How can I buy headphones from China

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UPDATE: Aldi will be selling true wireless headphones in the Airpods look from May 28, 2020. The Maginon BIK-3 cost 25 euros in the store. While they are already sold out in many branches, the discounter is still selling them online. There, including shipping, a good 35 euros will be charged. This is still a very good price compared to the original Airpods. However, there are far cheaper alternatives, as this article shows.

After the Airpods (test report) and Airpods 2 (test report), the Pro version of the Airpods came onto the market in 2019. The biggest innovation in addition to price, optics and noise canceling: the Pro version now uses silicone plugs for the ear canal.

Anyone who has previously bought Airpods and was dissatisfied with the fit had to fall back on accessories. We have that in our guide: The most important accessories for Apple Airpods also summarized. The classic Airpods in toothbrush look are not only still available, but also much cheaper and correspondingly popular. As is so often the case, this calls for cheap producers from the Far East.

You can get the Airpods clones for just one euro - plus shipping. At the price you shouldn't expect anything or not much, that's clear. The lousy counterfeit TWS i7s (test report) finished accordingly poorly with grade 5.

If you are looking for visually successful replicas, you can get something suitable for around 7 euros - including a Lightning socket. Here, too, the workmanship and sound are not premium, but the optics don't reveal anything. Clones like the TWS i12 are at least perfectly deceiving by far. And that is crucial: for 7 euros you can walk through the streets like with real Airpods. The ticket wins - that's enough for some.

Do you also get high quality clones that can compete with the Airpods? No, at least not for less than 30 euros. There are all sorts of replicas, they all respond to the name TWS , which stands for true wireless sound, and, depending on the generation, wear i7, i8 or now i1000 as an abbreviation.

Not only China shops offer these clones. The models can be bought at Amazon, Ebay and even at local retail chains such as Mediamarkt and Real. If you want a fake, you should hit the German shops. With our test order from Amazon, the i12 arrived reliably the next day - costing 15 euros. The identical model from Aliexpress for 7 euros was collected by customs and is now with the Apple lawyers. The reason given was the suspicion of infringement of trademark rights in design.

Which clone is the best?

The currently best or least bad fake is the TWS i1000. The headphones are optically modeled on the Airpods perfectly. Workmanship, appearance and size correspond to the original. Even a manual with Designed by Apple -Lettering is included with the in-ears; even the iPhone recognizes the i1000 as the original. In terms of sound quality, however, you have to make compromises. The sound sounds a bit dull, the bass is not strong enough. Anyone who can make minimal compromises in terms of appearance - such as gaps in the charging case - should take a look at the TWS i80. Their sound comes close to the original. The i80 and i1000 are available from 30 euros.

The TWS i12 and TWS i10 are also good clones. The situation is similar here: the look of the i12 is close to the original. The charging case is a bit bigger, otherwise everything is correct. In the case of the i10, it doesn't really fit with the optics, but with the sound. The prices of the models start at 25 euros. Other models such as the i13, i20 and i200 have similar points of criticism.

Surprising: While the i1000 and i80 are recognized by iPhones as original Apple Airpods, the configuration screen is the same on the i12, although they are referred to as i12. The i10 cannot be connected as is typical for Apple. Our model is not recognized, so we have to take the detour via the Bluetooth connection. Also surprising: The headphones have very different defects, which is probably due not least to the low price. The i10 like to continue playing music when they are already in the case, the i12 show spontaneous failures for a good two seconds.

In addition to Amazon, Ebay & Co., retail chains such as Mediamarkt also have replica Airpods in their range. There they are sometimes called differently and are significantly more expensive - for example the Corn Technology Onestyle TWS-BT-V10 for 70 euros at Mediamarkt.

The fact is: As long as there isn't Apple on it somewhere, the logo has not been used or the Apple font is boldly printed like on the i1000, then there is little to fear as a consumer. For buyers, the risk is manageable, because that only exists for the manufacturer and the retailer. The worst case scenario is the loss of warranty rights.

But then the question of one's own conscience still arises. Who would agree that their own idea is stolen - their own lyrics, the concept for an innovation? Anyone who buys fakes has to accept this aftertaste.

Yes, there are confusingly similar Airpods clones. And yes, they only cost around seven to twelve euros if you order in the China shop. But no model is really good. If you really only want to show off with optics, you should drive best with the currently inexpensive i12.

Fakes are worse than the original, always. Not to mention the legal gray areas.