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These Sony noise-cancelling earbuds have a 12,000-person fan club — and they're $80 off

Apple AirPods Pro, you say? Sure, that's a great product, but not everyone looks like the look of AirPods or the Apple ecosystem. If you're looking for great buds that aren't fruit-themed, consider the Sony WF-1000XM4 noise-canceling earbuds, currently on sale at Amazon for $198 (from $279). There are also a lot of other Sony earbuds and headphones on sale, too!

Eight hour battery life with active noise cancelling means these buds should be at the top of your shopping list.
$198 at Amazon

Available in black or white at that price, Sony's earbuds are smaller and more discrete than AirPods; they sort of blend into your ears rather than protrude from them.

I haven't tried them myself, but countless reviews indicate superb sound quality, top-of-class noise canceling and very good phone-call performance. They're also splash-proof (meaning safe for sweaty exercise) and equipped with a charging case that can sit flat (what a concept, Apple, cough-cough!) and recharge wirelessly.

Just look what this user said: "I bought this product a year ago and have been extremely satisfied with it in every way. The sound quality is excellent for an earbud, and the noise-cancelling performance is also very good. It might be subjective, but in my opinion, the sound quality and noise-cancelling performance are better than those of the AirPods Pro. Of course, it's not fair to compare the sound quality and noise-cancelling to over-ear headphones."

Sony's top-rated noise-canceling earbuds are available in black and white.
Begone, outside noise! Sony's earbuds will help you listen — and work — in peace. (Photo: Sony)

And here's one cool feature AirPods can't match: If you want to have a conversation with someone while you're wearing the earbuds, just start talking. Sony's speak-to-chat technology will automatically pause playback and enable ambient-sound mode so you can hear the other person. (Thankfully, this can also be disabled in case you're someone who likes to sing along with the music.)

Another nice perk: built-in Alexa, great if she's your preferred voice assistant for things like information and smart-home operation. She's optional, though: You can use Google Assistant or Siri if you prefer.

If you want arguably the best earbuds, period, consider Sony's.

The high-tech bone-conduction speakers mean you'll get tremendous audio quality without the need to crank the volume all the way up.
$198 at Amazon

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)

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