9 chic, wireless alternatives to Apple’s AirPods

All pretty in pink!



When it comes to wireless earphones, Apple’s AirPods is still one of the most prominent choices. From being a lifestyle companion, it became everyone’s go-to accessory. Since it went mainstream, some people started looking for alternatives.

In a sea of AirPods look-alikes, we rounded up wireless alternatives to Apple’s AirPods — from earbuds to in-earphones, and even headphones. Though each has its own design and purpose, these accessories are certainly chic, stylish, and functional.

Now, hop on and let’s find the accessory that matches your life and style.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ (SG$ 268)

If you’re not a fan of AirPods’ design, the Galaxy Buds+ is an excellent alternative. It’s compatible with iPhones and of course, Android. Also, it comes in Cloud Pink and other colors such as Jennie Red, Cosmic Black, Cloud Blue, and White.

Battery-wise, it takes up to 11 hours on a single charge, and another 11 hours with the charging case. It doesn’t have a noise-canceling chip, but it uses its physical design to lessen the surrounding noise for a pleasant experience.

Happy Plugs Air 1 Plus (US$ 100)

If you enjoy AirPods’ design but prefer it in contemporary colorways, Swedish lifestyle brand Happy Plugs has the Air 1 Plus for you!

Fostering a culture of fashionable, comfortable, and untethered life, the Air 1 Plus is the perfect accessory for those who want to look fashion-forward in whatever style. It’s available in Pink Gold and other neutrals that certainly match any outfit.

Sabbat X12 Pro (US$ 59)

A crowd-favorite, the Sabbat X12 Pro has been popular among casual listeners. Several Matchketeers — GadgetMatch‘s official fans and followers — recommended these TWS earbuds for a multitude of reasons.

For starters, its design is different compared to most wireless earbuds. It resembles the AirPods’ design sans the stem. Additionally, it fits well, produces detailed sound, and has good battery life.

Getting the Pink variant might be difficult since it goes out of stock quickly, but you can always take your chances.

Hakii Moon (US$ 100)

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Hakii’s Moon follows this philosophy on its design and experience. For instance, this pair of wireless earbuds comes in an elegant, Coral Pink aesthetic.

Moreover, it promises seamless and efficient navigation, with the earbuds turning on upon opening the charging case. It also pairs quickly with your phone and delivers seamless navigation through simple touches.

Sudio Tolv R (PhP 4,000)

Sudio is a popular brand of fashionable, true-wireless earphones. Among its roster, there’s an affordable, feature-packed accessory — the Sudio Tolv R. It comes in Pastel Pink housed in an ultra-light charging case.

It prides itself with long-lasting battery life and seamless pairing, making the Tolv R a listening companion that’s perfect for when you’re studying, working, or commuting.

UrbanEars Jakan (US$ 80)

For those who want to go wireless but can’t let go of the cords, UrbanEars’ Jakan is the perfect accessory for you. This chic-looking pair of wireless headphones exhibits a beautiful, braided nylon available in multiple colors like Powder Pink.

Thanks to its ergonomic design, it’s comfortable to wear around your neck since it has an adjustable fit and the magnetic earbuds lock easily. It also offers easy navigation using its control knob and lets you listen all day on a single charge — which lasts up to 12 hours of battery life.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 3rd Gen (US$ 350)

The third generation of Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay E8 comes in a flesh-like pink and a massive battery life of up to 35 hours. It promises seven hours of playtime and an additional four charges in its case, which is capable of Qi wireless charging.

It has a compact and ergonomic design, resembling most wireless earbuds. Although the looks are familiar, the Beoplay E8 prides itself with better call clarity, fast and flawless wireless experience, lesser battery consumption, and authentic Bang & Olufsen sound experience.

hër Bluetooth in-earphones (EUR 70) 

Nudely elegant, hër in-ears are unobtrusive and comfortable to wear. It’s the perfect accessory for people on the go, matching any style perfectly thanks to its discreet color and subtly classy design.

But hër in-ears is more than just a stylish accessory. It’s lightweight and portable, and it delivers clear sound and balanced acoustics — offering the best possible sound experience. More importantly, it has a reliable connection that will let you move freely.

You can put your smartphone in your bag or somewhere near you when working out, and still expect a clear, strong, unbreakable connection — unlike the guy you last dated.

