Is it better to spend the sky-high amount of $159 when there is an identical wireless variant of earbuds for $35? Join us in our honest review to find out!
Is a True Copy Actually Better Than the Original?
Once you place the two side by side, it’s extremely hard to tell the difference between them; physically, at least. But if the copy isn’t as good in other performances, it really makes no difference if the price is one quarter lower, or the fact they look identical. The million dollar question we are facing here is — can a $35 true-wireless earbuds’ clone rival Apple’s famous $159 ones in any way?
We’re confident that there are many cheapskates out there desperately dying to find out. As it happens, we have tested numerous earbuds before, but none of them were the perfect replica of AirPod. This time, however, we really wanted to make a compliment with this knockoff which looks precisely like the original.
For the sake of our test, we decided to go with the $35 AirSounds True Wireless Earbuds we purchased on ZDnet Academy + Deals. What we noticed first was the ’Air’ in the name, and since they look identical to the original, it’s easy for some rookie to confuse them completely.
Is the knockoff actually easy to use, comfortable, and useful in real-life situations? The results were not so surprising — at least to us.
How Well Do They Fit?
We found that Apple’s EarPods, which come in the box with an iPhone, are very comfortable and fit perfectly. The same goes for AirPods.
We’ve always thought that Apple’s EarPods — the wired headphones which are included with iPhones — are a comfortable fit. And the same thing goes for AirPods, regardless of the fact they are a bit bigger.
However, this isn’t how everyone feels. Some users find them to be too small or too big, depending on their ear size.
Now, we have already made the conclusion that AirPods and AirSounds are identical to a millimeter (the same size), but earbuds are just bit different.
Namely, the AirSound earbud part is slightly bigger. Although it’s just a bit, this is enough to create a small amount of pressure on the user’s ear cartilage. This results in feeling uncomfortable after wearing them continuously for some twenty to thirty minutes.
But again, this depends on your ear size; some may find wearing AirSounds to be much more pleasant than the original, or vice versa.
We can agree that when it comes to features, AirPods beat the heck out of AirSounds. The copy has none of the forehead features of the former, such as automatically pausing music when you take them out of your ear.
However, this is something we can overlook. Everyone can live without an auto-connect feature. AirPods have the option for its users to open the case and voila — the earpods turn on and automatically connect to the phone.
In the case of AirSounds, you have to turn them on manually. And to do so, you have to use an uncomfortably small button placed on each earbud. Once this action is complete, they pair with your phone and with each other, providing a sound to notify you this had happened. This isn’t so bad, but once you get used to the auto-connecting earbuds, it’s hard to go back.
In a similar way, AirPods disconnect automatically and immediately begin the charging process from the second you place them back in their case.
AirSounds have to be powered off manually, and you have to push the button on the case to begin charging them.
Conveniently enough, you can turn off both AirSounds earpods by holding one of the power off buttons. However, keep in mind that double-pressing them makes them invoke Siri instead of replaying the track.
Lightning, or a Qi charging pad (if you pay the extra money for this charging case which operates wirelessly), is what charges your AirPods. This provides twenty-four hours of total listening time if you charge them for four hours.
In the case of AirSounds, you get a micro-USB with two or three recharges in order to have eleven hours of total listening time.
AirSounds use Bluetooth 5.0, but the manual which you receive claims it is a Bluetooth 4.2. Nevertheless, there are some issues with connectivity. If you use them indoors, the signal has the tendency to get lost if you make a motion as simple as cupping your hand over your ears.
In fact, what’s even worse, if you decide to test them during jogging or workout, the real problem are the constant interferences. This escalated to the point where we decided not to recommend them for those among you who plan to use them while running.
The case of losing connection while running is a relatively common issue we encountered numerous times with some other earphone brands as well. Some of those didn’t work once you stepped out of the house because your head was getting away from the Bluetooth signal. However, this typically doesn’t happen if you use them indoors.
In a nutshell, AirPods we used didn’t have the same issue; and this goes for most Bluetooth 5.0 true-wireless earbuds we’ve recently tested.
Quality of Sound
We all agree this aspect is the most important one, so we naturally expected our kick-off headphones to underperform. We’re not stating the AirPods possess the single best sound in the whole world, but they certainly sound very well-balanced if we overlook their lack of bass.
So you can imagine our surprise once we discovered that AirSounds offer a great sound. But are they, in fact, better than the original? Of course not. But do they give you the best bang for your buck? Yes.
Even though AirSound cannot provide your ears the volume range and the quality AirPod does, if you use them to do some chores or to pass the time while using public transportation, they are just fine.
It’s time to wrap this review up. Should you choose to save some dollars ($124 to be exact) or invest $159 into the real deal? As much as we would like to say yes, the truth is that you get what you pay for. $35 is not much money, but don’t expect a top-notch experience with these. However, in that price range, they are undoubtedly the best option.
But our question is — does making and using AirPod copies make sense in the first place? They look pretty dorky if you ask us. But if you are the type of person that likes to wear affordable items, these should work just fine for your needs.
The bottom line is that we like AirPods as much as the next person, but we do think they’re a bit overpriced. Nevertheless, if they are something you can afford, go ahead and buy the real thing. But if you use your headphones for short-term entertainment purposes only, there is nothing wrong with buying a $35 kickoff. It’s as simple as that.