7 Great AirPods Pro Alternatives That Cost Much Less

from apple AirPods Pro 2 are some of the best wireless headphones out there. Small and lightweight, these headphones include quality audio and voice call capabilities, while fitting snugly in your ear. But let’s be honest – they are expensive. Apple rarely cuts prices on its products, and when it does, there’s always an updated model you can opt for. However, there are more wallet-friendly alternatives available. You might ask yourself, “Is it possible to spend less than $100 on a pair of headphones that compare to the AirPods Pro?” At this time of year, the answer is a resounding yes.

You won’t get some of the AirPods Pro’s bonus features like hands-free Siri or Apple’s Spatial Audio virtual surround mode for watching movies and TV shows, but the alternatives listed below offer key performance attributes like sound and voice calls. They also feature decent active noise cancellation, are well designed, and fit comfortably. Note that all of these options work with iOS and Android devices and aren’t Apple-centric like the AirPods Pro.

I’ll update this list as new models arrive, but here are the best “cheap” noise-canceling true wireless headphones I’m impressed with right now.

See more information: Best Cheap True-Wireless Headphones Under $100 for 2023


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Earfun has released a series of wireless headphones over the last couple of years with one important commonality: they’re all very good values, made even more so by frequent discounts. The company’s new Earfun Air Pro 3 headphones for 2023 feature the latest Qualcomm QCC3071 system on a chip with aptX Adaptive for Android and other devices that support the new LE Audio standard and LC3 audio codec, which is superior to the SBC codec (they also support AAC for Apple devices).

Lightweight and comfortable to wear – I got a good seal with the larger eartip size – not a huge upgrade over the Earfun Air S, but better. They have slightly larger wool composite drivers (11mm versus 10mm), slightly improved noise cancellation, and better battery life (up to seven hours with noise cancellation turned on, according to Earfun).

All in all, the Earfun Air 3 offers a strong performer for its modest price, with robust bass, good clarity and a relatively wide soundstage. They also include many features, including a wireless charging case and “multi-device” connectivity. (I could pair them with two devices simultaneously, but I had to pause the music on one device and hit play on the other for the audio to change.) They’re IPX5 splash-proof and also perform as well (though not exceptionally well) as a headset for making calls.

Please note that after activating the 10% off Amazon Instant Coupon, adding the code EAP3CNET at checkout gives you an additional 20% off, bringing the price of the buttons down to $56.

Read our Earfun Air Pro 3 review.

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battery life

Rating up to 10 hours

noise cancellation

Yes (adaptable)

multipoint

Yes

headphone type

wireless headphones

Waterproof

Yes (IPX5 — protection against low pressure water currents)

Over the years, JBL has released some decent wireless headphones, but nothing that I was really excited about. That has finally changed with the arrival of Samsung’s brand new Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 buttons. Both sets of buds – the Live Pro 2 has rods while the Live Free 2 has a pill-shaped design – offer a comfortable fit along with strong noise cancellation, very good sound quality and voice call performance, as well as a robust set of features, including multipoint Bluetooth pairing, an IPX5 splash-proof rating, and wireless charging.

Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 are equipped with the same 11mm drivers, six microphones, oval tubes and oval silicone tips. Aside from design, the biggest difference between the two buds is their battery life; the stemless Live Free 2 is rated for up to seven hours, while the Live Pro 2 is rated for 10 hours. The Live Pro 2 is available in four color options.

Read our first take on the JBL Live Pro 2.

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anker

While their sound isn’t on par with high-end headphones like Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3, which cost significantly more, the Soundcore by Anker Liberty 4 headphones have a strong set of features including a space audio mode with head tracking, multipoint Bluetooth pairing, up to nine hours of battery life, wireless charging, and support for Sony’s LDAC audio codec that can offer sound improvements if you have the setup right.

Compared to the better-sounding buds I’ve reviewed, they lack some overall clarity, precision, and bass definition. But most people think they sound great – they play really loud and pump out some punchy bass – and you can adjust the sound profile in the app, or create a personal HearID sound profile (also works for noise cancellation).

