Published On: November 20, 2022

Are Apple AirPods Really Worth the Hype? The Best AirPods Alternatives in 2022

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Published On: November 20, 2022

Are Apple AirPods Really Worth the Hype? The Best AirPods Alternatives in 2022

5 of the best AirPod Alternatives!

There are several reasons why Apple AirPods have become one of the best wireless headphones ever released. They are great on all fronts, from sound quality to comfort. The design is iconic, as with any Apple product. Although there is no denying AirPods are among the best wireless headphones ever made, that doesn't mean there aren't other amazing options.

I'm writing this to let you know about five AirPod alternatives that are just as good, and even better when it comes to certain features. I'm obsessed with sound. I produce music as a hobby. I bought a home theater before I bought my first car. And when I bought my first vehicle, I spent more time researching which speakers to buy for it than I did debating which car to buy.

I carefully examined some of the top wireless earbuds available on the market. Here is my list of the top 5 AirPod alternatives.


1
Best AirPod Alternative for Android

Google Pixel Buds Pro

There are some features that you miss out on when you use AirPods on Android devices. These include automatic switching between devices through iCloud and automatic ear detection. Android users that don't have a device which supports Dolby Atmos also lose out on the spatial audio experience AirPods provide.
When we're talking about extra features and app support for Android devices, you can hardly find a better pair of earbuds than the Google Pixel Buds Pro. Some of the standard features in the Pixel Buds app include ear tip seal check, audio switching, customization of touch controls, and more. You even have access to the Google Translate app.
Enter conversation mode when you're speaking with someone from another country and you'll be able to understand a language you don't know. I recently started learning Italian and I love this feature. The transcribe mode makes it really easy to understand what someone is saying and follow along.

The design of these earbuds shows improvement over the previous releases in the Pixel Buds series. They are a bit bigger since they include more hardware components. But the difference in size is hardly noticeable unless you look really closely. The charging case has a smooth texture and doesn't take up a lot of space.
I personally like the design of the Pixel Buds Pro. There are three different sizes, and the middle one fits my ears perfectly.

The active noise cancellation (ANC) is one of the better features of the Google Pixel Buds Pro. While I'm writing this, I'm wearing a pair of these earbuds and listening to some chill lo-fi music and I don't hear any real-world noises. The battery life is shorter if you have ANC turned on. When you combine the earbuds with the charging case and keep ANC turned off, the battery life is around 31 hours.

Pros:

    • Great extra features and app support.

    • Support for Google Translate makes life easier.

    • The active noise cancellation is outstanding.

    • Amazing battery life.

Cons:

    • Mediocre call quality.

    • There is no iOS Pixel Buds app.

2
Best Budget-Friendly Option

Anker Soundcore Life P3

We just talked about Google Pixel Buds Pro, which are awesome earbuds. But they're not suitable for someone looking to get a pair of earbuds at an affordable price. That's why I'm now going to tell you about the Anker Soundcore Life P3, the best budget AirPod alternative.
Anker does a great job of making both affordable and high-quality devices. After the Life P3 earbuds were released in June 2021, I heard good things from several friends. At the price of less than $100, I decided to grab a pair and check them out. I was blown away by the quality.

Let's start off with the sound. Much better than I initially expected. The Anker Soundcore Life P3 comes with 11mm drivers that are heavy on the bass. If you like to listen to EDM and hip-hop, you're going to love these earbuds. You can adjust the sound to your liking with the Anker Soundcore app. The app even features a graphic EQ that will make the whole process easier.
The active noise cancellation is surprisingly good. I expected way less from such a low-price pair of earbuds, so I was extremely happy when I turned on the ANC and noticed that it blocked out noise. I can easily go about my business in a noisy environment with my Anker Soundcore Life P3 earbuds.

The Anker Soundcore app is definitely one of the reasons why I recommend the Life P3. It's super simple to use and it provides outstanding features. You can choose from different preset sound profiles, adjust ANC intensity, and so much more. Another great feature is the test you can perform to determine which ear tip fits you best.
I've mentioned some of the good things but there are also a few problems I have with this pair of earbuds. I don't like the call quality. There is no aptX codec available with the Life P3, which means Android users might not get the absolute best sound quality. However, if you don't pay much attention to codecs, you likely won't notice this. Another small issue I have with these earbuds are the unpredictable touch controls.

All in all, I'd say that these earbuds are worth more than their price tag so it's nice that Anker made them available to so many people who might not want to spend money on AirPods but would love to get these budget alternatives.

Pros:

    • High-quality wireless earbuds at an affordable price.

    • Soundcore app that provides a lot of customization options.

    • Excellent noise cancellation for the price.

    • Amazing battery life.

Cons:

    • Unpredictable touch controls.

  • The aptX codec is not available.

