Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2  lifestyleSource: Anker

Best Cheap AirPods Clones Android Central 2020

Apple wasn't the first to go the true wireless route with the AirPods, but it made the biggest statement, inspiring others to copy the "stem" design that protrudes out of the ear. The best cheap true wireless earbuds can include clones that are often nowhere near as good as the genuine article, but that's not necessarily the case here. The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 are arguably better than the AirPods in the features that matter most: sound, battery, and price.

Best Overall: Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 WearingSource: Anker

Everyone loves an underdog that can battle an established player, and that's exactly what Anker has with the Soundcore Liberty Air 2. There's a more bass-heavy sound signature by default, giving these earbuds an edgy and loud verve right out of the box. There's no active noise cancelation (ANC), but passive isolation is quite good, so it's not a total loss if you're trying to drown out the background.

Unlike the AirPods, Anker supports its earbuds with an app that lets you customize controls and use EQ presets to adjust the sound. It's also where you can apply firmware updates and check on the battery level for either earbud, the latter of which matters because you can use either one independently. But the limited EQ settings also help moderate the bass if you feel it's too heavy, ensuring these earbuds aren't one-style-fits-all audibly speaking.

Despite the lower price, there's a four-microphone array that does wonders for voice calls. It will matter how loud an environment you're in, but even in relatively lively settings, you won't have a hard time conversing. The microphones do a solid job amplifying your own voice and reducing what they hear around you. You may not be thrilled with how responsive the touch controls are, which can be a nuisance until you feel you've figured them out.

It doesn't hurt that battery life is respectable for something in this range. At up to seven hours per charge, they already last longer than any version of the AirPods, though in fairness, not having ANC is a factor, too. The case is nice, with wireless charging support and fast charging. A 10-minute charge gives you up to two hours of playback, and in total, you're looking at 28 hours from the case.

Pros:

  • Great sound for the price
  • Superb call quality
  • Excellent codec support
  • Independent earbud listening
  • Battery life and wireless charging
  • Better water resistance

Cons:

  • Finicky touch controls
  • No ANC

Best Overall

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2

An upstart worth paying for

Anker comes out swinging with the Soundcore Liberty Air 2, delivering excellent performance that makes them a real bargain.

Best Noise Canceling: Edifier TWS NB2

Edifier Tws Nb2 LifestyleSource: Edifier

Sometimes, the sequel is considerably better than the original. It's the best way to describe Edifier's TWS NB2, which come pretty hot on the heels of their predecessors. For starters, the redesigned look is unlike any other earbuds Edifier's made thus far, and they are better for it.

What's cool is the company also included extra microphones to catapult the TWS NB2 to this list as among the best ANC true wireless earbuds available at this price range. Noise canceling performance won't match the likes of Sony, Bose, Sennheiser, and Apple, but when you're this good at half the price, you can appreciate it anyway. They'll even pause audio once you take either bud out of your ear. You do also have an ambient mode to pipe in outside noise in case you don't want to take one off.

With the sound, you might expect booming bass, but that's not what you'll get. The neutral, yet lively, soundstage is less about rumbling and more about sticking to a safe distance. The mids are easily the strongest part of the spectrum, with the highs and lows relatively subdued. It's a shame Edifier doesn't include an EQ in its Connect app to adjust and personalize sound, so here's hoping it comes as an update sometime. Call quality isn't bad, but not as consistent as some others in the same price range. The touch-sensitive controls are alright, but also not as consistent.

It's at least easy to like the battery life. With ANC on, you can go up to eight hours per charge, and at least nine if you turn it off. The case carries an extra 23 hours (18 if it's purely ANC), so they will last fairly long before needing a full recharge. You don't get fast charging, though, meaning you will need to wait about an hour to get back to full.

Pros:

  • Good balanced sound
  • ANC is excellent for the price
  • Ambient mode
  • Great battery life
  • Much better design

Cons:

  • No EQ to adjust soundstage
  • Call quality not as consistent as competition
  • Touch controls could be better
  • No fast charging

Best Noise Canceling

Edifier TWS NB2

Keep the noise down for less

Edifier comes back with both an encore and makeover, giving the TWS NB2 excellent ANC and balanced sound.

Best Bass: Mpow X3

Mpow X3Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

If you could use a bump along the bassline, the Mpow X3 will do their best to oblige. It's always a nice find when you come across a pair of true wireless earbuds with some power to wield. There's real value with the feature set here, and the kind of bass you get out of them is one reason why.

They sound good through a big and balanced soundstage that gives some priority to the bass to pack more of a punch. It doesn't feel overpowering or overwhelming to the point of being ridiculous, and with ANC blocking out a decent level of ambient noise, you get to hear what these earbuds are capable of. The IPX8 rating gives them a good level of water and sweat resistance, too, so taking them to the gym or on a run won't be a risky proposition.

The touch-sensitive controls on both earbuds make it easier to handle playback without reaching for your phone. They're also extensive enough to include controls for ANC and your phone's voice assistant but not for volume, unfortunately.

Battery life is good at up to seven hours, though it falls a bit if you leave ANC turned on, while the case gives you an extra 23 hours on top of that. Thankfully, it charges with USB-C and not Micro-USB, which gives them a reasonably faster charging rate, especially through quick charge.

Pros:

  • Good sound with deep bass
  • ANC support
  • Responsive touch controls
  • USB-C charging for quick charging
  • Good battery life

Cons:

  • Cheap charging case
  • No wireless charging
  • No volume controls on buds

Best Bass

Mpow X3

Lots of features, lots of value

The Mpow X3 are standouts for their sound, as well as an impressive set of features that won't burn your wallet.

