I first heard the name ‘AirPods’ in 2015. At that time there was a rumour stating that Apple was working on wireless headphones and that they would be naming them AirPods. Finally in September 2016 this rumour was confirmed. After they announced the newest feature on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus called: ‘COURAGE’… Which is short for: “We removed this very old connection that 90% of our users still use, but we don’t really care.” The previous sentence might sound very strange coming from an Apple fan. But it’s not because I am a fan that I ignore what users want in their phone. And the headphone jack is something that a lot of people still use. Personally I don’t. I don’t miss my headphone jack. I actually like that it’s gone, because I got a better Taptic Engine, a bigger battery and stereo speakers instead. So if Apple doesn’t want us to use wired headphones, what wireless headphones do they want us to use? Their brand new, and very controversial: AirPods.
As soon as they announced these magical wireless headphones, we got pics like this…
I myself thinks this hype of putting toothbrushes in your ear and comparing them to the AirPods is a little far fetched. They actually don’t look that bad. If you take the original design, the EarPods. They look exactly the same but with a wire… When they were released no one made fun of their design so I don’t really understand why the AirPods should be treated differently than EarPods. Having said that, I’ll start with the actual review of the product.
Apple is known for their design and especially for designing products that are so intuitive, you just know what to do when you pick them up, without having to read a manual. These AirPods are no exception. They come in this little ‘dental floss’ like case. As soon as you open the case next to you iPhone they just appear on screen, you tap ‘connect’ and thats it! They pair not only with you iPhone but automatically with all your Apple devices through your iCloud account. After you’ve set up your AirPods on your iPhone, you’ll find them right in the Bluetooth menu on for example a Mac.
If you want to connect them, simply click them and you’ll here a tone when they’re ready.
I have this very nice pair of wireless headphones from Bose. I really like them but I HATE charging them. They charge via this stupid old micro USB cable that I never seem to find when I need it. They also take a very long time to charge, about 1,5 hours to be exact. Apple seems to have read my mind when they made these AirPods. They fixed everything I hate about my Bose headphones. Whenever you put the AirPods in their small case, they start charging. And, they charge really fast. 15 Minutes of charging equals 3 hours of listening, awesome! The case provides 24 hours of listening and each AirPod has a 5 hour battery inside. When I use them for about 3 hours a day I can easily get through the week without having to charge the case. The only time when I see the battery level drop very fast is when I make a phone call with them. While calling they last about 2 hours max. I think this is because of the noice cancelling and the adaptive microphone switching. I personally don’t call people that often so it’s not that big of a deal for me but if you are a person who calls a lot, these AirPods might not be the best choice, that is for battery life. I think a more important thing about making phone calls is sound quality. The AirPods might not have the best (call) battery life but they sound absolutely fantastic. When comparing them to my Bose headphones and the very similar Beats X the AirPods outperform them both. Apple really nailed the sound quality on these.
Not only the call quality is good, listening to music is also really good. It’s not amazing, and real audiophiles would tell you there are some mids and highs missing but they don’t buy AirPods so don’t even start to bitch about the sound quality. They sound perfectly fine. For me they sound better than the EarPods which is cool because the AirPods have much less internal volume than the EarPods since they don’t have a battery inside of them. The sound quality will also depend on how well they fit in your ears. Some people have great AirPod ears and some don’t. A great way to know if your ears fit AirPods is, try out your Earpods, since they have the exact same shape. If they fit your ears, the AirPods will be good for you. The question I get asked the most is how many times they’ve fallen out of my ears. My answer is always the same, neva. Because the AirPods are so light, and they don’t have a cable hanging from them, they don’t fall out. Even when I run, walk or bike with them. Of course, they might become a little loose when you do a long run or walk but you just give them a small push and they feel fine again. And most people will be using them for casual listening and not for heavy sporting activities anyway. I use them for music listening but I don’t use them for Podcasts. Most Podcasts are way to quiet to hear, thats because I usually use then on the train/bus. For travellers I don’t recommend the AirPods, since they don’t cancel the audio like in ear headphones. But again, I really like then for music, and I also like them for Podcasts but only at home.
I was also surprised about the range of the AirPods. My room is on the second floor and for a test I left my iPhone there and went to the bathroom which is on the first floor, to my surprise even though walls they work and sound fantastic. The range is even better than my Bose headphones and they are twice the price of the AirPods. I’ve seen people wearing then for about 40m apart from their smartphones on a football field or some
other open location but that’s a review I think is useless… Since that doesn’t resemble any
real usage. In iOS 11, the AirPods get a little software update. You can now skip tracks with a double tap for example, which I like because previously you had to skip it on your iPhone or tell Siri to skip it for you.
As a conclusion I am pleasantly surprised about the overall experience and the sound quality of the AirPods, they sound great and work great. The pairing is best in class and how you use them, the way you automatically find them on your Mac is very nice. I think Apple has done one of the best jobs in the industry when it comes to sound quality, ease of use and yes price. They are tiny computers in your ears so they do cost that way, which for me seems logical… For me at least.
If you have any questions about the AirPods, let me know! I hope you liked this review, if you did, please let me know by liking, commenting or sharing below!