For myself, headphones are all about audio quality. I will happily pay more to get the best listening experience and the sound quality is 100% where it's at for me. I own multiple headphones for different environments (home, travel, walking, gym) and different listening experienced (closed vs open design). My search is for the best in each category of headphone and therefore in each environment. Also after years of testing headphones and speakers, the ONLY WAY TO TEST in my opinion is a back and forth comparison with the same equipment and songs. Our ears forget what something sounds like and it's easy to get very excited with a new headphone or speaker and think "this is the best I've heard". We have to do a back and forth session to notice the differences. There is no other way to do it. This is why I write my reviews the way I do and why I think 90% of reviews out there are useless. People get excited with a new item and make exaggerated claims because its hard to compare using memory alone. Countless times I've gotten excited about headphones, speakers or food and thought "this is the best" and then am surprised when I do a back and forth comparison to realize that it really wasn't that good. So let's get started! Airpods 3rd Generation vs Razer Hammerhead. These are my two best in-ear unsealed headphones. I've tried a lot and thought compare the best. The Airpds retail for $169 and the Razers were $99 (now $39). Airpod audio sound more inside your head (more intimate). Razer audio sounds more outside your head (wider sound stage). Razer sounds more 3D. Airpod audio is more balanced across the spectrum and sounds full and flattened. Razer audio has the vocals more forward with the instruments more in the background. Razer has a larger spacial quality to the audio. Airpod audio has less texture and detail. Razer audio has more texture detail. Airpod audio has a thicker rumble to the bass and the bass remains during the music. Razer audio has tighter, punchier bass. The difference is like a higher quality sub-woofer that is accurate, tight and strong versus a lower quality sub-woofer which extends the bass with a rumble rather than a tight punch. Razer audio sounds like a higher quality sub-woofer (less rumble, more punch). Airpods secure better in my shaped ears and feel tucked in, while not sealing my ears. Razers feels like they are sitting on my ear and not tucked in like the Airpods. Airpods 2nd Generation is inferior in every way to the 3rd Generation. 2nd Gen have noticeably less detail, sound very flat and do not fit the ear as well. Final opinions: In my search for unsealed in-ear headphones, the Airpods 3rd Gen and Razer are the best I've heard. There aren't many competitors in this genre of headphone and these two are the best IMO. It's a toss up between which one is better because different people have different listening preferences, music styles and personal needs. I'll do my best to advise. - If you constantly wear your headphones, walking with them, using them for calls, etc - the the Apple Airpods 3rd Gen are the way to go. They are more comfortable and secure much better in the ears. They won't fall out. I've had the Razers fall out on my walk numerous times that it's almost a daily occurrence. - If you want a more audiophile grade experience with a Bluetooth in-ear unsealed headphone, the audio quality of the Razer is better IMO. More detail, more texture, wider sound stage, and tighter bass. The only draw back with the Razer is that the sound stage is artificially-enhanced by adding a echo-like effect. It's small but it's there. - If you want a more forward sounding and someone intense audio experience the Airpods push the sound into your head and give an intimate but somewhat intense experience. People who want to be inside their music (like center-stage, front row seat) will prefer the Airpods 3rd Gen. This would be better for electronic music, hip hop, dance and most of the modern trends. - If you prefer to sit in the middle or back of the venue and hear the instrument separation and a wider sound stage, the Razer is a better choice. It's not an intimate but it's more open and airy and has a more laid back quality. This is better for jazz, blues, and classic rock. A little background: I prefer the open ear design to my over-the-ear headphones and I own or have owned many of the flagship (very best) headphones from brands like Sennheiser, AKG, Audio-Technica, Hifimann and Sony. I have owned the best wireless over-the-ear from Sony, B&O and Philips. I have owned the best wired in-ears from Sennhesier and Westone. I have owned the best wireless in-ears from Sony, B&O, Tozo, and too many to remember. I also own audiophile grade amplifiers and DACs costing costing well over $1,000 each. At present, wired headphones will always sound better than wireless. More information can pass through wires than airwaves. In the future, wireless will match wired but I think that will take a while to happen. For now, if you want the best listening experience, get a wired headphone.
Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2022 by Lincoln Lincoln