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AirPods vs. Bluetooth Headphones

As an owner of both AirPods and Bluetooth headphones, I have experienced their respective strengths and weaknesses. Frustrated at times, I took it upon myself to do some research and testing to determine which type of headphones better suited my needs. I’m here to share my findings and other solutions I discovered along the way. In this blog post, I’ll compare AirPods and Bluetooth headphones to help you decide which one is best for you.

AirPods come on top in terms of subtle fits, mono modes, and compatibility with the Apple ecosystem. Meanwhile, Bluetooth headphones can score higher in noise cancellation and immersive sound quality.

Key Takeaways
AirPods offer a subtle fit while Bluetooth headphones provide a stronger hold
Bluetooth headphones have better noise cancellation than AirPods
AirPods offer mono mode and stereo versatility for calls and meetings
AirPods are more compatible with the Apple ecosystem
Bluetooth headphones can provide high-fidelity audio, while AirPods’ sound quality is good but not exceptional
Bluetooth headphones have a larger product range and are available in different designs and colors
Ultimately, the choice between AirPods and Bluetooth headphones depends on personal needs and preferences

AirPods vs. Bluetooth Headphones: What’s the Difference?

Whether you choose AirPods or Bluetooth-compatible headphones made by any other brand, you’ll still be able to connect to your iPhone via Bluetooth, but they offer unique experiences.

Keep in mind that Apple also makes an over-the-ear version called the AirPods Max, which caters to high-fidelity audio. However, for our purposes in this article, we’ll be referring to the traditional in-ear AirPods in all its three generations and the AirPod Pro models.

After all, you probably want to see how the nifty little pods from Apple compare to the hefty Bluetooth headphones from various brands.

So, here are the main aspects to consider:

Design and Fit

Usually, people opt for AirPods because they combine the convenience of wireless audio with a subtle fit into your ear. Sure, people will still be able to tell that you’re wearing them, but it’ll be much more inconspicuous than headphones.

However, people often worry that the pods won’t fit snugly into their ears and might fall out. That’s never a risk with almost all Bluetooth headphones since they offer a stronger hold over your ears.

So, you’ll have to choose between subtlety and security here.

Noise Cancellation

If noise cancellation is a priority for you, odds are, you’ll find Bluetooth headphones a better fit for your needs.

Although you can switch between Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Transparency modes on the AirPods Pro, you might still find cushioned headphones better.

Think of it this way: if you get high-quality headphones, you’ll be combining ANC with the passive effect of a sealed and cushioned ear cup. This way, the net results translate to blocking unwanted noises from your surroundings almost entirely.

Mono/Stereo Versatility

One reason that might push people to choose AirPods is to be able to pop just one earpiece in whenever you need it. This might not sound like a big deal, but it comes in handy a lot in meetings and calls.

Plus, you can also shift to mono audio mode to optimize the experience in that case. 

Sure, some people might be able to slip back one side of the headphones and keep the other one, but it’s nowhere as convenient as AirPods.

Ecosystem Compatibility

One of the highlights of getting AirPods as opposed to any Bluetooth headphones or even earbuds by other brands is the Apple ecosystem.

Just being powered by the H1 chipsets and supported on the iCloud puts a world of services at your fingertips. For instance, you can check the battery health, find lost pods, and switch smoothly between iPhones, iPads, and Mac PCs.

Meanwhile, you’ll only get basic compatibility features if you decide to buy other brands’ headphones with your Apple gear.

Sound Quality

Read more: How to get scuffs off AirPods

For a seasoned audiophile, AirPods might not cut it. It’s definitely not shabby, but it would be hard to say that it’s the best out there. 

Keep in mind that AirPods, like almost all Apple gadgets, are usually more expensive than other options on the market. That’s why some people might just put that money into getting a set of Bluetooth headphones that caters to high-fidelity audio.

So, the headphones win this round if you’re very picky about the sound quality that you deem acceptable. However, for the casual user, this one could end up being a tie.

Product Range

Read more: Why are AirPods so uncomfortable

Although there are a few AirPods to choose from, your selection is still limited. For instance, if you want the convenience of the H1 chipset, you’ll only get to choose between the second generation, third generation, or the AirPods Pro version.

On the other hand, there’s a way larger product range waiting for you to explore if you decide to go with Bluetooth headphones. You’ll get to choose different colors and designs that cater to more tastes than the minimalistic AirPods.

Obviously, it’s also easier to find a Bluetooth headphone that fits right into your price range.


Final Thoughts

Ultimately, choosing a winner in the AirPods vs. Bluetooth headphones comparison is all about your own needs.

AirPods might be a better option for people who prioritize portability and want something that fits right into their Apple gear.

On the other hand, Bluetooth headphones cater to audiophiles with an immersive sound experience and superior noise cancellation.

Either way, remember to be kind with your ears and take breaks often between prolonged exposure to loud music!