What to do about a Smartphone without a Headphone Jack?

What to do about a Smartphone without a Headphone Jack? You could use an adapter but I would highly recommend going wireless and move to Bluetooth Headphones.

You might also be wondering are there smartwatches with headphone jacks? Yes, smartwatches with 3,5mm headphone jacks do exist. But another question you should be asking is why would you want to connect a cable to the watch on your wrist instead of using Bluetooth headphones? My recommendation would be to go wireless.

What to do about a Smartphone without a Headphone Jack?

Since 2016 there has been a trend of removing the 3.5 mm headphone jack in flagship phones. This happened to iPhone but also many flagship Android phones. There have been many reasons stated to why the 3.5 mm jack was removed like saving space, making a slimmer body design possible and even better audio quality. Perhaps some really did it to boost sales of new headphones. Regardless of the reason why this was done we now need to deal with it.

Adapters or USB-C / Lightning port headphones

iPhones like the iPhone 7 was sold with a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter so that users could keep using their existing headphones. The downside to this is that you can’t charge at the same time. You could also use headphones with a lighting port or for android a USB-C port. In reality, the market doesn’t yet have that many choices of headphones with either lightning or USB-C connectors.

There are multiple reasons why USB-C headphones are not becoming more popular and never might. One is price since one needs to pay more to use a USB-C connector. Another is that the market for USB-C headphones is limited since iPhone doesn’t have a USB-C port and Samsung still has the 3.5 mm jack and doesn’t need a set of USB-C headphones. The biggest limiting factor I think is that Bluetooth as the wireless standard is much more preferable for most users.

I personally haven’t used corded headphones for a long time and you can check below for my recommendation about Bluetooth Headphones.

iPhone ditching the lightning port

Lightning is a proprietary computer bus and power connector created by Apple and introduced in 2012 for iPhones.

On October 30, 2018, Apple announced that their new range of iPads will no longer have Lightning ports but will instead use USB-C ports.

It is highly likely that iPhones will also switch over to using USB-C. EU has been looking at the regulations on the topic to standardize the phone chargers back in 2009 and now again in 2018.

In 2009, manufacturers including Apple, Samsung, and Nokia, signed a memorandum of understanding to say they would voluntarily standardize on the then-current micro-USB connector. Apple ended up only making an adapter while all others had the micro-USB connector on the smartphone itself.

Since regulators were unsatisfied with this voluntary approach the EU commission launched an assessment on the topic.

Do smartwatches with headphone jacks exist?

They are rare, but Yes they absolutely do exist but I think they are more of a rarity than mainstream. One example I could find is the I’m Watch which is a smartwatch developed by Italian company I’m S.p.A.

There are also hacks where existing cheap smartwatches have been modified by adding a 3,5mm headphone jack. If you want a DIY project you can look into this hack.

Instead of trying to find a smartwatch with a headphone jack I think the better approach is to use a smartwatch that can play music over Bluetooth to your headphones (Check my article on the topic).

Alternatives on how to keep using your corded headphones

I do understand that users are looking for headphone jacks since iPhones and some Android phones no longer have 3,5mm headphone jacks.

If you want to listen to music while in the gym or doing sports and you still want to use your wired headphones then a Bluetooth headphone adapter is one option. You can get those cheaply on Ali-express.

Maybe when going for a run that isn’t very convenient since you would need to bring your Bluetooth device in most cases your phone with you. So a lightweight option would be to use an MP3 player which usually has a headphone jack.

If you want something like a smartwatch which is on your wrist there are MP3 players for your wrist with 3.5 jacks on them. Check this wrist-based MP3 player on Aliexpress. It’s around 2 USD including shipping so you might as well try it if you really don’t want go for Bluetooth headphones which I would recommend though. For the MP3 player, you need to insert a micro SD card.

I personally haven’t used the above options so I can’t really say I would recommend them. Instead, check below what I do recommend.

How not to need a headphone jack – Bluetooth Headphones

My favorite option on how to overcome the lack of a headphone jack is to switch to cordless Bluetooth Headphones. I have used Bluetooth headphones for many years now and they have become reliable and have good audio quality as well. There are lot’s of Bluetooth Headphones for less than 30$. One of my favorite inexpensive yet good quality headphones is the Bluedio T2s  (click to check current price on Amazon).

If you want something more stylish and smaller one option is the Jabra Move (click to check current price on Amazon). Jabra Move is my wife’s current choice of headset for doing sports.

When using Bluetooth headphones you still need to bring a Bluetooth device for playing the music. For the gym taking your phone along is fine at least for me. For running and some other sports, a more convenient option might be a smartwatch with a build in Bluetooth music player and storage for the music files.


Smartwatch with earphones

Huawei has released a patent for a smartwatch with build in Bluetooth earbuds in a container. The World Intellectual Property Organization granted the patent (which LetsGoDigital found). It sounds like a handy idea to store your earbuds somewhere were you can easily find them. In my opinion, though good quality earbuds that are comfortable tend to be bigger and wouldn’t fit inside a smartwatch. So I don’t think this idea will become a big hit in the coming years.

Perhaps we will see something like this in the Huawei Watch 3 which is expected in late 2018 or early 2019.

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Hi! I'm John and this is where I share my tech learnings. As a tech enthusiast and a smartwatch believer (I wear a Garmin smartwatch), I like to read about the newest trends and research new devices. On this blog, I share all the things I learn about smartwatches as I go.

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