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Top 10 Best AirPods Alternative To Purchase In 2020 Reviews

If you’re an iPhone user, the original Apple AirPods provided great functionality and a slick charging case. However, they fall down when it comes to excellent audio quality. The true wireless market has developed a long way since the original AirPods made their debut, and there are now many superior products to choose from.

Whether you’re looking for better sound quality, something cheaper or more suitable for sport, or simply don’t want to be part of the Apple ecosystem; this is the review for you.

We gathered ten of the best AirPods alternatives from across the price range and put them through their paces to help find the right pair for you.

best airpods alternative

Best AirPods Alternative Comparison Table

ProductDesign/StyleBatteryComfort/FitSound QualityPriceRating
Design/Style
*****
Battery
***
Comfort/Fit
****
Sound Quality
****
Price
****
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Design/Style
***
Battery
*****
Comfort/Fit
***
Sound Quality
*****
Price
**
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Design/Style
**
Battery
**
Comfort/Fit
****
Sound Quality
****
Price
***
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Design/Style
***
Battery
*****
Comfort/Fit
***
Sound Quality
***
Price
**
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Design/Style
***
Battery
***
Comfort/Fit
****
Sound Quality
***
Price
***
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Design/Style
***
Battery
**
Comfort/Fit
****
Sound Quality
***
Price
*****
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Design/Style
****
Battery
***
Comfort/Fit
***
Sound Quality
******
Price
****
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Design/Style
*****
Battery
***
Comfort/Fit
***
Sound Quality
***
Price
**
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Design/Style
****
Battery
*****
Comfort/Fit
****
Sound Quality
***
Price
*****
4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)
Design/Style
*****
Battery
*
Comfort/Fit
****
Sound Quality
******
Price
****
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Top 10 Best AirPods Alternative In 2020 Reviews

1 Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Earbuds

Kicking things off are the outstanding WF-1000XM3 earbuds from Sony. They were the first truly wireless buds to employ Active Noise Cancelling technology, and although others have tried to replicate this since, none have managed it as effectively as Sony. They are far and away the best noise cancelling earbuds on the market, achieving a level of isolation that is even comparable to some over the ear headphones.

On top of that, they are light-years ahead of the AirPods when it comes to sound quality. Sony have applied their usual bass leaning sound profile to the XM3’s, giving them a level of muscularity that will appeal to the majority of listeners. Rumor also has it that Sony will be adding aptX codec support to go with the AAC codec already implemented.

Style and comfort get top marks too…

Sony have managed to create one of the most attractive looking true wireless buds out there. No ugly stem design here, sophistication and subtle refinement are the order of the day. They’re also very light, helping with a secure fit. Without music playing, you’d be forgiven for forgetting they are even in your ears. You can wear these for hours with no discomfort.

A six hour battery life and an extremely slick and portable charging case with an extra 18 hours power only add to the allure. They are superior to the AirPods in almost every way and right up there when looking for the best active noise cancelling AirPod alternatives.

To find out even more, take a look at our in-depth Sony WF 1000XM3 review.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Earbuds
Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • Best noise cancellation.
  • Entertaining, muscular sound.
  • Sleek design.
  • Decent battery life.

Cons

  • No waterproof rating.
  • Not suitable for sport.
  • Quite expensive.

2 Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 True Wireless Earbuds

The British company Cambridge Audio have a well-established reputation for audio excellence built since the early 1960s. The Melomania 1 is their first attempt at a true wireless pair of earbuds, and we have to say they’ve done a very good job.

Sound quality is the star of the show here with a level of refinement and clarity that is hard to come by in a set of wireless earbuds. In fact, the Melomania 1 almost sound as good as a pair of over the earphones.

No ANC…

Unfortunately, Cambridge didn’t make any attempt at including noise cancellation technology. In noisier environments, you’ll experience a little disturbance, but the fit is good enough to provide an acceptable level of passive noise isolation once you’ve found the correct ear tips.

Battery life is exceptional at nine hours on a full charge. The charging case packs an extra 36 hours, giving you a grand total of 45 hours use without having to go near a power outlet. Impressive stuff.

Comfortable fit…

Design-wise, they aren’t the most attractive earbuds we’ve ever seen, sticking out quite prominently from the ear. But they are comfortable enough, and a good fit should be able to be achieved from one of the four sets of ear tips provided.

Amazingly, the Melomania 1 is the cheapest set of earbuds on this list, cheaper than AirPods, and representative of great value for money with this level of sound quality. Definitely a contender for the best affordable AirPods alternative.

