AirPods have dominated the wireless headphone market since their debut back in 2016
AirPods were not the first wireless headphones of their kind to release, but they certainly spearheaded an industry trend of cutting the cord entirely when listening to audio.
AirPods were upgraded by Apple earlier this year – the firm released a second-generation of the product with improved battery life and a case supporting wireless charging.
While the product update was iterative to say the least, it did refine AirPods to be an even better pair of buds than they already were.
AirPods is not without competition though – in recent months esteemed OEMs like Samsung and Jaybird have been hard at work to match, if not outperform, Apple’s offering.
Here is Express.co.uk’s list of the best AirPods alternatives.
Samsung Galaxy Buds – £139
Galaxy Buds make no secret of being Samsung’s valiant effort to challenge its greatest rival.
Just like Apple’s popular offering, the Galaxy Buds attempt to deliver great battery life, laudable portability and nifty functions such as wireless charging.
The biggest difference between the Galaxy Buds and AirPods stems from the fact the former adopts an in-ear design.
This allows the South Korean headphones to slot and stay in a user’s ear more easily, providing greater levels of noise cancellation in the process.
Express.co.uk has already reviewed the Galaxy Buds – we were thoroughly impressed with them to say the least.
Technology Editor David Snelling praised them for delivering crisp audio and a great fit.
Our only significant gripe concerned the Buds’ finicky touch controls that are used to pause, play and skip tracks.
Samsung Galaxy Buds – 4/5
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds released alongside its S10 flagship
Sony WF-1000XM3 – £219
While the name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, Sony’s latest wireless headphone venture is leaps and bounds ahead of AirPods in one vital area, noise cancellation.
Sony is renowned for the noise cancellation technology its has debuted inside its over-ear cans, but now the firm has attempted to deliver the nifty functionality inside a smaller pair of truly wireless buds.
While certainly not as powerful as its bigger brothers, the WF-1000XM3’s manage to block out a ludicrous amount of background noise when playing music.
To be expected, the buds’ technology is not powerful enough to eliminate outside sounds when they are on but audio is not playing.
In terms of its design, the Sony buds look and feel premium – they boast controls for music playback but unfortunately do not allow users to change volume on the fly.
While certainly not a deal breaker, this does mean you will need your phone to hand if you want to make things louder or quieter.
The WF-1000XM3’s stick out of a user’s ear more than we would like, but its scale can be forgiven for the incredible noise cancellation technologies the Japanese company has housed inside these buds.
Similarly, the case for the headphones is noticeably larger than Apple’s offering and therefore makes them more difficult to fit into a pocket for instance.
Finally, the buds do not come with any kind of sweat or water resistance, making them difficult to recommend for fitness fanatics.
Sony WF-1000XM3 – 4/5
The Sony WF-1000XM3’s feature the best noise cancelling of any truly wireless headphones
Powerbeats Pro – £219.95
Powerbeats Pro stormed onto shelves earlier this year and were practically unmissable thanks to a slick marketing campaign featuring contemporary sports icons like Anthony Joshua.
The Powerbeats are practically unrivalled when it comes to fitting – the buds themselves feature a hook that wraps around the user’s ear to ensure they will not fall out when running or doing other intense activities.
As noted by Technology Editor David Snelling in his review of the product, the Powerbeats deliver impressive audio quality with punchy bass.
The headphones are also sweat and water resistant, making them a compelling audio option for anyone that stays active or desires a pair of buds that can take some punishment.
Our only gripe with the Powerbeats is that the case housing them is larger than most of its rivals.
Powerbeats Pro – 5/5
The Powerbeats are practically unrivalled when it comes to fitting
Jaybird Vista – £159
Jaybird has established itself as brand dedicated to providing active people with portable, rugged and great sounding headphones.
The firm’s new Vista buds are quite simply the best overall wireless headphones around.
First and foremost, the headphones tote an in-ear design and allow users to add a fin to the top of them to provide a more secure fit.
The buds offer great sound that is aided further by Jaybird’s smartphone application that allows owners to fine tune its mids, lows and highs to their preference.
Vista’s trump card over AirPods comes from its IPX7 water resistance rating that allows the most dedicated of fitness enthusiasts to go running in the rain without fear their headphones will give out on them.
Jaybird also claims its new Vista buds are sweat-proof and have been tested to survive if an owner accidentally steps on an individual headphone.
Topping the product off is its case that is slim and just as rugged as the buds themselves.
The only feature the product lacks is support for wireless charging, however this is not a feature we ever missed during our extensive testing.
Jaybird Vista – 5/5
Jaybird’s new Vista buds are quite simply the best overall wireless headphones around
RHA TrueConnect – £149.95
The RHA TrueConnect wireless headphones challenge Apple’s AirPods with a subtle but stylish design, stupendous battery life and a durable build.
The buds themselves look similar to AirPods – both feature a stem below the actual bud itself that RHA claims is used to improve call quality.
Once plugging into your ears you’ll get around five hours of playtime plus there’s another 20 hours of battery from charging case.
The overall sound quality from the TrueConnect is impressive with plenty of depth to your favourite music.
They are also IPX5 sweat, splash and weather resistant.
We really like the TrueConnect but we’re not convinced they offer anything better than the AirPods and their relatively high price means we’d probably recommend Apple’s headphones over these.
RHA TrueConnect – 4/5
The RHA TrueConnect wireless headphones are incredibly capable