improved immensely in the last few years. Where they were previously defined by poor sound, inconsistent connection and dismal battery life, the new crop of wireless stars deliver headphones with sound quality that rivals their wired counterparts and battery stamina that, in some cases, will get you more than a full day of listening. Bluetooth remains unpredictable and not ideal in terms of reliability, but companies are finding ways to improve on that final hurdle, like Apple with its W1 chip.
Whether you love running, hiking, or working out in the gym, the Bluetooth wireless headphones were made with an active person in mind.
For some, there’s nothing better than losing yourself in the world of cinema for an hour or two. However, not everyone can build the home theater of their dreams without annoying the downstairs neighbors. If you live in an apartment or want to watch the game without bothering your spouse, a good set of headphones is a great way to immerse yourself in your favorite programming.
But what to buy? That’s where it gets a little sticky. Unless you own a TV that supports the aptX-Low Latency Bluetooth codec, or you buy a special transmitter, audio will lag considerably behind your video if you’re using Bluetooth headphones
going wireless is convenient and gets rid of that annoying cable that snags on everything and gets tangled into a knot at the worst possible times.
But, going wireless means batteries. Usually lithium-ion batteries. And as we learned from Samsung’s unfortunate Galaxy Note 7 episode, lithium-ion batteries can explode and catch fire. With the report of wireless headphones catching fire while being worn by a woman on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne –causing burns, smoke and singed hair– many people are now looking suspiciously at their cool new Bluetooth cans.
There are some simple steps you can take to avoid becoming the next victim of exploding wireless headphones.
Avoid the cheap, no-name wireless headphones. There are hundreds of these headphones available online. When they’re ridiculously cheap, there is obviously cost-cutting going on. Some savings may be achieved through inexpensive audio components (in which case they will sound terrible, too), but manufacturers may also cut corners on the lithium-ion batteries or the charging circuitry. Do you want thosebatteries strapped to your head?
Use a protective case when packing. There’s a natural tendency to jam headphones into a bag as an afterthought. You could get away with this with wired headphones (aside from some scuffs), but lithium-ion batteries that get crushed or have pressure applied to them can suffer from a short circuit that leads to a fire. When packing your wireless headphones, use a protective case to prevent this from happening.
Avoid dropping, sitting on or otherwise physically damaging your wireless headphones. As mentioned above, lithium-ion batteries don’t react well to pressure or being poked with sharp things. Sitting on headphones, dropping them down the side of a seat, accidentally stepping on them –any of these actions could physically damage the lithium-ion battery, increasing the risk of fire.
Use an appropriate charger. Most wireless headphones come with a MicroUSB cable for charging from a smartphone charger. Unless the manufacturer specifies that it’s okay to do so, avoid using fast-chargers and stick to name-brand charging solutions. A cheap charger that’s underpowered can damage the headphone battery; one that sends too much current could potentially make the headphones explode.
Don’t charge in extreme temperatures. lithium-ion batteries can be sensitive to temperature extremes, and charging when it’s very hot adds to the thermal stress. That can damage the batteries or, in a worst-case scenario, could result in a fire.