Whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android device, a pair of true wireless earbuds can produce a whole new listening experience for you. They’re convenient, wire-free, and create some of the best soundscapes out there.
Apple came out with the Airpods Pro in late 2019, and they retailed for a hefty $249. These days, they’re cheaper, but there are also a whole host of competitors trying to bump them out of the way. So which are the best Apple AirPods Pro alternatives? Let’s compare them head to head with five other true wireless earbuds to find out.
Apple AirPods Pro
Before we can make an accurate comparison to the AirPods Pro, we need to take a minute to spell out just what we’re comparing to. These true wireless earbuds have a whole lot of strong features going for them that drive some pretty stiff competition.
First off, these are fairly small and light, weighing only 0.19 ounces (5.4g) per bud. They’re designed to fit into your ear canals, though they have quite a shallow fit.
You have Active noise cancellation (ANC) that effectively blocks outside noises from reaching your ears. There’s also a transparency mode to intentionally allow environmental sounds through for your safety. With either mode on, you can get about 4 hours of playtime on a full charge. With these modes off, you’re looking at a max of 5 – 5.5 hours.
The charging case has been recently updated with magnets to hold a charging cable better. This case can add about 18-19 hours’ worth of charge to your earbuds, bringing the total to around 24 hours.
The sound quality
It’s high here with slightly boosted low and high ends. Still, the bass is not all that strong, and bass-heads will look elsewhere. They have automatic “adaptive EQ,” which adjusts the sound for an ideal balance, although this feature can be turned off.
Controls include only one onboard button (Apple’s force sensor). So, you need to remember how many presses activate which function.
You can activate Siri through these headphones and also take calls using the built-in mics. These mics are very clear and give pretty decent sound for your callers, though they can’t compete with a boom mic.
The AirPods Pro are also rated IPX4, which means they have a level 4 rating for water protection. Don’t wear them swimming, but you can at least splash water on them without a worry or wear them in the rain.
And the current price? About $200.
While the AirPods Pro are pretty nifty earbuds, there’s some strong competition in this field. Here are the top 5 competitors vying for the crown of “Best Apple AirPods Pro Alternative.”
Top 5 Best Apple AirPods Pro Alternatives for All Budgets 2023
1 Samsung Galaxy Buds Live – Best Quick Charging Apple AirPods Pro Alternative
The first thing you’re going to notice about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live is that they are big. I mean, fill up your whole ear big. Despite being a tiny bit heavier than AirPods (0.2 ounces or 5.6g), they are a whole lot bigger. That means they might not fit well in smaller ears.
You have a choice of 4 colors, including black, white, red, and bronze. They look a bit like ear jewelry compared to Apple’s stark, minimalist design.
I think the Galaxy Buds Live totally trump the AirPods pro. They’re driven by a whopping 12mm driver plus a passive bass port – I know, in an earbud! Samsung was smart to find help with these buds. As a premium personal accessory, they had sound legend Harman design the acoustics here to make sure they were pumping.
You get a much more robust bass sound, though it can get a bit overpowering at times, depending on your preferences. The mids and high end are also cleaner sounding than with the Apples. As a result, they are one of the best sounding Apple AirPods Pro alternatives on the market.
The ANC here works well and has transparency mode as well. Head to head with the AirPods Pro, I notice slightly poorer performance here with sudden sounds, though constant loud sounds are well blocked out.
Battery life is a win here
While you get 5.5 hours with the ANC and voice assistant turned on, that stretches to 8 hours of playtime with these features off. With their charging case, that can get you a total of 29 hours.
A quick charge here is also super-fast, giving you 1 hour of playtime with just a 5-minute charge. Like the Apples, they also support Qi wireless charging. Therefore, these are one of the best Qi compatible Apple AirPods Pro alternatives out there.
As for connections
You have Bluetooth 5.0 here with the Scalable, AAC, and SBC codecs. I’d love to see AptX here, though. For waterproofing, these buds only have an IPX2 rating. This means they’re slightly water-resistant, like for mist, but not waterproof.
