Enthusiasts of the Apple iPhone no doubt remember, remember the 7th of September, when the company's latest darling smartphone released to the clamoring public. Critics and skeptics alike were quick to celebrate the iPhone 7's more powerful cameras, speedy processors, stylish new color options and improved waterproofing.
But the one 'feature' that nearly nobody's partying about is iPhone 7's lack of a headphone jack. Since Apple's announcement of this remarkable (not remarkable good, remarkable... just remarkable) design decision, reviewers have responded with mixed emotions. Namely, disappointment mixed with regret, or wailing mixed with lamentation, and, oh, a fair amount of good-natured doomsaying. Not only does this render everyone's existing headsets unusable, but it also forces iPhone users to shell out for Apple's proprietary (and ridiculously pricey) Airpods, which, if I may be frank, more closely resemble a DIY Home Ear Surgery Kit than actual earbuds.
If you're one of the resigned few who sucked it up and upgraded to an iPhone 7 but you're still sore about the no-headphone jacks thing, all is not completely lost. We've combed through the internet for the top-rated wireless headsets that make great alternatives to the Apple Airpod.
Now, without further adieu, onto the list of the hottest headphones!
Best Apple Airpod Alternatives
For what looks like such a simple pair of wireless ear buds, the Samsung Gear IconX packs a lot of premium qualities and features into a tiny package. Truly cable free and designed to be your ideal workout partner, the headset is specially coated to protect it from water damage from sweat or splashing. Each ear bud comes packed with soft, high-quality wing tip stabilizing gels to keep the headset snug and comfortable during long gaming, listening, and workout sessions.
Speaking of working out, its other features include a built-in Fitness Tracker and Heart Rate Monitor that syncs up with your device, making it ideal for hardcore fitness training or casual exercise routines. It's even compatible with many popular third-party fitness apps.
And if you're just in it for the audio kicks, why bring your phone at all? The Gear IconX comes with its own built-in 4GB on-board storage and music player for phone-free listening; all you need is the headset to tune into your favorite soundtracks.
When charging or not in use, store the headset in its stylish, discreet carrying case (comes included).
Ever paid top dollar a premium quality headset with all the bells and whistles, only to have the power drain be so taxing it makes you feel like you've just sold your left kidney for a designer paperweight? High-end features like HD sound are great to have on the go, but they tend to suck the battery life right out of your device. We've been there.
Enter the Motorola Verve One+: a set of high quality, sweat, and waterproof earbuds that offer both deep, completely customizable HD sound while also promising to deliver up to 12 hours of continuous playtime. IP57 waterproof protection means this headset is tough enough to hold up against intense workout levels of sweat, unexpected rain and puddle splashes, so you will never have to worry about wearing them in any weather.
Smart technology means that not only do these earbuds provide superior sound, but they're also designed for maximum compatibility with any smartphone, tablet or computer. Being completely wireless, you can listen without the hassle of tangles and the inconvenience of being tethered to a second device.
The Firegram lives up to its name: it's quite possibly one of the smallest wireless headsets out there, yet is still a fireball when it comes to delivering on high impact performance. Extremely lightweight, with a comfortable design meant to fit snugly in your ear while causing minimal discomfort, the Firegram effortlessly supplies discreet audio performance.
The headset supports Bluetooth connectivity in one ear up to 33 feet (10 meters), making it compatible with leading mobile devices such as the iPhone SE/6/6S/6S Plus, the Samsung Galaxy S6, Edge S5 Note, Sony, Blackberry and HTC models, among most other Bluetooth devices.
Its long battery life provides seamless 4 hours of continuous talk time and 3.5 hours of music time. Plus it's versatile: the Firegram features hands-free functionality, allowing you to answer calls while you're driving, jogging, walking, working out or tooling around at your latest project.
The Dash ships as a pair of smart, fully wireless headphones in a revolutionary design. Engineered to be more than just a pair of smart earphones, Bragi: The Dash was intended to function as an intimate personal assistant. To accomplish this mission, the device comes loaded with a suite of impressive features.
The Bragi is essentially a combination of three different technologies in one powerful package. Born out of state of the art technology, the Dash boasts an incredibly lightweight design that is as stylish as it is uncompromising of user freedom and comfort.
Cutting edge biometric technology built into the earbuds allows you to get feedback and thoughtful insights about your heart rate, steps taken and duration of your workout, walk, jog, cycling, or other fitness routines. And it's not just a device for fitness buffs. The Bragi Dash allows you to stream music from any Bluetooth compatible device effortlessly. Load up to 4GB – that's 1000 songs or more! -- directly onto its onboard music player.
