AirPods and 5 other true wireless buds to consider

MANILA, Philippines – We might owe Apple an apology. Years back, when they released the AirPods, we went along with the crowd that ridiculed the company for the then-silly-looking design. (Obviously, we've changed our minds since.)

Back then, we laughed with American host Conan O’ Brien as we poked fun at the inherent losability of the device:

 

You know who’s laughing now though? Apple. In Q4 2018, their AirPods owned 60% of a market that shipped 12.5 million units that period. Apple’s been shifting to content services recently, but hey, millions of AirPods sold can’t be too bad for the bottom line, can it?

With Apple setting the table 3 years ago, now we have a sizeable range of choices for these true wireless earphones. We’ve round up here some of the most popular brands and models being thrown around online.

1) Apple AirPods

Photo from Apple

Well, of course, they’re the first choice here. No online list of best true wireless earphones, at the moment, is complete without the AirPods. Solid usability, okay sound, flawless pairing with the iPhone (not very good with Android though) are what they’re saying about these things.

“Helped by the noise-reducing mics, audio quality for calls is great, but for music it's not what you'd expect from a pair of £150-ish in-ear headphones. Volume is impressive and they're not awful by any means, especially if you consider how lovely they are to use, but don't expect thumping basslines,” said T3

Try to get the second-generation one as Apple says they have 50% more talk time and have voice-activated Siri. But if you're looking to save money, try to snag a first-generation one as they'll tend to be cheaper with the second-generation units coming in. 

International price: $159

2) Jabra Elite Active 65T

Photo from Jabra

Many call it one of the best choices for gym-goers. It has a special coating that is said to allow the buds to stick better to the ear, has IP56 sweat resistance, and has noise-isolation which the AirPods don’t have.

“The wire-free Jabra Elite Active 65t earphones are built for exercise, with secure-fitting earpieces that deliver powerful bass that can be adjusted to your liking,” said PC Mag

International price: $189.99

3) RHA TrueConnect

Photo from RHA

Said to be one of the best-sounding true wireless earphones out there, with great audio reproduction for the entire audio spectrum. It’s stylish, comes with a lot of ear tips to help users find the best fit, and has a premium feel. Also, it looks like AirPods, except it’s black.

"The RHA TrueConnect are one of the best true wireless headphones you can buy thanks to their stellar sound, reliable connection, and build quality. While they lack nice-to-have features of other true wireless headphones, the RHA TrueConnect’s core experience is one of the best," said TechRadar. 

International price: $169.95

4) Optoma Nuforce Be Free5

Photo from Optoma

Known as probably the best in the sub-$100 range. Comfortable with solid enough audio, it could be your gateway option to true wireless earbuds. Shortcomings: bad battery life and the connection drops sometimes.

"There are a few sub-£100 true wireless buds available now but truth be told, most aren't great. Optoma NuForce's candidate for sub-ton domination, by contrast, does just about everything well, and are better than many buds costing more," said T3

International price: $99

5) Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

Photo from Sennheiser

Great sound and style as expected from the premium audio brand. Also: a hefty price. It’s double that of the AirPods’.

"The unit sounds great, isn’t too heavy in your ears, and as of publish offers the best codec support of the true wireless sphere," said Soundguys.

International price: $299

6) Samsung Galaxy Buds

Photo from Samsung

At $130, it’s notably cheaper than the AirPods ($160) but it also lasts longer: 6.5 hours versus 5 hours. Audio is commendable too, tuned by the Samsung-owned AKG brand.

"The earbuds' remarkable battery life separates it from the crowd of true wireless contenders, while its easy-to-operate touch controls make quick commands a breeze," said Soundguys.

International price: $130

Bonus: Bragi Dash Pro

Best for swimmers. It’s waterproof up to 3 feet (ideal for swimmers doing steady laps in the pool) and has 4GB of memory for you to store songs in.

There's just one big problem: the company has just sold off its earbuds unit to an unnamed buyer. We’re still keeping the Dash Pro in the list though, because the brand has some great ideas, and it would be nice to see the brand resurface later in the future.

In other words, keep an eye out for the name, but hold off on buying. – Rappler.com

Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.

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