8 Best AirPods Alternatives [2023]

Here are the top 8 earbuds that can stand side-by-side with AirPods or AirPods Pro.
Here are the top 8 earbuds that can stand side-by-side with AirPods or AirPods Pro.

Don’t limit yourself to just AirPods! Check out these 8 AirPods alternatives for every budget and need.

NameBattery LifeANCCompanion AppBuy
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Best Overall6 hoursYBose Music appBUY
Sony WF-1000XM4 Strong Runner-Up8 hoursYSony | Headphones ConnectBUY
Soundcore by Anker Life P3 Best Budget10 hoursYSoundcore appBUY
CXK T12 Best AirPods Dupe8 hoursNN/ABUY
Beats Fit Pro Best for Apple Devices6 hoursYBeats appBUY
EarFun Air Pro 3 Best Sound Quality9 hoursYEarfun AudioBUY
1MORE ComfoBuds Pro Most Comfortable8 hoursY1MORE MUSICBUY
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro Best for Android8 hoursYGalaxy Buds2 Pro ManagerBUY

How to Pick the Best AirPods Alternatives

Apple’s AirPods are among the best true wireless earbuds in the market, thanks to their excellent sound quality, noise cancellation, voice integration, and many other convenient features.

However, some of those features only work with other Apple devices. They’re also not the best for workouts due to their low IP rating and poor fit. Not to mention, the AirPods are quite expensive for someone on a budget.

Luckily, many excellent AirPods alternatives are out there, and choosing one depends on knowing what features to prioritize. This guide will help you do just that and recommend our top choices. Read on!

What are you looking for?

If you’re looking for an AirPods alternative, it makes sense to determine which AirPods model you want a replacement for.

For instance, do you like the look of the AirPods 2 and 3 but want a cheaper version? Or, do you want earbuds that provide active noise cancellation (ANC) like the AirPods Pro 2?

Remember, the AirPods 2nd Gen, 3rd Gen, and Pro 2 have specific functions unique to each model.

Taking note of these differences ensures you end up with alternative earbuds that fulfill your criteria. Here’s a quick look at a few:

FeatureAirPods 2nd GenAirPods 3rd GenAirPods Pro 2
ANCNoNoYes
Touch controlsNo (Double-tap)No (Force sensor)Yes
IP ratingNoYes (IPX4)Yes (IPX4)
Spatial AudioNoYesYes
Dynamic head trackingNoYesYes
The AirPods variants mentioned above are the only ones currently available in Apple Stores, so we limited our comparison to those three. All other older models, except the AirPods Max, have been discontinued.

Additionally, you’ll also want to consider how compatible they are with your existing devices.

For example, if you’re an Android user, you’ll want to go for earbuds that pair well with that OS, like the Galaxy Buds2 Pro.

And if you prefer Apple devices, go for earbuds that’ll complement that ecosystem, like the Beats Fit Pro. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on certain features, like automatic device switching or automatic ear detection.

How do they sound?

Generally, the AirPods sound balanced across all frequencies, making them ideal for various music genres and podcasts. So, if you’re looking for an AirPods alternative, it makes sense to pick one that offers the same or better sound quality.

That said, various factors influence audio quality. To ensure you end up with earbuds that either match or surpass the AirPods’ sound, consider the following:

  • Bluetooth version: The AirPods Pro 2 use Bluetooth 5.3, while the 2nd and 3rd Gen have version 5. Ideally, it’s best to go for the latest Bluetooth version (5.3) to ensure better compatibility with old and new devices. This also ensures the earbuds are future-proof for at least ten years.
  • Bluetooth codec: Until now, the AirPods only use SBC and AAC. While AAC is a good option, Apple uses a different implementation that’s not always compatible with non-iOS devices. As such, it’s best to go for earbuds that also support other codecs like LDAC and aptX to minimize audio issues.
  • Audio features: To ensure good sound quality in your earbuds, choose ones with audio-enhancing features. For example, AirPods have the Spatial Audio, which is limited to Apple devices. But some earbuds may have other audio features like customizable in-app EQ, different sound modes (like the Life P3’s BassUp Mode), and the QC II’s volume-optimized EQ.
The AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2 also have Adaptive EQ, a feature that automatically tunes your audio in real time depending on how they fit in your ear. It’s a function you can’t turn off and contributes to the AirPods’ neutral sound profile.
  • Noise Cancellation: ANC is a helpful feature that improves sound quality by blocking out ambient sound. Currently, only the AirPods Pros have noise cancellation in the AirPods line, but luckily, many other earbuds come with this function. So if this is essential to you, choose earbuds with an adaptive or hybrid ANC like the EarFun Air Pro 3 or the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds.

