USB vs. 3.5mm Which Is Better And Why?

Most people are confused about the USB vs 3.5mm debate. That is why we decided to write this article to help you out.

The purpose of this article is to make you aware of the differences between these two technologies. We will discuss all aspects that are important in making a choice between USB and 3.5mm, such as compatibility, quality, ease of use, and more.

After reading this article, you will be able to decide whether you should go for USB or keep using your old 3.5mm earphones/headphones with your new devices like smartphones or tablets, which use a micro-USB port instead of a headphone jack (or vice versa). This way, we’ll help our readers save money by avoiding unnecessary purchases!

The truth is that the 3.5mm audio jack has been around for a very long time, but it’s slowly being phased out by USB earphones and headphones like Apple Airpods or Google Pixel Buds.

What is the main difference between USB and 3.5mm?

The main difference between USB and 3.5mm is the plug type. The USB connector comes in several variations but is most commonly seen as a flat rectangle that inserts into a rectangular port. The 3.5mm connector is similar in size to a USB but has 2 rounded edges, and the top edge has a groove separating the top and bottom sections.

What Are The Uses Of USB?

There are many uses of USB today. Here are a few common examples:

  1. Transferring data from one device to another using a cable. USB flash drives are a great example of this. Many smartphones also have USB Type-C ports, which you can use to transfer data from your PC or laptop onto the phone.
  2. Charging your devices with a USB power adapter or a USB port on your laptop or PC. This is probably the most common use of USB today.
  3. Audio/video playback through your TV or smart home theatre system using a device like Chromecast or Roku Stick.
  4. Nowadays, USB can also be used as a power supply for other devices such as Bluetooth speakers.
  5. You can now find USB Headphones and USB earphones as well. The benefit of USB Headsets is that they are usually wireless and don’t have any cables.

What Are The Uses Of A 3.5mm Audio Jack?

The 3.5mm Audio Jack has been the standard audio output port for all headphones and earphones since forever. It’s been around for more than a century and is still prevalent today. The reason it has been so popular is because of its universal usage, compatibility with all devices, and ease of use.

Here are a few examples of 3.5mm Audio Jack usage:

  1. Connecting your headphones or earphones to a mobile, laptop, or PC.
  2. Connecting your headphones or earphones to a home theatre system, sound system, or TV using an audio cable adapter.
  3. It can also be found on some microphones or audio input devices so that you can record audio.
  4. Many gaming controllers also have 3.5mm audio jacks on them so that you can connect your headphones and hear the game sounds on them.

USB vs 3.5mm – Detailed Comparison

Now that we have discussed the uses of USB and 3.5mm Audio Jack, you should already know which technology is better in general. However, we understand that many of you might not be able to decide which technology is better for your specific needs. That is why we have decided to compare USB and 3.5mm in all important aspects that you should consider before making a purchase decision.

USB vs 3.5mm: Compatibility

As we already said, 3.5mm Audio Jack is compatible with all devices that use 3.5mm ports. This means that you can connect your earphones, headphones, microphones, and additional audio devices to them without any issues.

USB, on the other hand, is a universal standard that is not as compatible as the 3.5mm Audio Jack. In addition, USB ports are found on almost all devices these days, but devices either don’t have a USB or come with a different type of port.

USB vs 3.5mm: Audio Quality

This is the section where it gets really interesting because both USB and 3.5mm can be used to deliver audio signals.

The 3.5mm Audio Jack was always known for its ability to deliver high-quality audio, and the latest versions like 3.5mm TRRS (The tip, ring, ring, sleeve) also use different cables to deliver 3D stereo sound.

The earphones that come with iPhones, Android devices, and other smartphones usually come with a 3.5mm TRRS connector since they require better audio quality than regular earphones.

Although USB is usually used for charging devices, USB headphones and earphones use the USB port to deliver better audio quality. The audio quality of USB headphones is also much better than regular 3.5mm Audio Jack headphones since they use advanced audio drivers and DACs to deliver higher fidelity sound.

However, it is important to note that the audio quality of USB headphones is still not as good as audiophile-grade wired headphones or earphones.

USB vs 3.5mm: Power Usage

USB is known to use more power than the 3.5mm Audio Jack, so it’s advisable to use USB with devices that have a high-capacity battery or can be charged from a power outlet.

An example of this is USB Headsets. They are usually wireless and have a small battery that can be recharged from a USB port so they use up more power to deliver wireless audio.

3.5mm audio jack headsets use almost no power to function; this makes them ideal for mobile devices that require long battery life, such as smartphones and tablets.

USB vs 3.5mm: Ease of Use

Both the 3.5mm Audio Jack and USB are easy to use with devices that have the right ports. However, USB is slightly easier since it can be found on almost all devices these days.

It’s easy to assume that USB is the standard port, but this isn’t true.

In fact, USB ports come with different connection types like Mini-USB and Micro-USB. The 3.5mm Audio Jack is also found on different types of connectors like TRS and TRRS.

3.5mm Audio Jacks can be found with different configurations, too; for example, a 3.5mm jack has a tip and a sleeve, while TRRS connectors have four conductors instead of two (Tip, ring, ring, sleeve).

No matter the type of connection your device has, there is a high chance that you can find an adapter that can be used to connect it with your 3.5mm or USB headphones.

USB vs 3.5mm: Pricing

3.5mm Audio Jacks are usually cheaper than USB connectors because they have been around for a long time and can be found almost everywhere.

They are also compatible with all devices, so manufacturers don’t have to design different connectors for each type of device.


There are no clear winners in the USB vs 3.5mm debate, it all depends on the type of connection your device has and the type of headphone that you want to use.

You can’t go wrong with either USB or 3.5mm since both connectors deliver high-quality audio.

USB is slightly better than 3.5mm when it comes to audio quality however, the 3.5mm Audio Jack is much more compatible with different types of devices because it has been around for a long time.

Which do you think is better? USB or 3.5mm Audio Jack? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Intrested in USB devices? check: Best Cool USB gadgets


Q. Is a USB better than a 35mm audio jack?

Yes, in some aspects. USB is usually better at transmitting data since it is digital, but losing that audio jack means that you can’t plug in traditional headphones.

Q. Do I need a USB or 3.5mm headphones?

It depends on the device you have, if it has a USB port then use a USB headset and if not, use a 3.5mm headset.

Q. What are the benefits of a USB over 3.5mm?

USB has more functionality than 3.5mm. It can be used to charge devices, transmit data and deliver high-quality audio.

Q. Can you convert a USB to 3.5mm?

Yes! There are adapters that can be used to convert a USB port into a 3.5mm audio port.

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