Read our Soundcore by Anker Liberty 4 review.

earfun

battery life

Rating up to 6 hours

noise cancellation

Yes (ANC)

multipoint

Yes

headphone type

wireless headphones

Waterproof

Yes (IPX5 — protection against low pressure water currents)

In the past, we’ve recommended Earfun’s AirPro SV and Air Pro 2 as excellent noise-canceling headphone options (they’re still good values). But the Earfun Air S, released in the second half of 2022, is undoubtedly a step up from these models and slightly behind the new Earfun Air Pro 3 for 2023. Equipped with a Qualcomm QCC3046 chip, the Air S buds have Bluetooth pairing multipoint and support the aptX audio codec for Android and other devices that support it. They have the same 10mm fleece drivers as the AirPro SV and deliver surprisingly impressive sound for their modest price. They also work well (but exceptionally well) as headphones for taking calls with decent background noise reduction. The buttons have an IPX5 water resistance rating, meaning they are splash-proof and can withstand a continuous jet of water.

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David Carnoy/CNET

battery life

Rating up to 6 hours

noise cancellation

Yes (ANC)

multipoint

No

headphone type

wireless headphones

Waterproof

Yes (IPX4 — splash proof)

The Soundpeats Air Pro 3 are lightweight buds that sound great and offer decent noise cancellation for their modest price. They use Qualcomm’s latest QCC3046 chipset (Bluetooth 5.2) with aptX Adaptive Bluetooth audio streaming compatible with many Android smartphones. IPX4 splash-proof, they have a six-hour battery life with an additional three charges in their compact charging case, which is about the same size as the case on the AirPods Pro.

While the buds’ biggest strengths are their lightweight design and sound quality (you get a big, bold sound with punchy bass that just lacks that little bit of clarity and definition that higher-end buds provide), the only downside is the Voice call performance is only so-so—callers said microphone pickup and voice clarity weren’t as good as some headphones we’ve tested, and background noise reduction wasn’t great either. In other words, don’t buy if voice calling is a priority.

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The Earfun Air Pro SV has a few things going for it. First, they sound surprisingly good for a set of headphones in this price range. They feature a big, open sound with well-defined bass and good clarity. They’re also light and comfortable to wear, their noise cancellation is effective, and they have a pretty natural sound transparency mode that lets in ambient sound if you want to hear the outside world around you for safety reasons.

Earfun is highlighting how you can see the square stems of the buds through the case – there’s a small window – but other than the stems, the buds themselves are similar in shape and design to the AirPods Pro. While the case offers wireless charging, the earbuds lack a sensor that pauses music when you take them out of your ears (you can use a single earbud if you like) and resumes playback when you put them back in. reasonably well. They’re IPX5 splash-proof, and battery life is rated at six hours with noise cancellation turned on. There’s also a low-latency game mode, and you can update button firmware and adjust sound settings in a companion app for iOS and Android.

Earfun talks about them having “six professional microphones for an impressive call experience” – and they work decently enough for calls – but I was a little disappointed with the noise reduction when using them on the streets of New York. Other than that small gripe, they’re a pretty good value, particularly now that Earfun is offering them for $54 when you enter the code. BFH306 (40% off) at checkout on their website.

Read our first take on the Earfun Air Pro SV.

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battery life

Rating up to 8 hours

noise cancellation

Yes (ANC)

multipoint

No

headphone type

wireless headphones

Waterproof

Yes (IPX4 — splash proof)

TCL is best known for its high-quality, high-value Roku TVs, but it has moved into the headphone arena in recent years. I wasn’t too impressed with its earlier models, but its latest Moveaudio S600 offers excellent sound and good active noise cancellation, as well as decent battery life (up to 6.2 hours with noise cancellation on and eight hours with it off, with three extra charges from the charging case). I found the headset’s performance for voice calls to be decent, but not up to the level of the AirPods Pro. The charging case offers wireless charging.

They’re a little more geared towards Android users – TCL makes budget Android phones, after all – and feature Google Fast Pair. That said, they work well with iPhones, and TCL’s companion app is available for iOS and Android (you can customize the sound and touch controls in the app). The headphones support the AAC audio codec, but not aptX.

They automatically pause your music when you pull the headphones out and are IP54 splash and dust proof. The temples are a little long, but the earbuds fit me comfortably and I was able to get a tight seal using the larger ear tips. The S600 is available in three color options and is currently on sale for $60 when you apply the $40 Amazon Instant Coupon (be sure to check the box on the product page to get 40% off).

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