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One of the reasons Apple became the first trillion-dollar company was the very healthy profit margins it attaches to products. Some of those profit margins are bigger than others, but that also offers competitors an opportunity. For example, Apple charges $159 for a set of AirPods including a charging carry case, but Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi is launching a no-frills equivalent for just 199 Yuan, or roughly $30.
As Engadget reports, they are called the Xiaomi AirDots, and it’s not just the name that’s similar to the AirPods. The AirDots are white, have no wires, and just slot into your ears when in use. They also include a white charging case for the AirDots to sit in and recharge.
For $30, you can’t expect too much, but the AirDots do use Bluetooth 5.0. However, they aren’t noise-cancelling or water-resistant. Even so, these aren’t earphones you’d worry too much about misplacing unlike the AirPods at over five-times the price. In fact, you could buy a backup pair of AirDots and still save $100 compared to Apple’s premium offering.
For now, the AirDots are only available to pre-order in China. I’d be surprised if they didn’t make their way to the US and Europe, though. If the sound quality is good and the connectivity solid, these would surely fly off the shelves at $30. They’d likely still do so at $50.
The only good quality earphones that come close to AirDots in terms of price are the JLab JBuds Air. They cost $49, and when PCMag reviewed them we found the earphones to be one of the best bargains you’ll find among true wireless earbuds. They even have three EQ modes and are sweat resistant. The Soul Emotion earphones are also an option at $49.99, but the sound can be muffled at times.