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Are AirPods Truly Better Than the Hundreds of Knockoffs?

Are AirPods Truly Better Than the Hundreds of Knockoffs?

Ever since they were released by Apple in 2016, AirPods have taken the world by storm. These wireless Bluetooth earbuds have become one of the most popular headsets on the market while still maintaining a premium, high-end quality. After Apple introduced these in-ear headphones, many brands jumped on the wireless earbud bandwagon, offering various cheaper alternatives. However, are AirPods better than the hundreds of available knockoffs; should you spend your money on any of them?

This article will cover what you can expect from AirPods and how they compare to other wireless Bluetooth headphones available on the market. Additionally, we’ll go through some of the best AirPods alternatives that offer similar quality and features.

Everything You Need to Know About AirPods

AirPods are Apple’s wireless earbuds that use Bluetooth to connect to your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. In 2018, AirPods became Apple’s most popular phone accessory. They’re known for their high-quality audio, built-in noise cancellation technology, voice-activated Siri access, and long-lasting battery life.

AirPods aren’t only great for listening to music, but you can also use them to talk on the phone, send voice messages, make recordings, etc. Basically, everything you can do with regular wired headphones is possible with AirPods, only wirelessly.

Apple currently offers four AirPods models: AirPods (2nd Generation), AirPods (3rd Generation), AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max.

AirPods (2nd Generation)

AirPods (2nd Generation)

Current price on Apple’s website: $129

Second-generation AirPods are an updated version of the original AirPods, which were discontinued in 2019.

After a one-tap setup, Second-Generation AirPods are ready to be used. You can connect them to all your other iOS devices. These AirPods support Bluetooth 5 connectivity and the hands-free “Hey Siri” feature, which you can use to call someone, play and pause a song, turn the volume up and down, and ask for directions.

Second-Generation AirPods offer up to five hours of listening time and three hours of talk time with a single charge. You can buy them with Apple’s Wireless Charging Case, and they support Lightning Charging. After charging them for 15 minutes, you’ll have three hours of listening time or two hours of talk time. These AirPods are lightweight, and they fit in your ears comfortably.

AirPods (3rd Generation)

AirPods (3rd Generation)

Current price on Apple’s website: $179

Third-Generation AirPods were released in 2021, and they offer significantly more useful features than the previous AirPods iteration. Notable benefits include spatial audio, dynamic head tracking, and adaptive EQ that tunes the music to your ears. The spatial audio feature creates a unique three-dimensional music-listening experience. The sides of the earbuds are covered with an acoustic mesh that prevents wind from muting your call.

The real upgrade in the Third-Generation AirPods is their sweat and water-resistant design, so you can use them in the gym or when you’re jogging. The force sensors allow for enhanced control and ease of use. Third-Generation AirPods have wireless charging support. They offer up to six hours of listening time after a single charge and up to 30 hours of total listening time with the case.

AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro

Current price on Apple’s website: $249

The AirPods Pro are considered the best noise-canceling headphones on the market right now. They come with active noise cancellation technology, which allows for an immersive sound and an enhanced listening experience. If you want to hear what’s happening around you, you can turn on Transparency Mode with just one tap.

They offer up to four and a half hours of listening time after a single charge. If you charge these earbuds for only five minutes, you’ll get one hour of listening time. What’s more, they support wireless charging.

The AirPods Pro were redesigned to fit in your ears comfortably. You can choose between small, medium, and large silicone tips, which click into place and adapt to your ear shape. Since these wireless earbuds are resistant to sweat and water, you can use them while working out, jogging, and running.

AirPods Max

AirPods Max

Current price on Apple’s website: $549

The AirPods Max are wireless over-ear headphones that are perfect for people who don’t like how earbuds feel in their ears. Thanks to the active noise cancellation and spatial audio technology, you’ll receive a fully-immersive and high-fidelity sound.

