Apple AirPods Review

15 May , 2017 Reviews,Sports,Technology

Apple AirPods Review

SUMMARY

This is one of the more personally gratifying products I will get to review. Full disclosure: a high school friend of mine is a co-patent holder on these. So, I am very proud to own and review a pair. Like most of the early adopters, it took a while to get mine. Over a month from purchase to delivery. Once you get your hands on a pair and feel the quality of the build you will see why they take a while to manufacture and are worth the wait.

Let me dispel one concern straight away. They will not just fall out of your ears during activity, specifically while running. Look at it this way, they are the same size and build as the EarPods that are corded. Those don’t randomly fall out of your ears during strenuous activity unless you yank the cord. The AirPods are very stable when in ear and even more so, they provide a liberate your mobility while listening to audio. I tested them running/walking around NYC, on planes, trains, and in the back of taxis. No stability issues, period. I had more of a hassle dealing with the cord of my Apple EarPods getting caught on things.

DESIGN & FEEL

Like most Apple products, the entire experience from packaging, to the manual, to the product itself are painstakingly designed and manufactured. Almost every aspect of these AirPods are the same as the EarPods, but exclude the cord and control dongle. I definitely think the Apple AirPods hold the style advantage when compared with the alternative over-the-ear Bluetooth headsets or the partially corded ones that rest around your neck. The AirPods have a slightly heavier but more solid build than the EarPods.

FEATURES & PERFORMANCE

Sound

Mac Sound Settings

Mac Sound Settings

The quality of the sound really varies based on which device you are connected to. I found that the overall feedback was best from the iPad Pro, followed by the iPhone 7, and lastly my MacBook Pro. In general, I think the sound is a little less full than the EarPods and naturally lacked the full depth of over-the-ear studio style headsets. I would say for most users and applications the sounds is par for the course when compared to most other headphones on the market. For audiophiles, the sound will be underwhelming and for the price I would recommend a Sennheiser set of in-ear Bluetooth wireless headphones.

With that said, there are a couple of workarounds for getting better sound between the computer and AirPods. One option is to disable the Microphone input from the AirPods. You can change this setting by going into the Settings menu, navigating to Sound, then to the “Input” tab. Once there, select “Internal Microphone” as the input source. Another solution is to simply quit and reopen the Music app. I have found that sometimes restarting Music after connecting the AirPods helps improve the sound significantly. Some users have reported that the issue has to do with the age of and firmware on your Mac.

Battery

I was able to get average about 3-5 hours of non-stop audio and phone calls before they would drain out. The headphones are rapid charging, meaning you can get 3 hours of use back in 15minutes. The charging case itself has 24 hours of recharging capability in it. You can get over halfway around the world before needing to recharge. One interesting battery feature is that you get the battery percentage broken out by AirPod. So you can see the amount of juice available in the right and left ear piece. Not sure why they do that but it is a nice to have.

Functions

Siri is the main function you get. To activate you just double tap either bud and it will activate Siri. All of your Siri commands are available once you hear the familiar chime. This feature makes up for the no longer having playback and volume control on the corded dongle. What’s interesting is that the automatic ear detection, double-tap for Siri, and microphone settings are all configurable in the settings menu. So you can personalize your AirPods to your own listening and usage style.  You can set the double-tap to Play/Pause audio or even turn it off entirely.

The Bluetooth functionality is nothing new but it seems even more beneficial when paired with the iPhone 7. That’s because of the latest iPhones lack the audio port. With Bluetooth headsets you can charge your phone while listening and doing things around the house. Maybe Apple did know what they were doing when they got rid of the audio port. Moreover, everyday I take the train in NYC and see countless people with Bluetooth headsets of every variety and brand. Also, when paired with your Mac, you can turn your head freely or get up without that snap against your neck when the cord reaches it’s full length.

Although, the AirPods lack all the tactile control functions of the EarPods, with Siri, I can see why it makes no difference. That situation being if you own an Apple Watch, iPhone, and the AirPods. My wife has this setup, so the controls that you would want in the AirPods reside in the watch, which is just a wrist tap away. That way you can put your phone away, AirPods in, and control everything from your watch. The Apple Human, is what they ultimately want you to become.

Useful Siri Commands:

  • Play “x” album, playlist, podcast, or artist.
  • Set volume to “x” percent.
  • Read last text, email from “x” person.
  • A full list of Siri Commands is available here.

COMPARISONS

I’ll stick to comparing it against the last three main headphones I used previously.

PRODUCT COMPARISON
Category vs. Apple EarPods vs. Sennheiser Studio Headphones vs. Logitech Headsets
Style: AirPods Sennheiser AirPods
iOS integration: AirPods AirPods AirPods
Audio Control Functions: EarPods AirPods Logitech
Sound: AirPods Sennheiser AirPods
Feel: Apple AirPods 735XT
Battery: EarPods AirPods AirPods
Phone Calls: AirPods AirPods Logitech

VERDICT

I can strongly recommend the AirPods. If you are a hardcore audiophile, they are probably not for you. But if you want some compact Bluetooth headphones with great iOS integration, then the AirPods are the way to go. Just be mindful that you need to be more attentive to the care and safekeeping of them, else you will go spilling them across the floor somewhere.

SUMMARY
Score Pros Cons
4 out of 5
  • Automatically pausing when you remove one bud from your ear.
  • No tactile playback or volume control buttons.
  • Rapid re-charging.
  •  Potentially easy to lose.
  • Double tap for Siri or Play/Pause.
  • Having to carry the case around for charging and safe storage.
  • Fast pairing and switching between devices.

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1 Response

  1. […] another blog post review. If you have time and are on the market for new headphones, check out my review of the Apple AirPods. They are not perfect but they are a great pairing for any iPhone […]

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