These buds are normally priced at about $170, but I’ve seen them available lately as low as $90. So, that’s a huge value and why these are some of the best Apple AirPods Pro alternatives.
- Superior sound.
- Better battery life on board and in charging case.
- Support wireless charging.
- ANC is not quite as good.
- Big and bulky.
- An IPX2 rating means they’re not waterproof.
2 Bose Sport Earbuds – Best Workout and Sports Apple AirPods Pro Alternative
Bose is a legendary name in the speaker world. So, it should be no surprise they’ve engineered some top-quality earphones as well. I chose their Sport Earbuds because, at $180, they’re in about the same ballpark as the AirPods Pro.
If you thought the Galaxy Buds Live were big, these guys are a whole lot beefier. They’re 2.4 ounces (68g) each and fit in your ears with wing stabilizers. They definitely stay put, and the fit is, I think, a lot more comfortable than the previous two buds. Therefore, it’s safe to say these are some of the best fitting Apple AirPods Pro alternatives you can buy.
With 6mm drivers, the sound is not as big and intense as you’ll find with the Galaxy Buds Pro. It’s still nicely balanced, and pre-set EQs can be adjusted through the Bose mobile app according to the different types of content you’re listening to.
The biggest difference?
These earbuds don’t feature ANC. They do a great job of blocking out noise with a good fit (in other words, passive noise isolation), but that doesn’t come close to what ANC can do.
The on-board charge gives about five hours of playtime, even though they aren’t powering ANC. Also, the charging case stores only ten more hours for a total of 15 hours versus the AirPods Pro’s 24. They do charge quickly, though. A 15-minute quick charge can get you two hours of listening time.
These buds do have great Bluetooth, supporting the 5.1 version and the SBC and AAC codecs. Again, AptX would be a great addition. Finally, the IP rating here is the same as the Air Pods Pro at IPX4. This makes them sweat and rainproof but not submersible by any means.
- Comparable sound to the AirPods pro.
- Same IPX4 rating.
- Less battery storage in the charging case.
- No ANC.
- Bigger, heavier, and bulkier.
3 Sennheiser CX Plus – Best Value for the money Apple AirPods Alternative
German audio company Sennheiser has a great offer to compete with the Apple Airpods Plus – their CX Plus true wireless earbuds.
These earbuds fit fairly deep into the ear canals and may not be the best fit for all users. They’re a teeny bit heavier at 0.2 ounces (5.6 g), although less obtrusive than the AirPods. They also have that IPX4 rating which, so far, no other true wireless earbuds have been able to beat.
The sound on these earbuds is far superior to the AirPods Pro
Sennheiser uses a 7mm transducer driver here to create a great soundscape. You get a huge frequency range with strong bass, smooth mids, and clear and detailed highs.
The onboard ANC here is excellent. It blocks out steady background noises as well as sudden loud peaks with ease. Even with that turned off, the passive noise isolation works pretty well, too.
Battery performance is where these buds truly shine
With ANC off, a full charge can give you eight hours of playtime – five when it’s on. The charging case gives you an extra 16 hours, bringing the total to 24. This is the same as the AirPods but represents only three charges to their four.
The CX Plus buds support Class 1 Bluetooth 5.2, the latest version. As well as the SBC, AAC, aptX, and aptX Adaptive codecs. This is top-of-the-line and the best connection stats we’ve seen so far. Making these some of the most versatile Apple AirPods Pro alternatives you will find.
While these earbuds normally retail at $180, they’ve been seen as low as $150 lately. So check for a steal of a deal on one of the best Apple Airpods Pro alternatives you can buy.
- Excellent soundstage.
- Longer charge onboard the earbuds.
- Great ANC.
- Best Bluetooth connection.
- Deep fit may not be comfortable for everyone.
- A bit heavier than AirPods Pro.
4 Sony WF-1000XM3 – Best ANC Apple AirPods Pro Alternative
The Sony WF-1000XM3 true wireless earbuds might not win the best name competition, but let’s see how they do as an alternative to Apple’s AirPods Pro.