They have an ergonomic design, featuring a lightweight mesh headband that reduces on-head pressure. The ear cushions remain comfortable even after using the headphones for hours. They offer up to 20 hours of listening time with a single charge. In addition, they come in five colors: silver, space gray, sky blue, pink, and green.

AirPods Alternatives

There are many reasons why AirPods continue to be the most popular wireless Bluetooth in-ear headphones. Unfortunately, AirPods don’t come at a low price, especially the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. The good news is there are various affordable alternatives that offer similar features. If you’re not going to buy AirPods, it’s much better to choose cheaper wireless Bluetooth in-ear headphones than to get fake AirPods.

Here are some of the best AirPods alternatives:

1. Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2

The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 headphones have a stylish design and excellent audio quality. They support Bluetooth 5.0 for a fast and stable connection. These wireless earbuds come with four microphones that provide noise cancelation. You can use them to listen to music for seven hours after a single charge. They also offer up to 28 hours with the charging case. When you don’t have time to charge them all the way, 10 minutes of charging is enough for 2 hours of playback.

You can choose between black and white models, and they come in a charging case that’s small enough to fit in your pocket. You may experience some ear discomfort when you push the buttons on the earbuds. Other than that, they offer a secure fit. The silicone tips come in five sizes to ensure a better fit in the user’s ears.

Pros:

  • Excellent audio quality
  • Up to 28 hours of playback
  • Noise-cancelling technology
  • Four microphones
  • Full-touch control

Cons:

  • Ear discomfort when pushing buttons
  • Microphone quality could be better

2. SKULLCANDY Dime True Wireless Headphones

These wireless in-ear headphones offer good value for the money. They feature microphone, call, volume, and track control. After connecting them to your device the first time, they will automatically connect every time you turn them on. They have an impressive 12-hour battery life, with 3.5 hours of listening time. They’re designed to resist water and sweat, so you can use them during sporting and fitness activities. Thanks to their noise-isolating design, you will receive rich audio and an immersive experience.

SKULLCANDY earbuds come in various colors, including true black, chill gray, dark green, golden orange, light blue, etc. Since their package size is only 2.45 x 1.53 inches, they may be too small for some people. It’s also easier to lose them. Others might like that they’re so small as they fit perfectly in your pocket until you’re ready to use them again.

Pros:

  • Various color options
  • Waterproof and sweatproof
  • 12-hour battery life
  • Affordable
  • Noise-isolating design

Cons:

  • Might be too small for some people

3. Panasonic RZ-S500WE-K Bluetooth Headphones

Panasonic RZ-S500WE-K Bluetooth Headphones

With these wireless in-ear headphones, you can expect a stable connection even in crowded areas. Not only that, but you will also receive excellent call quality and crystal-clear audio, so you can listen to music and podcasts and even participate in conference calls with no interruptions. If you charge them for two hours, you’ll receive six and a half hours of playback time. The Quick Charge feature allows you to charge them for ten minutes for 70 minutes of playback. These earbuds are also compatible with Amazon Alexa.

The Panasonic RZ-S500WE-K earbuds come in different sizes for a perfect fit. They’re lightweight and designed for all-day comfort. These earbuds are resistant to water, so you don’t have to worry about getting them wet. They come with easy-touch sensors, but there have been some complaints about them being too sensitive. If you’re looking for a cheap alternative to AirPods, these wireless headphones are a solid option.

Pros:

  • Different sizes available
  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Great audio and call quality
  • Noise-canceling mode
  • Stable connections

Cons:

  • Sensitive touch controls

4. JBL REFLECT FLOW True Wireless Bluetooth In-Ear Headphones

JBL REFLECT FLOW True Wireless Bluetooth In-Ear Headphones

JBL headphones and speakers belong in a class of their own, and the JBL REFLECT FLOW In-Ear Headphones are no exception. These earbuds have an ergonomic design, made for all-day comfort. They come in different colors and three sizes. These JBL headphones offer numerous handy features, including Ambient Aware, TalkTru, voice assistant integration, Speed Charge, and more. Speaking of charging, these earbuds can work for up to 30 hours after a single charge.

