If you’re looking to buy a pair of true wireless earbuds, you’ve no doubt come across the Apple AirPods (2019). While they’re possibly the most well-known totally wireless earphones on the planet, these days lots of smaller brands offer their own true wireless models.
One such brand is Earin, whose M-2 true wireless earbuds impressed us, thanks to heir modern design and powerful balanced armature speakers.
But, which true wireless earbud model is best for you? Should you opt for Apple’s iconic buds or take the road less travelled with the Earin M-2 True Wireless Headphones? To help you make an informed choice, we’ve put together this in-depth comparison of the two models.
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Apple AirPods (2019) vs Earin M2 True Wireless Headphones: overview
Originally released in 2016, the Apple AirPods arguably popularized true wireless earbuds, bringing completely cordless headphones well and truly into the mainstream.
They were upgraded earlier this year to give us the Apple AirPods (2019), the model we’ll be looking at in this comparison. Thanks to the inclusion of Apple’s new H1 chip, the updated buds have improved battery life and connectivity compared to the originals, as well as a new ‘Hey Siri’ voice activation feature – they even come with an optional wireless charging case.
There are new Apple earbuds on the block now as well; the AirPods Pro bring noise cancelation and a better fit to the iconic buds.
Earin’s M2 true wireless headphones, on the other hand, are far less well known. The company’s first true wireless earbuds were riddled with problems, like poor connectivity and a short battery life. However, the Earin M-2s are miles better, and could even give the more popular Apple AirPods (2019) a run for their money.
Apple AirPods (2019) vs Earin M2 True Wireless Headphones: price and availability
The second-gen AirPods cost $159 / £159 / AU$249 with the standard charging case, and $199 / £199 / AU$319 with the new Wireless Charging Case bundled in.
You can also purchase the charging case separately for $79 / £79 / AU$129, which is good news if you have the original AirPods but want to upgrade your case to one that supports wireless charging, although you might feel it’s a high price to pay for some added convenience.
Meanwhile, the Earin M-2s were launched at $249 / £219 (around AU$390), making them significantly more expensive than the ever-popular AirPods. That being said, you can currently buy them for a reduced price of $199 / £175 (around AU$285).
This limited promotion makes them the same price in the US as the AirPods (2019) – and in the case of the UK and Australia, even cheaper than Apple’s true wireless earbuds.
Apple AirPods (2019) vs Earin M2 True Wireless Headphones: design
The design of the Apple AirPods (2019) is near enough iconic, with the long earbud stems and pillbox-style charging case – and while we don’t exactly love those unwieldy stems, there’s no denying the AirPods’ popularity.
On the front of the charging case you’ll find a small LED light, which allows you to check the charge status of the buds – it glows green if they’re fully charged, and orange if they’re not.
Although they sport an instantly-recognizable look, the AirPods (2019) do suffer from a few design flaws, including the lack of adjustable silicone ear tips that would allow you to find the best fit for your ears.
They may have felt snug and comfortable when we tested them, but the lack of eartips in every size means that wouldn’t feel comfortable using them to soundtrack a run – we’ve all heard horror stories of loose AirPods rolling into drains, never to be seen again.
The design of the Earin M-2s is worlds apart from that of the AirPods; from the sleek charging case right down to the box they come in, the Earin M-2s look incredibly elegant, coming in matte black or white and silver color schemes.
The earbuds themselves are unbelievably small, with touch-sensitive housings that you can use to control your music or summon whichever voice assistant you use on your device – and we think they generally look more stylish than the AirPods.
If the size of your earbuds is a big determining factor of which model you opt for, the Earin M-2s have a far more compact design, and have no stems to stick out of your ears. Plus, they come with three sets of spare ear tips in various sizes, which means you should be able to find a snug fit for your ear shape.
Instead of the pillbox shape favored by Apple, the aluminum charging case on offer with the Earin M-2s has cylindrical form that should fit comfortably into your pocket – it’s an elegant design choice, but there’s no wireless charging on offer here.
If the ability to charge with a Qi-compatible charging mat is important to you, you’ll probably want to go for the Apple AirPods.
