Alternatives to AirPods for Android Users
Depending on how you feel about Bluetooth earbuds, Apple’s AirPods are either (1) the greatest invention since sliced bread, or (2) a solution in search of a problem. But with an ever-increasing number of Android phones shipping without 3.5mm headphone jacks, digital wireless headphones are becoming the de facto way to listen to music, podcasts, and soundtracks on the go. That’s no surprise: Despite their less-than-stellar battery life and occasionally flakey connectivity, Bluetooth earbuds (or “hearables”) for smartphones are heads-and-shoulders more convenient than wired headphones. There’s no cord to tangle, they integrate natively with the Google Assistant and other digital voice assistants, and some of them boast biometric sensors that can track your fitness activity.
If you’re an Android user, you don’t have to switch to an iPhone to jump aboard the wireless revolution — Bluetooth earbuds, spurred by the popularity of Airpods, are a dime a dozen. That said, a few stand above the rest. Looking for the best Airpod alternatives for Android? Check out our comprehensive roundup, which highlights cream-of-the-crop Bluetooth headphones with fitness tracking, local noise cancellation, long-lasting battery life, and other great features.
Everything You Need To Know about Airpod Alternatives for Android Devices
Even if you’re philosophically opposed to Apple Airpods, it’s worth noting that they offer perhaps the best wireless Bluetooth experience on Android — minus a few drawbacks. They can’t control your phone’s volume, for example, but Airpods do work great on Android.
That said, they’re easy to pair, and third-party apps like AirpodsForGA and AirBattery have brought Google Assistant, battery indicator, and in-ear detection (which pauses music on the AirPods when you remove them from your ears) support to Airpods on Android.
Apple AirPods – Buy on Amazon
Truly wireless headphones
If you’ve window shopped for Bluetooth headphones recently, you’ve probably encountered the hybrid subcategory of wireless headphones known as “wire-free” and “neckband” headphones. These earbuds aren’t truly wireless: instead, they’re tethered to short wires that run the length of a plastic collar that rests on your shoulders. (Popular models include the Samsung Level U, LG Tone, and Motorola S11-Flex.) They’re geared toward fitness, with waterproof designs, heart rate-tracking biometric sensors. And thanks to the extra space afforded by the neckband housing, they often boast larger batteries than truly wireless headphones, which means they last longer on a charge.
But wire-free neckband headphones are beyond the scope of this article. Instead, we’re focused strictly on truly wireless Airpod alternatives for Android users: earbuds that aren’t connected to any form of wire, such as the Sony WF-1000XM3 and Jabra 75t.
Battery Life & Charging
If there’s one thing wireless earbuds have in common, it’s middling battery life. Sadly, that’s just a fact of life right now — the tiny Lithium-Ion cells inside wireless earbuds can’t supply more than a half-day of charge. At best, you’re looking at six to seven hours of battery life, and that’s assuming you’re not listening to audio continuously. But most of these Airpod alternatives, like the Apple Airpods, lets you recharge the buds inside of a carrying case, often giving you more than an entire day of battery life if you consider the extra charge from the case.
Wondering how the longest-lasting wireless earbuds stack up to the competition? Here’s a ranking of our top picks by battery life (note that these are manufacturer estimates, and that real-world results will vary with volume levels):
|Wireless Headphones||Battery life|
|Sony WF-1000XM3||6 hours + 3 full charges with case|
|Samsung Galaxy Buds||6 hours + 7 extra hours from charging case|
|Jabra 75t||7.5 hours + up to 28 hours with charging case|
|B&O Play BeoPlay E8||4 hours + 3 full charges with case|
|TicPods 2 Pro||4 hours (20 hours with charging case)|
Wireless headphones might not be able to outlast your smartphone’s battery, but at least they’re easy to recharge and often can give you up to 60 minutes of use with just 15 minutes of charge inside the case. This charging system works so well, that most of these Airpod alternatives can give you almost 24 hours of playback if you’re using the case to charge the buds.
Easy pairing & companion apps
Apps are one of the best benefits of digital headphones — they’re far more capable than the analog equalizer apps you might be accustomed to on Android. Some track your heart rate in real-time, while others let you adjust the strength of ambient listening modes, enable or disable noise cancellation, and choose from collections of custom-tuned sound profiles.
Here’s a sampling of the wireless headphone companion apps in the Google Play Store:
- Sony’s WF-1000X wireless earbuds pair with the Sony Headphones Connect app, which lets you adjust equalizer settings and switch between sound modes (higher-quality audio or a stronger, more stable Bluetooth connection).
- Beoplay’s app has presets and a stereo pairing feature.
- JLab offers a burn-in tool for the Epic Air that tunes the headphones to “achieve […] optical sound.”
- Jabra’s Sport Life app offers in-ear fitness coaching, GPS and heart-rate workout tracking, and VO2 oxygen absorption measurements.
