Thursday, March 9, 2017

Half the AirPods for a Tenth the Price

Adam C. Engst:

I won’t pretend that either of these earbuds is anywhere near as good as Apple’s AirPods. They’re not: their Bluetooth pairing can be annoying, audio quality won’t be as good, battery life is shorter, it’s more difficult to plug in their charging cables, their microphone quality is weak, and neither supports Siri or voice commands. And heck, you only get one, something that AirPods allow but don’t require.

But these earbuds are so cheap that you may not care. I wrote this while at the ASMC Summit, a conference for independent Apple resellers, and when I showed these two little earbuds to one attendee, he said that he didn’t even bring his AirPods to the conference for fear of losing them. Just as the best digital camera is the one in your pocket, the best earbud is the one you have with you.

Also, I’m talking about a category which has many more than these two entrants. When you search for “Bluetooth earbud” on Amazon, you’ll see a variety of comparable products with slightly different industrial designs that you might find more compelling. Some are as cheap as $5, and there’s no reason I can see to spend more than $20 given how similar they look. I wouldn’t expect any of them to last for all that long, and they’d be easy to lose, but a super low price makes up for a lot of sins.

Prior to getting AirPods, I used a Jawbone headset, which had many of the same issues, except that it cost almost as much as the AirPods. Even so, I usually preferred it to wired earbuds. So even if you don’t want AirPods, I recommend giving one of these a try.

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