The Airpods have been a really successful product. Apple have done what they’re do best – they’ve made a piece of technology very fashionable. But for all the market demand, there are still plenty of reasons to look for alternatives.
After all, not only are they predictably overpriced (about RM849 a pop
), but they’re also a little behind on the specs game. They also kind of look funny to some.
So what alternative wireless options are there? Most people would want something COMPLETELY wireless, like the Onkyo’s W800BT or Motorola’s Verve One. Unfortunately, those are often more expensive than Apple’s Airpods.
Instead, we’re focusing on sub-RM500 products that work just as well on Androids and iPhones over Bluetooth.
1. Samsung Level U PRO BH920
RM249 (click here
Samsung sells a pair of affordable Bluetooth headphones called the Level U Pro BH920 (or just the Level U Pro as the cool kids are calling it). These may be a little more cumbersome than a pair of Airpods because of the connecting neckband, but there are plenty of plusses too.
Splash & Sweat resistance makes these earphones ideally suited for exercise junkies. Samsung have given the Level U Pro Ultra High Quality Audio (UHQA) technology too, but this is something only certain Galaxy smartphone users will be able to take advantage of.
2. Jaybird X2
RM239 (click here
It would be impossible to put together a list like this without mentioning something from Jaybird. The X2 model is relatively affordable, yet they’re amongst some of the best sounding earbuds at this price point. Plus, you’ll get eight hours of playback after charging the device for just two hours, which is more than decent.
You can easily find a pair for less than RM240. For that asking price, it’s definitely the easiest option to recommend, though the price seems to change from one retailer to the next. Four common colour options are Black, Khaki, Red, and White.
3. JBL Synchros Reflect
RM326 (click here
The Synchros Reflect are earbuds that exemplify JBL’s ability to make reasonably priced, awesome sounding products. The 8.5mm dynamic drivers provide great sound with an excellent frequency response of 10kHz-22kHz.
The Synchros Reflect are, as indicated by the ergonomic sport ear-tips, designed for use during exercise. This product gets its name from the highly reflective cable that connects the two ear pieces, which makes night runs a little safer. An angled 3.5mm connector is also appreciated, as is the general sweat proofing. A retractable tether also makes adjusting the cable length an option.
Its biggest weakness is subpar battery life, which isn’t quantified by JBL officially, but most users put around 2-4 hours. But a surprising feature is that these can be worn like a necklace thanks to integrated magnets. Doing this automatically puts the Synchros Reflect into standby mode, which prolongs the battery life.
4. SONY XB50BS
RM349 (click here
These wireless headphones from Sony are for those who appreciate a little Extra Bass in their lives. Seriously. That’s actually a major selling point of the XB50BS.
Apart from the seriously good sound that Sony promises (12mm neodymium drivers are no joke), you also get more than eighthours of battery life. Very impressive, considering the asking price of below RM350. If you like a little more bass in your running music, you can never go wrong with the XB50BS.
5. Plantronics BackBeat Go 3
RM379 (click here
Plantronics is another brand that has pushed the wireless earphone game pretty strongly. For this list, we’re recommending the BackBeat Go 3. Just like some of the others on this list, these are essentially two wireless earbuds that are connected with a cable.
And just like the coveted Apple Airpods, you can get these with a charging case. So, on top of an excellent 6.5 hour battery life, you can simply pop these into the portable charging case for two more full cycles. Pretty neat.
6. Samsung Gear IconX
RM647 (click here
Last on the list is something from Apple’s direct competitor in the smartphone space, Samsung. This pair nearly didn’t make the list, as the official asking price is RM700! But after seeing a heavily discounted pair on Lazada, we decided it was worth mentioning.
The real reasons we had to include the IconX is because it’s the only pair of wireless earphones on this list whose ear buds aren’t physically linked to each other (the others have a neckband of somesort). Despite Samsung’s best efforts, the IconX doesn’t quite match up to the Airpods’ battery life. However, there are a few of advantages to owning the IconX.
First of all, it has integrated touch controls, so you don’t have to talk to Siri to skip to the next song. It also has 4GB of onboard storage for media playback without a phone. And finally, it also comes in a number of colour variations, so you can pick one that matches your wardrobe.