The Best Airpod Alternatives for Android
Samsung Galaxy Buds
|Specifications||Samsung Galaxy Buds|
|Maximum range||30 feet|
|Battery life||6 hours + 7 extra hours from charging case|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0 (LE up to 2 Mbps)|
|Accessories||Wireless charging case|
|Colors||Black, White, Silver, Yellow|
The Samsung Galaxy Buds has two microphones per earphone and can use sound from the outside environment to produce clearer voice calls. With a full charge, the Buds can run six hours. You can charge the case with wireless charging (which includes the reverse wireless charging on newer Samsung phones). All of the controls can be performed on the touch surface on each bud, but they can be a bit finicky.
The design of the Galaxy Buds is lightweight and compact, featuring rubber tips that fit snuggly in your ear. They don’t stick out much if you’re looking for a subtle pair of earbuds. Galaxy Buds have sound by AKG, which provide a balanced and natural sound with superb dynamic range. If you already own a Samsung phone, the Galaxy Buds are a nice companion. They also work with Bixby if that’s something you use on your Samsung phone.
Samsung Galaxy Buds – Buy on Amazon
|Maximum range||32.8 feet|
|Battery life||6 hours + 3 full charges with case|
The Sony WF-1000XM3 are some of the better sounding true-wireless earbuds on the market, and they have a premium look and feel to go with it. They have effective active noise cancellation, which is something not many true-wireless earbuds have, and many claim it’s better than the Apple AirPods Pro. Battery life is very good with the included charging case and the touch controls are easy to use.
Not everyone will be a fan of the design, but the fold accents portray a premium look. They aren’t as subtle as some of the other earbuds on this list. The nice thing about the design is there’s ample space for touch controls. One downside to the Sony WF-1000XMS earbuds is the lack of water resistance, which is a bummer for using these during workouts. Call performance is also not great, and at $229, they aren’t cheap.
Sony WF-1000XMS – Buy on Amazon
Jabra Elite 75t
|Specifications||Jabra Elite 75t|
|Maximum range||33 feet|
|Battery life||7.5 hours + up to 28 hours with charging case|
|Colors||Black, Gold, Titanium|
Jabra has put out some of the best AirPods competitors and the Elite 75t raise the bar even higher. The Jabra Elite 75t feature a smaller, comfortable design compared to previous models. The carrying case has also been much improved, and the whole package is very pocketable. They might not be the most attractive earbuds on the market, but the sound quality more than makes up for it, especially if you value bass.
Like many wireless earbuds, the Jabra 75t don’t feature active noise cancellation. They also don’t have wireless charging capabilities, but battery life is very good with the charging case. The water resistance rating of IP55 is a bit low, and the touch controls can be confusing, but for $179 this is a very solid option for Android users.
Jabra Elite 75t – Buy on Amazon
B&O Play BeoPlay E8
|Specifications||B&O Play BeoPlay E8|
|Maximum range||33 feet|
|Battery life||4 hours + 3 full charges with case|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 4.2 with AAC|
|Colors||Gray, Black, Pink, Blue, Limestone|
There’s no beating around the bush: The B&O Play BeoPlay E8 breaks the bank. In fact, at $299, they’re the most expensive wireless earpieces in our roundup. But you’re paying for more than window dressing. The BeoPlay E8 boast a gorgeous design, premium materials, and sound quality that puts the competition to shame.
Playback controls on the BeoPlay E8 are a capacitive affair: you pause and play audio by tapping on the right earpiece, skip forward a track by tapping twice on the right earpiece, and skip backward by doing the same on the left. And increasing or lowering the volume’s as simple as a touch and hold.
Audio, speaking of, sounds great on the BeoPlay E8. The tiny earbuds pack an impressive punch, especially in bass-heavy (and sub-base-heavy) tracks. Rare is distortion at the low end or clipping at the high end — the earbuds produce an incredibly clean an balanced sound that’s rich in mid- and high-frequencies. Another plus worth noting: Thanks in part to near-field magnetic induction tech, which uses a magnetic field to keep the two earbuds in sync, the BeoPlay E8 rarely experiences connectivity issues.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 2.0 – Buy on Amazon
Mobvoi TicPods 2 Pro
|Specifications||TicPods 2 Pro|
|Battery life||4 hours (20 hours with charging case)|
|Noise cancellation||Yes (only for phone calls)|
|Colors||Navy, Ice, Blossom|
The TicPods 2 offer a pretty substantial improvement over the nearly 2-year old TicPods. The original TicPods featured silicone tips and were shaped to seal off ambient noise. The TicPods 2 feature a more lightweight “open-fit” design that sits in your ear without the need for silicone tips. They’re easily the most AirPods-like earbuds on this list, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on your ears.
Mobvoi is a company that does a lot of work with AI and that is present on the TicPods 2 Pro. You can use voice commands and head gestures to control media and answer calls. Sound quality is decent, though not amazing. You’ll want to adjust the default sound profiles in the Mobvoi app. Battery life is also one of the weakest on this list, but the charging case makes it easy to last all day. However, if you want earbuds that are very lightweight with a well-designed carrying case, the TicPods 2 Pro are an attractive package.
Mobvoi TicPods 2 Pro – Buy on Amazon