Bluetooth is a tug of war between convenience and compression. Some vow never to use it on the grounds of the additional compression step. Others will under certain circumstances. Certainly, after one ruins enough headphones and earphones during specific tasks and activities, one may be more inclined to give bluetooth a chance, at least during those activities.
Which brings us to Bluetooth 5, a point of hope and hype that you can listen over bluetooth without noticeably sacrificing audio quality. It is too early to tell as of June 2017, as we only have a couple of smartphones and no headphones supporting Bluetooth 5. But IFA is just around the corner, and so is CES 2018, so we should expect more action on this front in the next few months.
One thing that will help in the proliferation of Bluetooth 5 is that two of Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 600-series chipsets, the 660 and 630, both support Bluetooth 5.
I should point out however that both smartphones and headphones may not necessarily implement all the Bluetooth 5 features. For some, simply having “BT 5.0” in the spec sheet may be considered enough to get the marketing boost from it. I suspect we will see this unfold in front of our eyes in a play by play fashion as each new BT 5 smartphone and headphone gets released 🙂
LATEST UPDATE: June 30, 2017 – and so it begins… They are listed alphabetically by manufacturer, with reverse chronological order within each manufacturer (when more of them show up)…
SMARTPHONES with BLUETOOTH 5
+ the original Essential (June 2017)
+ OnePlus 5 (June 2017)
+ Galaxy S8, S8+ (March 2017)