When I first saw the new AUKEY Key Series True Wireless Earbuds, I found the number of features at such a low price point to be quite jarring. With Qi charging built-in, these earbuds are in direct competition with Apple’s recent top-tier release and yet they still manage to clock in at around half of the price.
Being an AirPods owner, I thought it would be interesting to write up a review that pits both Apple and AUKEY’s earbuds head-to-head. If you’re on the fence about buying AirPods, continue reading to see if the new AUKEY Key Series earbuds are a worthy alternative.
Comfort and design
Considering the AUKEY Key Series Earbuds feature an in-ear design, they are anything but a ripoff of AirPods. Some folks prefer in-ear headphones for noise isolation and stability, but I am not one of them. Despite countless attempts, I have never found a pair of in-ear headphones that did not hurt my ears. This is not a knock on AUKEY’s headphones, but rather a quick mention that just as AirPods’ loose-fitting design is not for everyone, neither are those with an in-ear form-factor.
When it comes to design, I find the AUKEY Key Series to be quite attractive. A dark gray color is accented by metallic logo and ring, providing a stealthy appearance that’s also a bit fancy. The metallic portion of the earbuds is capacitive, providing a slew of additional ways to control audio playback when compared to AirPods.
When it comes to AirPods, users are able to double tap either earbud to perform a customizable command. These custom actions include skipping back or forward, playing or pausing, or activating Siri. While actions of the AUKEY Key Series earbuds cannot be tweaked, they seem to have all the bases covered with single, double, or triple tap commands along with a long press option too.
Tapping once on either earbud will play/pause or answer/end phone calls. A double-tap on left or right earbuds will skip back or forward, respectively. Triple tapping will activate Siri on an iPhone or Google Assistant on Android devices. A long press on the left or right earbud will lower or increase the volume. This is my favorite feature as I frequently adjust volume.
Volume and audio quality
When compared to AirPods, I found audio quality to be nearly identical. There were only a few occasions in which I would say AirPods sounded better than the AUKEY Key Series earbuds. I activated Siri quite a bit and microphones worked reliably with accurate interpretations each time. Phone calls also sounded just fine too. AUKEY’s earbuds were noticeably louder than AirPods, but I did not find this to be very surprising when considering one sports an in-ear design and the other does not.
Charging and battery life
If you’ve been eyeing AirPod alternatives, you’re likely aware just how hard it can be to find an option with USB-C connectivity. Many stick with microUSB which is very disappointing considering that MacBooks, ChromeBooks, Android devices and even iPad Pros have adopted USB-C. Not only do the AUKEY Key Series earbuds sport USB-C, they are also able to charge wirelessly. This is easily the most notable feature of these budget-friendly headphones.
Despite having a charging case that is roughly twice the volume of the one paired with AirPods, the AUKEY Key Series earbuds are only able to match the battery life in Apple’s offering. Each earbud offers 7 hours of battery life on a single charge with 17 hours of refills inside the 400mAh case.
At $110 (or less), the AUKEY Key Series True Wireless Earbuds are easily one of the best AirPod competitors I have seen. By choosing to add USB-C and Qi charging, AUKEY is an easy recommendation when compared with other alternatives. By pairing these high-end charging capabilities with a plethora of touch commands, it’s becoming very clear that the next iteration of AirPods will have much stiffer competition if they don’t kick things up a notch.
All that being said, features like simple battery life monitoring, easy device switching, and hands-free Hey Siri are what continue to give AirPods a leg up against its competition. Many of these features are only supported on iOS though, making it very easy for Android users to pass up on Apple’s highly-priced earbuds and opt for the new AUKEY Key Series Earbuds.
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