Most gamers pay too much attention and spend hefty amounts of money on their gaming gear like their monitor, computer, and mouse. Thus, they often overlook getting the best earbuds.
Remember, having the best earbuds will help you immerse yourself in the game by hearing all the dialogues, explosions, and other in-game sound effects in the clearest way possible. As such, you’d always want to have the perfect earbuds for your gaming needs to get the best gaming experience.
In addition, a new era has dawned on the gaming industry. Gone are the days when you are confined to playing multiplayer games on your PC. Today, you can play mobile games on your smartphone or tablet but partnering it with a full-size can look downright awkward. That’s where earbuds take up a notch ahead, as they appear more natural, get less space, and are easier to carry anywhere.
The catch is that the market is now flooded with seemingly endless options for gaming earbuds, making it a daunting task to choose which one is right for you. With that in mind, we’ve collated the best tips to help you select the best earbuds for gaming as no gamer should be living without this awesome gadget.
1. Test the sound quality
When buying gaming earbuds, your utmost priority must always be sound quality. That’s why it’s imperative that you should be listening to them first to thoroughly check and make sure that the sound won’t seem like it’s from an oldish radio. Be mindful that your earbuds won’t simply be transmitting music, so it’s better to try them on gaming sounds to assure that they offer your desired sound profile.
First, your earbuds should have good surround sound. Surround sound pertains to the impression that the sound isn’t only coming from one or two directions, but from all around you. It’s crucial when playing games where you need spatial and directional awareness to win. Through that, you can hear cars or footsteps in the background, which is important to level up the experience and boost that adrenaline-producing effect.
Of course, the sound should also be crystal-clear. Games won’t be exciting if you keep hearing cracking and broken sounds in the middle of the game. They can even prevent you from giving your A-game. Good low-frequency sounds, frequency response, and speaker sensitivity are other factors you should look at when aiming for excellent sound quality. Again, always test the earbuds out to make sure they’re up to your aural satisfaction.
2. Get one with a noise cancelation feature
Closely associated with sound quality, another feature you should miss on the gaming earbuds you’re buying is noise cancelation. Noise-canceling earbuds will block any kind of unnecessary noise in your surroundings like the sound of the railway track, car engine, or people chatting, which can overpower the sounds in your game. Thus, preventing you from fully concentrating and immersing in the game. Some models even have adjustable levels, allowing you to set the noise cancelation ability that’s safe and comfortable for you.
3. Check the volume levels
Some games are meant to be played loud for the best experience. Sadly, not all gaming earbuds are created the same. While you can turn the volume up to your desired high levels, the sound may come distorted. On the other hand, other models may only deliver sound levels of up to 50%, or worse, not even enough to topple a soft whisper. Remember, a good pair of gaming earbuds should be able to play sounds to the most comfortable level you want.
4. Decide whether wired or wireless
Among the biggest decisions you need to make when purchasing gaming earbuds is whether to go for wired or wireless options. Truth to be told, each of them has its perks and drawbacks. It’s for you to decide which suits your gaming needs. To make it easier, we’ll lay out their pros and cons for you.
- Convenience: The most apparent difference between wired and wireless earbuds is convenience. Wired ones come with a cable of around 1 meter. While it can be limiting when doing sudden movements, it can be acceptable to use when you’re seated on your gaming chair and they’re plugged into the computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Meanwhile, wireless options eliminate the annoying tangles, clutter, and sense of restriction. You can move freely without fretting about the cable breaking or getting unplugged.
- Latency: Wireless earbuds use Bluetooth to connect to your device with a usual range of about 10 meters. With that, you have to be ready for audio breaks, especially if there are thick cement walls surrounding you that can weaken Bluetooth signals. Luckily, you can avoid such scenarios by keeping your wireless earbuds in close proximity to the device. On the other hand, wired options don’t experience any latency at all, making them a preferred choice for most gamers. Yet, with the continuous advancement in Bluetooth technology, latency-free gaming earbuds should be possible soon.