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 True Wireless Earbuds
Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros

  • Outstanding audio refinement.
  • Marathon battery length.
  • Very affordable.

Cons

  • Unattractive design.
  • Controls aren’t the most user friendly.

3 Bose SoundSport Free True Wireless Earbuds

AirPods are not the best option for use while exercising due to the poor fit. Fortunately, there are great alternatives out there that will stay in your ear regardless of what you throw at them. The Bose SoundSport Free fall into this category whilst simultaneously delivering that signature Bose sound profile that has given them such a respected name.

They really are excellent sounding earbuds with a clarity and depth that puts them close to the best-sounding truly wireless earbuds currently available and way ahead of the AirPods. The bass is weightier than usual for Bose but never overwhelms the rest of the frequencies. And they perform well across a range of musical genres.

Let the sound in…

Noise cancelling technology has been deliberately left out as most people want to allow environmental noise in whilst exercising. This is understandable, but it would still be nice to have the option for the daily commute or in the office. They’d be an even more versatile set of earbuds if they did.

One area in which they don’t really improve on the AirPods is style. There’s no denying that the SoundSport Free are very large earbuds. The largest we’ve seen, in fact. The housings are huge and stick out quite a way. It’s an unusual look, and not what we’d call discreet. Most people prefer something less obtrusive.

Not the best battery life…

Battery times could also be better with five hours playback on a full charge and an extra 10 available in the charge for a total of 15 hours. The Cambridge Melomania has three times this capacity. Still, if you’re looking for a refined sounding set of earbuds with user-friendly controls to accompany your workouts, then these could well be them.

Want to find out more? No problem, take a look at our Bose Soundsport Free review.

Bose SoundSport Free True Wireless Earbuds
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Exceptional sound profile.
  • Stable fit.
  • Good earbuds for working out.

Cons

  • No noise cancellation tech.
  • Battery life is unimpressive.

4 JBL Reflect Flow Truly Wireless Earbuds

Another set of truly wireless earbuds primarily intended for use whilst exercising. The JBL Reflect Flow are well worth consideration, especially at such a relatively low price point.

Three separate sets of fins and ear-tips mean you should be able to find the correct combination for your ears. This was no problem for us, and once in, these earbuds do not budge even when out running.

Budget price doesn’t give the best sound quality…

JBL have a solid reputation for creating bass-heavy sound profiles, and these earbuds are no exception. They certainly pack a punch, but there is still enough separation in the mid and high frequencies for it to be an enjoyable and clean experience.

Whilst the JBL Reflect Flow can’t quite match the sound quality of most earbuds on this list, they are also one of the cheapest, and the sound reflects the price a little.

But they last…

A whopping 10 hours playback is on offer from a full charge. There’s an extra 20 hours available in the charge case, more than enough to cover 3-5 days’ heavy use. The charging case was a little on the bulky side when compared to the competition.

The Reflect Flow’s also have an IPX7 waterproof rating, which means you can actually submerge them in water. This doesn’t mean you should swim with them, although we guess this would be technically possible. However, the case most certainly isn’t waterproof, so make sure they’re dry before you slip them back in.

Overall, a good alternative to Apple Airpods if you’re on a budget.

JBL Reflect Flow Truly Wireless Earbuds
Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • Lively bass-driven sound profile.
  • Very secure and stable.
  • 10 hours playback on a single charge.
  • Relatively cheap.

Cons

  • Charging case too large.
  • More dynamic sound elsewhere.

5 Jaybird Vista True Wireless Earbuds

Next up, another set of earbuds dedicated to fitness fans, this time from Jaybird. The Vista True Wireless Earbuds offer some stiff competition to the other sports-based buds on this list.

These buds have a very secure and comfortable fit. This is thanks to their range of integrated silicone fins and ear-tips that come supplied. It’s a unique design and works superbly well. They are also water and sweat proof with a IPX7 rating, meaning they’ll stand up to any conditions you’re running in no problem.

Completely customizable…

Jaybird have created a very pleasing sound profile for the Vista. It’s a warm and full-bodied experience aided enormously by the Jaybird app. Here you’ll find a number of preset EQ profiles and the ability to tailor your own. You’re sure to be able to create the kind of sound that appeals to you.

The Bose SoundSport Free have the superior basic sound, but the versatility of the Jaybird Vista app goes some way to making up for this.

Fifteen hours of playback…

A fully charged battery will give you six hours of playback. This isn’t the best but still better than the AirPods manage. The charging case supplies an extra 10 hours. Again, this isn’t outstanding, but it seems a fair compromise for such a small and portable case.

