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What is Bluetooth LE audio and what does it mean for you?

The biggest improvement to Bluetooth in years is coming.

bluetooth logo with blurred earbuds in the background
Image: KnowTechie

The quality of wireless headphones has really improved in recent years. Now they’re about to enter a new era of awesomeness, as the Bluetooth LE Audio standard has been finalized. But what is Bluetooth LE Audio?

First, the LE in LE Audio stands for “Low Energy.” It’s also important to note that Bluetooth LE Audio is not just one thing. Bluetooth LE Audio is a collection of features to improve wireless audio devices.

The biggest feature is probably the new LC3 codec, a more efficient way to transfer audio data. Don’t take our word for it, though, have a listen for yourself.

Bluetooth LE Audio provides higher quality at the same bitrate or slightly better quality at half the bitrate. That’s awesome and will make the listening experience even better while being more efficient.

What else does Bluetooth LE Audio add?

mockup of how auracast could look
Image: Bluetooth SIG

With Bluetooth LE Audio, users will also get better battery efficiency. That’s both on the transmitting device and wireless headphone, speaker, or earbud end.

With most Bluetooth audio devices being small, this is a way to get longer battery life without figuring out better batteries.

Something called Auracast is also coming. This lets you broadcast audio to multiple Bluetooth devices, so you and your friends could watch a movie on your smartphone, for example.

You could pick your Bluetooth source, just like a Wi-Fi network. That’s a neat trick and something we’ve long wanted.

This could also be a boon to hearing aid wearers, as LE Audio adds support for hearing aids and implants. Expect most new phones and TVs to feature this directly out of the box sooner rather than later.

What does LE audio mean for headphones and earbuds?

ue drops earbuds
Image: UE

True wireless earbuds will also get better support. Bluetooth LE Audio lets both buds connect to the source, so you don’t have any connectivity issues between the two buds.

Many early TWS buds had issues because of this, as they had to retransmit the signal to the other side.

The future of Bluetooth looks good, with both LE Audio and Qualcomm aptX Lossless on the way. Will we need new devices to take advantage of the new features? Could firmware updates bring Bluetooth LE Audio, or do we need new, more capable chips?

We’ll likely hear more about these questions in the coming months, as Android 13 supports Bluetooth LE Audio and is scheduled to release this fall.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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