Most experts will tell you that you should never put anything smaller than an elbow in your ear. These experts, whether they be medical, or in my case my mother, are of course completely right. The ear is a very sensitive organ and should be treated correctly to protect it from harm. I personally could not think of anything worse than losing my hearing. Imagine not being able to hear nature at its best, or even the unthinkable… not being able to listen to your favorite album.
When it comes to selecting the type of earbuds that you want, you have to be very diligent in your decision. They need to be comfortable, the sound quality must be up to your expectations and, of course, they must be durable. I remember back in the 80s when I was a sound recorder for one of the local television stations, we would use either Sennheiser or AKG headphones when recording talent. These pieces of equipment would cover our entire ears. Today, technology has made everything so much smaller.
Take a look at any band that you see live. Gone are the days of massive fold-back speakers surrounding the stage, as they have now been replaced by individually fed wireless earplugs. We all know that the Apple AirPod is the world’s best-selling ear-bud, but it comes at a price. Before you make the commitment to purchasing your wireless hearable, check out the best Airpod alternatives below.
Even though you may not have heard of the TOZO brand, you may want to pay attention to what they have to offer. For a start, the bang-for-your-buck is going to just blow you away. These earbuds have been given 5-star reviews from many authorities in the industry. The T10 is TOZO’s basic set, but it still gives you 3.5 hours of listening pleasure on 1 charge.
Its 8mm speaker driver has been designed with your comfort in mind, making the ergonomically designed silicone-gel ear-tips extremely comfortable. Some of you may or may not have heard of the IPX8 rating; this simply means that these buds are good for being submerged into 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. They will come out unharmed and still producing top sound quality.
If you’re into fitness and like to work-out, and the T10 also has a sweat-proof coating on the caps, making cleaning them a breeze.
The Fonico Earbud is being marketed as the sporty alternative to the Apple AirPod, and at a glance, it is a good looking unit. It has an IPX5 rating, which means that it is rainproof and sweat-proof, and it has a playback time of 3.5 hours on a single charge. The interesting thing is that if you plug it into the portable carrying case, which doubles as a charger, you can get up to 14 hours playback.
You will receive 3 pairs of in-ear adapters when purchasing the unit as well as 2 sets of hooks. This means that you can customize the earbuds to suit your comfort level. The built-in microphone has a very good pick-up range with high quality, no voice distortion, making this unit ideal for sending commands to such devices as Siri or Google Assistant, and the earbuds themselves have a crisp, clean sound.
Samsung have been around for a long time now, and they are slowly building up their profile in the marketplace. The Samsung Galaxy Bud is another example of how they are challenging the market leaders with well=designed and marketable products. These earbuds are relatively new to the market and are what the manufacturer is stating is their answer to the AirPod. Samsung has spent considerable time working with the engineers at AKG to come up with their “enhanced listening experience.”
Basically speaking, the sound quality is excellent, coming through as clear as crystal, while also letting the ambient noise from your surroundings filter through. The “Enhanced Ambient Sound” feature is a winner. If you are an athlete, you can jog or cycle with confidence, as the ability to hear on-coming traffic is not depleted, nor is the enjoyment of your listening pleasure.
This unit will also give you up to 6 hours of streaming (Bluetooth) or 5 hours of calls. The charging case will give you up to 7 hours, while a quick 15-minute charge will give you 1.7 hours. There is also the ability to charge when pairing with the Galaxy S10 smartphone, and they also come with Samsung’s unique “Bixby Assistant,” enabling voice commands for such features as calls, track skipping, or sending text messages. You can also check the battery life of your earbuds with a simple voice command.
This is the RHA Company’s first venture into wireless headphones, and we must say, they have done an exceptional job. There has obviously been a lot of time invested in their research and development program, because what they have come up with is one of the best wireless earbuds on the market. They have managed to combine sound quality, battery life, and reliability all into one very small unit.
The TrueConnect may not have some of the features that its competitors do, but this by no means puts them behind in the marketplace. The secret to this unit is its superior sound quality and reliability, two features that are high on the list of any future consumer.
Another one of the market trendsetters, the Jabra Elite Sport, is directly aimed at the athlete, whether professional, amateur, or those who play just for fun. One of the first features on this unit that you will appreciate is the heart rate sensor in the right earpiece. This well-thought-out attribute lets the user monitor their levels of exertion while participating in their chosen sport. They also come with the “Jabra Companion App,” which helps keep track of your exercise regime. There is one thing that you must be aware of; for the heart monitor to work properly, it is vitally important that the earbud is fitted correctly.
The earpieces themselves fit perfectly, rather like a custom-made molded piece; this helps to make the the audio quality all the more impressive. For those who like a longer workout, the Jabra now boasts a 4.5-hour playtime per charge, so your exercise routine won’t be interrupted by annoying charge-ups.
