I have always been a headphones guy. Back when I was working you would almost always find me with my earphones plugged in. It helps me with two things. One, I can drown out all the noise, hubbub and excitement in the office. Not sure why people have to be so social and noisy. And two, it helps me deter people from talking to me because they wouldn’t want to bother a guy deeply in thought with headphones. An introvert thing. Once I retired, I switched from wired headphones to wireless neckbands and it changed a bunch of things for me. That and why I moved to neckbands but not ear buds is coming up next.

Initially I was using wired headphones connected to my phone to listen to music while I was working. As time progressed, Apple decided to do away with the headphone jack and go wireless. It was a genius move to increase their income by selling wireless ear buds in addition to the phone. Unfortunately, the android world took a bad example and followed suit. One by one many phones decided to get rid of headphone jacks. Although, all my phones always had headphone jacks I thought I should move on with technology because one day or the other the headphone is going to disappear.

While I owned bluetooth headsets for a long time, perhaps since 2007, I never really liked them. They were heavy and would keep sliding off my ears. Need charging all the time etc. Moreover, the audio quality wasn’t that great compared to wired ones. Finally, the range used to be very poor.Wired earphones or headphones were my thing. As technology improved I noticed that the wireless headphones were getting better and better. So I decided to eventually switch too.

I have used both wired headphones and ear plugs and I felt most comfortable with ear plugs since the headphones would be heavy and tiring. So I was not looking for a bluetooth headset. My choices were either wireless neckbands or ear buds. I never really liked the idea of ear buds because I was wondering if they would fall off. And if I lost one then the whole set along with the charging case would be a waste. Moreover, I need to charge the case and the buds and hope I don’t misplace either of them. Finally, the runtime of buds is generally low. So neckbands as they are now called, were the clear winners.

In 2020, when I was looking to buy earphones, I came across a good deal for Realme buds. They had large 11.2 mm drivers, comes with fast charging and the battery would last 12 hours if the ads were to be believed. More importantly, if came with bluetooth 5.0 which has much longer range, higher bandwidth and requires lower power compared to version 4.2. The neckband changed my life. I don’t mean the specific brand or model, just bluetooth neckband.

Earlier, when I was watching videos or something on my laptop, I was tied to it with wired earphones. Now, I could move around and do other things. This is especially useful when I was watering my garden, cleaning the car or something. I could just wear the neckband, put on a video and do my manual work. I don’t wear earphones when I workout, so the band hanging around my neck was never a problem. With the introduction to neckband, I started listening to more podcasts and audio books because you can multitask so easily when you doing some mundane, brainless tasks. Why did I ever delay switching to this technology for so long?

However, within a short one year, I was already looking for more features. Basically, I watch youtube videos on laptop and audio books or music on my phone. Now the problem is that every time I need to switch device, I have to manually open the device (laptop or phone) open Bluetooth settings and connect to the neckband. Then I came across the OnePlus Bullets earphones. This one has a really special feature which I could not find in any other neckband at the time in early 2021. It is the ability to switch between two devices with a click of a button. That totally made sense! Just what I was looking for.

In addition, it charges via USB C instead of micro USB that the realme neckband uses. At this point, all our phones are already using USB C plugs. So keeping a micro USB adapter just for the neckband did not make sense. Other than that it had all the features I needed like Bluetooth v5.0, 10 hours of playback and quick charge. Now what do I do with my old neckband? Well, of course, gift (donate to :P) to better half. She has been also looking for some bluetooth neckband seeing how I became expert multi-tasker (not). She can listen to music or audio books while gardening or cooking.

I liked everything about the OnePlus neckband except for the fact that it does not have the ear hooks. The Realme neckband had those, which helped keep the earbuds in place. With OnePlus the ear plugs used to keep falling off every once in a while while I was working. I even purchased some ear hooks and tried with them but it was no use. I continued on for a couple more years when my better half’s Realme neckband stopped working. I took this opportunity to upgrade my earphones :).

I have been eying the newer bluetooth neckbands which support dual pairing. What it basically means is that the bluetooth device can be simultaneously connected to both my laptop and my phone at the same time. No need for switching devices with clicking of a button. Of course, for this feature to work, I needed both my laptop and phone to support Bluetooth 5.0. Thankfully, by this time, both my devices have been upgraded and do support it. So in 2023, I purchased boAt Rockerz 255 Neo neckband.

There are several features that I love about it. First, it supports dual audio. Second, the battery is a claimed 25 hours! It has a large 12 mm driver with ear hooks (yay!) and supports fast charging. What more can I ask? While the build quality is not as good as the OnePlus neckband, it does the job well. So now my old neckband is the latest gift to mrs. re-ynd. So far it has been working well and I haven’t come across any more new features that I want to try. All in all, this is one more of those great investments. The other being my mechanical keyboard. Well, that’s it for today!