JBL takes on AirPods with cheaper, more colorful wireless buds

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JBL earbuds
These AirPods rivals are cheaper and, with their range of colors, more cheerful than Apple's.
Photo: JBL

CES-2020-bug-2Given what a ridiculously massive hit the AirPods have been for Apple, it’s no shocker that other companies are keen to jump aboard the wireless earbuds train with their own rival versions. This one, from America audio company JBL, looks highly reminiscent of Apple’s AirPods.

The main differences? It comes in a range of colors, and costs just $99.95. That makes it a cheap and cheerful alternative to Apple’s premium version.

The TUNE 220TWS buds come in a choice of six colors. They promise three hours of playback on a single charge. A charging case offers an additional 16 hours of battery life. However, they lack some of the higher-end features of the AirPods Pro, such as Siri voice assistant and noise-cancelling.

It’s likely that the TUNE 220TWS buds will appeal to a younger demographic. These are the same buyers Apple has sporadically appealed to with devices like the iPhone 5c, which offered (sound familiar?) a range of colors at a lower price point. Given that Apple’s AirPods ranked as the no. 1 gift teens were after this holidays, it totally makes sense for another company to pursue that demographic.

JBL headphones charging case
A look at the headphones charging case.
Photo: JBL

JBL’s AirPods rivals

If you want a more upscale offering, that’s still cheaper than the AirPods Pro, you might want to check out the LIVE 300TWS buds. They boast an IPX5 water resistance, built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and a special TalkThru mode. This makes it easier to talk to people while wearing your earbuds. It does this by lowering audio from your phone and boosting surrounding noise. They also offer an extra hour of listening time on a single charge.

The LIVE 300TWS buds will be available in the near future, priced at $150. While I don’t see these as having the luster of Apple’s AirPods, they could certainly be a worthy alternative. Especially if you’re a price-conscious customer. Plus, let’s face it: Alexa and Google Assistant are still superior to Siri in a variety of ways.

Ultimately, though, it’s the sound quality that matters. If JBL can nail that, these could be a winner!

jbl-300TWS
JBL’s higher end earbuds.
Photo: JBL

Via: Engadget