In a perfect world the ideal headset would have the look of no headset at all. By this I mean it would be ideal if you could have all the benefits of a high quality headset, but in a form factor that isn’t detectable by others.
Unfortunately we don’t live in that world. The closest thing we have today in the way of a small, discreet headset that could potentially be used for business is an earbud style device. These are a very popular design because they’re very discreet.
They plug into your ear, and there’s no visible microphone boom to alert others that you’re wearing a headset. But, the question surrounding that style of headset is this; does it make sense to use an earbud headset for business? Is the audio quality good enough to use on your video and voice calls?
In this blog I’m going to do a side-by-side comparison of a highly popular earbud headset and a popular pair of headphones to see which performs best in terms of voice audio quality, and when they encounter unwanted background noise.
To help you to come to your own conclusion on this, I’ll be providing you with a link to a video where you can see and hear them for yourself. I’ll also be extending a discount coupon code here in this blog, and in the video as well, for a nice discount if you end up wanting to purchase either of these headsets.
The two headsets I’m comparing here are:
Tilde Pro vs Elite 85t
But, before I jump into this comparison, I’d like to let you know that I recorded a Youtube video where I compare these two headsets. If you’re like a lot of people, you probably prefer to watch a video over reading a lengthy blog.
If so, then here’s the video for you to watch. In this video, I put both of these headsets up against some annoying background sounds. After you listen to these tests, make sure to comment so we know which one sounded best to you.
If you’re still with me, then come along as I jump into this comparison between a good quality pair of business grade headphones and an equally good quality pair of earbuds to see which one is best for business.
People like earbuds
The appeal and popularity of earbuds is undeniable. They’re small, they’re discreet, and they sound good when listening to your favorite music or podcast. But, are they good enough for use in a professional working environment where sound quality and first impressions are very important in furthering relationships, and closing sales opportunities.
Can I take your order?
Wearing a traditional looking headset has some feeling like an employee at a fast food drive through. Though there may be a certain degree of truth to that, what’s the value of sounding professional, and not having your important clients be subjected to hearing all the distracting noise going on in your background? Therein lies the dilemma; looks vs. sound quality.
A sound comparison
We put the Jabra Elite 85T earbuds and the Orosound Tilde Pro headphones up against some distracting background noise. Rather than going through all the nitty gritty detail of both, here’s the short version on how they both performed.
The Orosound Tilde Pro did quite well to remove noises such as office noise, baby crying, dogs barking, wind, and of course no test would ever be complete unless we put it up against our signature blender test. In all cases, the Orosound Tilde Pro did a good job to eliminate these presky noises.
On the other hand, the Jabra Elite 85T didn’t do so well. When I introduced these same noises, the 85T didn’t handle them nearly as well as the Orosound Tilde Pro. In every instance, you could easily hear all the various noises, and I might even go so far as to say loud and clear. Not what you want if you’re on an important business call.
As for the voice quality, the Jabra Elite 85T is a respectable job to allow your voice to be heard clearly. Compared to the Orosound Tilde Pro, the Jabra 85T was far less rich. The voice was easy to hear and understand, but it lacked the richness you want in a good quality, professional headset.
You might say the Elite 85T gets the job done, but the audio quality could use some improvement. One of the reasons why this type of headset comes up short, as all earbuds do, is they don’t have a microphone boom. When the microphone can be placed closer to the mouth, you stand a better chance of being heard better.
That’s not part of the earbud design so Engineers work around this through enhanced microphones, bone conduction technology etc. But, in my view, I think it’s hard to beat a headset that has a microphone with a boom.
The Orosound Tilde Pro, on the other hand, sounded awesome. That’s high praise considering we here at Headset Advisor test wired and wireless headsets constantly.
Many sound very similar to one another, while others flat out sound bad. The Orosound Tilde Pro audio is nothing short of impressive. It has a soothing richness that, like a fine wine, has different qualities.
This gives callers a pleasant audio experience. Suffice it to say the Orosound Tilde Pro sounds fantastic. And, after all, isn’t that how you want to sound when talking to your clients?
Talk time - earbuds vs. headsets
The other thing that is important when using a headset for business purposes is how long does the battery last? That’s been one of the bigger challenges for earbud style headsets.
They’re small, and as a result, there’s just not that much room to pack in a bigger battery. Instead, the room is limited which results in everything needing to be downsized, including the battery. The result is shortened talk time.
In the case of the Jabra Elite 85T, the battery is projected to deliver up to 5.5 hours. This means that if you have a busy day with a lot of meetings scheduled, you’re probably not going to have enough battery strength to get you through the day with the need to recharge.
Add to this, the battery, over time, will diminish in available talk time the more times you recharge. This means that a battery, when new, that gives you 5.5 hours of talk time, in a year or two, may only provide you with 4, or even less. That’s going to make for a challenging situation if an earbud headset is your go to headset device.
The Orosound Tilde Pro is pretty representative of what a headset provides in terms of available battery life. Specifically, the Tilde Pro gives you up to 28 hours of talk time. That’s a far cry from the earbuds that give only 5.5 hours.
Having 28 hours of talk time means you can use the headset for several days without needing to recharge it. Or, if you charge it over a lunch hour for example, you may go even longer. Needless to say, a traditional headset has a dramatic advantage over earbuds when it comes to simply being available.
Switching between devices
Not to be overlooked is connectivity. How well do these two uniquely different headsets do when it comes to connecting to the devices we use every day? Is it easy to go from, say, a mobile phone to a computer, or vice versa? Or, is it more of a challenge where you have to pair and unpair when switching?
It’s my opinion that the earbuds are more difficult when it comes to this. When using the Jabra Elite 85T, it wasn’t as seamless when switching from mobile to computer as was the Orosound Tilde Pro. Is this a deal breaker? Not really, but if you’re someone who toggles regularly, maybe daily, or hourly from device to device, then this could be.
We all want things to be easy. Clearly the Orosound Tilde Pro is much easier when it comes to seamlessly switching between devices. One less nagging frustration to deal with which I’m sure resonates with a lot of people.
As you read this blog, it’s clear that the headphones have a huge advantage over earbuds when it comes to battery life, sound quality and seamless connectivity. Still, there’s a place for both.
For those who do a minor amount of business, and would use earbuds mostly for music and other forms of entertainment, then the earbuds would be a great choice.
For those who are business heavy in their use, earbuds aren’t the way to go. You simply sacrifice so much in the process. Among them included shortened talk time, compromised sound quality, and a more challenging experience to toggle between your regularly used devices.
For the business heavy user, a good quality headset is a must have. You need to make good impressions if you want to further your business cause, and having poor audio quality, and awkward moments when your earbud battery is dying in the middle of a meeting isn’t going to cut it.
This does require that you adopt the design of a traditional headset and look beyond, well, the look. After a short period, the notion of looking like a drive through worker will fade, but you won’t, because that battery will keep you connected for days on end.
Both headset styles have their place. It’s up to you to evaluate your specific needs, and how you’ll use a headset. Once you get a good idea of this, you’ll be in a better position to make a decision on what to purchase that’s right for you.