3
Best Overall AirPod Alternative

Sony WF-1000XM4

I absolutely love AirPods but if you give me the option to choose between them and the Sony WF-1000XM4 I honestly couldn't decide. The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds are perfect in almost every way. This is the overall best alternative to AirPods.
These earbuds feature a different design from the previous models in the WF-1000X range. The charging case is also much different. In fact, it's 34% smaller compared to the previous model in the series. It's also plastic-free, as the environmentally-friendly case is made up of a special blend of paper.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds feature a warm and smooth sound profile. They come with 6mm dynamic drivers and feature support for AAC, SBC, and LDAC codecs. There is an emphasis on bass in the sound profile. This shows major improvement over the earbuds' predecessors.
There are a lot of wireless earbuds that provide excellent sound quality when you're listening to audio content. But when you engage in a phone call it's so bad that it seems like you're using a different pair of earbuds. This is something you won't have to worry about with the Sony WF-1000XM4. The call quality is top-notch and the microphone performance is outstanding.

Noise cancellation is remarkable on this model of earbuds. They come with memory foam tips that are designed to perfectly feat any ears. They will be literally molded for your ears, which plays an important role in noise cancellation.
I really like the battery life of the Sony WF-1000XM4. If I don't turn on the ANC, the battery can last for a little under twelve hours. When ANC is turned on, the battery lasts a bit under eight hours. The case will provide you with an additional 16 hours of charge.

It's perfectly okay to argue that the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds are more comfortable to wear than the AirPods. The memory foam really does the trick to personalize the fit for every user.

Pros:

    • Very portable and environmentally-friendly charging case that doesn’t contain any plastic.
    • Warm and smooth sound profile.
    • Memory foam tips that ensure the earbuds will fit in your ears perfectly.

Cons:

    • No multi-device pairing.

  • There is room for improvement when it comes to treble output.

4
Best Adaptive Noise Cancellation

JBL Live Pro+ TWS

I really like the shape of AirPods, so when I saw that JBL has a pair of earbuds that look similar I had to check them out. Even the case resembles the AirPods.
JBL is known for its sound quality in countless devices. This pair of earbuds features the type of sound you'd expect from a JBL product. The earbuds come with 11mm dynamic drivers that give a bass-heavy profile. I listen to a lot of rap music, so I'm always happy when there is an emphasis on bass in the sound profile. If you listen to other genres, you can customize the profile with the JBL companion app for the Live Pro+ TWS.

You get around seven hours of battery life from a full charge. The case gives you three additional charges, which brings the total battery life with the case included to 28 hours. It takes ten minutes to charge the earbuds, enough for an hour of playback.
Active noise cancellation is what the JBL Live Pro+ TWS excel at. They come with three different ANC modes, including Everyday, Travel, and Active. I experimented a lot with these modes and I love each of them. I like to select the Active mode when I'm in the gym. The Travel mode will focus on blocking noise from planes, trains, and buses. Meanwhile, the Everyday mode is perfect when you're working or studying.

If you're into personalizing your listening experience with the help of a carefully crafted app, you'll like what comes with the JBL Live Pro+ TWS. The companion app, which is available for both Android and iOS devices comes with a lot of customization options. You can also set up voice control and use Google Assistant or Alexa to call friends or perform online searches.

In my opinion, if you want a really good AirPods alternative but don't want to spend a lot of money on the Sony Sony WF-1000XM4, then you should get the JBL Live Pro+ TWS earbuds. It's cheaper but still has incredibly impressive features.

Pros:

    • Great battery life (28 hours with the case).
    • Three different active noise cancellation modes.
    • Awesome companion app.

Cons:

    • Touch control customization is restrictive.

  • Mediocre call quality.

5
Best Sound Quality

Jabra Elite 7 Pro

The Jabra Elite 7 Pro earbuds come with a stylish design that has been noticeably improved compared to previous generations. They are smaller and lighter compared to the Elite 75t model.
Jabra worked very hard to make the design perfect. They combined data from more than 62,000 ear scans and despite their effort, the comfort is not too great compared to most quality AirPod alternatives. I know that the shape is great for a lot of other people but it doesn't fit me that well. But that doesn't mean I don't use my Jabra Elite 7 Pro earbuds.
The sound quality features a neutral profile. It is suitable for any genre of music. In fact, it's perfect no matter what type of content you're listening to. If you like to customize the sound you hear, you can use the beautifully-designed companion app to make any adjustments you want.

Since I just mentioned the companion app, I have to say that I was very impressed by it. You can use the app (available for both iOS and Android devices) to customize ANC, perform a fit test, remap the controls for each earbud separately, and more.
The battery life is solid. A single charge lasts around eight hours. There is an additional 22 hours you get from the charging case. You can charge your earbuds for an hour of playback in only five minutes, which is impressive.

I recommend the Jabra Elite 7 Pro earbuds to any person that listens to a wide variety of content and expects exceptional sound quality no matter what they play.

Pros:

    • Stylish and lightweight design.
    • Amazing sound quality with a neutral profile.
    • Great companion app with a ton of interesting features.

Cons:

    • Not that comfortable compared to other AirPod alternatives.

  • No multi-device pairing.

What you should pay attention to when shopping for AirPod alternatives

How do I find good AirPod alternatives?