How much do they cost?

The AirPods range from US$120 to $250 in Apple Stores. However, there are other cheaper and more expensive options you could go for, depending on your needs and budget.

For instance, at only US$25.99, the CXK T12 earbuds are almost visually identical to the AirPods, have decent sound quality, and have a higher IP rating. Meanwhile, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II cost US$299 but come with unparalleled noise cancellation and comfort.

It’s just a matter of knowing what features to prioritize and how much you’re willing to spend.

Battery life

A good battery life determines how long you can keep using the earbuds without interrupting your activities to charge them. So, ideally, the longer, the better.

Some may find the AirPods’ battery life lacking in that sense. For example, the AirPods 2 offer only 5 hours on a single charge and 24 hours with the case, while the AirPods 3 and Pro 2 provide 6 hours, then 30 hours with the case. It’s nothing outstanding, which may be why an alternative is needed.

So, if you’re looking for an AirPods alternative with longer battery life, go for earbuds that provide 8-10 hours on a single charge, like the Soundcore by Anker Life P3 and

1MORE ComfoBuds Pro. This ensures they’ll last the whole day without needing a recharge.

A fast-charge function and wireless charging support are also convenient features to consider. The former typically gives you 1-2 hours of playtime after a few minutes of charging, which is incredibly helpful if you’re running low and urgently need to use your earbuds.

On the other hand, wireless charging is convenient and eliminates the need for extra cables. It’s also universal, meaning you can use a wireless charger to charge your earbuds and even your phone (if it supports the function).

Comfort and fit

Ill-fitting earbuds can be frustrating and distracting, especially when you have to keep reaching up to adjust or reposition them. Ideally, anything you plan to wear for extended periods should feel comfortable.

Unfortunately, the AirPods’ track record hasn’t been entirely great in that regard. Many users have complained about the AirPods hurting their ears because of their awkward fit or constantly falling out due to the lack of grip.

So, if this is your plight, you’ll be happy to know that there are alternatives you can opt for. Here’s what to look for if comfort is your priority:

  • Size: If you’re worried about your earbuds falling out, select a pair with a smaller profile. This entails smaller earpiece dimensions (the part that goes in the ear), which allow them to fit snugly in, and not on, the ear. The Beats Fit Pro is a good example of earbuds with a small profile.
  • Ear tip material and options: The AirPods 2 and 3 don’t come with silicone ear tips, contributing to the “always falling out” problem. To avoid this, choose earbuds that offer multiple ear tip options in different sizes.
  • Weight: Lightweight earbuds are unsurprisingly more comfortable since they don’t put too much strain on the ears. For reference, the AirPods weigh about 5.4 grams, so it’s best to go for something lighter at around 4-5 grams.

Additional features

We all know that the AirPods have a lot of nifty features, but you shouldn’t let those limit you when choosing an alternative. Instead of simply going for earbuds with the most features, go for ones with more helpful functions you can fully utilize.

For example, rather than choosing earbuds with standard ANC capabilities, opt for ones with advanced features that let you calibrate and customize the noise cancellation and sound quality to suit your ears. In particular, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II does this with their unique ActiveSense™ and CustomTune technology.

If you prioritize sound quality, you could go for earbuds that support more advanced audio codecs. A great example are the EarFun Air Pro 3, which use aptX Adaptive. This allows the earbuds to adjust automatically to whatever type of media you’re listening to and deliver the best audio.

