It seems like you can't move for true wireless earbuds nowadays. Now Chinese brand Honor has thrown its hat into the ring with the Earbuds 2 Lite (opens in new tab). And while they look quite a lot like a pair of AirPods, they're much, much cheaper.
They cost almost a third of the price of Apple's pair, in fact. Their price tag is listed as €69, which comes in at £59 ($82, about AU$110) – far below the AirPods' asking price of £159 ($159, AU$249).
Despite this, they have a pretty impressive feature set. Battery life is listed as 10 hours from the buds, and a total of 32 hours including the carry case (though these are both without noise cancelling activated). Juice them up for 10 minutes, and they'll play for an impressive four hours, though again with noise cancelling deactivated. Honor hasn't released battery specs with ANC on – for comparison, the class-leading Sony WF-1000XM4 last 12 hours, and a total of 36 with the case (both with ANC off).
Neither are a patch on the (non-ANC-equipped) Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus, which last a marathon 45 hours with the case.
ANC comes as standard, while the buds' ear tips promise a noise-isolating design to block out sound even with ANC turned off. Dual Anti-Wind technology promises to reduce the sound interference from gusts, which is handy when using them for handsfree voice calls.
Awareness Mode lets you hear what's going around you without taking the earbuds out. Just touch and hold the earbud stem for a few seconds to activate it.
On sound duties are 10mm high fidelity dynamic drivers with sensitive polymer composite diaphragms which promise "authentic and balanced audio, detailed sound, and a rich deep bass". We'll have to test them for ourselves before we can verify any of that.
As is typical of true wireless earbuds, they come with three sizes of silicon ear tips to provide a comfortable fit. Pair them with a phone running Honor's Magic UI (version 4.0 or later) and they'll automatically recognise when you're playing a game and enter low latency mode. This synchronises audio and video to reduce lag. And Bluetooth 5.2 ("with Honor's optimisations") means they should stay connected to your phone, especially if it's an Honor model.
Honor isn't the best known brand globally, but it's big in its native China. It was previously owned by Huawei, but was sold off last year.
The Honor Earbuds 2 Lite come in Glacier White or Midnight Black, and go on sale tomorrow in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Finland.
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