You can use the hands-free mode to change songs, make calls, turn the volume up and down, and more. The buds are resistant to sweat, water, and dust, so you can use them in any weather conditions. Since they offer a secure fit, you won’t have to worry about them falling out of your ears when you’re active. However, these JBL headphones don’t offer noise-cancellation technology, which might be a deal-breaker for some.

Pros:

  • Up to 30 hours of battery life     
  • Ergonomic design
  • Ambient awareness
  • Waterproof and dustproof
  • Speed charge

Cons:

  • No noise-cancellation technology

5. Sony WF-1000XM3 – True Wireless Earphones

Sony WF-1000XM3 - True Wireless Earphones

If you’re looking for in-ear headphones with a stunning design and excellent audio quality, the Sony WF-1000XM3 True Wireless Earphones are for you. These wireless earbuds come with industry-leading noise cancelation and dual noise sensor technology. You will be able to listen to music or talk on the phone without worrying about background noise, traffic, or crowded places. Its QN1e processor uses less power to block noise, allowing for an immersive listening experience. These Sony earbuds come in two colors: black and silver.

These in-ear headphones have an extra-long battery life, with up to 24 hours of listening time. It has Quick Charge support, allowing for 90 minutes of playback time after just 10 minutes of charging. Once you pair these earbuds with another device via Bluetooth, you can expect a stable and reliable connection the whole time. Note that they don’t have aptX HD support, and they aren’t resistant to sweat.

Pros:

  • Stunning design
  • Industry-leading noise cancelation
  • Extra-long battery life
  • Secure fit
  • Dual noise sensor technology

Cons:

  • Not sweat-resistant
  • No aptX HD support

6. EarFun Air True Wireless Earbuds

EarFun Air True Wireless Earbuds

Not only do EarFun Air True Wireless Earbuds look like AirPods, but they also offer the same features. They have noise-canceling technology and four microphones, which filter out background noise and disruptive sounds. Thanks to their in-ear detection technology, the music will be paused automatically if you remove one earbud from your ear. You can play and pause a song, control the volume, skip tracks, answer calls, and use voice assistants just by tapping the earbuds. It supports USB-C and wireless charging, though USB-C charging only takes 1.5 hours.

The EarFun earbuds are sweatproof and waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about getting them wet. One of their drawbacks is how long it takes them to re-pair to your devices. If you switch between different devices, these earbuds may not be the best solution.

Pros:

  • Four microphones
  • Sweatproof and waterproof
  • USB-C and wireless charging
  • Fingertip volume control
  • In-ear detection technology

Cons:

  • Re-pairing takes time

AirPods vs. Other Knockoffs

AirPods offer superb audio quality, reliable Bluetooth connectivity, industry-leading noise-cancellation technology, and many other handy features. They’re among the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds on the market. However, as popular as they might be, not everyone can afford brand-new AirPods. For this reason, many people wonder if they should just get knockoffs or fake AirPods.

While there are hundreds of AirPods knockoffs, nothing can beat the real thing. If you can’t afford to buy real AirPods, invest in other high-quality in-ear headphones. Still, you need to have a decent budget, rather than buying $30 knockoffs that will stop working in one month.

If you order fake AirPods on Amazon, chances are they won’t resemble the picture, or the real thing, at all. Keep in mind that knockoffs also don’t have the same Bluetooth technology as genuine AirPods, so they won’t provide you with the same performance. We’re not even going to discuss the battery life and noise cancellation technology. While there are lots of alternatives with these features, they are either just as expensive or lacking in quality.

If you can’t afford AirPods or just want something different, your best bet is to buy earbuds from reliable brands, which are designed to match and exceed AirPods and their features, not just mimic them. You can find a wide variety of AirPods alternatives on the market for a much lower price. Even though they might not beat all the high-tech features that AirPods offer, they’re the next best thing.

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Jun 28, 2022

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