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. The 1More Stylish are the best alternative to AirPods we’ve reviewed to date, a remarkable fact considering they cost just $100.
Plenty of other brands 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, we’ve highlighted six of the best AirPod alternatives on the market today.
It’s not every day you find a product that runs laps around the one that inspired it for half the cost, but the 1More Stylish true wireless earbuds pull the feat off convincingly. It begins with a sound signature — helped along by Grammy Award winner Luca Bignardi — that manages to outdo the stalwarts of this category thanks to a pair of masterfully tuned 7mm titanium drivers.
The 1More Stylish reviewed well in the Digital Trends office. They feature a bass profile that’s punchy but not overpowering, and the well-balanced notes across the rest of the spectrum make them perfect for those with eclectic tastes. Bluetooth AptX helps them pass those subtle details through the air with ear-pleasing clarity, something that far too many earbuds pass on.
A single charge will have you rocking for just over six hours, and the included charging case bumps that potential up to 24 hours before you’ll have to thirst for juice. You’ll skip through tracks with the included multi-functional button, though it’s hard to forgive the lack of dedicated volume controls. Everything sits inside a water-resistant chassis with a metallic coating that justifies its namesake, all for a mere $100.
They may no longer be the toast of the town as they were when we first reviewed them, but the Samsung Galaxy Buds are still some of the best AirPod alternatives you can buy. Samsung balances comfort, utility (the “find my earbuds” feature is fantastic), and power in a delightfully sleek package.
While the six-hour battery life is enough to satisfy most listening sessions, the seven-hour top-up available in the included wireless charging case doesn’t give you a ton of extra room. And Galaxy S10 owners can use their phone’s battery to keep the music going.
AKG handled the drivers here, which we found to deliver exceptional performance, especially when you start to figure out how its five equalizer modes impact your favorite tracks. Ambient audio mode and water resistance round out the list of desirables. You could point to any of their traits and feel confident in the Galaxy Buds.
It’s funny — true wireless earbuds should be most desirable for runners and gym rats, but many tend to stop at basic water resistance for workout-friendly features. JLab disrupts the status quo with the Epic Air Sport, one of the best pair of stringless cans with a multitude of eartip and hook options to secure their fit.
Chunky as the earbuds and included charging case are, the technology inside the Epic Air Sport measures up handsomely. The most eye-popping figure is the additional 70 hours of battery life that the case adds, enough to charge the set several times before you have to hunt for outlets.
For sporty types, the IP66 water resistance will keep them safe from sweat and rain, and intuitive touchpad controls make volume adjustments and playback options a breeze. The JLab Epic Air Sport offer a balanced soundstage out of the box, and with three EQ modes to jump between, they’re some of the most genre-versatile buds we’ve reviewed.
Classic audio brands like Klipsch aren’t always adept at the technological aspects of their craft, but its T5 True Wireless earbuds are a prime exception. For starters, they boast some of the best base battery life you can find, offering up eight hours of continuous playback at full capacity. The gorgeous brushed metal charging case — which adds another 24 hours of fun — could be mistaken for a Zippo lighter to the untrained eye.
These may well be the best earbuds for frequent callers. The four-microphone array picks up your voice with ease while working to counteract background noise. It’s possible to use a lone earbud and retain most of your interface control, though you’ll need to call on your digital assistant of choice to adjust volume in this mode.
You don’t pay the Klipsch premium for voice calls, though, and we’re happy to report that the T5 more than meets the brand’s lofty sonic standards. It handily beats the AirPods and matches enough of the Powerbeats Pro’s wits, like IPX4 water resistance, to justify your $200 bill. Plus, an equalizer will arrive whenever the Klipsch Connect app launches, which could be any day now.
Some people actually prefer the vertical pipe design of the AirPods, and for them, the RHA TrueConnect earbuds represent a clear upgrade. With several options for silicone tips in the box, they offer more comfort options, and the sound signature features punchy bass that’s tuned just right to avoid dominating your tracks.
Battery life doesn’t quite match some of the other options on this list, but the five stand-alone hours alongside 20 extra in the elegant matte black charging case will get you through long days. Stunningly, you can restore 50% of its power in just 15 minutes of charging.
The RHA TrueConnect, then, packs all the essentials, and even adds tricks the item it emulates can’t claim, like water resistance. With a 4.5 star rating out of five, these are some of the best true wireless buds we’ve tested.
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- Klipsch T5 True Wireless review
- AirPods vs. Beats Powerbeats Pro: An Apple earbuds showdown
- Apple’s next AirPods case may be waterproof and let you recharge an Apple Watch
- Common AirPods problems, and how to fix them
- Apple is readying noise-canceling AirPods and a cheaper HomePod