The headphone jack is still around, and it’s amazing


Remember back when we used to plug our headphones into our phone and just listen to music? When we didn’t have to worry about bringing an adapter, or charging our headphones, but only how tangled they got in our pockets?

Headphone jacks were ubiquitous. They were on every single device with audio capabilities. Even cars had 3.5mm jacks so you could plug your phone or iPod into the car and listen to your own tunes that weren’t burned to physical media.

That all changed in 2016. While the Moto Z was the first mainstream device to drop the headphone jack, Apple really pioneered the practice with the iPhone 7. Since then we’ve seen the much-loved port quickly disappear from every device, even from the manufacturers that adamantly claimed they’d keep it. Pixel, OnePlus, Samsung, everyone lost the magical little port. Now, even some laptops don’t have a headphone jack.

But the thing is, usually when we lose a port, another replaces it. Nothing replaced the headphone jack. Instead, we got an adapter that’s easy to lose and takes up your charging port. And while Bluetooth headphones have gotten pretty amazing in the last few years, they have their own problems. But I’m sure you’ve heard this a dozen times over the last four years.

However, the headphone jack lives on. It’s rare these days, but it’s still there. The Moto Edge features a headphone jack, and I figured I’d rarely use it when I started testing this device. And I was partially right; thanks to the forced transition to Bluetooth, I haven’t used that headphone jack as much as I used to. But let me tell you, having it around is amazing.

While some may think that the headphone jack is for enthusiasts, it really isn’t. Yes, audiophiles will tell you that wired is the way to go. They’re correct, too. A wired connection has the best quality… if you have great headphones, a great cable, and most importantly, a great DAC, or digital to analog converter. And make no mistake, phones generally do not have great DACs. Or even good ones at all. The one in the Pixel 3a was downright bad, so audio enthusiasts won’t even take a second look at the headphone jack on phones like these. They’re going to be using a USB DAC either way.

No, the headphone jack is for the everyday person. The person with some cheaper wired earphones that just wants to unplug from their laptop and plug into their phone without hunting for an adapter. The person who doesn’t want to deal with yet another thing to charge, or signal interruptions, or spending over $100 on some basic wireless buds that won’t last through a workday. The headphone jack is the everyday port for everyday people, and it was never replaced. No, we’ve just adjusted to a sad life without it. We bought those new Bluetooth headphones, and we were happy to be wire-free. Bluetooth is great! But is it as simple, cheap, and reliable as wired? Not even close.

So I find myself rarely using the headphone jack on the Moto Edge. Not because I don’t want to, but because I’m wearing my Bluetooth earphones a lot of the time. But I do use wired headphones at home, and when I need to quickly plug into my phone, it feels amazing. It feels simple, elegant, and user friendly.

One could say it just works.

Dima Aryeh
A tech nerd from childhood, Dima also enjoys building and racing cars as well as photography and video games to pass the time.

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