When Apple announced the AirPods in 2016, there wasn’t much competition for the completely wireless earbuds. As we near the end of 2019, there’s plenty of competition from some of the biggest names in tech. Just in the past few months, we’ve seen announcements from, , , and, earlier this year, .
Most recently,, matching a lot of features you’ll find in its newfound competitors’ offerings.
Here’s a simple chart that breaks down the main features you can expect to find in this year’s crop of wireless earbuds:
|AirPods Pro||Echo Buds||Galaxy Buds||Surface Earbuds||Pixel Buds 2|
|Availability||Shipping now||Shipping now||Shipping now||TBD||Q2 2020|
|Active Noise Cancellation||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Dedicated Ambient Mode||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
|Charging||Wireless charging, Lightning connector||MicroUSB||Wireless charging, USB-C||Wireless charging, USB-C||Wireless charging, USB-C|
|Battery life||5 hours||5 hours||6 hours||8 hours||5 hours|
|Battery life with case||24 hours||20 hours||7 hours||24 hours||24 hours|
|Personal Assistant||Siri||Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant||Google Assistant, Siri||Cortana, Google Assistant, Siri||Google Assistant|
I didn’t include the second-generation AirPods, but Apple is still selling those for $159 or $199, depending on whether you want a wireless charging case or not.
There’s a lot of feature parity across the board here, but if you’re an iPhone user, your decision comes down to which version of AirPods you want to spend money on. The way Apple can integrate AirPods with iOS is unmatched by anything else available, and arguably worth any added cost that AirPods carry.
I haven’t had a chance to test Amazon’s Echo Buds but found the Galaxy Buds to offer a solid listening experience. We’re still waiting for an official launch date for Microsoft’s Surface Earbuds, and Google’s new Pixel Buds won’t ship until the second quarter of 2020.
In the video at the top of this post, Jason Squared’s co-host, Jason Perlow, and I dive into more details and thoughts about all of the options we now have, including a dark horse company that’s making some high-quality audio products, according to Perlow.
What do you think about the abundance of wireless earbuds we now have? Are you waiting for some of the unreleased products, or springing for AirPods Pro?