I worked at the Genius Bar in my local Apple Store for four years, and fake AirPods were one of the most common reoccurrences I saw when providing tech support.
During that time, AirPods were often sold out and were sold on sites like eBay for well above their RRP. Many customers trusted sites like Amazon to get their hands on the sought-after earbuds, but some never questioned the price. It's fair to say if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
I'll leave my stories about disgusting earwax and bodily fluid build-up in the speaker grills for another day and instead take you on a whistle-stop tour of rip-off AirPods you can find on Amazon.
Once you've had a laugh at the ridiculously bad earbud offerings that include one AirPods knockoff that has "Bluetoorh 5.1" support, you can pick up a brand-new pair of AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C for $189. That's $60 off a three-week-old product thanks to Amazon's Prime Big Deal Days.
WHAT ARE THOSE?!
You'd be surprised the number of times I served customers at the Genius Bar with "faulty AirPods", only when they would remove the "AirPods" from their pocket, they'd be far from original.
More often than not, the customer would say, "I bought them from Amazon, they must be real." Now, don't get me wrong, there are places out there that attempt to sell fake AirPods as genuine and I saw a lot of these as well, unfortunately. However, there are also people who spend $20 on a pair of earbuds on Amazon and think they're genuine, the following three Prime Big Deals are products that I've seen inside an Apple Store and they look dreadful.
Mahipey Wireless Earbuds |
$19 $15 at Amazon
The Mahipey Wireless Earbuds exist in two form factors. The White tries to look like AirPods Pro 2, and the White1 copies the aesthetic of the AirPods 3rd Generation. Both actually look quite decent, according to their pictures on Amazon.
The Mahipey Earbuds not only show a Lightning port in their product images but offer customers a "Bluetoorh 5.1" experience with "Hi-fi sound quality." While the images don't look too bad for a $15 pair of earbuds, these probably sound like absolute garbage. Amazon reviews aren't kind either, with 1 star reviews highlighting that the earbuds often don't work. That said, some of the customer images and videos look pretty impressive, but don't be fooled; DO NOT BUY THESE.
You know what? It's commendable for a company like HIYDOO to steal the AirPods design and then add a display to wow its users. I've seen a pair of "AirPods" like this at the Genius Bar, and the customer was genuinely surprised when I told them they weren't designed by Apple in California.
If you're willing to sacrifice audio quality for a battery display on the front of your earbuds case, then you're probably the kind of person to listen to music through the Mac mini speakers. Even then, don't buy these. You can definitely find better budget earbuds for a little bit more, like the 1More Aero, and the best bit is they don't look like fake AirPods.
For $11, you probably can't go wrong. However, I'd go out on a limb to bet that these JOYWISE earbuds feel like the cheapest product you've ever held in your hands. Unlike real AirPods, they have a flat stem with a button, which makes them easily recognizable when you're trying to spot dupes. Often, AirPods replicas look like the original AirPods meme with massive toothbrush heads in your ears. I can see the appeal for young children, but honestly, just buy basic wired earbuds, and they'll be better long-term.
Just buy the real deal
With $60 off the latest AirPods Pro 2, now's the time to cave and buy the AirPods you've always wanted. I know, I know, there's a massive difference between $11 and $189, but there's no point wasting your hard-earned cash on dud products that will stop working as soon as the Amazon return policy ends. If AirPods Pro 2 are far and beyond your budget, check out our best Bluetooth earbuds guide for some of the best budget options available.
AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C |
We love the AirPods Pro 2, giving the Lightning version a glowing review early this year. As well as looking stylish and having an excellent 30-hour battery life, they work wonderfully with Apple devices, instantly connecting for full-sounding audio in seconds. Now you can charge them more easily with USB-C and with this deal, for the same price!
Time is running out on Amazon's Prime Big Deal Days. We'll continue to cover all the best deals of the final day, so stay tuned to iMore throughout the shopping event.
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John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.
Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.
John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.
John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.
In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.