You can even play directly from its sleek and compact Dash device, which is equipped with speakers on perfectly balanced, bilateral armatures. And the Dash doesn't let its Bluetooth connectivity go to waste: you can handle calls wirelessly, as well as record the sounds around your environment, or mute them with its audio transparency feature when you're communicating over the microphone, ensuring your audio recipients read you loud and clear. It ships with a commendable 3 hours of battery life.
If you're looking for a sleek, sexy, premium model Bluetooth headset that won't break the bank, the LG Electronics Tone+ is a good candidate for your spending money.
Capable of enhanced audio and bass response, noise reduction technology, and text to speech conversion. Its A2DP Bluetooth Profile is capable of advanced multipoint communication and syncs with most Bluetooth compatible devices.
Apt-X audio compression, a battery life that pumps out up to 10 hours of music playback and 15 hours of talk time, and a comfortable neck worn form factor design round out its impressive list of features for the money.
The Phaiser BHS-730 is a great set of earbuds for serious running and sports enthusiasts. Its 8mm speakers, combined with Bluetooth 4.1, generate exceptional quality HD sound with powerful bass and impeccable fidelity.
Even better, the tips of its earbuds are memory foam...bullet-shaped, plate wing tipped Comply T-400 M memory foam, in fact, which are perfect for fitting snugly into your ear and provide total isolation from external noise, so nothing will interrupt your favorite beats while you're on the go.
It's also designed with convenience in mind: it's magnetic, which secures the headset around your neck, and looks cool to boot. Because the Phaiser was designed to be worn when you go running, jogging, walking and working out, its main claim to fame is its high-quality sweat-proof construction, making the headset nearly invulnerable to sweat damage from heavy exercise.
It's even rugged enough to withstand being accidentally dropped into water.
Among headphones designed for fitness enthusiasts, few competitors can quite compare to the Jaybird when it comes to comfort, security, and convenience.
Its ear tips are specially designed with high-quality Comply Premium Sport Memory Foam; paired with its patented secure fit ear fins and silicone ear tips designed specifically for the X2 model, the Jaybird by far is by far one of the most comfortable earphones to wear while you're working out.
And if you're picky about wearing your earphones over or under your ear, the Jaybird has you covered; its ear grips are designed to fit both ways, so you can wear the headset in whichever way is most comfortable for you.
Its premium Bluetooth audio allows crystal clear outdoor music quality with absolutely no skip, and its battery life lasts for up to 8 hours of music or remote controlled calling.
With a price that's music to the ears, the SoundPEATS QY7 Bluetooth Wireless headphones are no slouch when it comes to features.
Don't be fooled by its convenient, lightweight 3.17-ounce design: its noise-canceling earbuds come with carefully crafted ear hooks that make sure you'll never have to worry about your headset falling off while you're on the treadmill or your favorite jogging route.
Its usage is long-lasting: with just 1-2 hours of charging time, this little headset is powerful enough of cranking out up to 6 hours of talk or music time, extending up to 145 hours of standby.
And of course, its Bluetooth support makes it compatible with most cell phones, iPhones, and Android devices.
If you can't stand the feel of earbuds, look no further than a brand name known for its line of top quality audio products.
The Sennheiser RS120 is one powerful wireless headset, completely freeing you from the inconvenience of being tethered to your audio device. Surprisingly lightweight for an on-ear model, the S120 features a comfortable, padded headband and receives sound from a transmitter base that connects to the analog port of any audio source (such as a TV, sound system or personal computer).
Since it's a Sennheiser, you'll know the sound quality is nothing less than classic excellence: balanced and with flawless detail, clarion clarity and resonating bass response.
This headset come with a stylish charging dock that doubles as a classy and convenient holder when the headphones are not in use.
What designer style, high-quality performance and crystal clear sound in a package that's compatible with most Bluetooth stereo devices? The Kinivo BTH220 has you covered.
Lightweight and foldable for maximum portability and device storage, this headset makes it easy to accept calls, adjust volumes and switch music tracks right from the headphones themselves through a clever one-button interface.
Best of all, it's completely wireless, so you'll have no trouble staying tuned in no matter what your activity level.
Form and functionality combine into one in the sporty Powerbeats2 Wireless Headphone.
Its sweat and water-resistant design and completely rechargeable 6-hour battery translate into plenty of time to work out to your favorite songs and soundtracks throughout the day. You can even take hands-free calls, adjust volumes and switch tracks with its no-slip grip Remote Talk control.
The Powerbeats even teams up with your favorite Bluetooth device within a 30-foot range, allowing for seamless wireless music streaming.
