Apple AirPods rival: Here are the best truly wireless headphones you can get instead

Apple AirPods rival: Here are the best truly wireless headphones you can get instead

- in Technology

AirPods have dominated the wireless headphone market since their debut back in 2016 (Image: Apple)

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’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. 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

AirPods rival

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds released alongside its S10 flagship (Image: Samsung)

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

AirPods rival

The Sony WF-1000XM3’s feature the best noise cancelling of any truly wireless headphones (Image: Sony)

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

AirPods rival

The Powerbeats are practically unrivalled when it comes to fitting (Image: Beats)