Apple is my preferred poison when it comes to smartphones but I’m still not sure I entirely forgive the company for ditching the headphone jack with the iPhone 7. And when sales didn’t fall off a cliff, that apparently emboldened many Android smartphone makers to start doing the same thing.
The problem is, while audio companies leaped to the rescue with earbuds and headphones sporting Lightning connectors for iPhone owners, the USB-C options for Android have been few and far between.
Making matter worse, USB-C has a reputation for being … finicky. For a standard that aspires to be universal, it seems to have a long way to go. Anyway, circling back to headphones, if Bluetooth isn’t your thing, I found a very solid pair of wired, USB-C earbuds in the Libratone Q-Adapt In-Ear USB-C Earphones.
The name may not be familiar, but Libratone makes some very nice audio gear. I reviewed the company’s ZIPP Nordic Black wireless speaker last year if you want to see another example of their products. The 30-second overview is premium audio, minimalist Scandinavian design, high-quality materials and a penchant for updating products through firmware (including a coming update to bring Amazon Alexa voice integration to that ZIPP speaker).
Libratone released its Libratone Q-Adapt Earbuds in a USB-C version at the same time that Google introduced its new Pixel 2 smartphones. In fact, the Q-Adapts were featured by Google and came with a ‘Made for Google’ certification. But they also work with other smartphones with USB-C ports.
Back in December, I did a series of posts about the Alcatel A50, a very inexpensive Android smartphone. The A50 still has a headphone jack, but it also has USB-C. So I decided to try the Libratone Q-Adapt In-Ear USB-C Earphones with it.
They worked perfectly. If you’re looking for a USB-C audio solution, these are definitely worth trying out.
At $149, they were the same price as the smartphone I was testing them with, but I feel they’re worth it. The Q-Adapts offer excellent audio performance and a very modern design. They’re sweat-proof, so you can wear them while exercising. They have an integrated mic and an inline control, with support for Google Assistant. And the ‘Adapt’ part of the name reflects a very useful, four-level active noise cancellation feature.
There are still no guarantees when it comes to USB-C but these are certified to work on Google’s flagship smartphones, and they also work on the entry-level Android smartphone I had here. Chances are they’ll work with yours. And if not, Libratone offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
Disclosure: Libratone provided Q-Adapt earbuds for evaluation but had no input into this review.