2022-08-10
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By Akriti Rana and Nimish Dubey

Have a budget of Rs 2000 – Rs 2,500, and cannot quite decide which Bluetooth audio way to go – funky modern TWS or the trusty neckband? We are here to help. Ever since the truly wireless earbuds (TWS) revolution hit the market, no one wants to plug in their headphones anymore. While neckbands existed long before the TWS hype engulfed the Bluetooth audio world, they never really received the kind of attention the world bestowed upon truly wireless earbuds. But all the attention cannot take away the fact that neckbands have some really handy audio cards up their sleeve, especially if one’s budget is limited.

So if you have a budget of Rs. 2,000- Rs 2,500, are looking to go wireless but are confused between TWS and neckbands, read on to find out which one will suit your needs best:

Audio Quality:

Audio quality is one of the most important factors when buying a new pair of earphones. The earbuds have to deliver a good audio output for the price in order to make the cut. That said, in the budget segment, most Bluetooth earphones come with more or less similar audio output. There are a few that come with a certain profile (read ‘heavy bass’) but most deliver pretty decent audio at the price.

Because TWS and neckbands both use Bluetooth connections to transfer audio signals, the difference between two similarly specced TWS and neckbands (with similar-sized drivers) might not be massive. Audio signals are transferred digitally over the Bluetooth network which often lowers the resolution of your audio. This means that while wired earphones would traditionally deliver better audio, the audio difference between TWS and neckbands would depend on other specs and the tuning.

Winner: Tie

Call Quality:

When it comes to calling quality, we think TWS often has an upper hand over neckbands. This is simply because of proximity. TWS has mics that are closer to our mouths as compared to neckbands that often have mics on the wire connecting the two earphones together. Call quality is also going to be affected by the quality and quantity of microphones on the devices, but between two similarly specced TWS and a neckband, it is more likely that you will have a better call quality experience on your TWS.

Winner: TWS

Wirelessness:

Both TWS and neckbands c bring the element of wirelessness to the table but one is definitely more wireless than the other. Truly wireless earbuds as the name suggests are TRULY wireless which means there is no visible wire whatsoever in their anatomy. Wireless earphones on the other hand are wireless but not truly. Neckbands or wireless earphones come with a single wire which connects the two earbuds present on either ends. This is the wire that goes around your neck and hence the name neckband. If complete independence from wires is what you seek then TWS would be the right choice for you.

Winner: TWS

Fit And Form Factor:

Neckbands and truly wireless earbuds are both generally lightweight and easy to use. TWS has no wires whatsoever whereas the wireless earphones come with a band that connects the two earbuds. While truly wireless earbuds offer more independence and free movement, they are also prone to falling out of ears and getting damaged. Because they are small, independent buds, losing them is also quite easy. And once you lose one of the buds, the other pretty much becomes useless. Neckbands, on the other hand, comes with a string in the middle connecting the buds to each other.  This string proves to be life-saving for them as even if and when the buds fall out of your ears, they do not hit the ground, hence saving them from damage. The wire also makes them slightly less prone to getting misplaced.

Winner: Neckbands

Battery life

Most TWS comes with a battery life of 5-6 hours max on them while the charging case can offer 24 hours worth of battery while neckbands on the other hand come with a battery with  10-15 hours of charge. This means you would not have to plug in your neckband to a charging point for a long time as compared to TWS which would need to be put back into the case after 4-5 hours of use. That said, you will not need to connect the TWS case to a wall charger as often as you might need to charge your neckband. This basically is a preference call but we would rather have 10- 15 hours of battery life on a single charge than have to put the earbuds back in the case every few hours. You would also need to keep an eye on the battery left in the charging case when it comes to TWS.

Winner: Neckbands 

Connecting Process

While the pairing and connecting process on both TWS and neckbands is pretty similar– take them out, long press a single button and select them from your Bluetooth options, the UI on TWS is generally slightly more complicated, especially in the budget segment. Some truly wireless buds come with a master-follower relationship where one is the main bud and the other simply connect to it rather than the source device. This can complicate matters, if you lose the master bud or if it develops a defect. With neckband, there are no such problems as they simply pair as one unit.

Winner: Neckbands

Controls

Owing to their tiny build, TWS also comes with even more tiny control options. These control buttons can be very tricky to use and the commands get very confusing. The controls on wireless earbuds are also small but they are basically what we are used to on plain wired earphones as well. What’s more, they are also often on the collar or a control capsule separate from the buds, making them not-so-tiny and relatively easier to use.

Winner: Neckbands

Portability: 

The tiny form factor of TWS comes in handy when it comes to portability. They come in small cases which can be easily shoved into the shallowest of pockets. While neckbands are quite portable as well, they seldom come with a carrying case which means they have to be scrunched up and shoved into small pockets which can often damage the wire connecting the buds. To keep them safe you have to either carry them around your neck or keep them in a bag, taking away those portability points.

Winner: TWS 

Value For Money: 

Between a similarly specced neckband and a pair of TWS, you will find the neckband to be more affordable. This could be for a number of reasons– TWS is more contemporary, they are smaller which means making them is more difficult, they are completely wire-free, etc. But no matter what reason may be behind this price difference, neckbands are usually more pocket friendly as compared to TWS (the irony).

Winner: Neckbands 

Verdict: 

Irrespective of the rounds won, TWS and neckbands are neck to neck (pun intended) when it comes to choosing budget Bluetooth audio earbuds. If small and stylish form factor, wirelessness, and better call quality are what your heart and ears seek, then TWS is the option for you. But if you wish for a long-lasting form factor that is less likely to get lost, with easy controls and a better battery on a budget, then neckbands should be your pick.

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