Apple AirPods (2019) vs Earin M2 True Wireless Headphones: features
Let’s start with battery life; the Apple AirPods (2019) have five hours of playback built-in to the buds themselves, while the charging case offers an additional 20 hours of juice.
This is where the Earin M-2s fall down. You get around four hours of playback from the earbuds, while the charging capsule only provides an additional 10 hours of battery.
So, if you’re on a long haul flight with no option to charge, the Earin M-2s might not hold out for the entire journey. The AirPods, on the other hand, offer enough battery to get you through more than an entire day of listening to music, podcasts, and more.
Both true wireless earbuds offer great connectivity, with rapid pairing over a Bluetooth connection. If you have an iPhone, you may find the AirPods connect to your device slightly quicker than other earbuds; thanks to the new H1 chip, the option to pair will appear on your phone screen as soon as you open the charging case.
The use of the H1 chip also enables the new AirPods to offer hands-free ‘Hey Siri’ functionality. This means you can use the voice assistant command to place calls, change songs and more – basically anything Siri can do, direct from the earbuds, without needing to pull your iPhone out.
The Earin M-2s also have support for voice assistants built-in; in this case, you have to use the earbuds’ touch sensitive housings.
It’s one tap to play/pause your music, two taps to go to the next track, three taps to hear the previous track again, and one long tap to summon your smartphone’s voice assistant, whether you use Siri, Google Assistant, or Bixby.
The AirPods (2019) are also touch sensitive, but their functionality is much more limited. You can also configure the touch controls to summon your voice assistant, play/pause your music, skip to the next or previous track, or even turn off touch controls altogether.
However, you can only assign one double-tap control to each earbud, which can be slightly limiting.
Apple AirPods (2019) vs Earin M2 True Wireless Headphones: sound quality
The AirPods (2019) aren’t known for being audiophile earphones, but that’s not to say that they sound terrible. They have a lively, powerful presentation, and sound great when it comes to mid-frequency audio like vocals, guitar and keys.
However, they can sound slightly harsh when it comes to higher-frequency sounds, and they aren’t the bassiest earbuds on the market.
The Earin M-2s that win in this regard; they sound very impressive, with fantastic separation between the different frequencies, while stereo separation and panning between the left and right earbuds comes across naturally.
They generally produce a very warm soundstage with an almost analogue quality to it; whether you consider this to be a positive or a negative largely depends on personal taste, and some users may find themselves craving a little more attack in the lower mids.
Like the AirPods, the Earin M-2s aren’t particularly bassy, instead producing a more balanced sound than many consumer headphones; this is partly down to the use of balanced armature drivers.
If you’re looking for more bass, you’ll want to go for true wireless earbuds like the RHA TrueConnects, which have dynamic drivers that displace more air as they vibrate, leading to richer bass frequencies.
One interesting feature of the Earin M-2s is the inclusion of ‘intelligent noise reduction’. Using the dual-mics built into the earbuds, it works by processing and reducing background noise, which reduces audio masking (this is when you can’t hear your music properly due to environmental noise).
Not only does this make your music sound clearer, but it also means you don’t need to play your music as loud as you might normally, preserving your precious hearing.
Overall, the Earin M-2s offer a higher level of audio quality than the AirPods (2019) that may even appeal to audiophiles looking to cut the cord and step into the world of true wireless.
Apple AirPods (2019) vs Earin M2 True Wireless Headphones: takeaway
In terms of design and audio quality, the Earin M-2 True Wireless Headphones are the clear winners; but in all other aspects, they're eclipsed by the Apple AirPods (2019).
You get a lot more 'smart' features for your money with Apple's true wireless earbuds, such as 'Hey Siri' functionality, and super fast connection times – with iOS devices, anyway.
Battery life is miles better in the AirPods (2019) too; if you're planning to use true wireless earbuds on long haul flights, for example, the Earin M-2s just won't cut it.
That's not to say the buds from Earin are bad; they're actually fantastic, they just aren't as good value for money as the AirPods.
- Apple AirPods (2019) vs Beats PowerBeats Pro: the battle of Apple's true wireless earbuds
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Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.