I in contrast $35 AirPods knockoffs to the actual factor. This is what I came upon



Can you notice the AirPods imposter?

Rick Broida/CNET

Check out this photograph. Two pairs of Apple AirPods, proper? Nope: One among them is a clone, a knockoff, an off-brand duplicate. In case you’ve seen these earlier than — and so they’re sort of all over the place — I am going to wager you questioned the identical factor I did: How do they examine? Can $35 true-wireless earbuds probably rival Apple’s $159 ones?

Because the Cheapskate, I desperately needed to search out out. I’ve examined a great deal of earbuds earlier than, however all of them had totally different designs; none of them have been actual AirPod copycats. This time, I actually needed to check, effectively, apples to Apples.

AirPods vs. AirSounds

Learn extra: The most effective true-wireless earbuds for 2019

For this take a look at, I ended up going with the AirSounds True Wi-fi Earbuds, which value $35 and are bought by ZDNet Academy + Offers. (Cheapskate readers can get them for $28 with promo code CNETBUDS20.) Not solely have they got “Air” proper within the title, they bear an extremely shut resemblance to AirPods — not less than in images.

However how would they fare in actual life? Would they be comfy? Simple to make use of? How would they sound? The outcomes have been shocking — but in addition not shocking. Learn on.


I’ve at all times discovered Apple’s EarPods — the wired headphones which might be included within the field with iPhones — to be a cushty match, and the identical goes for AirPods, regardless that the latter are only a hair bigger. That is not true for everybody, although; some of us discover them too massive or too small. It actually simply is dependent upon the scale of your ears.

Though the AirSounds and AirPods instances are bodily equivalent and inside a millimeter of being the very same measurement, the earbuds themselves are barely totally different.


With their instances open, it is simpler to inform which earbuds are Apple’s.

Rick Broida/CNET

Particularly, the earbud a part of the AirSounds is bigger — only a tiny bit, however sufficient to place a bit of stress on my ear cartilage and really feel uncomfortable after possibly 20 to 30 minutes.

Your mileage might range. If EarPods or AirPods are inclined to fall out of your ears, the AirSounds would possibly show an ideal match.


By way of options, the AirPods blow the AirSounds out of the water; the latter has not one of the superior options of the previous, like robotically pausing playback once you take one out of your ear.

I can stay with that, however I am unable to stay with out auto-connect. With AirPods, you flip open the case and presto: They energy on and hook up with your telephone. The AirSounds should be powered on manually (utilizing an awkwardly small button on every earbud). As soon as you’ve got performed that, they rapidly pair with one another and your telephone (and supply an audio cue that that is occurred). It is hardly a hardship, however as soon as you’ve got grown accustomed to auto-connecting earbuds, you’ll be able to’t return.

Equally, the AirPods robotically disconnect and recharge once you put them again of their case. The AirSounds should be manually powered off, and charging would not occur except you push the button on the case. 

Oddly (and, I suppose, conveniently), you’ll be able to flip each AirSounds off simply by urgent and holding one of many energy buttons. However a double-press would not replay a monitor, as indicated within the directions. As a substitute, it invokes Siri (arguably a greater consequence).

The AirPods case fees by way of Lightning (or a Qi charging pad, should you paid further for the wi-fi charging case) and guarantees a whopping 4 full recharges, for upward of 24 hours of complete listening time. The AirSounds case: Micro-USB and two to 3 recharges, for round 11 hours of complete listening time.

Outside efficiency

Though the AirSounds make use of Bluetooth 5.0 (in accordance with the accompanying guide; the product web page signifies Bluetooth 4.2), they’ve some connectivity points. Indoors, if I merely cupped my hand over one ear or the opposite, the sound would drop out. Even worse, after I ventured exterior to go for a run, dropouts grew to become an actual downside — to the purpose the place I merely cannot suggest these for runners.

I’ve encountered related points with different Bluetooth earphones; a few of them merely do not work effectively open air as a result of your head will get in the best way of the sign, which has nothing to bounce off like once you’re indoors. However my AirPods haven’t got that downside, and neither do many of the different Bluetooth 5.Zero true-wireless earbuds I’ve examined currently.

Sound high quality

That is arguably the one most vital facet of any headphone, and it is the place I anticipated the AirSounds to fare the worst. I will not say AirPods are the best-sounding earbuds on the planet, however to my ears they’re properly balanced, if a bit missing in bass. (No shock there: They do not create the inner-ear seal of earbuds just like the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air, and it is that seal that actually amps up the bass.)

Think about my shock, then, to find that the AirSounds sounded fairly darn good. Higher than the AirPods? No. However respectable total? Sure. They do not provide the vary, the element, afforded by AirPods, however should you’re simply knocking round the home doing chores, sitting on a prepare listening to podcasts, and so on., I feel they’re completely advantageous, particularly contemplating the value.



Whether or not it is made by Apple or some no-name firm, this nonetheless is not an excellent look.

Rick Broida/CNET

So, assuming you just like the look of Apple’s AirPods (extra on that in a second), do you have to save your self $124 (!) and purchase the AirSounds as a substitute? As a lot as I might prefer to say sure, that they are ok for what they’re, the reality is there are higher true-wireless earbud choices on this worth vary.

Certainly, my query is whether or not an AirPod clone is sensible in any respect. They’re nonetheless fairly dorky-looking, should you ask me, so except it is a standing factor — like carrying a pretend Rolex — I might take a look at any variety of AirPod alternate options.

For instance, the aforementioned Soundcore Liberty Air are half the value ($80) and higher at bass because of their noise-isolating design. You can even get pleasure from respectable sound from the TaoTronics TWS TT-BH053, which run $50. Though each fashions mimic the AirPods”http://www.cnet.com/”pipe” design, they’re black, not white, and due to this fact much less conspicuous.

I additionally proceed to be a fan of the BlitzWolf BW-FYE1, that are essentially the most comfy earbuds I personal and provide the auto-connection and auto-recharging options I like. They’re a steal at $33 with promo code CNETBWFYE1.

Hey, I just like the AirPods effectively sufficient, I simply do not feel they’re value $159 — not when there are better-sounding, better-looking alternate options priced significantly decrease.


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