This AirPods Pro rival offers noise cancellation — for nearly $200 less

Edifier TWS NBQ
(Image credit: Edifier)

There’s no shortage of cheap earbuds that aim to copy the styling of the Apple AirPods, but matching the active noise cancellation (ANC) feature of the AirPods Pro is usually a different story.

Not so for Edifier’s new TWS NBQ buds, which promise full-on ANC — not just noise reduction or isolation — for $59. That’s a fraction of the $249 AirPods Pro, and is cheaper than most of the best Apple AirPods alternatives to boot.

The TWS NBQ looks like a more plasticky cousin of the Edifier TWS NB2 Pro that launched at CES 2021. But despite both this and the low price, the TWS NBQ promises a remarkably wide range of features. ANC is the headliner, obviously, but this is backed up by an Ambient Sound Mode that lets you hear the outside world without stopping your music.

You can also use each a single earbud at a time, for when you’d like to listen to something while also keeping an ear open. And Edifier claims an impressive battery life of 7 hours per charge with ANC on. The AirPods Pro only lasts about 4.5 hours with noise cancellation engaged, and the standard, ANC-less AirPods come closer to 5 hours. The charging case only adds a modest 18 hours on top of the earbuds’ 7 hours, though by switching ANC off you can eke out 9 hours from the buds and 23 hours from the case.

Edifier also notes the TWS NBQ is dust- and water-resistant to the IP54 standard. While not fully waterproof that does make the earbuds virtually sweatproof, like most of the best workout headphones, and gives this cheap pair another advantage over the IPX4-rated AirPods Pro.

Most of the other creature comforts of true wireless earbuds are also present, like replaceable ear tips, touch controls and noise-cancelling microphones, for (hopefully) clear voice and video calls. Unlike the AirPods Pro, you also get a choice of colorways: white, pink or blue.

Having all this for $59 does raise the question of how exactly the TWS NBQ is so cheap. We wouldn’t be surprised if aspects like comfort or general sound quality took one for the team. 

But if you do want to take the plunge — and aren’t interested in waiting to see whether the AirPods 3 will have ANC or not — then you can order the TWS NBQ direct from Edifier.

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.