Or, you could go for earbuds that have companion apps, like the Sony | Headphones Connect app or the Beats app. These apps keep your earbuds’ firmware updated and let you access an array of new features.

From there, you can set up one-touch pairing with music streaming apps, customize your EQ and ANC, and register your earbuds in location services in case they get lost.

8 Best AirPods Alternatives in 2023

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Best Overall
Close look at the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II (From: Amazon).
Close look at the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II (From: Amazon).

Key features

  • ANC: Yes
  • IP rating: IPX4
  • Controls: Touch
  • Multipoint connectivity: Yes
  • Companion app: Bose Music app
  • Battery life: 6 hours; 24 hours (with case)
  • Bluetooth version: 5.3 (SBC and AAC codec support)

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II boast excellent sound quality and world-class ANC, presented in a sleek, one-size-fits-all build. These earbuds easily match (or even surpass) the AirPods Pro in many aspects. As such, they’re our best overall pick for an AirPods alternative.

These earbuds’ built-in ANC comes with Quiet and Aware Modes, which work in tandem with the ActiveSense™ technology. This was pretty good at minimizing loud sounds while still letting us hear what was happening in our surroundings.

As for sound quality, the CustomTune technology calibrates the ANC and audio quality based on the shape of your ear canals. It does this by playing a tone, which feeds back to the mic and helps map out the space. In our experience, the whole process took only a second, with a noticeable improvement in audio quality.

And if you want to personalize your sound even further, you can go into the Bose Music app (available for Android and iOS). Here, you can select from different audio presets or connect different music streaming accounts and set them up for one-touch access via the earbuds’ touch controls.

The QC Earbuds II are the new version of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, released in 2020. Both earbuds look almost identical, except the older version has no CustomTune audio or stability bands, and the case offers one less charging cycle.

In addition to providing speedy pairing capabilities, Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity ensures the QC Earbuds II will be fully compatible with newer devices.

Comfort-wise, you’ll also get a nice, secure fit thanks to 3 pairs of ear tips and stability bands.

Unfortunately, you may hear a slight buzzing sound if you have the ANC but aren’t listening to music. So, you may have to put up with this if you want to use the ANC feature without music.

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Sony WF-1000XM4

Strong Runner-Up
Close look at the Sony WF-1000XM4 (From: Amazon).
Close look at the Sony WF-1000XM4 (From: Amazon).

Key features

  • ANC: Yes
  • IP rating: IPX4
  • Controls: Touch & button
  • Multipoint connectivity: Yes
  • Companion app: Sony | Headphones Connect
  • Battery life: 8 hours; 24 hours (with case)
  • Bluetooth version: 5.2 (SBC, AAC, and LDAC codec support)

The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds have industry-standard sound quality and noise cancellation comparable to the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II. However, they take a bit longer to charge and use a lower Bluetooth version, thus putting them in second place on our best AirPods alternatives list.

The WF-1000XM4 earbuds are the successor to the older WF-1000XM3 from 2019. Both look strikingly different and feature many of the same functions. However, the newer model have better battery life, higher Bluetooth version, and more accurate response in higher frequencies.

These award-winning earbuds have an incredibly well-tuned ANC that uses Adaptive Sound Control to automatically adjust your noise cancellation to suit that particular setting. What we also liked is how effective the Wind Noise Reduction Mode is at eliminating that “flapping” noise created by the wind hitting the mic.

What’s even better is that all of these smart features work on all OS platforms. So, you’ll never have to worry about missing features or incompatibility issues, as what tends to happen when using AirPods with non-Apple devices.

Sound-wise, you get an integrated V1 processor and 6 mm drivers with 20% more magnetic volume, meaning more powerful bass. With the stock ear tips, these earbuds sound almost a bit too boomy and easily overwhelm the mid-range and treble frequencies. Luckily, swapping out the ear tips can help tighten up the bass a bit more.

These earbuds also support LDAC and use DSEE Extreme™ AI processing for high-resolution music listening, but you need headphones that support them.

The WF-1000XM4 earbuds come with memory foam ear tips that provide a customized fit and an excellent seal. However, build-wise, they’re bulkier than AirPods, so if you have smaller ears, they may take some time to get used to.

