Skip to main content

New AirPods Pro rival steals Apple's features for nearly half price

(Image credit: Honor)

It's a common problem: you want Apple's AirPods Pro, but you don't want to drop $250. Fortunately, Huawei's Honor brand has cooked up a set of truly wireless buds that look similar — and even boast active noise cancellation — but cost almost half the price of Apple's premium AirPods.

There are plenty of fake AirPods out there (some good, some terrible), but the Honor Magic Earbuds seem different. For one, Honor has implemented a triple microphone system to achieve active noise cancellation that has been designed to especially assist voice calls.

Apple's standard AirPods cost $139, but lack active noise cancellation. The AirPods Pro do, but tack on another $110 to the price. However, the Honor Magic Earbuds will cost just 129 euros when they go on sale later this year. That translates to about $150 — though given Huawei's avoidance of the U.S. market as of late, there's no guarantee they'll see release in North America.

That's a shame, because the Magic Earbuds look to be compelling wireless earbuds in other ways, too. They tout Bluetooth 5.0, and according to Honor's estimates, should last about 3.5 hours on a charge, with the case allowing for a combined 13 hours of playback before needing to juice up again.

What's more, they get better if you happen to use a Huawei or Honor smartphone powered by the companies' EMUI interface. In that case, the Magic Earbuds will be able to stop and resume playback based on whether or not they're in your ears. They're also made to effortlessly pair with Huawei's handsets, which hopefully means you won't have to jump through all the hoops you typically do with Bluetooth-powered headphones.

The one feature the Magic Earbuds lack is true water resistance, though they should be able to deal with sweat. They'll come in two colors — Pearl White and Robin Egg Blue — and you can expect to buy them in April. Well, at least if you live in Europe.