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Bluetooth 5.0 headsets: Should you get one?

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Posted
October 2, 2020
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3 minutes

Bluetooth technology is constantly evolving. The latest widely available version is Bluetooth 5.0. (Although we should soon expect to see devices based on its new iterations: Bluetooth 5.1 and 5.2.)

But what does it mean for the world of wireless headsets? Does the new version of Bluetooth make any difference—and should you consider getting a Bluetooth 5.0 headset?

Let’s take a look.

What’s new in Bluetooth 5.0?

The Bluetooth SIG released this last major version of Bluetooth all the way back on December 6, 2016. Its main focus was to prepare Bluetooth tech for the inevitable explosion in the use of The Internet of Things (IoT). (Any day now!)

In terms of its impact on wireless headphones and headsets, it makes sense to compare Bluetooth 5.0 to the previous version, namely Bluetooth 4.2.

What’s the difference between Bluetooth 5.0 and 4.2?

While there are plenty of differences, the following stand out as the most impactful advantages of Bluetooth 5.0:

  • Higher bandwidth: While Bluetooth 4.2 transmits data at 1 Mbps, Bluetooth 5.0 doubles that to 2 Mbps.
  • Longer range: Bluetooth 4.2 can hold connection to another device for a maximum of 60 meters (200 feet). With Bluetooth 5.0, that distance is quadrupled to 240 meters (800 feet).
  • Lower battery use: Despite transferring data faster, Bluetooth 5.0 does so while consuming less power, which improves battery life.
  • Dual audio: Finally, Bluetooth 5.0 allows you to simultaneously connect two separate audio devices like headsets or speakers to a single audio source. Want to listen to the same Spotify playlist on an airplane? Just press play on your smartphone, slip on two pairs of Bluetooth 5.0 headsets, and enjoy.
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Important: To get the above advantages, all of the devices in question should be running Bluetooth 5.0. Trying to play a track from a Bluetooth 5.0 phone on two Bluetooth 4.2 headphones at the same time? Tough luck. It won’t work.

Does Bluetooth 5.0 improve audio quality?

Short answer: no, not directly. If you’re considering a pair of Bluetooth 5.0 headphones in the hope that they have better audio quality, we’ll have to disappoint: Bluetooth 5.0 does not offer any improvement to the audio quality itself.

Having said that, headsets with Bluetooth 5.0 are definitely a more attractive overall package than those with Bluetooth 4.2 due to the advantages discussed above. We’ll take a look at why in a moment.

Will Bluetooth 5.0 headphones or headsets work with a 4.2 phone?

Yes!

As we’ve previously discussed, all Bluetooth versions are backwards compatible. This means any Bluetooth headset will work with any phone, regardless of their versions. 

But do keep in mind that both devices have to run Bluetooth 5.0 in order to take full advantage of the new features it introduces.

Why should you get a Bluetooth 5.0 headset?

So if it doesn’t offer better audio quality, what’s the benefit of getting a Bluetooth 5.0 headset?

The benefits are linked directly to the main advantages of Bluetooth 5.0 itself:

  • More stable connection: While the audio quality itself may not improve, you should definitely experience much fewer classic Bluetooth issues like audio dropouts and interference. This is thanks to both the higher bandwidth and the longer range.
  • Longer-lasting battery: Because of the lower power consumption, your Bluetooth 5.0 headset will last longer between charges.
  • Dual audio: If you’re lucky enough to have two pairs of Bluetooth 5.0 headphones and a compatible smartphone or computer, you can start sharing your music with others without headphone splitters and wires getting in the way.
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Are there many Bluetooth 5.0 headphones available?

You bet. A quick Google search will take you to lists upon lists of headsets and headphones with Bluetooth 5.0.

It can get overwhelming to find the right Bluetooth 5.0 headset for your needs. That’s why we’ve narrowed things down to a few of our favorites below.

Best Bluetooth 5.0 headphones & headsets from Jabra

If you’re on the lookout a Jabra Bluetooth 5.0 headset, we recommend the following: