We are all excited by the newly announced wireless earbuds from Google with the Pixel Bud 2. The previous generation was received by just OK critical reactions and Google had some ground to catch up with another iteration.
Perhaps the $180 price tag is just outside your reach? Or, maybe you just don’t like the Pixel Buds 2?
Here we offer up some of our favorite alternatives to Google’s new earbuds.
Anker’s audio sub-brand, Soundcore, has been making amazing products for the price a few years now. We recently reviewed the Liberty Pro 2 from the company and came away very impressed. Honestly, they match up with most of the bullet points of Google’s Bud 2 with as good or sometimes better options.
The Soundcore Liberty Pro 2 comes with Grammy award-winning audio optimization, USB-C quick charge, Qi charging, 11mm drivers with aptX, Bluetooth 5.0, and soft-touch earloops for a comfortable fit. You’ll also need that comfort for the 8 hours of extended listening per usage. Top that with 3 extra charges from the case and you have 32 hours of total playback.
The Liberty Pro 2 also has IPX4 water and dust resistance. This should shield your earbuds from most elements while outside. Either on a job or at the worksite, you have added assurance to know you’re covered.
Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Pro 2 earbuds offer great value too. For $50 less than Google’s offering, you can have a very comparable experience by heading over to Amazon and choose between the black or white models.
iFrogz is another sub-brand of a popular name you may recognize: Zagg. The audio subsidiary makes good, budget-minded options for those looking to not break the bank. The Airtime wireless earbuds definitely fall into this category and had to make this list.
Again Bluetooth 5.0 is onboard with quicker pairing and better connections. The Airtime also has silicone loops to help secure the buds in your ear while keeping you comfortable. iFrogz rates the Airtime for IPX2 water resistance which should get you through light rain or sweaty workout but I wouldn’t stand in a downpour.
You won’t get the long-lasting playback time you will with the LIberty 2 Pro, but you can achieve 3 hours of battery on each charge with 4 recharges via the case. You can get fast-charging for 50% battery with just five minutes of plug-in time. Unfortunately, you won’t find Qi wireless charging and there’s the dreaded micro-USB port.
It does come with limitations in comparison to the Pixel Buds 2 or others on this list, but iFrogz has a pretty decent package for less than $60. You can snag four different colors of black, blue, white, and peach on Amazon. Weirdly, they all have slight variations in price.
Many of you may not be old enough to remember, but Creative was once a hot startup back in the late 90s and early 2000s. With it’s Sound Blaster audio cards for PCs, the company really had a moment where its name was synonymous with inventive audio solutions in tech.
While Creative has seen several iterations since that time, audio is still at the heart of the company. With the Outlier Air, Creative has a truly wireless option that deserves your consideration.
Key features include 5.6mm drivers, 10-hour battery life per charge, USB-C charging case, Bluetooth 5.0, and aptX support. You’ll also get IPX5 water-resistance and 2 more charges via the case for a total of 30 hours of playback.
Our Matt Adams called them the best wireless earbuds he’s used in our official review. And for $80 on Amazon, you should strongly consider giving them a shot if Google’s Pixel Buds 2 is just too rich for the wallet.
Another name you may not have heard of is Tronsmart. The Chinese company is a newer player in the wireless audio market, but they have quite the lineup. Not to be outdone, the Onyx Neo truly wireless earbuds are worthy of our list.
Tronsmart’s Onyx Neo has a similar design to the Creative Outlier Air headset but has slightly less premium feel. On the inside, however, you have some recognizable specs. There’s IPX5 resistance rating for water and USB-C charging with the case.
Pair the case with the 7 hours of on-time with the earbuds and you can get up to 24 hours of full usage of the Tronsmart Onyx Neo headphones. This above average for the market segment and something that the Neo really excels at.
You’ll also find 6mm drivers, aptX, and passive noise cancellation. This makes the Onyx Neo one of the cheapest options you can find with Qualcomm’s audio chip included. Sound is nice with a perhaps a bit of a lean on the bass, but for casual listening on the go, they are a solid, budget option at just $23.
All the other models on this list are of lower value than the new Google Pixel Buds 2, but we’d be a fool not include at least one true equivalent. The Jabra Elite 75t are a direct competitor in features and price to Google at $180.
As you can see, there’s a similar design with the Jabra Elite 75t with a pear-shaped earbud with comfort grip silicone inserts. Internally, you have Bluetooth 5.0, IPX5 water resistance, and four noise-canceling microphones for clear phone calls.
Endurance is also not a problem with the Jabra Elite 75t. The earbuds will survive 7.5 hours of runtime on its own. Add that to three full recharges by the included case, and you can be away from the charger for around 28 hours. When you do need an outlet Jabra quick charge USB-C onboard.
These features make the Jabra Elite 75t, while at the same price point, a compelling alternative to the Google Pixel Buds 2. You get a much better battery life, similar design, and USB-C charging for the same price of $180. The one main omission is wireless charging, but overall, Jabra has an excellent premium option with the Elite 75t.
Options are great
Whether you decide to buy the Pixel Buds 2 is completely up to each of the buyers out there. However, if you don’t decide to go that route, there are many wireless earbud options out there and we hope that this list can narrow the field for those shoppers. Have an awesome alternative already? Let us know in the comments!