Top 5 truly wireless earbuds 2020 – AirPods competitors
Here’s our top five pick of the best truly wireless earbuds to compete with the Apple AirPods.
It’s hard to rank AirPods or AirPods Pro in this list, as these are a fantastic set of wireless earbuds, but largely due to their smart features specifically for Apple devices. So if you’re after a pair of buds exclusively for your iPhone or Mac, find AirPods Pro on sale here for $219.99. Otherwise, checkout our top 5 Android/PC alternatives.
1. Samsung Galaxy Buds+ – $130 (sale price)
- Exactly what you want to hear. Galaxy Buds+ are the perfect fitting earbuds to isolate you from distracting noises, so you can stay focused on what you want. And if you’d like to filter in some of the outside world to be more in-tune with your surroundings, you can switch on Ambient Aware2. Hear flight announcements, oncoming traffic or your order number while still enjoying your favorite playlist or podcast.
- 22 hours of serious sound. Get up to 11 hours of nonstop music on a single charge, then pop your Galaxy Buds+ in the wireless charging case and get nearly 11 more. Forgot to charge them the night before? No worries. 3 minutes of charging gives you one hour of play time, so you have enough juice for your commute or workout.
- Your voice, loud and clear. Ensure you’re heard clearly. A dedicated internal and two external microphones pick up your voice and isolate it from outside noises. When you’re on a call, your voice comes through richly and confidently, even in noisy locations.
- Android & iOS compatible. Pair with smart devices via Bluetooth. Use the Galaxy Wearable app on Android and Galaxy Buds+ app on iOS to make the most of your earphones.
- Included Components: 3 Size Eargel
The best pair of wireless earbuds are easy to recommend as they’re also the cheapest. While they lack active noise cancellation, their in-ear seal provides great isolation for loud environments, and even better than the Galaxy Buds Live with ANC. Great sound quality, along with a small, lightweight design, plus great battery and a compact wireless charging case will keep you going for days.
2. Samsung Galaxy Buds Live – $169.99
- Hear every sound come alive. 12mm speakers with sound by AKG work together with Galaxy Buds Live’s ergonomic design to deliver spacious sound, while the large driver and bass duct help emit deep bass with air flow that lets sound flow seamlessly.
- Made for your ears. Galaxy Buds Live sit softly inside the ear, giving you a fit for all-day comfort with less fatigue.
- Active Noise Cancellation. The first Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) for open type on Galaxy’s true wireless buds keeps the noise out, but lets the world in. It reduces background noises without missing what’s important, like voices and announcements, so you hear more of what you want to hear
Samsung take both the top and second spot. Both were released this year and serve different users. The Buds Live, while having noise cancellation won’t block out all outside noise due to their open (not in-ear) design. A fresh and discreet design nicely separate them from the crowd of stem and disc-shaped competitors. Once again good sound quality, great battery, compact wireless charging case and great noise reduction of background sounds during calls.
3. Google Pixel Buds – $179
- Comfortable to wear Google Pixel Buds have been created with custom-designed, 12mm dynamic speaker drivers to provide you with high-quality sound and up to 5 hours of listening time, with just one charge. There’s also real-time language translation and access to Google Assistant – directly in your ear.
- With 12mm dynamic speaker drivers, along with beamforming microphones and voice accelerometers the Google Pixel Buds’ ensure you receive crisp sound quality, and once connected to a compatible mobile phone, that your calls are crystal clear, too.
- Supplied with three eartip sizes and a stabilizer arc, Google Pixel Buds have been designed to fit just about everyone, making sure, they stay in place whilst creating a comfortable, gentle seal for sound. Handily, a spatial vent lets you keep aware of what’s going on around you, and helps to reduce a plugged-ear sensation.
- Just say “Hey Google,” or press and hold the earbud to talk to the Google Assistant right from your Google Pixel Buds. Google Pixel Buds also give you real-time translation, so you can always communicate with ease.
- Easily connect your Google Pixel Buds to Android, iOS, or any Bluetooth 4.0+ device – they even pair with Pixel phone (sold separately) in just a tap. Get up to 5 hours of listening time with one charge, or up to 24 hours using the wireless charging case.
- Adaptive Sound adjusts the volume for you as you move between quiet and noisy environments – please be aware however, this feature requires an Android 6.0+ device to work.
- If you misplace your earbuds, just use Find My Device to locate them by making the earbuds ring.
If you’re a die hard Google-Assistant user, these may be the ones for you. The assistant is just two words away from listening to your commands. A recent software update has fixed many of the issues users were having with connectivity and adds more useful features. The Pixel Buds and compact wireless charging case aesthetically look nice, produce good sound quality, but suffer with not the most confortable design, average battery life and no ANC.
4. Sony WF-1000XM3 – $178 (sale price)
- Industry leading noise canceling with HD noise canceling processor QN1e
- 24bit Audio signal processing delivers dramatically improved sound quality
- Battery life up to 24 hours with carrying case (with 10min quick charge for 90min of play time)
- Easy and clear hands free calling; Leave your phone where it is, just speak with a double tap to the earbud
- Truly wireless design with uninterrupted L/R simultaneous Bluetooth transmission
- Alexa enabled for voice access to music, information, and more. Activate with a simple touch.
- In the box: Charging case, triple comfort earbuds (S, M, L × 2) long hybrid silicone rubber earbuds (stainless, S, M, L × 2), card, operating instruction, Reference guide, USB type C cable (Approx. 20 centimeter)
- Smart listening by adaptive sound control automatically switches to ambient sound mode based on your activity
- Quick attention mode and wearing detection make conversations effortless
- Sony, headphones connect app for Android/iOS to use smart listening technology to control your ambient sound settings
Based on the similarly named, highly praised and recently updated WH-1000XM3 over-ear headphones. True active noise cancellation, as well as in-ear tip, puts these at the top for sound quality and noise cancelling, however being released over a year ago, these are starting to show their age. A bulky design, no sweat or water resistance, nor multiple device support. They can often be found on discount, but you may want to hold off for the next generation.
5. Microsoft Surface Earbuds – $199.99
- Ultra-comfortable and stable fit. Find your perfect size with three sets of interchangeable silicone ear tips for an ultra-comfortable and stable fit you can wear all-day.
- The responsive touch surface enables intuitive gestures like tap, touch, and swipe. Skip a music track, adjust the volume, answer and end calls, or get assistance without missing a beat.
- Premium sound for music, calls, and shows. Surface Earbuds features custom-designed drivers that are precisely-tuned to deliver an exceptional acoustic experience.
- All-day battery that keeps up with you. Get up to 24 hours of battery life with the included charging case. That’s up to 8 hours on a single charge, with additional charges in the case.
- Let your voice do the typing. Talk rather than type with dictation in Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint.
Sound quality, battery life, and Microsoft Office integration are all great on the Surface Earbuds, however very large buds, no ANC and no wireless charging case is poor at $200.
Click here for the top five over/on-ear headphones with ANC.