Since their first introduction in 2016, Apple’s AirPods have been a smashing success (and as of this fall, audiophiles may also opt to upgrade to the noise-canceling AirPods Pro). But now the original AirPods are facing much more competition from many other Bluetooth earbuds, including Sony’s Earbuds. So after reading this review you have to decide which one is the best choice for you?
Sony’s Earbuds at $198 are considerably more expensive than the $139 AirPods that comes with the wireless charging case. Yet they provide many more features than the AirPods, like active noise cancellation and improved quality of sound. But that’s just on paper: we had to check them out ourselves to declare a clear winner.
The differences between these buds begin as soon as you take them from the pack. For both the buds and their respective instances, they have completely different styles. The AirPods rest in your ear as the Truly Wireless Earbuds snugly wedge inside your ear canal.
They come with seven different options to choose from (including those on the buds), so if you’re willing to test a few out, you’ll probably find a good match. Sony suggests trying different sizes on different sides as it may not be perfectly symmetrical for your ear canals.
AirPods are much lighter and more comfortable, but it depends on your ear shape. For some people, the AirPods can eventually feel too loose. Sony’s Earbuds feel more clunky as you walk around, but thanks to those swappable in-ear tips, they offered a more comfortable fit (and the added benefit of blocking out more noise). No issues wearing either pair on an outdoor run, although Sony buds are considerably heavier.
Keep in mind that none of these wireless earbuds are legally water-resistant, so if you use them during a sweaty workout, they may not be perfect. But during sn unofficial trials, the Apple AirPods survived their share of water exposure. We sprayed them, dunked them, put them through a full wash cycle, and in working order, they all came out of it.
The AirPods are only available in shiny white as far as color choices are concerned. You can choose from a black matte finish with copper accents or a taupe finish with gold accents with matching cases with the Truly Wireless Earbuds.
Apple’s charging case looks like a dental floss bottle, but slipping into a pocket without producing too much bulk is compact and easy. The case of Sony’s Earbuds is twice as large and not as easy to slip in, but the metallic cover and matte finish make it look more high-end.
The Lightning port charges the AirPod case while Sony has a USB-C port. Apple also provides a wireless charging case that comes bundled with the AirPods and is backward compatible with the first generation of Apple AirPods.
Sony’s Earbuds have better sound, but call quality is not as good as Apple AirPods
In sound quality, the AirPods were always Fine— not the best in the class but the worst. It’s hard to come back once you’ve heard the Sony buds though. The sound quality of Sony’s Earbuds, with well-defined mids and bass, is incredibly clear.
An Equalizer (which you can use for changing the sound profile in the Sony buds Connect app on iOS and Android). The app can also decide where the sound profile is and change it accordingly. Everything you hear from the box with the AirPods is what you get.
The other great advantage Sony has over Apple is the active cancelation of noise. You can notice that it was almost as effective as a pair of headphones for over-ear noise cancelation and made the public activity much more bearable.
The Truly Wireless Earbuds will also allow you to adjust the quantity of external noise they allow to emphasize voices if you don’t wish to be immersed completely into your music. You can either change manually or use the app to automatically adapt it to your conditions, whether you are walking, driving, shuttling or in your workplace.
The results are not as obvious in terms of call quality. Sony’s Earbuds will sound better for the person wearing them, but the receiver can hear you on the AirPods better. You will find it better to isolate your voice as your microphones are at the end of your buds (closer to your mouth). More ambient noise is gathered from the Truly Wireless Earbuds.
Tap controls and voice assistants
Both buds have customizable tap controls that enable a user to control music without reaching the phone. The Sony buds can be updated on iOS or Android devices from the Sony App, while the AirPods can only be modified from the iOS settings menu. Android users can not adjust the AirPods tap settings.
You can play pause, skip or return, but unfortunately not one of them contains volume control. You must disconnect your phone or call your digital assistant to adjust the volume. A quick “Hey Siri” will be used for the AirPods, while you will press and hold the touchpad for Google Assistant to be activated by the Sony bud.
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The touch panel of the Truly Wireless Earbuds buds is sometimes a bit sensitive so it is easy to brush it accidentally when the buds and the hair behind your ear are adjusted. You can find yourself waiting on a call accidentally.
Sony provides NFC on the case, which allows you to just tap on your Android phone to pair. Once you open the case next to an iOS device, Apple’s AirPods automatically sign in. The Airpods can also be paired with Android and Sony’s Earbuds with iOS in the respective Bluetooth settings manually.
Sony uses the QN1e, a processor for noise cancelation, for its buds. The AirPods use Apple’s new H1 chip. Both earbuds are powered by Bluetooth 5. Overall, we have no big dropouts but consider the AirPods to maintain a solid connection to the iOS a little easier. Occasionally, when connecting with an iOS device, Truly Wireless Earbuds couldn’t do that well and wouldn’t appear in the Headphones Connect app even if they played music.
Battery life is almost the same
Whereas Sony’s Earbuds give you the most battery life from the earbuds. Approximately six hearing hours compared with five hearing hours on AirPods, both offer you the same amount of total charge while considering the cases. It can carry a total charge of up to 24 hours.
It should also be remembered that the six hours Sony quotes are turned on with active noise cancellation. With it off, before you have to charge them, you will get nearly eight hours from the earbuds.
Both provide you a quick charging feature, so you can still get a good listening time. Charge AirPods for 15 minutes and the listening time is three hours. Charge Sony’s Earbuds for 10 minutes and you’re going to get 1.5 hours.
See on Amazon Sony WF-1000XM3 Noise Canceling Truly Wireless Earbuds $149
See on Amazon Apple AirPods with Charging Case (Latest Model) $139