With AirPods seemingly in a holding pattern and a 2019 launch inevitable but unconfirmed, there’s growing interest in looking at alternatives to Apple’s in-house earbuds. We’ve looked at a number of third-party alternatives that range in price from sub-$50 to $150. The latest reports seem to be pointing towards a new release from Apple this year. Those looking to upgrade now are left to examine the market for an answer. Head below for our three favorite low cost AirPod alternatives.
Update: 3/20 @ 10:00 AM: Apple’s new AirPods are officially available with a new H1 chip, wireless charging case, hands-free Hey Siri and more. These updated features come with a higher price tag, so those looking for low cost AirPod alternatives options will find some of our favorites down below.
When will new AirPods be announced?
That’s the million dollar question at this point. The latest intel seems to point to a fall release date, likely coinciding with the next generation iPhone. Much like predicting a release date, identifying a price also seems to be difficult at this point. Head over to our roundup of the latest AirPods rumors and more to find out everything we know at this point.
Low cost AirPod alternative: JLab JBuds
We recently reviewed JLab’s new JBuds truly wireless earbuds, a $49 low cost AirPod alternative. While its design may not strike the same chords as Apple, the price sure is hard to beat. Our hands-on testing revealed up to 14 hours of battery life when the case is accounted for. However that pales in comparison to AirPods which sport 24 hours total. Overall, we found them to be a solid budget-friendly alternative to AirPods and Amazon customers have largely agreed.
Mid-range AirPod alternative: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air
Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Airs arrived on the scene earlier this year with perhaps the most Apple-esque design we’ve seen to date. At $80 you’re paying a bit of a premium overall in comparison to the JLab option above, but will be rewarded with up to 20 hours of battery life. Liberty Air also delivers a host of touch sensitive controls that rival what AirPods offer. This includes playback, volume, Siri control and more. We loved them in our hands-on review and early Amazon reviews have been positive as well.
Smart AirPod alternative: Jabra Elite 65t
There’s a lot to like about Jabra’s $140 Elite 65t truly wireless earbuds. This includes a sleek design and up to 20 hours of battery life. Plus, they are made for activity with a two-year dust and water-resistant warranty. Additionally, built-in Alexa functionality brings a unique level of features that may be intriguing for some dedicated to that smart home platform. And let’s face it, Alexa is ahead of Siri in a number of ways.
Are you holding out for Apple’s new AirPods? Or have you found an alternative instead? Let us know in the comments below.