Best Workout Buds: Skullcandy Indy Evo

Skullcandy Indy Evo LifestyleSource: Skullcandy

Just to be clear, Skullcandy's spot here is a precarious one because the company hasn't added one key element that would put these earbuds on more solid footing: the Skullcandy app. It doesn't include a manual EQ, but rather three presets specific to music, podcasts and movies. With an adjustable EQ, or at least more varied presets, it would be easier to tailor these to more situations.

The reason they're on here is because they're going to be good when you're focused on something else. Workouts and exercise don't have you noticing every nuance of the audio quality, and that serves to benefit the Indy Evo, which sound very warm and neutral. You won't get big bass here, unless you're really successful in tightening the seal into your ear as much as possible. Ironically, these play much better with all forms of rock and country, so if that's what gets you motivated to move, these could be it.

The IP55 rating isn't as high as it could be, but it's good enough for sweating so long as you wipe them down afterward. True wireless earbuds with stems aren't always great at staying in place with sweat, but these prove to be stable compared to others. The colorful choices don't hurt for adding some personality, either, nor does the ability to use a single bud in mono when need be.

Battery life is modest at up to six hours, which is acceptable if you're just using them during workouts. A quick 10-minute charge gives you up to two hours, and the case gives you an extra 24 hours. And in a nice touch, these have Tile's Bluetooth location tracking built-in, so if you misplace or lose them, you've got a fighting chance to track them down.

Pros:

  • Warm and balanced sound
  • Comfortable fit
  • Decent water and sweat resistance
  • Decent battery life
  • Nice color options
  • Tile integration

Cons:

  • Bass doesn't always break through
  • No EQ to adjust sound
  • Could've used extra-large ear tips

Best Workout Buds

Skullcandy Indy Evo

A colorful choice of hearing

Skullcandy puts out a decent pair of earbuds that will do well at the gym, though the potential is much greater.

Best Battery Life: TaoTronics SoundLiberty 53

TaoTronics SoundLiberty 53 lifestyle photoSource: TaoTronics

Let's get the one caveat here out of the way first. Taotronics managed to give the SoundLiberty 53 very modest battery life at up to five hours per charge, but it added another 36 hours coming from the case. That means you could use them seven or eight times before you had to recharge the case. That should make up for most of the inconvenience you deal with not going longer than five hours each time, including having to use Micro-USB. For the price, you can forgive that, but the case's extra power is a big determining factor.

That value also extends to the other features on offer, like sound quality that is more than agreeable for what you're paying. It's not bass-centric, spreading out across the spectrum instead. You end up with a pretty balanced, though slightly warmer sound, with enough punch from the bass to give these a little personality. Call quality isn't bad, though it also depends where you are. And if you want, you can use the left earbud independently in Single mode.

The IPX7 rating is somewhat unusual at this price, but hey, it means you can use them at the gym or out on a run without really having to worry. For a pretty simple pair of earbuds that don't break the bank, you get a lot for every dollar.

Pros:

  • IPX7 waterproof
  • Single mode use
  • AAC and SBC codec support
  • Around 40+ hours of total battery life
  • Incredible price

Cons:

  • Just five hours of battery per charge
  • Slow Micro-USB charging

Best Battery Life

TaoTronics SoundLiberty 53

Save some money along the way

Get more for your money with the SoundLiberty 53, offering an IPX7 rating and strong battery life at a low price.

Best Comfort: Aukey EP-N5 True Wireless Earbuds

Aukey Ep N5 WearingSource: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central

With a nice design that feels sturdy and comfortable, the Aukey EP-N5 True Wireless Earbuds are surprisingly robust right out of the gate. As with most true wireless earbuds, it's vital to get as good a seal as possible to pull more bass out of the whole soundstage. The added benefit is that they also stay more securely in your ears.

These won't win the award for best audio quality, but they're a long way from being mediocre at this price. Music comes through vibrantly throughout, though you will notice more subdued highs to make room for the lows and mids. Having ANC this cheap is a real bonus, even if it's not on par with more expensive earbuds, but the tighter seal does help if it gives you good passive isolation. Phone call quality is okay, though it could arguably be better with multiple mics inside. The onboard touch controls on both buds are pretty good, and more consistent than some others tend to be.

Despite the lower price, Aukey didn't skimp on USB-C for the case nor did it go too low on battery life, churning out up to seven hours per charge with another four full charges in the case. If you go louder and turn ANC on, you're more likely to get five hours and change. Bear in mind the IPX5 rating for water resistance because it doesn't necessarily apply to sweat.

Pros:

  • Good audio quality
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • ANC support
  • Onboard controls
  • IPX5 water resistance

Cons:

  • Phone calls could be better
  • Bass needs a tight seal
  • No official sweat proofing

Best Comfort

Aukey EP-N5 True Wireless Earbuds

Cut out every cord and listen

The Aukey EP-N5 True Wireless Earbuds prove that going completely cordless doesn't mean sacrificing too much for your ears.

Bottom line

The best true wireless earbuds are a mix of amazing options, but the best cheap true wireless earbuds are also a mix of unique options, like those listed here. Just because they're cheap doesn't mean they're bad. Also, just because they look like AirPod clones doesn't mean they're not worth buying.

By most metrics, both on paper and in practice, Anker's Soundcore Liberty Air 2 are actually better than the AirPods 2, and worthy contenders against the AirPods Pro. You don't get active noise canceling or the convenience afforded by Apple's H1 chip, but you're also better off using Anker's pair than Apple's during a sweaty workout. Not to mention, some of the AirPods' more unique features aren't relevant to Android phones.

That's not to say the rest of the list doesn't have their own attributes. Apple popularized the stem design, but it charges more for sticking out of your ears. The earbuds here prove you can get more for less, especially if your priorities are about more than price.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar.

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