Off-brand wireless earbuds could be the answer for anyone looking to jump on the AirPods bandwagon without breaking the bank.
If you’re familiar with the rhythms of everyday life, like going to work, meeting friends in public places, or walking two steps out of the front door, there’s a high chance you’ve encountered AirPods.
In the past year, Apple’s wireless Bluetooth headphones have become ubiquitous, positioning themselves in the ears of most everyone (even Diana Ross); and have become the subject of countless memes.
Most of those memes have focused on the supposed “status” AirPods bring. They’re state of the art accessories, and they don’t come cheap.
Yet with Apple ditching the headphone jack on the iPhone 7, and every ensuing model since, the AirPods have become the essential kit for iPhone users. Combine that with Apple’s design brilliance, and the early concerns over poor wireless connections and lost headphones have been replaced by market dominance and widespread AirPods adoption.
However, they are still not cheap. While first-generation AirPods are retailing on some websites for as low as $129, the second generation model will set you back around $199. The AirPods Pro, which were released in October 2019, cost $250.
And now, the AirSounds Pro True Wireless Earbuds, an AirPods alternative unaffiliated with Apple, could be the answer for anyone looking to jump on the bandwagon without breaking the bank.
But with Apple placing so much emphasis on the importance of on-brand accessories, can these off-brand replicas really sway the average iPhone user?
Like the second-generation AirPods, AirSounds Pro come with wireless charging and a charging case. Unlike AirPods, AirSounds Pro only cost $34.99. That number simply can’t be beaten by any Apple model.
Although the figure may be enough to sway some loyalists, the more committed among them will be looking at more than just the price.
AirSounds Pro Design and Comfort
From an aesthetic standpoint, AirSounds Pro looks strikingly similar to AirPods. In fact, if both models were placed side-by-side, all but the sharpest eyes would struggle to tell the difference between the two. Even the charging case looks the same.
As such, it’s virtually impossible to tell that they aren’t AirPods once they’re in the ear. They have a minimalist white design and are roughly the same shape and dimensions as AirPods.
For some users, these dimensions may be a problem. The ‘one size fits all’ sizing does not, in fact, fit all.
We sometimes found that the earbuds felt insecure in the ear, a problem exacerbated by activities like jogging. If you only plan to wear them at your desk or on the subway train, this won’t be a problem. But if you like to listen to music while you’re working out, you could struggle to keep the AirSounds Pro in place. Whoever experiences this problem, however, will also encounter it with AirPods due to the near-identical design.
If you’re concerned that you might face that issue, the AirSounds ensure you won’t have to spend $199 to find out.
On the plus side, the AirSounds do feel comfortable, if not snug. They are obviously feather-light and can be worn to a point where you forget you’re wearing them. The lack of a silicon bud also means they don’t feel like they’re pressing on the inside of your ear, or completely sealing you off from the outside world.
AirSounds Pro Sound Quality
The sound quality of the AirSounds is honestly impressive. Whether we were blasting the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers in its entirety, unwinding to the soothing tones of Norah Jones, or head-bopping to a mix of 80s soft rock and pop-country, the earbuds hit all the right notes.
Perhaps even too well. If you’re prone to cranking the volume and really feeling it, you may be on the receiving end of some unwelcome glares from bystanders. The AirSounds sound good, but they’re not too good at keeping the sound in (worth keeping in mind when on a private phone call).
Even so, it’s nice to know that low price doesn’t always equal tinny audio.
AirSounds Pro Connectivity
We found pairing the AirSounds with an iPhone to be very straightforward. You simply open the charging case and wait for a pop-up to appear on the phone’s screen. There were no delays, and from here on out, the AirSounds connected automatically.
This feature occasionally caused a few issues—music would start playing as soon as the earbuds were removed from the charging case, for instance—which was not ideal. Also, music wouldn’t always stop when the AirSounds were removed. It’s important to note that this is also a known complaint about AirPods, so it may just be inevitable due to the design.
Controlling AirSounds with Siri
The AirSounds play and pause music, and answer and end phone calls, when you give them a tap. As they don’t have any standard manual controls, they use Siri to change tracks, switch albums, dial contacts and so on.
To pull up Siri, you simply tap and hold either earbud to activate the voice assisted features.
For the most part, this functions well. However, if you need to reposition the earbuds because you’ve been, say, dancing to great tunes, Siri will sometimes unexpectedly open at the touch of an adjusting hand. We’ve all experienced this with our iPhones, so it’s not out of the ordinary.
Again, if the earbuds fit well and you don’t plan on dancing around with them in your ears, this is unlikely to be an issue.
AirSounds Pro Battery Life
The AirSounds have a listed battery life of four hours. If you’re on the move, a fully charged case can add another eight hours of use. While the packaging states that the earbuds need one hour for a full charge, we found that just 15 minutes in the case can yield about an hour or so of listening time.
Are AirSounds Pro Worth It?
The AirSounds Pro connect easily, sound great, and look the part. For all that you’ll get, the AirSounds’ price is more than fair. Wireless charging is also included this year.
That being said, like all true wireless earbuds, they won’t fit snugly into every ear. But if you want excellent sound quality, a stylish look, and an extremely low price, you’ll like the AirSounds Pro.
There may be a few hiccups, but having the extra $164 in your pocket more than makes up for them. Get the AirSounds Pro for only $34.99 here.