The debate over wireless headphones has never been hotter with Apple removing the 3.5mm audio jack from its most recent smartphone. Sure others like Lenovo/Moto beat Apple to the punch, but no other manufacturer makes a bigger impact on the future development of smartphones than Apple. Some companies chose to stick with the 3.5mm audio jack like LG and Samsung. The lack of unification of basic connections like is not friendly to the consumer. We don’t know what the future holds, and removing the audio jack makes our trusty headphones obsolete.

Rather than picking sides, a very smart decision was made by a third party accessory maker, SmartOmi, to make earbuds that offer a wired and a wireless connection.

I’ve been using the hybrid wireless/wired headphones from SmartOmi and wonder why others aren’t doing the same.

Design

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True wireless earbuds are just making their introduction to the market with options such as the Samsung Gear IconX and the Apple Earpods which cost over $170.

SmartOmi’s hybrid earbuds are bullet style with a single cord that connects between the two titanium canisters. The earbuds are similar to what we’ve seen from popular manufacturers such as Jaybirds and Beats audio where they connect to your smartphone over a single Bluetooth connection. However where these earbuds differ, is the ability to connect to a 3.5mm audio cable through the microUSB port. That way you can choose to use the 3.5mm audio jack on your mobile device, or use a wireless connection over Bluetooth. This is great for people who forget to charge their accessories since you can use the wired connection to power the earbuds.

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MicroUSB port used for charging and the 3.5mm audio cable.

The titanium casing on both earbuds provides for a lightweight experience, and when paired with the proper silicone tip and flange offers a superior level of comfort. Included in the box are small, medium, and large ear silicone ear tips with two sizes of ear flanges.

The part that fits into your ear canal, isn’t as small as some that I’ve used before and might be uncomfortable for those with small ears. Those who have regular or large ears should have no issue with the fit.

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At the end of each earbud are powerful magnets that stick to each other which makes a full loop so you can store them on your neck when not in use. Or you can stick them to metal objects like your refrigerator so you don’t misplace them when you get home.

The controls are placed inline between the two earbuds with a microphone for taking phone calls or using Ok Google or Siri. You can perform the standard functions from the earbuds where you can turn the volume up/down, fast forward/rewind a track, play/pause, and answer and end a phone call.

The SmartOmi hybrid earbuds are a high-quality build that make a whole lot of sense.

Usage

Sound quality always comes first when it comes to audio products. Build quality can be the best, but if the sound doesn’t match then there’s no point in spending your money. Overall, SmartOmi’s hybrids are calibrated to please everyone. They are rather powerful and offer a balanced and warm signature. What’s extremely nice is the earbuds sound the same whether using a wired or wireless connection. Highs are tight and crisp, mids are warm, and the lows offer a wide spectrum from deep to punchy depending on the music.

Consistency is very important between connection types and no one wants Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde earbuds based on how you decide to use your hybrids.

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Comfort and fit come easy with these hybrid earbuds. I didn’t need to swap the ear tips or flanges to get the right fit on the first try. The fit is tight without being uncomfortable and can be worn for several hours without fatigue. I regularly got four to five hours of playback with the volume at 60-70% of the max. With a tight seal, there is no need to crank these earbuds up to loud levels which is better for your eardrums and hearing. The tight seal also offers the best playback as it is easier to hear a wider range of the sound spectrum.

Call quality is actually very good on the SmartOmi earbuds. That is probably helped by the strong EDR Bluetooth connection that I never experienced issues with. When you combine the build, fit and sound performance in combination with the ability to connect wired or wirelessly, the SmartOmi earbuds make a whole lot of sense.

Summary

I review quite a few headphones, but this is the first earbud style that I’ve reviewed that offers a wireless and wired connection. The ability to connect both ways seems like common sense, yet almost no manufacturer offers this feature. It’s a simple feature that I appreciate especially because I forget to charge my headphones. Nothing kills intensity worse than music dropping out in the middle of a run or weight lifting session.

Regularly priced at $59.99, I would recommend the hybrids as a great mid-range priced set of earbuds based on sound quality and build alone. I love earbuds that offer a balanced sound, rather than those that are unbalanced with emphasis on bass. Too much bass muddles out the mids and I never enjoy my music in that fashion.

Throw in the ability to connect any way you choose, with or without battery power, and these SmartOmi earbuds are a great buy if you love your music. Right now SmartOmi is offering these hybrid earbuds at a discount at $53.99 at Amazon with the discount code 5LKXFFPE.

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