Everyone wants to get in on the wireless earbud rage and two firms just announced their entry into the market. Today at IFA 2017, B&O and Sony announced their first wireless earbuds that each compete in the space Apple made popular with the AirPods. Sound quality aside, these new earbuds have one thing over the AirPods: They don’t look like AirPods.
The B&O Beoplay E8 sports a four hour battery life and constructed out of aluminum, stainless steel, and textured rubber. The case is covered in leather. B&O says the ‘buds have been tuned with the same system used in the rest of its headphone line so hopefully the sound quality can justify the $299 price.
Sony’s WF-1000X will cost $199.99 and have a three hour battery life. These earbuds connect through Bluetooth or NFC, the latter which makes it very easy to connect compatible devices.
Both models have modes that allows the wearer to pipe in noise from around them so the wearer is not isolated from the outside world. Sony calls this Ambient Sound and B&O calls it Transparency Mode.
Even though these models sound respectable, when compared to AirPods spec-for-spec, things start to fall apart even when the extra features are considered. AirPods have longer battery life and a smaller case that’s also able to be tracked by the Find My iPhone app — all for $159. Plus, for Mac users, AirPods can effortlessly be used on the computer and a phone.
The market is exploding with these wireless earbuds yet so far it seems few have been able to stand apart. Bragi’s Dash Pro and Hear One are some of the favorites used by TechCrunch staff though a handful have Apple AirPods, too. And that’s how it’s supposed to be. Variety is good for everyone.