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Apple’s AirPods have been with us for a full two years now. These wireless headphones brought on the general end of the headphone jack and added anxiety about losing such an expensive add-on. (A $160 product that can fall into a storm vent on the sidewalk will do that.) However, the question must be asked: are they any good? Apple fans seem to have gotten accustomed to them, but AirPods aren’t the only product on the market.
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Chinese tech giant Xiaomi has recently released their own competitor, called the AirDots. When compared to the AirPods’ more exorbitant price, the AirDots come in at just $30. Reviews are pretty glowing too, with the cheaper alternative matching Apple’s own headphones in most categories. The only complaint you might levy against them is that their aesthetics are a bit off and they’re a little hard to get into your ear because of it. Once you get over that hurdle, you’ll be listening to The Bee Gees with the same sound fidelity.
In some ways, the cheaper product is even a bit improved. Only the AirDots have built-in noise-canceling since they sit in your inner ear rather than on the outsides of your lobes. Perfect if you want to get away with the smooth sounds of Jimmy Buffett. Less great if you’re walking across a busy intersection or with a significant other. This noise-canceling doesn’t extend to phone calls, but who uses smartphones to make phone calls in 2019 anyway?
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All these differences should come as no surprise to longtime technophiles. With Apple, you’re paying for the brand name and the prestige. Sure, there are some advantages to the AirPods, but they’re not the be-all-end-all. We imagine that other alternatives will pop up soon stateside, especially with the technology entering its third year.
Meanwhile, Apple still hasn’t delivered those wireless AirPod charging pads from last year. If you excuse us, we’ve gotta return to our spot in line outside the local Apple store. We can’t miss out!