The Best AirPods Alternatives in 2020

Best AirPods Alternatives

When Apple launched the original AirPods in late 2016, it took the market by storm. They worked seamlessly with other Apple products and were a notable step above other Bluetooth earbuds in the market. Fast forward to 2019 and the market is filled with truly wireless earbuds that are better than the AirPods in many ways. We bring you the best AirPods alternatives in 2019.

Apple did launch the second-generation AirPods earlier this year with some key improvements but when compared to its competition, the new AirPods lack key features like improved sound quality, water-resistance, and active noise cancellation. With the AirPods, you are getting a level of convenience that no other wireless earbuds on the market can offer. However, if you are ready to give up on that convenience factor, you have plenty of other options to look at. Below are the best AirPods alternatives available in the market.

The Best AirPods Alternatives

Sony WF-1000XM3

Sony’s recently launched WF-1000XM3 is easily among the best wireless earbuds in the market. They are not exactly cheap at $229 but offer excellent sound quality and even feature active noise cancellation. The fit is also better than the AirPods, with Sony offering a bunch of ear tips to ensure one finds the perfect seal.

One issue with the Sony WF-1000XM3 is that it lacks any kind of water or sweat-resistance like the AirPods.

The battery life is pretty decent as well and the earphones can last for around 6 hours at medium volume levels with active noise cancellation. With ANC off, the battery life jumps by 2 hours to 8 hours.

One issue with Sony’s offerings is that they are not as discrete to wear as the AirPods or other wireless earbuds. But I guess that’s the price one has to pay for the improved sound quality and active noise cancellation.

The carrying case is also a bit on the bulkier side but it can charge the earbuds three times. Plus, they feature a USB-C port and support fast charging so a 10-minute charge is enough to make the earbuds last for an additional 1.5 hours.

Pros:

  • Active noise cancellation
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Great battery life
  • USB-C connectivity
  • Fast charging
  • Variety of ear tips bundled

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not as discrete as AirPods
  • No volume controls
  • No wireless charging
  • No voice assistant integration

Buy Now ($228)

Jabra Elite Active 65t

Jabra Elite Active 65t

Jabra offers two variants of its wireless buds: the Active Elite 65t and the Elite 65t. The former is a better buy in my opinion due to some design advantages, though the sound quality offered by the two models is the same.

The Jabra Elite Active 65t lacks active noise cancellation but they make up for it by offering passive noise cancellation with a very tight in-ear fit. However, some may find this tight fit a bit too uncomfortable after a few hours. Jabra does bundle three different sizes of ear tips to help one find that perfect fit.

If you had not already guessed it from their name, the Elite Active 65t features an IP55 certification which means they are splash and dust-resistant.  The Active even comes with a special rubber coating for a secure fit and finish.

In terms of battery life, the Elite Active 65t can last for up to 5-6 hours on a single charge. The carrying case is good enough to charge the earbuds two more times. There’s also fast charging support and a 15-minute charger will be enough to make them last for 1.5 hours.

One notable feature of the Elite Active 65t is that each earbud packs two microphones which means it offers excellent voice quality.

The earbuds also pack an accelerometer that is used for step counting purposes but it has limited use-case.

Pros:

  • IP55 Sweat and dust-resistance
  • Better sound quality than AirPods
  • Excellent microphone quality
  • Fast charging support

Cons:

  • No Active Noise Cancellation
  • No wireless charging
  • No voice assistant integration

Buy Now ($184.95)

Bose SoundSport Free

Bose SoundSport Free

The SoundSport Free is basically the wireless version of the regular SoundSport. They have decent sound quality despite lacking active noise cancellation. The design is also pretty good, though the ear hooks mean they are not as discrete as the AirPods. They do have a more secure finish than the AirPods which means one will not have to worry about them falling out during any kind of activity.

The battery life is good enough for around 5 hours of use, with the bundled carrying case good enough to charge the earbuds twice. There’s no fast charging support here which is a bummer.

The SoundSport Free was were buggy when it first launched but recent updates from Bose has greatly improved its overall performance and audio/video syncing issue. Plus, it has also got a nice price cut making it for a pretty tempting deal.

One issue with the SoundSport Free is that during calls, it only acts as a mono earpiece with the sound coming from the right earbud.

Pros:

  • Superior sound quality than AirPods
  • Water-resistant

Cons:

  • Design not as discrete as AirPods
  • No Active Noise Cancellation
  • No Wireless Charging
  • No Fast charging

Buy Now ($199)

Beats Powerbeats Pro

Ironically, one of the best AirPods alternatives comes from Apple itself. The Beats PowerBeats Pro might not feature design as discrete as the AirPods but they make up for it by offering excellent sound quality, better battery life, and sweat-resistance. In addition to this, since the PowerBeats Pro ship with Apple’s H1 chip, they offer the same level of convenience as the AirPods including always-on ‘Hey Siri’ detection and excellent battery life.

It does lack active noise cancellation and wireless charging. The charging case is also extremely bulky and might not fit in everyone’s pocket. The price is also going to be another issue as the PowerBeats Pro is significantly more expensive than the AirPods.

You can find out about all the differences between the AirPods 2 and the Powerbeats Pro in this comparison.

Pros:

  • Sweat-resistant
  • Excellent battery life
  • Always-on ‘Hey Siri’ detection
  • Excellent sound quality

Cons:

  • Bulky carrying case
  • No wireless charging
  • No Active Noise Cancellation
  • Expensive

Buy Now ($249.95)

Samsung Galaxy Buds

Galaxy Buds

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are a great alternative to the AirPods provided you are ready to live with a few compromises. They have a design as discrete as the AirPods and offer decent sound quality and battery life. Even the charging case is compact and easy to carry and it comes with wireless charging support.

The touch control on the Galaxy Buds can be a bit finicky, though Samsung has rolled out multiple updates to improve it.

One issue with the Galaxy Buds is that some of its features are only going to be available to Android users. That’s because there’s no iOS app for the Buds which means iPhone users won’t have access to features like equalizer presets and ambient noise control.

The Galaxy Buds might not be perfect but their value for money ratio is hard to beat.

Pros:

  • Discrete design
  • Great battery life
  • Wireless charging support

Cons:

  • No Active Noise Cancellation
  • No iOS app
  • Value for money

Buy Now ($119.98)


So are our top picks for AirPods alternatives. Which wireless earbuds do you think are the perfect alternative to the AirPods? Or do you think the AirPods has no competition in the market? Drop a comment and let us know!

This post was last updated on January 30, 2020.