Bluetooth technology has improved a lot in the past few years and now you can connect the latest smartphones to two different speakers or headphones if they support the feature. However, have you ever wondered whether Bluetooth headphones could connect to two different sources at the same time?
Yes, Bluetooth headphones can connect to multiple devices at the same time if they support a feature known as Bluetooth multipoint. Most mid-to-high end headphones support this feature. However, the performance of the device may vary due to hardware and software limitations.
Continue reading to learn more about Bluetooth multipoint, why you would want to use it, how to use it, and why it isn’t more popular. We will also discuss a few headphones that support this feature.
What is Bluetooth multipoint?
Bluetooth multipoint is a feature that allows the user to pair a Bluetooth headset to at least two different sources and maintain the connection simultaneously. The support for Bluetooth multipoint started with the release of Bluetooth 4.0 about a decade ago and the technology has continued to improve over the years.
To connect to both a PC and smartphone for streaming and talking respectively, the headset must support A2DP and HFP/HSP. Thus, depending on the Bluetooth profiles supported by the device, a headset may only be able to support two simultaneous phone connections or a phone and a media connection.
The advantages of Bluetooth multipoint
A Bluetooth headset can be connected to a smartphone or laptop to listen to your favorite music tracks, accept and initiate phone calls, and speak via two-way communication services such as Skype or Discord.
Since a headset that supports Bluetooth multipoint can maintain two simultaneous connections, it enables the user to stream music, watch videos, or engage in a skype call on their laptop and still be able to accept calls on their mobile without having to re-pair or use a different headset. The connection automatically prioritizes an incoming call over streaming media and the user can even remain aware of any notifications they receive both on their smartphone or laptop.
Thus, Bluetooth multipoint can prove to be especially useful for professionals who want to stay aware of important notifications, messages, and incoming calls on their work device, while using another device for personal use.
For normal consumers, it makes switching between watching your favorite Netflix shows or YouTube videos on your laptop and listening to music on your mobile a breeze.
How to connect your headphones to multiple devices at the same time
There is no need to enable any special feature for using Bluetooth multipoint. You just have to put your headphones into “pair mode” and pair it with the devices that you want to use. For best results, it is crucial to follow the steps listed in the instruction manual of your device or do a quick search on Google with the device model number and the keyword ‘multipoint’.
However, you can follow the steps listed below to connect most headphones to your smartphone and laptop at the same time:
1. Turn on your Bluetooth headphone and set it into ‘pair mode’.
2. Turn on the Bluetooth of your smartphone and go to the Bluetooth options. You should notice the name of your Bluetooth headphone under the ‘Available devices’ tab. Click on it to pair the two devices. Turn off the Bluetooth on both the devices once the pairing is complete.
3. Next, turn on the Bluetooth settings of the laptop that you want to simultaneously connect with your headset. Turn on the Bluetooth of your headset once again. You should see the name of your Bluetooth headset pop up under ‘Manage Bluetooth device’. Select and click on ‘pair’ to complete the pairing process. Turn off the power of your Bluetooth headset once again.
4. Turn on the Bluetooth of your smartphone and then power on your Bluetooth headset. You would notice that your headset is connected to both your smartphone and your laptop at the same time.
Now, you can listen to audio on both your smartphone and laptop and receive calls on your smartphone at the same time. The audio on your laptop would be automatically muted during a call.
Simple multipoint vs Advanced multipoint vs Triple connectivity
Bluetooth multipoint technology can be categorized into three different types. Let’s learn more about them below:
1. Simple multipoint – Simple multipoint is the most basic Bluetooth multipoint pairing technology typically supported by cheap Bluetooth headphones. It allows the user to connect to a professional and personal phone at the same time or a phone and a laptop simultaneously.
Thus, the user can stay alert for incoming calls while listening to music or playing games and answer them with the same headset. After ending the call, you can continue to listen to music or watch videos.
In fact, if you connect two different mobile phones, you can even receive and choose to accept another call on your second mobile while still on a call on your first mobile. There is only one shortcoming with simple multipoint. After you accept the second incoming call, the first call connection will end.
2. Advanced multipoint – The advanced multipoint is exactly the same as simple multipoint except for one thing. It allows you to put the first call on hold when you choose to accept the second incoming call on your second phone. Thus, after the incoming call on your second phone ends, you can resume the first call since you don’t have to hand up.
This is a standard feature of most modern headphones.
3. Triple connectivity – Triple connectivity is the most advanced Bluetooth multipoint technology and allows the user to connect to three devices at once, be it a smartphone or laptop. This technology is supported by the most modern professional headsets that also come with a docking base with a nifty touch screen. The touch screen allows the user to control all the devices paired with the Bluetooth device.
The best feature of triple connectivity is that it allows the user to merge calls from two different sources.
The limitations of Bluetooth multipoint
Since professionals need to juggle multiple tasks at the same time to improve their productivity, Bluetooth multipoint is very useful for professionals. It helps them to stay aware of incoming calls and notifications without having to divert their attention from the work at hand.
However, the hardware and software needed for the technology drive up the price of the product. Thus, since this feature is not essential for consumers, the cost-to-benefit ratio makes it an unpopular feature.
Some manufacturers tend to limit the hardware and software resources needed for Bluetooth multipoint to control the price but it ultimately creates unwanted shortcomings such as crackling noise when receiving notifications or switching between primary and secondary devices.
Other shortcomings of headsets that support Bluetooth multipoint may include not being able to dedicate both paired devices for playing media or supporting multipoint connectivity for playing media only over a specific Bluetooth codec.
The best consumer headphones that support Bluetooth multipoint
Almost every modern professional headphones support advanced Bluetooth multipoint or at least simple Bluetooth multipoint. However, not all consumer headphones support Bluetooth multipoint flawlessly.
Here are some of the best consumer headphones that support Bluetooth multipoint:
1. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 – The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphone 700 is one of the most premium headphones in the market and you cannot go wrong with these. The comfortable headphone is a delight to use due to its sound quality, features, and active noise cancellation (ANC) performance.
Aside from that, the touch-sensitive controls and the support for voice assistants make the user experience quite a bit better compared to cheaper alternatives.
2. Sennheiser Momentum 3 – The Sennheiser Momentum 3 is a wireless headphone that boasts exceptional build quality, stunning design, and superior sound quality compared to other wireless headphones in the same price tag. It also offers good ANC performance and offers decent battery life. The support for Bluetooth 5 is also a plus that makes it a good option.
3. Sony WH-1000XM4 – The Sony WH-1000XM4 is the successor to the most popular noise-canceling headphone produced by Sony and it lives up to the hype. Although it looks identical to the WH-1000XM3, the boost in sound quality and ANC performance is quite evident. Coupled with the great battery life and the comfortable design, it is one of the best premium headphones that you can buy at the moment.
Although Bluetooth multipoint technology is not perfect, it is nonetheless useful for saving time and is convenient for users who consume media on multiple devices. It allows professionals to rest assured knowing they would not miss any important calls or notifications even when they are not around their work phone or laptop. And, for normal consumers, it’s just more convenient to utilize such a feature.
Thus, if your headphones don’t support Bluetooth multipoint, you should get one to boost your productivity or increase your convenience as there are a lot of affordable options.