They come with a wrap around cable, a carrying case, a micro USB cable, spare sets of ear tips, a convenient cable management clip, and a Quick Start Guide.
If you're particularly attached to a favorite set of headphones and don't feel like switching just because you upgraded to an iPhone 7, worry not: the Lightning adapter plugs into the 3.5mm jack on your iPhone 7, allowing you to connect your existing wired headphones.
Though it lacks a microphone or volume adjuster, it offers impressive sound quality and a 20-24kHz frequency response rate...so much so that there's next to no difference to using a wireless headphone.
The Buyer's Guide
Before you dive in and buy one of the best valued wireless headphones for the money, let's take a moment to talk about what to look for while shopping for a new headset. While many headsets these days offer practically similar (or near enough) hardware specs and technological features, there are still quite a few things to watch out for.
1. How, When and Where Will You Use It?
How, when, and where you plan to use your headset should be at the forefront of consideration.
Are you looking for a snug and comfy pair of headphones to wear while relaxing in bed, listening to your favorite audiobook while you drift to sleep? You'll probably want a headset that optimizes noise cancellation and is comfortable enough to fall asleep while wearing them. Or are you looking to plug into your favorite workout anthems while hitting the treadmill? You'll want something that's resistant to water and sweat, yet secure enough to not slip out during rigorous exercise.
When it comes to choosing the headset with the right features, one size doesn't always fit all, but rest assured that there's a headset for whatever your activity level.
2. Not Just For Looks
Next up is form and style, and it's not just for looks.
If you're going to be wearing these things for hours, comfort should certainly be a major deciding factor in your purchase. Earbuds offer a discreet look, allowing you to answer calls or tune in to your favorite audio without compromising your fashion sense. On-ear headphones are the next step up, and are a good alternative for people who find earbuds too uncomfortable or not secure enough.
Finally, there're full-sized headphones, also known as circumaural headphones, which fully enclose your ears and can offer the best noise cancellation, highest maximum bass and volume levels, and audio immersion through surround sound by sealing the music in right around your ears.
Each style of headset has its ups and downs, so it's important to know what activity level you're shopping for.
Next up...features. Let's try to demystify some of the techno-jargon that's often used to describe headset-specific technology.
“Bass” refers to the palpable “boom” you feel being delivered during the beats, and many artists custom tune their signature sounds to emphasize lower frequencies. Earbuds might offer the best portability, but unless you're picking out a higher end model, they often can’t compare with full-sized headphones for bass resonance.
“Sealed” or “open” headphones refer to the headset's noise cancellation methods. Sealed headphones are in-ear or earcup models that physically isolate your ears from acoustic interference in our surroundings. It also works to keep sounds from leaking out into your environment and causing a distraction for others.
Sealed headphones offer far superior sound quality, but if you're looking for headphones to wear while jogging, it's highly recommended you go for an open-backed design, as it won't block out everything from the outside world and compromise your awareness of your surroundings.
4. Wear and Tear
Finally, there's durability.
We've all gone through a lot of headphones, but there's no reason they need to be treated like disposable batteries. Besides, wireless models don't come cheap!
And unlike almost any other piece of consumer electronics, wireless headphones shouldn't be treated like tech that's bound to go obsolete in a few months from now. So be sure to pay attention to your selected model's durability.
Some earbuds and portable designs, for example, pay for their compact shape and featherweight by sacrificing shock proofing and padding, and so tend to be on the fragile side. Foldable headphones might sound neat, but are the hinges strong enough to hold up to repeated folding?
And let's not forget that the earpads and earbuds will bear the brunt of wear and tear throughout the life of the headphones; do they come with replacements, and/or are replacements easy (and cheap) to get?
Paying attention to these aspects of your headphones will help you make a more informed purchase.
There's much to be said about Apple's decision to go wireless. If one were to pause and think about it a moment, there's actually a lot of good to the decision.
Sooner or later, you'll find yourself in need of a pair of headphones. Someone will helpfully say, “Oh, here, you can borrow mine,” and you get to deny them to their face, because their headphones are neither hip nor trendy enough to keep up with your shiny new Apple iPhone 7.
And sure, not having a 3.5mm headphone jack is going to be a huge inconvenience for a lot of people for a long time, but you know what? We don't need more convenience in our lives. Back in our parent's day, they had to walk over a block in any direction to get to a Starbucks. We, as a generation, are simply too spoiled, what with our wired headphones and color television and not having to shelter our offspring from wolves.
In all seriousness, yeah, it sucks that we have to switch to a wireless headphone set to get the most out of the iPhone 7. What the mandatory upgrade doesn't have to suck is all the money out of your pocket shopping for a new quality headset.