We hear you. Headphone jacks are back.

July 20, 2023
Wally Nowinski

After PerfectRec was mentioned on the WAN Show last week, we got a ton of new users and feedback about the site. Thank you everyone who tried the site and shared your thoughts! That feedback is super valuable and our team is working to address it. 

By far the most common feedback we got was about wanting a headphone jack question or filter on our phone recommender. We hear you, and we are bringing our headphone jack filter option back. 

A little bit of background

We used to have a headphone jack filter option as part of the “special features” question. However, because there’s fewer and fewer phones with 3.5mm jacks, this often resulted in poor quality recommendations for casual users for whom a headphone jack might not be essential, but seemed like a ‘nice to have.’ So we dropped the 3.5mm jack filter option. 

The “can my mom use the site?” test

Our goal at PerfectRec is to be a great site for tech enthusiasts and casual users. We want tech savvy users to find the site useful and informative, and also easy enough to understand that they’d recommend it to less technical friends and family. I think of this second part as the “can my mom use the site?” test.  We dropped the headphone jack because it was making recommendations worse for casual users who didn’t understand the tradeoffs. For example, my mom wants an iPhone. She also checked the headphone jack filter and got frustrated when our site didn’t recommend her an iPhone with a headphone jack.

However, the feedback we got from the LTT community made it super clear that it was an important option for advanced users, so we are bringing it back. To help casual users avoid getting a bad recommendation from it, we changed the name from “Headphone jack” to “3.5mm jack”.  Experienced users will know what it means, and more casual users will be less likely to take an interest in it that could lead them to a bad recommendation. We also now show you how many products you are filtering out, to further help with this problem.

Future improvements to the headphone jack problem


Adding back a headphone jack filter is a good first step, but it doesn’t fully solve the underlying problem we face. 

We are working on or considering some other potential updates to better address this problem, including: 

  • Adding more phones with 3.5mm jacks to our consideration set. 

  • Giving users the option to distinguish between whether or not a headphone jack is required or merely nice to have. 

  • Better communication about potential tradeoffs for casual users 

  • Adding an FAQ item explaining why we don’t ever recommend certain phones

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