Apple AirPods are some of the most popular wireless earbuds on the market. Whether you’re listening to music, making voice calls or chairing a video meeting, you can rely on the AirPods to do a good job. As such, it’s nigh-on impossible to ride a bus or hit the gym without seeing a pair of Apple’s familiar white buds poking out of someone’s ears.
In addition to the classic AirPods (2019), Apple has introduced pricier, noise-cancelling buds called the AirPods Pro. So which are the best wireless earbuds for you? And how can you grab a stonking deal on a pair of Apple AirPods?
Being a premium product, AirPods don’t come cheap. But with so many stores competing for your cash, you can score some decent deals and discounts if you shop around. Not keen on spending the weekend trawling every online retailer under the sun for the best prices? You’ll find find a complete overview of the Apple AirPods range, along with the very best deals, below…
Quick overview of the Apple AirPods
There are a few good reasons why Apple AirPods are so popular: they’re lightweight, easy to use, reliable, offer decent sound-per-pound and bring Siri to life in your ears. Plus, although they work best when used with an Apple product they can be paired with any Bluetooth device, from smart TVs to smartphones.
The original Apple AirPods hit the shelves back in 2016 at £159 ($159, AU$249). They were big on features but lacking in the sound department. You might find the odd pair for sale via third party retailers but Apple has long-since replaced them with the far more appealing 2nd-generation AirPods 2.
The arrival of the AirPods 2 in 2019 saw Apple up the ante with improved sound, better battery life and the introduction of a nifty wireless charging case. You can buy the AirPods 2 bundled with a standard charging case (£159, $159, AU$249) or a wireless charging case (£199, $199, AU$319).
You can also buy the wireless case separately, but it’ll set you back £79, meaning it’s far cheaper to buy it in a £199 bundle with the AirPods 2.
Apple AirPods Pro
£249 £200 at Laptops Direct
For a limited time, online tech emporium Laptops Direct has slashed an impressive £50 off the price of the Pros. They perform brilliantly, offer a comfy fit and boast excellent noise-cancelling tech. At this price, they’re seriously tempting.View Deal
In October 2019, Apple launched is beefiest and most expensive buds – the noise-cancelling Apple AirPod Pros. They cost £249 ($249, AU$399) including wireless charging case. Unlike the AirPods 2, the AirPods Pros come with a choice of silicone ear tips to help you achieve a tight seal.
Apple isn’t expect to launch the AirPods 3s until 2021, so now’s a great time to pick out some buds from the current AirPods range. Prefer plush headphones to wireless earbuds? Apple is tipped to launch it’s first ever over-ears – said to be called the Apple AirPods Studio – in late 2020.
Apple AirPods Pro
The flagship AirPods Pro feature Apple’s tastiest tech, including the firm’s H1 audio processing chip and voice control (with Siri). You also get efficient active noise cancellation complete with a handy ‘transparency mode’ that lets in ambient noise when crossing busy roads or pounding the streets in your running gear.
The AirPods Pro deliver an impressive 5 hours’ battery life, plus 19 hours from the supplied wireless charging case. Sound is balance and easy-going sound, the user experience is slick and the buds offer unprecedented levels of comfort thanks to a choice of three ear tip sizes.
In the AirPod Pros, Apple has created a pair of headphones that’s as well suited to a long-haul flight as it is to a run around the block. They scored an impressive four stars in our review but for some – particularly those embedded in the Apple eco-system – the AirPod Pros might be the only pair of wireless headphones they ever need.
All those next-gen features don’t come cheap, so it’s well worth checking out the latest Apple AirPods Pro deals below…
Apple AirPods (2019)
Looking for a pair of hassle-free true wireless earbuds? The second-generation AirPods boast improved sound quality, voice-activated Siri and unbeatable Bluetooth usability, securing a four-star review and a solid recommendation for those after a mix of convenience and good performance. In fact, the AirPods 2 might just be the best pair of wireless earbuds for iPhone users.
They’re available in two options: AirPods with standard Charging Case, and AirPods with Wireless Charging Case. The latter means you can place your AirPods in the case and lay it on a Qi-certified wireless charging pad (sold separately) to juice up the battery. An LED indicator on the front of the case lets you know that your AirPods are charging. If you’re away from the charging pad, you can still use the Lightning cable to charge the case in the usual way.
So which model should you buy? It really depends on your budget and needs. The Wireless Charging Case certainly makes life easier – but you’ll need a Qi wireless charging pad (around £30) to take advantage of the feature. Check out the deals below to see how much you can save on the AirPods 2 with wireless charging case…
Best Apple AirPods alternatives
Want buds with a bit more stamina? The five-star Cambridge Audio Melomania 1s could be the best wireless earbuds for you. They provide a whopping 9 hours playback, which rises to a class-leading 45 hours with the supplied charging case. The controls aren’t as slick but the sound quality is excellent. Plus, they come in at under the price of the AirPods 2.
On the hunt for a pair of noise-cancelling buds that sound better than the four-star AirPod Pros? The five-star Sony WF-1000XM3s sport active noise-cancelling tech that works remarkably well for a pair of in-ears, isolating you from the outside world and allowing the excellent sound quality into your ears unhindered. They are, quite simply, the best true wireless buds we’ve tested so far.
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1
£120 £100 at Amazon
In the market for a pair of proper wireless earbuds? The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 earbuds blew us away with superb sonics, snug fit and a combined battery life of a marathon 45 hours – one of the longest of its type that we’ve tested.View Deal
Sony WF-1000XM3 wireless buds
£220 £156 at Amazon
Wireless earbuds don’t come much greater than the XM3s. They’re extremely user-friendly, thanks to their effortless touch controls, and deliver a superb sense of musicality that really makes tunes sing. Even better, Amazon is offering 30% off.View Deal
For something sportier, we’d point you in the direction of the superb Bose SoundSport Frees. They sit comfortably in your ears, yet are secure enough to stay in during a jog or workout session and feature controls for playback and volume, so you won’t be constantly reaching for your phone while you’re working up a sweat. They sound great, too, serving up lashings of rich, weighty bass.
On a tight budget? The Earfun Air buds (£55, $60, AU$85) are half the price of the Apple AirPods 2 and sound great at the money. They’re rated IPX7 waterproof, support your chosen virtual assistant and provide seven hours of playback (two more than Apple’s AirPods 2). If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful alternative to the standard AirPods, the ridiculously affordable Earfuns should be top of your list.
Bose SoundSport Free
£179.95 £135 at John Lewis
Thanks to a recent update, these true wireless earbuds are pretty much the perfect package. Typically £180, they’re now available for just £135. At this price, they’re an absolute bargain for anyone after a a sporty alternative to the Apple AirPods.View Deal
Earfun Air wireless earbuds £55 at Amazon
Affordable and feature-packed wireless earbuds don’t get much better than these. If you’re after something inexpensive that’ll sound good on the treadmill, the Earfun Air buds could just be the ticket.