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Soundcore by Anker Life P3

Best Budget
Close look at the Soundcore by Anker Life P3 (From: Amazon).
Close look at the Soundcore by Anker Life P3 (From: Amazon).

Key features

  • ANC: Yes
  • IP rating: IPX5
  • Controls: Touch
  • Multipoint connectivity: No
  • Companion app: Soundcore app
  • Battery life: 10 hours; 50 hours (with case)
  • Bluetooth version: 5.2 (SBC and AAC codec support)

The Soundcore by Anker Life P3 earbuds come in five colors and have Multi-Mode noise cancellation and impressive sound quality. They also share a similar design to the AirPods Pro but at less than a third of the price, making them our best budget pick.

The Life P3s are a considerable upgrade from the Soundcore by Anker Life P2. Although the older version has the same look and a longer battery life, it doesn’t have advanced features like ANC and EQ customization.

With six microphones, the P3 earbuds make an excellent choice for calls and noise-free music listening. The mics work in tandem with the ANC algorithm to detect and block noise in real-time. You can customize this further in the Soundcore app by choosing one of three noise-canceling presets (Indoor, Outdoor, and Transport) to cancel out specific types of noise.

We put the Transport ANC Mode to the test on a commute and found that the earbuds did a decent job of muting the typical low, rumbling sounds of subway trains. Voices were unsurprisingly still audible, as this mode focuses only on low-frequency sounds.

Sound quality is quite good, thanks to a pair of 11 mm drivers and Anker’s BassUp technology, which amps up lower frequencies. Like the ANC, you can also tweak the EQ through the app with sound presets like Acoustic, Classical, Dance, Podcast, and more.

Like the AirPods, the P3s come with extra features. There’s a Tip Fit Test feature that lets you determine if you’re wearing the correct ear tips for the best noise isolation. Additionally, you also have a Find My Headset function to help you keep track of lost earbuds, which is always welcome.

One downside is that the latency is higher on these earbuds, even with Gaming Mode turned on. This is likely due to the absence of advanced codecs like aptX.

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CXK T12

Best AirPods Dupe
Close look at the CXK T12 (From: Amazon)
Close look at the CXK T12 (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • ANC: No
  • IP rating: IPX6
  • Controls: Touch & button
  • Multipoint connectivity: No
  • Companion app: N/A
  • Battery life: 8 hours; 43 hours (with case)
  • Bluetooth version: 5.3 (SBC and AAC codec support)

If you’re after the aesthetic of the AirPods, the CXK T12 earbuds are for you. They’re super affordable, lightweight, and have decent sound quality and battery life. The all-white earbud design looks very similar to the AirPods 2 and 3, making them the best AirPods dupe on this list.

These earbuds pretty much have all the basics covered. They have 13-mm drivers that deliver reasonably good sound quality. Although they only support SBC and AAC codecs, it’s satisfactory for casual music listening and calls. You can even use them in Single Earbud Mode and share your audio with another person.

Connection reliability is no problem with these earbuds, as they’re equipped with Bluetooth 5.3. This ensures your earbuds will be future-proof and compatible with newer devices.

Build-wise, the CXK T12 earbuds are solid. They’re incredibly lightweight at only 4 grams per earbud and sleek enough to fit comfortably inside the ears. Jogging with these earbuds was a breeze since there was no need to keep adjusting or repositioning them.

There’s also no need to worry about water exposure, as these earbuds have an IPX6 rating. This keeps them safe from intense sweat and mild rain showers, but not from complete immersion.

The only real downside to the CXK T12 earbuds is the lack of extra features like ANC, EQ customization, and companion app support. However, if these aren’t your priority, these earbuds are still a great option overall.

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Beats Fit Pro

Best for Apple Devices
Close look at the Beats Fit Pro (From: Amazon).
Close look at the Beats Fit Pro (From: Amazon).