All in all, thanks to the superb fit and energetic, punchy sound profile, the Jaybird Vista are at the forefront of the niche sports earbuds market and an extremely viable AirPods alternative.

Interested and want to find out more? Check out our Jaybird Vista review.

Jaybird Vista True Wireless Earbuds
Our rating:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Pros

  • Excellent fit.
  • Versatile EQ options.
  • Pleasing sound profile.

Cons

  • Limited battery life.

6 Apple AirPods Pro

On to the latest incarnation of the AirPods, the Apple AirPods Pro. You certainly pay a premium to join the Apple ecosystem making these the second most expensive earbuds on the list behind Apple stablemate, the Powerbeats Pro.

If you’re intent on staying within the Apple universe, then you’ll be pleased to hear that Apple have ironed out a number of the problems that plagued the originals.

Transparency mode…

The addition of silicone ear-tips has resulted in a much better fit meaning they are far less likely to fall out than their predecessors. Excellent noise cancelling has also been added to the package, and it’s effective enough, if not quite reaching Sony levels of isolation. We really liked the transparency mode, which allows the outside world in if you need to hear what’s going on around you.

The sound profile has also received a welcome upgrade with more satisfying results. There’s definitely more of an emphasis on bass and vocal delivery. Pop fans will appreciate the changes whilst audiophiles would be better looking elsewhere. But annoyingly, the noise cancellation adversely affects the sound quality a little when activated.

Superb functionality for Apple users…

Naturally, if you’re an iPhone user, then thanks to the H1 chip, the AirPods Pro blend seamlessly with all Apple devices, providing a level of functionality other earbuds will struggle to replicate.

Overall, a big improvement over the original AirPods which it’s hard to see dedicated Apple fans turning their back on even if better sound quality can be found in the competition.

For more information, take a look at our Apple Airpods Pro review.

Apple AirPods Pro
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Improved fit.
  • Effective noise cancellation.
  • Clean, powerful sound.
  • Apple H1 chip functionality.
  • Transparency mode.

Cons

  • Premium price.
  • Can’t rival competition for audio quality.

7 Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless Earbuds

The Sennheiser Momentum are for in our opinion, the purest sounding earbuds on this list of best AirPods alternatives. The neutral sound profile on offer here gives as honest a portrayal of the recording as you will find in true wireless earbuds.

There’s lots of layered detail on offer with nothing overly pushed to the fore. Just how it should be. And all the latest high-quality Bluetooth codecs are supported, which help clean up the sound immensely.

Come rain, come shine…

The design has a pretty sophisticated yet minimalist look and comes with an IPX7 waterproof rating. The charging case is covered with a woven grey fabric that makes a welcome change from the usual fingerprint magnets.

Comfort and fit are both fine, although we wouldn’t recommend the Momentum’s as buds to workout with. Even though they’re very light, they were prone to working themselves loose whilst jogging.

Unfortunately, it’s not all good news…

The touch control system is a little temperamental, to say the least. It supports many functions, perhaps too many, and the overly sensitive touch panel gets confused far too often. Battery life is also pretty lame in comparison to the competition. Listed as four hours on a full charge, we never managed more than three and a half. The charging case carries an extra eight hours. Again, very average.

It’s a shame the Sennheiser Momentum fall down in these areas as they would otherwise be a contender for best overall AirPods alternative. On a plus, the successor to this line is now available, so these are going for a significantly discounted price.

Further information can be found in our Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 review.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless Earbuds
Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • Perfectly balanced sound profile.
  • Understated sophistication.
  • Fingerprint free charging case.

Cons

  • Poor battery life.
  • Overly sensitive controls
  • Still quite expensive even after recent discount.

8 Samsung Galaxy True Wireless Earbuds

One of the lower-priced models on this list, the Samsung Galaxy Earbuds are a superior set of true wireless earbuds to the original AirPods in almost every way.

But how do they measure up to the stiff competition?

Audio performance isn’t world-beating but satisfying enough. They don’t deliver the perfect balanced clarity that the Sennheiser Momentum pull off. Instead, they have a gratifying profile that whilst on the bassy side of things, is still balanced enough not to be over heavy.

Audio professionals AKG are responsible for tuning the Galaxy buds. This was a wise move by Samsung judging by the lackluster sound performance of their previous wireless buds.

Keep your charging cable handy…

Battery performance is ok at just under six hours use on a full charge. Disappointingly the charging case only delivers an extra seven hours of charge, so you’ll be hitting the power outlet more regularly than with other brands.

