Can’t wait to get your hands on the iPhone 7 but worried about the lack of built in headphone jack? Fear not, headphone manufacturers have been making lightning enabled headphones with built in DACs for over two years now.
Here’s a rundown of what’s currently available on the market, and other options if you want to keep your trusty 3.5mm cans.
EarPods with Lightning Connector – Free / £29
It wouldn’t feel right to not at least mention the new EarPods that will come bundle free with the iPhone 7 and 7 plus.
Apple are kindly including its latest evolution of its EarPod headphones with the new iPhone models, but, if you need to purchase a replacement pair or have an older iPhone they will set you back £29. Not bad considering the 3.5mm version cost £25.
Support models start at the iPhone 5, so if you have an older device and don’t want to upgrade to the latest model, but do want to try a pair of headphones that use the Lightning connector these are a great budget option.
Philips Fidelio M2L – £180
Back in 2014 the thought of a pair of headphones that didn’t use the industry standard 3.5mm headphone jack, but the Apple only Lightning connection, seemed a little niche to say the least.
Fast forward to the 7th of September 2016 and Philips are probably feeling pretty pleased by the announcement of the new iPhone 7 and 7 plus, both of which will not have a built in 3.5mm socket.
The Philips Fidelio M2L feature a built in DAC capable of 24-Bit 48 kHz playback via the Lightning connector. Those well versed in the iPhone’s file format support might be scratching your head, as the iPhone only supports native 16-Bit files. Luckily there are work arounds to this, such as the Onkyo HF app that will allow you to load higher than 16-Bit files onto your iDevice.
Libratone Q Adapt – £159
Danish company Libratone have been designing and manufacturing wireless speakers since 2009. Their range focuses not only on sound quality, but also modern 21st century design resulting in some of the best looking tech on the market.
The Q Adapt range is Libratones first stab at the busy headphone market, with two models available. The more common place Q Adapt on-ears that use Bluetooth or a 3.5mm jack, and the Q Adapt in-ears that use the Lightning connector.
The Q Adapt in-ears are not just special because of the omission of a headphone jack, but because they feature Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) with what Libratone are calling CityMix you have 5 different levels to choose from allowing you to adjust just how much noise you want to block out.
Using the Lightning connector not only has sonic benefits, but also allow the ANC to draw power from the iDevice rather than needing a battery, meaning you will never need to charge the headphones to use them.
JBL Reflect Aware – £149.99
Sweat proof might not be the first priority for most people looking to purchase new headphones, but JBL seem to think it’s important enough to make it a feature of their Reflect Aware earphones. What being sweat proof also means is that they are ‘water resistant’, meaning they will be perfectly happy to be used in one of the sporadic downpours the UK is accustomed to.
As well as the glamorous sweat proofing on these buds, you also get what JBL are calling Adaptive Noise Cancellation, allowing you to adjust the level of noise isolation on offer. It’s similar in principle to the ANC offered on the Libratone earphones, but instead of being able to adjust the level via the headphones you will need to use the free app.