AirPods on your Prime Day shopping list? Check out these 5 alternatives

AirPods Alternatives Prime day
(Image credit: Future/ iMore)

AirPods are good, aren’t they? They sound pretty good, magically connect to your iPhone, and have some cool features that make listening to music on the go that little bit easier. There are, however, some brilliant alternatives out there if you’re looking for a good pair of wireless headphones, proving that it's often worth opening up your search a little more.

In-ear buds that are available in more than one color, over ears that sound stunning, and budget earbuds that beat out the AirPods in price and performance; and they’re all on Amazon, so they might get reduced over Prime Day. Keep an eye out for great deals on these five headphones, and you’ll wonder why you were even considering looking at Apple’s headphone range in the first place. There will likely be some excellent Prime Day AirPods deals, but these might be even better buys.

Our AirPods alternative picks

Denon AH-C830NCW

Denon AH-C830NCW

(Image credit: Denon)

We called the Denon AH-C830NCW ANC earbuds one of the best in-ear wireless buds you can buy, and there’s good reason to our words. They sound spectacular, and their noise canceling is a lovely bonus – all for less than the AirPods 3. Already, you could call that the deal of the century, but we’ve got our fingers crossed for some great deals on the $159 earbuds.

They’re a simple bud – there’s no app to play with, no EQ, so what you see is what you get. Thankfully, what you see and what you get are both incredible, and the feature set rivals far more expensive options. They connect super easily, and they easily smash the AirPods 3 out of the water in both sound quality and noise canceling (given the AirPods 3 don’t have ANC this is no surprise). Keep these high on the list when you’re looking for some earbuds.

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4

(Image credit: Sony)

If you’re looking for something with the best ANC, then you might think that you’re going to be stuck with a pair of AirPods Pro 2 – but you’d be wrong. Sony’s ANC model is known for being one of the best around, and its in-ears have some of the best ANC with better seals in your ear thanks to their slightly deeper ear tips. The WF-1000XM4 are Sony’s current flagship, and reviews comment on their class-leading noise-canceling performance.

They have a different sound profile to the AirPods Pro 2, and it may well be more to your taste. Where the AirPods feature what you might call a ‘neutral’ soundstage, the Sony’s have a warmer signature, with more in the low end for a more fun sound. Some audio aficionados aren’t the biggest fan of this profile, but loads of people absolutely love it. Sony’s app is also excellent – and while at the moment they cost more than the AirPods Pro, it’s well worth watching out for these strangely shaped buds over Prime Day for a big deal.

1More Aero

1More Aero

(Image credit: 1More)

We really liked the 1More Aero when we got the chance to try them out, with some great noise-canceling performance for the price, a slick case that slips into any pocket with ease, and a surprisingly weighty sound signature. They’re perhaps not HiFi, but neither are the AirPods 2, the closest pair of buds that Apple makes. While at the full price of $109, these are slightly more expensive than Apple’s option, there’s pretty much always a $30 coupon that makes them $89, beating out the current AirPods 2 price by around $10.

For $10 less you get another color choice (black), noise canceling, and something that looks a little different to the AirPods. With any luck, they could see even deeper discounts over Prime Day to really make for an excellent alternative to the AirPods 2.

Master & Dynamic MW75

Master & Dynamic MW75

(Image credit: Master & Dynamic)

Since the release of the AirPods Max, the luxury Bluetooth headphone space has burgeoned, bringing premium materials and some incredible audio experiences to the table – and not many have been as successful as the Master & Dynamic MW75. A truly stunning pair of headphones, they’re built like a sports car, with aluminum cups, a steel headband wrapped in leather, soft and supple leather earcups, and panels of glass on the outside of the earcups. They look and feel every dollar of their $599 price tag – which is, obviously, a fair bit more than the AirPods Max.

They also sound a lot better than the AirPods Max, with more detail, clarity, and depth to the audio signature. If you want something that’s super luxurious, then the MW75 are an excellent alternative to Apple’s option – especially when you compare the wicked hard case that comes in the box next to Apple’s weird microfibre-lined nonsense. That price tag might be big – but we’ve got our fingers crossed for a big discount over Prime Day.

Edifier WH950NB

Edifier WH950NB

(Image credit: Edifier)

These guys are currently still on our testing table, but we’re very impressed by what we have so far. This is an attractive pair of headphones with solid ANC, a cool look, and a good carrying case. They’re also a very, very good price, even when compared to other similar pairs of headphones – at $179, these are much cheaper than the likes of the Sony WH-1000XM5, or the Bose QC45s, and they perform around the same.

They’re obviously not going to tempt you away from the AirPods Max, but they can be what might tempt you away from the in-ear AirPods options. A pair of over-ear headphones can sound much better, be more comfortable for long periods of time, and give much better battery life than a pair of true wireless headphones, and these are a great example of what a good pair looks like. These should be on your list if you’re looking for any pair of headphones, let alone AirPods, and hopefully, we’ll see a great Prime Day deal on them.

Prime Day AirPods? Nah.

We’re not going to sit here and tell you that AirPods are bad – look at our reviews, we love the AirPods line. It is, however, important to cast a wide net while you’re looking for a new pair of headphones, as there are loads of options that might be better for you than AirPods. Consider what you’re really looking for and go from there; you might discover something you’ve not considered at all before, and get something nicer than you were hoping for, at a price that's better than you expected.

With Prime Day around the corner, all of these options are brilliant headphones to put on your most wanted list – and we’re hoping they’ll all be reduced over the two-day sale to join some of the best Apple Prime Day deals. Prime Day is July 11-12, so get the date in your diary ready!

Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.