The name Sennheiser is renowned for high-quality headphones. They’ve been around for years, but the Momentum is their first sore’ into the world of wireless headphones. This German company has always been known for the quality of their audio products. They have been producing professional headphones for decades and are without doubt one of the world leaders in this field.
The Momentum earbud promises you their trademark high-fidelity sound as well as a nicely designed smooth package. Even though you will only get 4 hours of playback on one charge, the carrying case has been cleverly designed to give you 2 more charges, making a total of 12 hours available to the user.
The only downfall of the Momentum is the excessive price compared to others on the market and the clumsiness of the controls. The price may be a case of paying for a name, although the quality of the product is extremely pleasing.
This is the second generation of earbuds from the Japanese mega-company Sony. Their first effort, the WF-1000X, saw a lot of differing criticisms from all corners of the globe, but those who leveled the criticism were not consistent, giving the view that Sony just could not please everyone with their first attempt at these type of products.
Now that the WF-SP770n is on the market, they are out to prove that all is not lost and that they can indeed field a product that is comparable to the top selling and more popular brands. These are a true-wireless headphone and have been tuned for better low-end frequencies. Their active noise cancellation technology is modest yet effective, and the IPX4 rating means that they are, indeed, sweat-resistant. The feeling from most reviewers, though, is that it may be best to wait for generation 3 before committing to the Sony brand.
Bang and Olufsen are another one of the long-running companies that are renowned for their speaker technology and quality. Now owned primarily by Samsung, B & O is still offering exceptional quality products. This, of course, comes with one drawback: they are quite expensive and probably out of the budget of the average consumer.
In most critic’s opinions, however, the Beoplay E8 is one of the most aesthetically pleasing earbuds available today. Even though it does not have a noise canceling option, the E8 does have an app available for it that will allow you to equalize the frequencies to suit your own liking. Another of the interesting things that B & O has done is introduce a thing called transparency. This allows you to adjust how much ambient sound you will let through. This feature is ideal for the jogger or cyclist that must maintain a sense of their environment.
It has a 4-hour playtime and utilizes Bluetooth 4.2. Even though the E8 is a little overpriced, the bottom line is that it produces fantastic sound, it looks great, and it is compact and comfortable.
The Nuheara Iqbud is one of the earbuds that has been manufactured and designed with two things in mind, comfort and functionality. They are a high-fidelity product with easy to use tap-touch controls for ease of operation. One of the nice features of this unit is the speech amplification enhancement. This means that if you are at a restaurant or work meeting and are having trouble hearing conversations, you can adjust the ambient input volume independently for each earbud.
Also, this unit is like most others in that it is sweat-proof and water-resistant, but one of the nice features is that the case will hold 4 full charges; this and the claimed 20-hour battery life make the Nuheara quite an impressive package. It is not cheap, but it is certainly worth a look, particularly if you’re in noisy environments frequently.
Bose is another one of those companies with an impressive pedigree of fine quality products, although the Soundsport earbud is probably not quite as durable as some of its competition. For a start, the moisture-resistance is not as highly rated as others, although it still comes in at an IPX4 rating.
One of the pleasing features of this product is the interchangeable sport tips, making the earbuds not only comfortable but secure at the same time. Everyone’s ear canal is different, so Bose kept this in mind when their designers went to work. Their dual microphones make calling a breeze, and when paired to an iPhone or iPad, the audio-visual sync is seamless. The other impressive feature that will immediately catch your ear is the earbud tracking system. Like a lot of small items, earbuds can be easily misplaced, but this system makes finding them again as easy as it was losing them in the first place!
How to Choose Your Earbuds
Well, there we have 10 alternatives to the AirPod that are currently available. These are, of course, not the only wireless earbuds on the market, but this list will give you an advantage when it is time to replace the old or purchase your first pair of wireless Bluetooth earphones. You will have noticed that we have not compared each one but rather given you a rundown on the features. Each one of the products we reviewed has its own special options, so it is just a matter of what options meet your needs.
As with all online purchases, take the time to do your research and be diligent about your choice, as you may have to keep it for some time to come. Be sure that you are aware of what your needs are. Are you an athlete who is going to require earbuds that will cope with all sorts of weather conditions? Do you require a certain amount of ambient sound to get through because of your work environment? Are you partially hearing impaired, so the quality and levels need to be adjusted independently? There are so many variables to consider when making the decision to purchase the earbud that best meets your requirements, so we are hopeful that this guide will help you with your decision.
Remember, it is always good to have recommendations from others that have tried and tested these different products, but only you will know what is the best earbud for your individual needs. Don’t let big brand names fool you; just because they are well-known does not mean that they are the best. Good luck with your decision, but most of all, enjoy whatever earbud that you decide is for you. Audio technology has certainly come a long way, so make the most of it.