(A wee bit ranty, but I’m exasperated. And, yeah, totally First World problems, but I’m hoping to get some useful answers here. Please resist the urge to come in just to say FWP.)
Some initial pointers, so it will be clear what I’m ranting about.
I’m using the words “headset”, “earbuds”, and “buds” pretty much interchangeably to mean the things you put in or over your ears to hear music, and plug the other end into your phone. Naturally I realize there are bluetooth headsets, but I’m not prepared to go there right now.
By “inline control” or “controls” I mean the little oblong thingy usually positioned on the left hand cable, between the earbud itself and point where it joins the other cable from that goes to the right ear. On this you usually find a mic for calls, a button to pause and resume audio playback, and possibly also a volume slider.
By “adapter” or “elbow adapter” I mean a little connector component shaped in a right angle. You plug the end of your earbuds into one end of this, and the other end goes into your phone.
I imagine that most owners of Android devices don’t use their earbuds nearly as much as I do, or I’d expect to see more related complaints online. I’ve had my current phone for nearly two years, and have been running rooted stock JB for most of the time that it’s been available for this device, but a few things have been turning into bigger and bigger nuisances lately. They break down into general categories as follows.
[li]When using my earbuds to make a call, I must always be prepared to snatch them from my ears promptly, because with certain calls the in-ear volume is so freaking LOUD it can damage your hearing. I’m talking so loud that you can easily hear and understand what’s coming through the earbud even if you hold it several inches away from your ear. It’s like one of those cartoons where somebody gets a call from someone who yells into the phone, and you see the guy holding the phone 12 inches away from his face. The volume control on the phone itself, like resistance, is useless here. It doesn’t do anything at all. This problem seems to arise especially when calling to check my own voicemail, thus: [/li]
TWO NEW MESSAGES. TO LISTEN TO YOUR MESSAGES, PLEASE ENTER YOUR PIN FOLLOWED BY THE POUND SIGN
(Next, tap “8” for a list of ear surgeons and audiologists near you.).
It also tends to happen when calling any kind of business or other organization that uses a menu, but then again, not always. Even just the memory makes me want to rub my ears in pain, the way we used to do after one of the early jet airliners, on departure, had just flown fifty feet over our heads. Maybe I need an iPhone. Would a company famous for its ergonomics and UI sell me something that would bust my drums?
[li]When using any earbuds equipped with an inline control, Voice Dialer continually starts spontaneously, stopping whatever I’m listening to at the moment. I have to use the screen to cancel out of it. If the music or podcast was already paused, it will start playing after I cancel out of Voice Dialer, rather than staying paused. I currently have Voice Dialer uninstalled via Titanium Backup, but it continues to work anyway. Because it’s so hard to disable or remove, even on a rooted device, I begin to suspect it’s a design feature, as in, it’s a phone, right? So dialing calls by voice takes precedence over anything else you would want to do with a headset. So, maybe I should look at an iPhone? Being so lauded for usability, perhaps Apple’s requirements analysis led to a solution more in line with my requirements. If iOS lets me decide what functions are most important to me, then lead me to it.[/li][li]I seem to be the only one out of hundreds of millions of Android users aggravated by the fact that elbow adapters that won’t completely disable a three-ring-and-tip set of earbuds (basically, any earbuds that have volume, pause, or playback controls) are practically nonexistent in the market. At the moment I have two adapters that will work to play sound, but they still disable the inline mic and controls, and even they are not available in any kind of store AFAIK. One company I know of, Urban Ears, ships one of these with each of their earbud sets, and when I contacted them and explained my problem, they very kindly sent out a couple of these adapters at no charge. How are iPhones in this regard? Would they sell me a phone and pair of earbuds that seemed designed specifically to snag on doorknobs, the oven handle, my knee when I’m just standing up after typing my shoe?[/li][li]But UrbanEars’ elbow adapters only solves half the problem. They carry the sound, but they still disable the inline controls. You can still use your screen, of course, but that’s not always convenient or polite, in my view. If I want to stop the music to talk to a real live person in my presence, it’s nice to be able to do so just by a gentle squeeze of the inline control, rather than having to pull the phone out, light it up, and swipe several times to get to right control. Having canvassed Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Fry’s, and still failed to find an adapter that not only enables sound transmission AND the inline controls, I think it’s safe to assume that such an adapter doesn’t exist. If I wanted a peach-and-lime-green 41.4321199999932…" flat-screen TV, and I failed to find one at Radio Shack, Best Buy, and Fry’s, I fully get the fact that my requirement is just too random, too completely bizarre off-the-wall, for the retail marketplace to accommodate me. And so with straight-jacked earbuds that you plug in on top. Again, unlike me, the other 799,999,999 Android users don’t mind the jack-end of the cord wearing out, or the way when the cord loops up and down it tends to loop and snag more than it would if the jack-end could hang downward when in use. So, err, iPhone? [/li][li]Urban Ears, again, has thought of a very handy innovation, one almost as ingenious as wheels on luggage. When you need to take the earbuds out of your ears for whatever reason, like talking to the cashier at the supermarket, these earbuds designed so you can securely snap them together behind your neck. But of course, I realize I’m the only one out of hundreds of millions of Android users who isn’t content just to drape the ends around my neck, and hope they don’t fall off and get stepped on. And apparently, only Urban Ears has thought to include this remarkably rare feature. As Paul Fussell put it, if everybody doesn’t want it, nobody gets it. After all, who else (besides me) could possibly want such a ridiculous feature like being able to secure earbuds conveniently and safely behind their neck, rather than just letting them dangle? So, should I be looking at iPhones?[/li]