This should be obvious, but the neckband isn’t there because it’s pretty. Instead, it exists to give manufacturers a place to stash all the electronics needed to make a Bluetooth headphone work.
With most wireless in-ears, all of that is typically put in an inline controller or stuffed in the earbuds themselves. When either of those are done poorly, it can throw off how the earphones balance their weight. They’ll look normal, but they’ll have a harder time staying comfortable.
Here, there’s no concern about space. As a result, the most obvious benefit is that there’s more room to implement a bigger battery. The 15-17 hours Jabra claims with the Halo Smart just isn’t feasible on a non-neckband pair.
They avoid tangled cables.
The base of the cable is stashed in the neckband, too, which means there’s less material to get tied together. Of course, you can’t fit something like this in your pocket, but still.
They’re basically replacing mono headsets.
Since it’s not going in your pocket, the idea is to keep the neckband on at all times. If you’re the kind of Busy Important Person who’d wear a dedicated chat headset, this lets you toss in an earbud when someone calls, then switch over to music, or just leave the buds hanging off your chest, when you’re done.
They make it easier to implement noise cancelling.
Bose has shown this most prominently with the new QuietComfort 30. It’s not an accident that those look the way they do — again, normal earbuds don’t have the space to fit everything that noise cancellation demands.
It’s not like there’s a ton of electronics in there, so most neckbuds I’ve tested have actually come off as lightweight. Plus, since the band does all the heavy lifting, the earpieces are typically on the small side.
Everybody’s doing it.
As noted above. After the success of the Tone, there’s probably money to be made here.
Does any of this make wearing a neckband any less awkward? Probably not. But if you can get over that, it might be worth the style sacrifice.