TWS is the abbreviation of “True Wireless Stereo”, which is based on the Bluetooth technology. According to its working principle, it means each of the earphones can connect to the phone to completely get rid of the wires. TWS technology is widely applied to Bluetooth earphones/earbuds fields, and it is trending in 2020.
In pursuit of TWS development, we have to start with Apple. The cancellation of the 3.5mm jack on the iPhone 7 and the launch of the first-generation AirPods in 2017 enabled the rapid development of the Bluetooth earphones market. And TWS technology has become one of the most popular technologies in the world. More and more brands are releasing their TWS products to catch the waves.
Features of TWS
1. Separate use
The biggest feature of TWS earbuds/earphones is that you can use each of the earphones/earbuds separately. It means you don’t have to wear both earphones/earbuds in some scenarios such as when making calls in public cases.
2. Smart noise cancellation
From a product perspective, noise cancellation is an essential technology. The audio experience is the focus of TWS headsets. Noise cancellation such as ENC, ANC, and CVC is also an important feature of traditional earphones. With the launch of Apple AirPods Pro, more and more TWS products are focusing on the noise cancellation feature, especially in ANC.
3. AI technology
TWS earphones/earbuds have experienced the path of semi-smart products in the era of crazy development in 2018. Take Ticpods as an example, which is not just a hardware product, it carries deep and customized content in the APP. And more and more brands are supporting this feature. Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa wireless intelligent voice interactions have been the most popular AI technologies on TWS earphones/earbuds.
Why TWS so hot
First of all, according to industry statistics and professional market research institutions, the wired headset market is more than 100 billion US dollars each year. With the support of TWS technology, you can say goodbye to all kinds of wired headphones that are constantly twisted. When you enjoy music, there will be no more wires between you and your phone, no more wires between each earphone. And I believe that with the development of TWS technology, there will be more and more superstar products like AirPods.
The cons of TWS technology
1. Battery life
After the removal of the wires, battery life has been the biggest problem for TWS earphones/earbuds. Most of TWS earphones/earbuds have 3-4 hours battery life. But it is far from enough and that is why the charging case is made. With the charging case, most TWS earphones/earbuds can have 2-4 extra charging time. However, it still didn’t solve the battery life problem of TWS earphones/earbuds themselves.
2. Noise cancellation in complex scenarios
Due to the limit of size and battery life, it is hard to get a more advanced noise cancellation chip into the TWS earphones/earbuds. As a result, even for the top brand like Sony, it is still hard to get a perfect noise cancellation performance in its products like Sony WF-1000XM3.
3. Wireless transmission range
The TWS headset itself is based on Bluetooth technology for wireless transmission. According to Bluetooth 4.2 protocol, the wireless transmission range can reach up to 100 meters. Finally, the new Bluetooth 5.0 theory can reach up to 300 meters. However, in actual use, due to the limit of battery life and size, the current mainstream market range is only 10 meters. And it is far away from the true demand of users.
4. Sound quality
Since the release of the first TWS product, sound quality has been the weakness of TWS products. Even with the support of aptX and LDHC protocol, the sound quality on TWS earphones/earbuds is still much worse than those wired earphones/earbuds. Factors like chips, losses in wireless transmission and designs can be the reason for the bad sound quality.