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This excellent AirPods alternative is only $20 for a limited time

With their stubby stems, the Enacfire E90 earbuds differ enough from Apple's to avoid looking like a knockoff. They perform surprisingly well for their low price.

The Enacfire E90 earbuds are a little stubbier than Apple's AirPods.

David Carnoy/CNET

The Enacfire E90 earbuds are on our list of the best true-wireless earbuds under $50. Over the last few months we've seen them steadily drop in price from around $35 to $25. Now they're down to a mere $20 after you click the instant 20% off coupon on their Amazon product page and apply the extra 15% code E90DEALS at checkout (the seller FLY-A is offering the deal). The deal is good till June 16 -- or while supplies last -- so it could disappear at any time. 

What's a little confusing is that there's another Amazon listing for the Enacfire E90 that carries a price tag of just less than $23. But that appears to be last year's model. This year's model is slightly updated with a low-latency gaming mode. At least that's what Enacfire told me. Alas, the two models are impossible to tell apart from the specs listed on the page, but the model I'm linking to has a March 2021 release date. 

The E90 earbuds have stems like the AirPods but they're truncated, nipped a little closer to the bud, so to speak, giving them a different look. For around $20, you'll be hard-pressed to do better for sound quality. The E90 model sounds quite decent for the money, with plenty of bass and reasonably good detail. The sound profile leans to the warmer side, meaning they're more bass-heavy. The 'buds fit my ears comfortable and securely -- I had no trouble running with them -- and they have an IPX8 water-resistance rating, making them fully waterproof. Battery life is rated at eight hours if you play them at 50% volume.

Read moreBest true-wireless earbuds under $50

While they don't have active noise canceling, they do have noise reduction for voice calling. They're not quite there with the AirPods Pro in the voice-calling department, but callers said I sounded pretty clear and the earbuds did reduce background noise, so they get a thumbs-up for voice-calling capabilities. The touch controls were fairly responsive -- you can raise and lower volume with a tap and hold gesture.

First published earlier this year. Updated with new deal details.