Apple shook things up when it announced that newer iPhones would no longer sport the 3.5mm headphone jack – a design decision that still remains controversial – but the Cupertino, California-based company’s reasoning is sound (if a few years ahead of the curve). Wireless is the way forward, and more and more people are trading their wired earbuds for ones that ditch tangle-prone cables.
The newly updated Apple AirPods – now with a wireless charging case, hands-free Siri, and longer talk-times – are an improvement over the original AirPods, but they still face some serious competition on both price and features. Plenty of other tech makers are offering their own great (and truly wireless) earbuds for Android, iOS, and Windows devices. If you’re looking to buy a pair of high-end wireless headphones, then we’ve rounded up six of the best AirPod alternatives on the market today, including some of our favorites. Brands like Jabra, Sennheiser, and Nuheara may take the cake now, and with the new Samsung Galaxy Buds now available, the landscape of wireless earbuds is changing rather quickly.
Kicking off our roundup are the newly released Samsung Galaxy Buds, which are one of our new favorites thanks to their light weight, in-ear comfort, solid six-hour battery life, and very attractive price point – everything you’d want in a good pair of AirPods alternatives, especially considering Samsung doesn’t charge extra for its wireless charging case.
The Galaxy Buds also deliver great sound thanks to their AKG drivers, and Ambient Aware technology lets you program the Buds with custom volume settings for allowing ambient noises (for times when you want to be able to hear people talking, traffic noises, etc.). They’re water-resistant and sweat-proof, too.
At $130, the Samsung Galaxy Buds aren’t just one of the best AirPods alternatives, they’re also one of the most affordable brand-name true wireless earbuds that you can buy.
Another one of our favorites (and a cheaper AirPods alternative than the pricey MW07) are the Jabra Elite Active 65t in-ear headphones, which we named the best true wireless earbuds in our review roundup.
The Elite Active 65t also scored an impressive 9 out of 10 in our hands-on review, thanks to their excellent sound quality, good noise isolation, generous battery life, and IP56 water-resistance rating. The tight-fitting and sweat-proof form also makes these one of the best fitness-friendly Apple AirPods alternatives for users with an active lifestyle.
The Jabra Elite Active 65t also offer hands-free calling and easy voice controls via Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. You can grab a pair (with a charging case included) for less than $200 from Amazon.
Sometimes you want to put on some music to drown out the world around you, but other times, you want to jam out while still remaining aware of your surroundings – such as when biking or jogging down the street, for example.
The Nuheara IQbuds, which also scored a 9/10 in our hands-on review, offer a unique approach to this, letting you enjoy your entertainment while also piping in ambient sounds when you want them to. The IQbuds are especially good at enhancing hard-to-hear speech via an impressive and intuitive app.
Of course, the Nuheara IQbuds also function perfectly well as regular old wireless earbuds in their own right, but if you want a pair of Apple AirPods alternatives that can also enhance speech and ambient sounds, then you can grab a pair of these from Amazon for around $200.
Another AirPods alternative from Jabra is the Elite Sport. These true wireless earbuds are even more fitness-focused than the Active 65t (and certainly more so than the AirPods): Along with being entirely sweat-proof and waterproof at shallow depths for up to 30 minutes, the Elite Sport in-ear headphones boast a heart rate monitor and can track your activities via the Jabra Sport Life app.
In contrast to the “one size fits all” AirPods, the Jabra Elite Sport earbuds also come with several different pairs of eartips and hooks so you can dial in the perfect fit – a must-have for keeping fitness headphones in your ears during rigorous activities. The internal battery offers four and a half hours of music, activity tracking, and talking time, with the included charging case adding an extra nine hours on top of that.
The Jabra Elite Sport in-ear headphones are slightly cheaper than the other Apple AirPods alternatives on our list, coming in at a price that’s closer to the AirPods.
The gorgeous Master & Dynamic MW07 are not only the best-looking Apple AirPods alternative, but they might also be the best-sounding true wireless earbuds overall. Our review team ranked the MW07 among the best true wireless in-ear headphones due to their sleek aesthetics, intuitive controls, and superior detail when stacked against the original AirPods, which offer merely average sound quality in comparison.
Though it lacks the “Hey, Siri” feature of the new Apple AirPods, the MW07 nonetheless features a built-in mic that allows you to interact with your connected smartphone via voice commands. The Master & Dynamic Bluetooth headphones are also compatible with both Siri and Google Voice, making them a great option for both Apple and Android users.
The steel-and-tortoiseshell Master & Dynamic MW07 true wireless earbuds are pretty expensive, but if you’re looking for the best-sounding and most attractive Apple AirPods alternative out there, this is the one.
Sennheiser is a brand that needs little introduction, so it should come as no surprise that this maker also offers one of the best-made and best-sounding pairs of Apple AirPod alternatives that money can buy. The Momentum delivers more than just the superb sound you’d expect from Sennheiser, however.
These true wireless earbuds come loaded with modern features like Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, Smart Pause (which detects when the headphones are in your ear and automatically pauses and resumes music playback), and a transparent mode that lets in ambient sounds such as speech so you can remain aware of your surroundings and even carry on conversations without having to remove them or turn them off.
The Sennheiser Momentum true wireless earbuds deliver build and sound quality that are on par with the Master & Dynamic MW07, and a similar price tag to match, coming at $300 from Amazon and Best Buy. For audiophiles looking for the best-sounding Apple AirPods alternative, though, they’re worth every penny.
Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.