Bluetooth 5.1 for Headphones: What It Is and Why It Matters

The Bluetooth 5.1 standard has been designed to offer a broad range of improvements over the previous version. However, only now have we seen those benefits put into practice in one device—the Apple AirPods 2 earbuds, which launched in 2018 with a wireless connection supported by Bluetooth 5.1 and W2 chipsets.

This connectivity offers a slew of improvements over the previous iteration, including improved audio quality, faster connectivity speeds, longer battery life, improved noise cancellation levels and more reliable connections between devices.

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What is Bluetooth 5.1?

While Bluetooth 5.1 has been around since 2017, which was when the first public version was released, there have been several key design improvements since then that will bring much-needed benefits to audio peripherals such as wireless headphones and earphones.

For example, the new standard introduces a much higher connection speed than its predecessor—up to 1.3 gigabits per second (Gbps)—which means that audio playback will be able to finish much quicker when paired with compatible devices. When comparing this with Bluetooth 4.2 the difference is immense.

Whereas the latest generation of Bluetooth allows for a data transfer rate of 4Gbps—or roughly 400 megabytes per second (MBps)—Bluetooth 4.2 halves this to an abysmal 2Mbps. This difference in speed is especially noticeable when streaming music or engaging in any other type of file sharing or downloading activity between devices.

This limitation is particularly relevant for Bluetooth 5.1 because it has been designed with the intent to supersede Bluetooth 4.2 as the new standard, which means that all devices that implement this version will be able to enjoy much greater benefits than ever before.

Why it Matters for Headphones?  

While there are many benefits to Bluetooth 5.1 and its accompanying technology, the improvements will translate into tangible benefits for Bluetooth headphones. Instead of having to regularly deal with dropped connections, or having to deal with low-quality audio playback, these headphones will be able to perform more reliably and consistently thanks to better transmission speeds of data.

As such, you can expect average connection speeds between devices of about 1Gbps (or roughly 100MBps), which is vastly faster than what was previously possible. For headphone manufacturers, this translates into greater sound quality that’s packed into smaller devices—which is especially notable when considering that current earphones tend to be considerably bulky in comparison.

One of the main reasons for this reduction in size is to do with Bluetooth’s energy efficiency. In other words, Bluetooth 5.1 has been engineered to use less battery power when streaming or downloading files between devices, which means that headphones will be able to last longer  before needing a recharge.

While it’s hard to quantify exactly how much better this makes the headphones—especially since every pair of headphones uses a different technology—it can be said that Bluetooth 5.1 represents a considerable improvement over previous versions in terms of battery life and other key metrics that make wireless headphones truly great.

Another factor worth considering is how Bluetooth 5.1 will improve the audio quality of wireless earphones and other peripheral devices. Not only will this allow for the streaming of signals at a faster rate, but it should also prevent issues related to dropped signals, as well as background noise. In addition to that, the new technology will be able to provide a more natural-sounding listening experience.

In terms of other aspects related to headphones, Bluetooth 5.1 will also introduce some benefits for those who r emove and replace their earphones regularly (i.e., if you’ve got a pair of wireless earbuds for gaming and use them daily). While this isn’t an issue now, it will be in the future as all manufacturers include smaller devices with less space to work with.

What this means is that Bluetooth 5.1 should provide reduced power consumption and greater reliability than previous versions of Bluetooth—which means that sound quality and playback speeds will consistently be better for a longer period of time before needing a charge.

How Does This Affect the Future of Headphones? 

Bluetooth 5.1 is an excellent addition to any wireless headphone or earphone that implements it into their technology. This includes the Apple AirPods 2, which are arguably the first commercial version of headphones to feature this technology from day one.

However, it’s worth noting that there are other peripheral devices that have already adopted Bluetooth 5.1. For example, the new Apple MacBook Pro models have already been implemented this version of Bluetooth into their devices—as have the Beats Solo 3 headphones.


While it’s too early to tell whether or not Bluetooth 5.1 will be implemented across an extensive variety of headphones, it is certainly cause for excitement for those who are looking to buy a pair of Bluetooth earbuds.

This is especially true for anyone looking to purchase a pair of AirPods. As it currently stands, the Apple-branded earphones are probably the best example of how wireless headphones should be made in terms of both performance and convenience.

That being said, if you’re looking to buy new headphones in the future—or have just purchased one—then you can rest assured knowing that wireless connectivity will become more dependable, faster and better-sounding than ever before thanks to Bluetooth 5.1 technology.


Q: What is the difference between Bluetooth 4.2 and Bluetooth 5?

A: Bluetooth 5.0 is able to support a larger range. Bluetooth 5 supports 200m in Line of Sight path in the outdoor environment and 40m in the indoor environment, while Bluetooth 4 supports 50m in outdoor range and 10m in indoor range. So, you can find that Bluetooth 4.2 is lower than Bluetooth 5.0.

Q: What is the best version of Bluetooth?

A: Bluetooth 5.0 is the latest version of the Bluetooth wireless communication standard. It’s commonly used for wireless headphones and other audio hardware, as well as wireless keyboards, mice, speakers, trackers, and game controllers. Bluetooth is also used for communication between various smart home and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Q: What is Bluetooth 4.0 and its features?

A: Bluetooth 4.0 is a version of the Bluetooth wireless networking standard that consumes less power than its predecessors. Bluetooth 4.0 allows small devices with lengthy battery needs, such as personal fitness trackers and patient health monitors, to communicate with smartphones, tablets and PCs.

Q: What devices are using smart Bluetooth (5.0)?

A: 10 Latest smartphones which come with Bluetooth 5.0 Samsung Galaxy A8 Plus 2018 Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Bluetooth v 5.0 Apple iPhone X. Bluetooth 5.0 Oneplus 5T. Bluetooth 5.0 Apple iPhone 8. Bluetooth 5.0 Google Pixel 2. 4G VoLTE/NFC/Bluetooth 5.0 Google Pixel 2 XL Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. Bluetooth 5.0 3090mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 Motorola Moto X4. Bluetooth 5.0 LE …