Key features

  • ANC: Yes
  • IP rating: IPX4
  • Controls: Button
  • Multipoint connectivity: Yes
  • Companion app: Beats app
  • Battery life: 6 hours; 24 hours (with case)
  • Bluetooth version: 5 (SBC and AAC codec support)

If you already own several Apple devices and love the seamless connectivity of the Apple ecosystem, but are not a fan of AirPods, go for the Beats Fit Pro. These come with Spatial Audio, excellent noise cancellation, and a secure build that’s great for workouts, making them our favorite pick for Apple devices.

The Beats Fit Pro are the newer and more fitness-oriented version of the Beats Studio Buds from 2021. Both generally look the same, except for the Fit Pros’ iconic wingtips. Although the Studio Buds have a higher Bluetooth version, the Fit Pros still come out on top with Spatial Audio and H1 chip integration.

With the Beats Fit Pro, you can expect the same sound quality features found in the AirPods. In addition to Spatial Audio, the earbuds offer dynamic head tracking, making your music more immersive. The ANC has two modes that let you switch from full noise cancellation to Transparency Mode.

You can also use Apple’s Fit Test feature to ensure you have the optimum acoustic seal and enhance the ANC and sound quality even more. Overall, they sound pretty good, despite being limited to SBC and AAC codecs.

What’s even better is that, since the AirPods aren’t known for having a workout-friendly fit, the Beats Fit Pro make up for that with secure-fit wingtips.

These silicone tips flex when worn and create a universal fit that suits all ears. We tested this and found they’re quite stable and barely moved, even during intense workouts. Coupled with three sets of optional ear tips, achieving the perfect fit is easy.

The charging cable for the Beats Fit Pro is incredibly short! At about four inches, this leaves you with very restricted ways of charging the Fits Pro’s case.

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EarFun Air Pro 3

Best Sound Quality
Close look at the EarFun Air Pro 3 (From: Amazon).
Close look at the EarFun Air Pro 3 (From: Amazon).

Key features

  • ANC: Yes
  • IP rating: IPX5
  • Controls: Touch
  • Multipoint connectivity: Yes
  • Companion app: EarFun Audio app
  • Battery life: 9 hours; 45 hours (with case)
  • Bluetooth version: 5.3 (AAC, SBC, aptX, aptX Adaptive, and LC3 codec support)

Those looking for earbuds with excellent sound quality features should consider the EarFun Air Pro 3. These have ANC, high-resolution audio codec support, and are great for gaming, making them our best sound quality pick.

The Air Pro 3 feature several new upgrades from the older Air Pro 2. Aside from re-designed earpieces that improve stability, you get longer battery life, multipoint connectivity, better noise reduction, and companion app support. You can check out our full review of the Air Pro 2 for more details.

The EarFun Air Pro 3 earbuds are the first to use the new LE Audio technology and LC3 audio codec. These specs deliver higher-quality audio at lower transfer rates. This translates to lower power consumption, which is fantastic news for your battery.

Right out of the box, these earbuds sound extremely good. The 11 mm drivers deliver a robust, bass-heavy sound perfect for EDM or Hip-Hop genres. However, you can always adjust the EQ in the EarFun Audio app if you’re not a bass head.

EarFun Audio is available on Google Play and The App Store. You can also activate the ANC and Gaming Mode or customize the earbud controls via the app.

The earbuds also support aptX and aptX Adaptive codecs, which the AirPods notably do not. This enables low-latency audio performance that enhances gaming and movie-watching.

Noise reduction on the Air Pro 3 is also exceptional. The QuietSmart™ 2.0 hybrid ANC is powered by Qualcomm’s QCC3071 chip plus four noise-canceling mics. This setup cancels up to 43 dB of noise, and we noted it could even reduce some higher-frequency sounds, like voices.

Though the ANC on the Air Pro 3 earbuds is impressive, we noticed the sound quality changes quite a bit when switching from ANC to Ambient Mode. In Ambient Mode, audio tends to sound a little tinny or robotic, which isn’t surprising since the mics digitally feed sound back to you.

