Alright, so I fell down a rabbit hole of trying to understand a whole bunch of techy things that I don't fully understand and could use some help:
What I'm looking for: a pair of Bluetooth wireless earbuds that I can pair with my computer, with low enough latency that it won't impair my enjoyment in casual gaming/video watching
What I understand so far: Almost nothing. 😔 I get that Bluetooth will always have some level of latency, but, beyond that, I've got nothing. I'm so confused.
There are lots of different versions of Bluetooth, and then there are different Bluetooth protocols within that, and then different audio codecs, and each piece of hardware seems to support completely different combinations of those, and I'm not sure if the devices have to match configurations or even how to figure out what my computer supports? It seems Bluetooth will gracefully fall back to worse codecs/protocols if better ones are incompatible, but I don't really want to buy something that's just going to fall back to its worst usecase.
I also don't know what's an "acceptable" level of latency. What's reasonable versus what's intolerable?
It also seems like the information I read online is subject to rapid decay. I read a bunch of stuff only a few years old saying I should look for aptX Low Latency capability, but then I read very recent posts saying that's dead and to go with aptX Adaptive instead. Meanwhile there are a handful of gaming-focused headsets that say they're low latency but don't really say how (e.g. Razer's Hammerhead). And some, like Samsung's buds, having a "gaming mode" but it only works on special hardware.
Also, how do I know what my computer itself will support? Is there anything I can do from the computer side to reduce latency, or is that strictly a function of what my hardware supports and which earbuds I buy?
My computer is a System 76 Oryx Pro (5) running Pop!_OS 21.10. I think its Bluetooth adapter is version 5.1 (though I'm not confident on that). I do not know which protocols/codecs it supports, nor how to find that out.
Audio quality isn't too important. These will be for everyday video-watching and gaming, which is what's prompting the latency requirement. I'd rather them be responsive than rich.
Active noise cancelling would be nice to have (especially if it has a toggleable transparency mode), but I don't know if ANC adds latency and is therefore incompatible with what I'm wanting.
I don't have a specific budget for it, and that's honestly the least important requirement. If the solution exists I'm fine paying for it (within reason, of course). These will end up getting used for thousands of hours, so even a big price difference upfront will even out over time.
I'd appreciate any help anyone can offer in pointing me in the right direction on this!