The Samsung Galaxy design is undoubtedly one of the best attributes these buds have going for them. The elegant triangular housing has a sleek and futuristic look that blends into your ear nicely. A range of wings and ear-tips should provide a good fit once correctly selected. Not once in over a week did the buds feel like they were going to fall out.

A great choice for Samsung users…

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy buds offer good value for money without blowing the competition out of the water. They are certainly worth a look as an AirPods alternative, especially if you own a recent Samsung Galaxy smartphone as a number of extra features will be available to you.

We have more info on two options, so check out either the Samsung Galaxy Buds or the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus.

Samsung Galaxy True Wireless Earbuds
Our rating:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Pros

  • Lively bass-driven sound.
  • Elegant and seamless design.
  • Very secure fit.

Cons

  • Only seven hours extra charge in the case.
  • Superior sound quality elsewhere for the same price.

9 Powerbeats Pro True Wireless Earbuds

Currently, the most expensive earbuds on this list, the PowerBeats Pro, are also designed primarily with exercise in mind. To this end, they’ve done a great job in terms of a secure fit. The adjustable ear-hook design is extremely effective at holding the earbuds in place.

We’d wager they’d potentially stay in through a full gymnastics routine. We are far from capable of personally testing this theory, but they breezed through my halfhearted workouts without a stutter.

Here’s the answer…

A more balanced approach…

The sound profile chosen is also a welcome departure from Beats usual dollops of bass. They’ve gone with a far more balanced range. Yes, bass is powerful and punchy, but not overwhelming. Basically, the whole sound has been given a lighter touch allowing less bass-driven music space to shine. It seems like Beats want to broaden their appeal, and this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Battery life is very good at nine hours on a full charge, with an extra 16 hours of juice in the charging case. The case itself is definitely on the bulky side, but that is to be expected as the ear-hooks take up a lot of room.

A great choice for Appleheads…

As they are now manufactured by Apple, the PowerBeats Pro come equipped with the lightning-fast H1 chip giving you full compatibility and extra features if you are an Apple devotee.

The only real drawback is the price. As a pair of exercise buds, the Jaybird and Bose models featured offer a similar level of usability and performance, at a significantly lower price. Unless you’re an Apple user, we’re not sure that price is justifiable.

More info can be found in our Beats Powerbeats Pro review, so take a look.

Powerbeats Pro True Wireless Earbuds
Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros

  • Unshakeable ear-hook design.
  • Huge improvement to sound profile.
  • Strong battery life.
  • Apple H1 chip compatibility.

Cons

  • Too expensive.
  • Superior sound can be found at lower price.

10 Master & Dynamic MW07 True Wireless Earbuds

Lastly, but certainly not least, come the MW07 True Wireless earbuds from Master & Dynamic. The main focus of these earbuds is most definitely on sound quality and design ahead of a swathe of features.

These are pretty expensive earbuds, and they look it. It’s high-quality materials all the way, and the finished look is a very attractive one. They come with five pairs of silicone ear-tips and three sets of wonderfully designed Fit Wings. It’s a unique design that works extremely well. As a result, the Master and Dynamic MW07 are some of the most comfortable earbuds we’ve had the pleasure to wear.

Designed for Audiophiles…

When it comes to sound quality, these could be the earbuds for you. They achieve an amazing amount of separation for a set of in-ear headphones. It’s a close call between these and the Sennheiser Momentum for the best sound quality on offer. It will come down to personal taste. However, fans of jazz or classical music will love the acoustics on offer here.

Annoyingly, the battery life really lets things down. A paltry three hours was the best we managed to get from a full charge. An extra nine hours can be stored in the charging case. This is the lowest on our list, lower even than AirPods. It’s a shame as this really detracts from the overall package. Earbuds this expensive should be able to do better than that.

Master & Dynamic MW07 True Wireless Earbuds
Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • Quality build.
  • Unique design features.
  • Audiophile friendly sound.

Cons

  • Lame battery life.
  • Pretty expensive.

So, What Are The Best AirPods Alternatives?

The true wireless earbud market has come a long way in a relatively short space of time. Every one of the earbuds on this list would be an instant improvement over the original AirPods. But for our money, with an amazing battery life, comfortable fit, and high-grade sound quality, the…Cambridge Audio Melomania really knocks it out of the park.

The Sennheiser Momentum and the Master and Dynamic, both have a superior sound profile, but at half the price, there is too much value for money on offer over at Cambridge Audio to be ignored. For this reason, they are the best alternatives to AirPods. The Brits take the day!

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