Tuesday, January 11, 2022

AirPods 3 Alternatives

Julio Ojeda-Zapata:

[There] are good reasons that the $199 Beats Fit Pro, not the $179 AirPods, may be your next Apple earbuds.

For an up-to-date comprehensive overview of the Apple earbud landscape, consult a mega-chart I created to compare features found on Apple and Beats audio products (including recently discontinued ones of historical interest).


That’s where you’ll find a physical button to deal with phone calls and music playback, as with the Studio Buds. This button is quite different from the force sensor squeeze controls found on the third-generation AirPods’ stem (and on the older, pricier AirPods Pro). I love the force sensor, and I find the Beats button a bit clunky and too easy to engage accidentally, but I’m getting used to it.

That stem absence makes the Fit Pro buds incredibly compact (and thereby easier to lose, so be careful).

They have Active Noise Cancellation.

I really like AirPods 3. It’s very comfortable yet stable, like the original AirPods, and works better for calls/Zoom and exercising than AirPods Pro. If I had to pick one, though, it would be AirPods Pro because of the ANC.

I’ve also been trying some of the less expensive alternatives, to test them with ToothFairy and also to see whether you get what you pay for.

The Mpow MX3 is only $25.89. It has Qi charging (along with USB-C) and IPX4 like AirPods 3. You can press and hold the top to increase (right bud) or decrease (left bud) the volume, double-tap to play/pause, or triple-tap to change tracks (right for next, left for previous). A tap and then hold activates Siri. A single tap answers a call, and a double-tap hangs up. The downsides are that the buds (and case) are huge and feel less secure in my ears and any of the AirPods. They also don’t auto-pause when you take them out of your ear.

The Mpow X3 is $49.99 and has ANC and IPX8 but no Qi charging. You have to manually enable the ANC (press and hold the right bud) for each session, which gives you an annoying spoken confirmation, and it doesn’t reduce the noise as much as AirPods Pro. The case is smaller, but still much larger than an AirPods case. It’s difficult to slide the earbuds out of the case.

The main Apple advantages:

So, basically, the Mpow earbuds do work, but AirPods are certainly much nicer.

Some other alternatives with good reviews are:


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If you're looking for a solid Airpods clone, the Taotronics SoundLiberty 95 were pretty astonishing for the price. Audio is a little warm, but 13mm give it stellar bass and the sound quality feels on par with the original AirPods. Pairing was fast and consistent as well, and build quality was good. They won't hold up to $150+ earbuds but for $30 they were a steal.

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