- Compatibility: Some manufacturers have ceased including a 3.5mm audio jack in their devices, limiting the compatible devices for wired earbuds. Fortunately, there’s an excellent workaround, which is purchasing a converter that allows you to use them without any issues. For wireless options, most computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets are Bluetooth-enabled making compatibility less of an issue.
- Reliability: Wired earbuds are more reliable for gaming. As long as they’re connected to your device, they have limitless power! On the other hand, wireless earbuds can die at critical moments in the game if you play too long and forget to charge them. Hopefully, you can salvage a win even without hearing the game audio.
Obviously, there’s no outright best option. It’s all up to you as the decision boils down to your personal preference and gaming needs.
5. Aim for good battery life
If you’re going for wireless options, look for ones that have good endurance as you. Most wireless earbuds have a playing time of three to six hours on a single charge depending on the model. Once their juice is all used up, you need to return them to their battery case to give them their much-needed boost. However, for your convenience, choose earbuds that have a quick-charging option. That way, you can simply put them in the case during lunch or dinner or you’re ready to go back to gaming. Note that some makers will display a combined playing time of up to three to four charges. If you’re a product that promises 12-15 playing time, it doesn’t entail continuous use. Always read the reviews of users’ actual experiences.
6. See if there’s a built-in microphone
Gaming is a social activity, and team-based games will often require you to communicate with other players to make strategies and call sudden in-game adjustments. With that, it’s also important that your earbuds have a built-in microphone that allows you to chat with and be heard by your teammates with clarity. Not all earbuds have one, putting you at a great disadvantage. Those models that sport one include one of the two popular technologies today: Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) and Electret Condenser Microphones (ECM). You can always check the product’s description and the reviews to ensure that your earbuds have a built-in microphone.
7. Make sure that they’re comfy and have a perfect fit
Not all earbuds will perfectly fit our ears. Various factors like the size and shape of your ears and the earbuds’ form can affect the fitting and comfort. As such, you shouldn’t be randomly purchasing any off-the-shelf product without trying them first. If your earbuds don’t fit snugly, securely, and comfortably, chances are they may fall often or may hurt if you’re gaming for extended periods (which is how most gamers do at all).
When testing earbuds out, keep them on for a while to see how they feel. See to it that they nestle gently in your ear canal. Opt for silicone or foam ear tips as they don’t hurt like plastic and rubber ones. If you have extra money to spend, you can even order custom-molded tips that will perfectly contour your ear shape. Still, comfort is subjective. So, it’s for you to decide.
8. Look for additional controls
To boost your overall experience, it’s also a wise idea to buy gaming earbuds that include additional buttons or control pads for increasing and lowering the volume, pausing sound when necessary, issuing voice commands, and other actions. Having such control options is convenient as you no longer have to do it on your device, preventing you from leaving your game. You can simply tap on the earpieces and you can raise the volume right away. It’s definitely cool to have gaming earbuds with responsive controls. Never miss out on comparing the control on offering on the products you’re eyeing.
9. Choose durable earbuds
One factor that most people overlook when buying earbuds is build quality. While you always want to get the best sound, fit, battery life, and all the other features, all that will go for naught if the unit you’re buying won’t even last you a year. With that, make sure to purchase from reliable brands with models that are rated IPX4 or higher. The higher the rating, the better durability you can expect from earbuds. Note that durability doesn’t only talk about strength, but being able to work through wear and tear.
10. Consider your budget
Lastly, you should consider your budget. Take a look online and you should see a wide range of prices, ranging from cheap to premium. Of course, products from well-known brands can be costly, especially their high-end models. However, that doesn’t mean that price always equates to quality. You can still find decent earbuds at reasonable prices that would meet your needs. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on a pair of gaming earbuds. Sometimes, a $50 pair is already a smart choice and will provide excellent audio for most games. Just make sure to set a budget, so you can narrow down your choices.
Engineers invest a lot of effort in providing games with the best sounds in order to ensure an immersive gaming atmosphere for their players. With that, it’s essential that you have the best gaming earbuds to relish that experience. We hope that these tips help you find the perfect pair for you and get you to enjoy your favorite titles even better. Happy gaming!
If you need more tips and recommendations, you may also check out our Guide to Choosing Earbuds.