JBL Tune500 BT (US$ 50)

If you prefer wireless headphones, JBL’s Pink Tune500 BT might be the one for you. It lets you stream high-quality sound cord-free, carrying JBL’s renowned Pure Bass sound.

It also boasts a 16-hour battery life and quick, two-hours charging time. Its lightweight and foldable design offer great portability, making it the perfect companion on your short or long travels. More importantly, it lets you switch between devices seamlessly — something I enjoyed when I was using Sony’s H.ear on headphones.

SEE ALSO: 6 reasons why you should switch to wireless earbuds


Samsung has launched a personal phone sterilizer

Can kill 99 percent of germs in 10 minutes



A smartphone is a germophobe’s worst nightmare. With the amount of handling our phones get every minute of every day, it’s almost impossible to keep them clean even with gloves on. As we suggested in the past, sterilizing your phones might be a sound idea in the age of COVID-19. That said, where do you get a phone sterilizer?

If alcohol doesn’t cut it, Samsung is now selling a personal UV sterilizer for your smartphones. On the outside, the ITFIT UV Sterilizer looks like a sleek phone case. However, a button can bombard your phone with enough UV to “kill up to 99 percent of bacteria within 10 minutes,” according to its official store listing. (The bacteria hit list explicitly includes E. coli, Staphylococcus, and Candida albicans.)

Since it’s big enough to house a Galaxy S20 Ultra, Samsung says you can also use it to sterilize other smaller items like the Galaxy Buds and a pair of glasses. This can include non-Samsung phones.

Oh, and it can also charge your devices wirelessly. Unfortunately, the device’s charging power is paltry at best, powering devices at just 10W. Since the sterilizer lasts for just 10 minutes, you might want to use a faster charger instead. Still, it’s a nifty feature we wouldn’t say no to.

Unfortunately, the ITFIT UV Sterilizer is difficult to get a hold of. Currently, Samsung is selling the device exclusively in Thailand at the moment. It retails for THB 1,590 (approximately US$ 51).

However, the currently linked listing is for Hong Kong, potentially hinting at the device’s wider availability in the future.

SEE ALSO: Tech companies post tips on proper hygiene

Continue Reading


Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 review: Affordable, but far from perfect

Xiaomi’s premium TWS offering



The truly wireless earphones market is filled with a plethora of options today, ranging from entry-level offerings like the Redmi Earbuds S to the premium Sony WF-1000XM3. However, the most popular TWS earphones are from Apple — the AirPods.

AirPods kickstarted the TWS trend, and since then, pretty much every brand has jumped onboard. Xiaomi is known for its reliable yet affordable products, and it has launched a few options previously, but it was limited to its home market of China.

Now, the brand has finally launched the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 in India, and it’s pretty much half the price of Apple’s AirPods.

The Redmi Earbuds S is an entry-level offering while Mi branding is now used for the company’s premium offerings. TWS earphones are incredibly convenient to use, and their demand is consistently rising. Can the Mi TWS 2 offer maximum features for the price and go against the competition?

Do they look like the AirPods?


At first sight, you’d think they are the AirPods for a quick second. But it’s soon clear that they aren’t. This is something I appreciate about the Mi TWS 2. In a market filled with AirPods knockoffs, it’s nice to see a different design. However, don’t set your expectations too high.

The earbud’s stem is exceptionally thick, and this is easily noticeable from the side. Thankfully, it doesn’t look that thick from the front view and is oval. The stem is also considerably long, giving the earbud a very bulky look.

The polycarbonate build has a matte finish on the stem while the driver is smooth and shiny. I feel the earphones were designed with utility and features in mind, and aesthetics took a back seat.

If the bulkier design can add more battery life and better drivers, I’m okay with it. This may not be the case with many since they tend to look like cheap AirPods knockoffs.

Each earbud weighs just 4 grams, and they slide in your ears very smoothly. Putting them on is a quick task, and for calls, while driving, these are exceedingly convenient to wear single-handedly. The semi-open design is supposed to be fit-for-all. But, this is where my primary concern lies.

How’s the overall user experience?

The earbuds fit perfectly and are rather stable. But the satisfaction of wearing an earbud is utterly absent because of reduced noise isolation. Even though they’ve never automatically snuggled out, I’m always afraid of losing them while walking. The confidence to wear them outdoors is low.