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1MORE ComfoBuds Pro

Most Comfortable
Close look at the 1MORE ComfoBuds Pro (From: Amazon)
Close look at the 1MORE ComfoBuds Pro (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • ANC: Yes
  • IP rating: IPX4
  • Controls: Touch
  • Multipoint connectivity: No
  • Companion app: 1MORE MUSIC
  • Battery life: 8 hours; 28 hours (with case)
  • Bluetooth version: 5 (AAC and SBC codec support)

The 1MORE ComfoBuds Pro put the “Comfo” in “comfortable” with an ergonomic design inspired by “dripping liquid metal.” These earbuds are lightweight and sleek while offering great sound quality. As such, they’re our most comfortable AirPods alternative.

The 1MORE ComfoBuds Pro are a newer and better version of the ComfoBuds from 2020. The former offers better audio quality through better passive noise reduction and ANC. They also have longer battery life and two additional noise-canceling mics for calls.

Design-wise, these earbuds live up to their name. They weigh almost as much as the AirPods at 5.2 grams and have an angled design that easily fits any ear shape.

And despite their long, tapered stems, we found that they still felt secure and balanced without causing any annoying pressure points when worn for long periods. The inclusion of three pairs of different-sized ear tips also makes it easy to find the best fit.

These multiple CES-awarded earbuds don’t disappoint when it comes to sound quality, either.

Thanks to 13.4mm drivers (the largest on this list), these earbuds sound great across all frequencies. We noted punchy bass lines and detailed highs during our listening test, including a nice separation between instruments. Like the AirPods, the ComfoBuds Pro also have a wearing detection feature that automatically pauses your music when you remove them.

You can also choose from 22 professionally-tuned EQ presets in the 1MORE MUSIC app.

Lastly, 1MORE’s QuietMax hybrid ANC offers four modes to block noise. This includes a Strong and Mild ANC setting, a Pass-Through Mode for better awareness, and Wind Noise Reduction Mode.

Unfortunately, although the earbuds use three mics and ENC technology for calls, they struggle to provide clear voice quality in noisy environments. They can cancel out background noise, but they also create noticeable distortion around your voice at the same time.

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Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro

Best for Android
Close look at the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro (From: Amazon).
Close look at the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro (From: Amazon).

Key features

  • ANC: Yes
  • IP rating: IPX7
  • Controls: Touch
  • Multipoint connectivity: Yes
  • Companion app: Galaxy Buds2 Pro Manager
  • Battery life: 8 hours; 29 hours (with case)
  • Bluetooth version: 5.3 (AAC, SBC, and Samsung Scalable codec support)

If you’re an Android user and don’t want to deal with possible incompatibility issues or missing features, the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro earbuds are your best bet. These earbuds offer Hi-Fi sound quality, ANC, and seamless connectivity, making them our top AirPods alternative for Android devices.

The Buds2 Pro are a huge improvement over the older Buds2, offering better ANC, a slightly longer battery life, a smaller build, and a higher IP rating.

Music fans will be happy to know that the Buds2 Pro stack up quite well against the AirPods. Each earbud has 2-way speakers, a woofer, and a tweeter. Combined, they produce a rich sound quality that doesn’t distort high and low frequencies.

The earbuds also support 24-bit high-resolution audio, but you need a ONE UI 4.0 Android device at the very least.

Samsung’s 360 Audio is much like Apple’s Spatial Audio feature and provides dynamic head tracking for immersive listening. Moreover, the Buds2 Pro also comes with other extra features, such as wearing and voice detection. The former pauses music when you remove your earbuds, while the latter turns off the ANC when you speak.

However, we noticed one annoying drawback: the wearing detection feature doesn’t automatically resume playback when you re-wear the earbuds. Instead, you’ll need to tap the bud to get them going again.

There’s also a Find My Earbuds function and, our favorite, a neck stretch reminder. With this, the earbuds can detect your head’s position and remind you to do a little stretch if you’ve been locked in one position too long.

The Buds2 Pro’s Intelligent ANC provides excellent noise cancellation, though this depends on how well the ear tips fit and seal the ears.

Though you shouldn’t have a problem, the earbuds come with three optional ear tip sizes and a grippy matte finish that secures the earbuds.

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