The design here is quite big and obtrusive. Each bud weighs 3 ounces (8.5 grams), which is the heaviest we’ve seen so far. So they’re big and heavy, so they must have a great big old battery in there, right?
Well, kind of. A full charge on these buds gives you six hours playtime with ANC on, or about eight hours with it off. The charging case adds another 16 hours for an industry average of 24 hours. Good, but not exceptional.
Unfortunately, Sony hasn’t got an IP rating for these buds
So, we can simply assume they’re not meant to go anywhere near water. That’s a shame because even IPX2 provides some protection at a very minimal cost to the producer.
With only a 6mm dynamic driver in play, Sony has done well to produce the sound they have here. The bass isn’t as deep as it could be, but everything else is quite level and clear and very much equivalent to the AirPods.
The ANC here has got to be the best on this list
It’s stunning – you don’t hear anything you don’t want to with these in your ears. Of course, there’s also an effective transparency mode for when you DO want to hear what’s going on. For Bluetooth connections, you have 5.0 onboard – good but not the latest.
The best part of these earbuds is probably the price. Though they’re normally posted at $200, I’ve seen them massively marked down to about $130-140. At that price, they become a pretty nifty bargain. Meaning they are some of the most affordable Apple AirPods Pro alternatives on the market.
- Can be on sale for a low price.
- Best ANC.
- Better battery life in earbuds.
- Big and bulky.
- No IP rating.
5 Beats Fit Pro – Best Bass Apple AirPods Pro Alternative
At $200, the Beats Fit Pro true wireless earbuds are a direct competitor with the AirPods pro, even if they’re both produced by Apple.
They’re certainly prettier
They can be had in purple, grey, black, or white and are held in your ears with special flexible soft wingtips. This keeps them from depending too much on your ear canals. At times, though, they might get uncomfortable for some wearers after extended periods. However, they’re pretty nice and light at just 0.2 ounces (5.6 g) per bud.
These buds certainly have the sleekest charging case of all the buds we’ve seen, though it seems a bit flimsy. They hold a charge of six hours with ANC on and up to seven hours with this function off.
The charging case gives you enough charge for a total of 24-30 hours (ANC on/off). Pretty impressive, and why these are some of the best battery life Apple AirPods Pro alternatives around.
The ANC is better than the Apple AirPods Pro
There’s a higher level of filtering out both constant and sudden background noises. The transparency mode is also an improvement, giving you a great balance between your surrounding and your music. However, you do get a thin level of static in the background with the ANC on, and this can disrupt very quiet music.
Overall, these sound better than their Apple teammates. You get more solid bass here, which is to be expected with Beats. They also have a cool feature called Spatial Audio which tracks your head movements while watching movies and helps to project sound in a different area to make it sound like you’re in a surround-sound theatre.
Finally, these buds are IPX4 rated for sweat and splash proofing, just like the AirPods Pro.
- Solid bass and overall clear sound.
- IPX4 rated.
- Spatial Audio onboard.
- Up to 30 hours charge including case.
- Some static is present with ANC on.
- The case is kind of flimsy.
- Same high price as AirPods Pro.
Looking for Awesome Earbuds?
We can help with that. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best iPhone Earbuds, the Best True Wireless Earbuds, the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds, and the Best Bass Earbuds you can buy in 2023.
Also, take a look at our detailed reviews of the Most Comfortable Earbuds, the Most Durable Earbuds, the Best Earbuds for Running, the Best Wireless Earbuds For Small Ears, the Best Wired Earbuds, and the Best Cheap Earbuds Under $100 currently on the market.
Which of these Best Apple AirPods Pro Alternatives should you Buy?
If you don’t like the fit of the AirPods Pro, can’t appreciate their soundscape, or simply want to try something different, all the buds I’ve presented here can be good alternatives.
However, for the quality of the Bluetooth, the battery life, and the price, I think your best choice is the…
They do have a deep fit which might not be ideal for everyone, but these buds have the best sound overall. Whichever buds you choose, I hope they work as a great alternative for you.
Until next time, happy listening.