These too sport gesture-based controls, and the result is below satisfaction. I’d have to try a few times before they actively receive the command. Even play/pause function is rather cumbersome and paired with the loose fit; I’m afraid they don’t fall off.

Thankfully, they have an optical sensor that automatically plays/pauses a song when the earbud is worn or removed. Most times, I’d simply remove them from my ear instead of relying on the gesture buttons.

Lastly, the case is quite basic from a design point of view but gets the job done properly. The plastic build is solid, the lid has magnetic detection, and the earbuds aren’t finicky when plugged for charging. A small LED light on the front will show you the case’s battery status. A USB-C port is located on the bottom.

Pairing them is a straightforward task, and Xiaomi phones will automatically pop-up the status menu just like it’s on iOS. It’ll show you each earbud’s battery percentage along with the case.

But do they sound good?

The brand has added a lot of features on the audio side to make the product look premium. It has support for multiple codecs like SBC, AAC, and LHDC. The last one allows high-resolution audio streaming via Bluetooth. I used the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max to test the Mi TWS 2 and it automatically leveraged the AAC band.

Each earbud houses a 14.2mm audio driver, which isn’t the biggest. But, much of the audio output relies on tuning. Sound testing is also very subjective, so I’ll try to address everyone’s choice.

To start with, the output is very crisp and clear, and the vocals are perfectly heard. If you’re into Bollywood songs or even pop, these should be ideal for you.

Unlike the usual tuning, we see in Indian products; the bass here is well managed. It isn’t too much and ultimately does justice for every user. I’d say these are your GadgetMatch if you listen to podcasts and audiobooks.

The drivers are massively let down by non-existent noise isolation. The design of the earbuds inherently means you can hear pretty much everything happening around you. Even at maximum volume, it just didn’t feel enough.

Lastly, they have “Environment Noise Cancellation” that automatically kicks in when you’re on a call. Background noise is reduced drastically, and everyone I called could feel the change. The overall voice clarity is immensely improved, and high-winds too couldn’t deter them.

How long can they last?

Xiaomi claimed the earbuds can last up to four hours on a single charge and it’s on-point. I was able to get almost four hours with volume at 80 percent.

The case is capable of providing 10 hours of backup, taking the total to fourteen. Thankfully, the case takes just an hour to charge.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re an audiophile, the simple answer is no. The Mi TWS 2 will disappoint you in many ways. However, if you’re looking for work-related earphones, these are perfect.

Calls are ultra-clear, and the overall experience is better thanks to a loose fit. Keep them on, and get through a full day’s work. On the audio side, hip-hop or bass-intensive genre may not suit well here. However, all other vocal-centric songs shall swing by without a hitch.

With a price of INR 4,499, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 is a solid competitor. When compared to the realme Buds Air, these lose out on aesthetics. But, the minor additions from a function point of view are worth the slight bump in price.

Continue Reading


realme Buds Q are an entry-level TWS offering

Are they better than Redmi’s offering?



Alongside the realme X3 series, the brand also announced a new entry-level TWS offering called the realme Buds Q. The affordable TWS segment is getting very competitive now and brands are pouring more and more options to choose from.

The realme Buds Q is designed by French artist Jose Levy and they sport a cobble-based design that fits comfortably in the ear. Each earbud weighs just 3.6 grams and consists of a polycarbonate build.T

Each earbud has a 40mA battery while the case houses a 400mA backup battery. realme claims the earbuds can last up to 4.5 hours on a single charge and the case can extend the total experience to 20 hours. Furthermore, the company said with daily usage of 3 hours, the earbuds will last a week.

On the audio side, each earbud gets a 10mm driver with realme’s Dynamic Bass Boost technology. The earbuds consist of R1Q True Wireless chip that enables low latency Gaming Mode. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and supports AAC audio codec.

The case has a microUSB port for charging and both, the earbuds as well as the case, take two hours to fully charge. Lastly, the earbuds have IPX4 water resistance, meaning it can withstand some sweat and a few droplets.

The realme Buds Q cost INR 1,999 in India and will be available in three color options – Quite Black, Quite Yellow, and Quite White. Sales start from July 1 via and The earbuds shall be competing against Xiaomi’s Redmi Earbuds S which are priced slightly lower at INR 1,7999.

Continue Reading