Cyber Monday headphone deal: Excellent AirPods Pro alternative returns for $53 today at Amazon – CNET

The Mpow X3 is one of the better budget true-wireless earbuds options.

David Carnoy/CNET
This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET's gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

Just a couple of days ago, we featured these headphones as a Black Friday special. They immediately sold out, but now they're back as an early Cyber Monday deal. We're talking about the Mpow X3 true-wireless earbuds, which sound sound shockingly good for the price. There's a new white version that's $53 for Amazon Prime members -- $13 more than the black version -- but it's actually upgraded in significant ways. It's got better battery life, a new transparency mode and improved connectivity. The controls have also been improved, too. You can compare the "old" black version to the new white version by flipping back and forth between their product pages on Amazon. Presumably, the upgraded version will eventually be available in black, but for now it's available only in white. 

They have good clarity and powerful bass -- they play loud -- and they even have active noise cancellation that's fairly effective. (No, it's not as good as the AirPods Pro's but it's not bad.) They've been on our list of the best cheap true-wireless earbuds for a while.  

Read more: Best Black Friday headphone deals

The earbuds fit me comfortably and securely, and I got a tight seal from one of the XL ear tips. They're fully waterproof (IPX8) and get up to 10 hours of battery life (it's about 7 or 8 with ANC on) at moderate volume levels with USB-C charging. (The charging case looks like a fat version of the standard AirPods case.) Call quality is good -- they have a sidetone feature that lets you hear your voice in the buds -- but I've used other models with better noise reduction during calls. I also noticed a touch of audio lag when I streamed a YouTube video, but I had no issues when streaming iTunes movies.

Read more: Top AirPods alternatives for $100 or less

If you're looking for alternate styles, there are a few other Mpow models on sale, too.

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