There are several criteria that I base my research on. I'll walk you through my process now to let you know what you should pay attention to when shopping for wireless earbuds.

Battery Life

Battery life is extremely important for wireless earbuds. This is something you never had to worry about when all headphones had wires. It would not be good if you got a pair of wireless earbuds and frequently had to stop listening to your favorite music, podcasts, or any other type of content because your battery ran out. Keep in mind that battery life is affected by active features like noise cancellation.

Sound Quality

I would say that sound quality is the most important metric I judge wireless earbuds on. Other criteria are not that significant if I can't fully enjoy the audio. If the sound quality is not good, I won't even consider buying those earbuds. They can have all the extra features you can think of but I'm still not interested.
One of the things I got really excited about recently is when it was announced that you could have personalized spatial audio for AirPods on iOS 16. This feature produces a fully immersive experience by tracking your ears' position. Essentially, the sound quality is notably enhanced through 3D mapping of your face.

Noise Cancellation

I listen to music when I work out. I often listen to music when I work. When I was still a student, I listened to music while studying. I also know a lot of other people who do the same. That's why noise cancellation is one of my criteria for finding good wireless earbuds. When it's time to focus, you want to have a pair of earbuds that will block out the world around you.

Water Resistance

I like to take my earbuds with me everywhere I go. That's why I pay attention to water resistance before buying a pair of earbuds. I want to know that they'll work properly even if I work out daily, travel, and hike. There are some cool waterproof earbuds on the market but I can always settle even if they're just made of water resistant materials. At least some type of water resistance will prevent them from malfunctioning when it's raining or sweat is pouring down your face in the middle of a workout session.

Extra Features and App Support

Every device that you can connect to via bluetooth should have good app support. It's a more immersive experience listening to music with my wireless earbuds if I can adjust the settings to my liking. Apart from being able to customize touch controls and switch between devices, I'm always interested in additional app support.

Comfort and Fit

You can find the best earbuds on paper but if they don't fit you properly or aren't comfortable to wear, I won't be interested in them. Comfort is often overlooked when people are shopping for earbuds. To me, it's one of the most essential criteria. After all, one of the reasons why the AirPods became such a hit is because they fit nearly all people who try them perfectly.

Design

Apple has mastered the art of designing products. Their simplistic designs are partly why they became so popular. I like when the design of earbuds is clean and sleek. But sometimes looks can be deceitful. I always tell everyone not to judge earbuds only by their design. Although it can be a cool addition to an overall great product, it's something you should pay attention to only after you checked more important criteria like sound quality and battery life.

Earbud FAQ:

Why are AirPods popular?

AirPods have become insanely popular in a short amount of time. The first AirPods were released in 2016 but it feels like they've been around much longer. So, how did Apple do it? They focused on what was important. Features like easy charging, portability, good battery life, audio switching, and design were done extremely well. There is a lot of impressive technology packed into those small earbuds.

Are there AirPod alternatives for Android?

You don't need an iPhone to enjoy AirPods. However, if you have an iPhone the listening experience is enhanced due to exceptional app support. If you're looking for something similar but you have an Android, you should look for something like the Google Pixel Buds Pro. Getting access to good apps will only make the listening experience better.

How long do AirPod alternatives last?

It's hard to determine the true average lifespan of wireless earbuds. It has a lot to do with the model you get and how you handle them. Remember that earbuds are quite delicate, so you should be careful when holding them. In most cases, wireless earbuds will last at least 2-3 years.
As far as battery life goes, most wireless earbuds will last five or more hours on a single charge. The great thing is that the portable charging case can give you a lot of additional hours of listening to your favorite audio content when you need it.

How to choose the best pair of wireless earbuds?

It can be hard to choose the best pair of wireless earbuds. There are so many different options. However, you can make the decision process much easier if you stick to a formulaic approach. I do this by checking seven criteria and then compare them with other wireless earbuds. The criteria important to me include sound quality, battery life, noise cancellation, water resistance, extra features and app support, comfort and fit, as well as design.

What is the difference between wireless earbuds and AirPods?

Objectively speaking, there are not a lot of major differences between AirPods and any other quality wireless earbuds. There are some very good AirPod alternatives available today. I deem the products on this list to be at least on the same level as AirPods.

Should I worry about which audio codecs are supported?

Not many people pay enough attention to codec support for their wireless earbuds. But codecs play an important role in the quality of the audio. Although your smartphone will often automatically select the best codec as soon as you connect your earbuds, sometimes it's best to take matters into your own hands. That's why it's a good idea to check which codecs are supported before buying a pair of wireless earbuds.

What are some mistakes to avoid when buying wireless earbuds?

There are some mistakes that you should avoid at all costs. For example, you should always check out what the battery life on a pair of wireless earbuds is. You don't want to have to recharge your earbuds every hour or two. Make sure you check whether the earbuds come with noise cancellation. Don't buy a product from a company nobody has heard of. Instead, put your trust in brands with a good reputation. In essence, avoiding to research any criteria I previously mentioned in the article is a mistake you should avoid making.

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