After the product was launched, Apple’s AirPods garnered mixed reactions due to its design, features, sound quality, and price.
In the last quarter of 2019, a newer and better version, the AirPods Pro, came out with added features including noise-canceling, wireless charging, and hands-free Siri.
However, the new earbuds are a bit expensive, with a retail price of US$250 [AU$383].
Here are the top six alternatives for the Apple AirPods.
1. Sony WF-1000MX3
Sony’s WF-1000MX3 earbuds have six hours of listening time with an extended run time of 24 hours through the charging case, which is perfect for daily commutes and everyday use.
The earbuds are compatible with both Android and iOS. Just like the AirPods Pro, these earbuds product have active noise-canceling technology.
The earbuds work great during gym sessions or when you’re running as they isolate noise properly. The sound quality is excellent for its price which is expected from Sony. The only downside is that the touch controls are not easy to use at first.
The $230 price tag might make it seem that there is little difference between WF-1000MX3 and the AirPods Pro. However, there is a huge difference in sound quality. Audio equipment is one of Sony’s strengths and it quality is evident with the WF-1000MX3.
2. 1More Stylish
1More is not as well-known as Sony or Bose when it comes to audio equipment. However, 1More Stylish comes in second in the list due to its $100 price point. For this price, these wireless earbuds have 7mm titanium drivers that give punchy bass and well-balanced mid and highs.
The battery life is similar to Sony’s 6 hours but there is a charging case included to bump up the usage time.
In terms of value, this is the best choice if you’re on a budget. There is an included multi-function button for play, pause, next controls. However, there are no dedicated volume controls which is something that could have been added easily. The water-resistant build makes up for the lack of controls though.
3. Samsung Galaxy Buds
Samsung Galaxy Buds are third in this list due to the product’s battery life. The Korean company’s direct competition to the AirPods only provides six hours of power, with seven hours more through the charging case. However, the Samsung Galaxy Buds give a balanced sound. The product also has a “find my buds” feature, in case you should lose or misplace your buds.
For Samsung Galaxy S10 and newer owners, an added feature is that you can usage the smartphone’s battery once the buds’ juice runs out. These buds are also water-resistant.
The $108 Samsung Galaxy Buds are priced a little higher than the 1More Stylish, and they can be the perfect companion for workouts and regular use.
4. JLab Epic Air Sport
Th eJLab Epic Air Sport hook style earbuds are quite different from the first three products.
These $135 IP66 water-resistant earbuds offer workout friendly features such as touchpad adjustment controls and built-in volume adjustments to make playback easy. The equalizer also allows modification for a much more balanced sound signature.
Battery life is the strongest feature of the eJLab Epic Air Sport. Once inside the case, the buds can give you a total of 70 hours of playback. Depending on the usage, these earbuds may easily last a week before needing to be plugged in to an outlet.
5. JBL Reflect Flow
The JBL Reflect Flow caters better to sporty individuals people compared to the AirPods. These buds also have 10-hours of battery life plus 30 hours more with the charging case.
In terms of sound stage, the JBL Reflect Flow buds lean to the bass-heavy side which is perfect while you’re while working out. However, it does not muffle the highs and lows too much to the point that instruments are not distinguishable.
The only issue for these buds is the weight and the large carrying case. But all in all, the $150 price tag for these buds is worth it.
6. Jaybird Vista
The AirPods tries to be a one-size-fits-all product. However, some users might struggle a bit particularly while using the product it in the gym or when out for a run. This is where the Jaybird Vista shines.
The JayBird Vista comes in with silicone eartips with a variety of sizes as well as fins that help it stay during use. Like other wireless earbuds, it is targeted towards gym-goers, hence the Vista is IPx7 certified. This means that it is water and sweat resistant. Just rinse the buds every after use and they are good to go.
Jaybird has its dedicated app that eases pairing, control, and sound customization. It can be modified for bass-heavy music or it can be adjusted to provide clear vocals.
A USB-C charger is included as well as its “super-charge” feature wherein a five-minute top-up allows an hour of playback. The Vista gives a total of 16 hours of playback, six hours from the initial charge and an additional 10 hours through the charging case.
The JayBird Vista retails for $179 and for the build quality, more than enough battery life, and great sound, it is worth buying.