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If you're like me, you may have poked around Amazon looking for cheaper alternatives to Apple's AirPods, which start at $159 and hit $199 if you want wireless charging. There are plenty of bargain models out there with high user ratings, but are they really any good?
In my experience, most of the time they're just all right -- and some aren't good at all. However, an increasing number are managing to rise above "meh" classification, and a few are actually quite decent. Here's a look at the best among the current crop of budget true-wireless earphones I've tested (all are under $100, while some are under $50). All of these models feature Bluetooth 5.0 and maintained solid wireless connections (I encountered minimal Bluetooth hiccups with them). None of these are truly excellent for making calls, but they do work well enough in quieter environments. I'll update this list as I test more models.
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If you're someone whose ears are a good match -- and fit -- for the AirPods, Apple's true wireless earphones do have some small performance advantages, particularly when it comes to call-making. But these sound as good, if not better, than the AirPods, and they fit my ears better. In short, as long as you're OK with a noise-isolating design, the Anker Liberty Airs are an excellent AirPod alternative that happen to cost half the price.
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We're fans of Tribit's XFree Tune over-ear headphones and its XSound Go Bluetooth speakers, both of which deliver very good sound for their modest prices. The company's X1 True Wireless Earbuds also perform well and -- if you can get a tight seal -- sound quite good for $50, with strong bass and...
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