AirPods are the first completely wireless earphones from Apple, and they’re sold as the perfect companion to the new iPhone X. In lots of ways, they’re the best wireless earbuds you can buy right now, thanks to a rock-solid connection, easy setup and great battery life. It’s a shame that the limited fit won’t suit all ears and the sound isn’t quite worthy of the price tag.
Apple AirPods are the true wireless headphones your ears have been waiting for and your brand new iPhone desperately needs. Every iPhone, from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone X, lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack and no one wants to carry around an adapter or Lightning EarPods. AirPods are your best solution. Apple’s fully wireless Bluetooth earbuds deliver more or less exactly on what the future has long promised. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they’re the perfect product. Excellent battery life, seamless connectivity, and surprisingly competent audio quality can’t overcome the fact that these headphones rely almost entirely upon Siri for controlling audio playback, and that’s unlikely to ever be the most convenient way of controlling a portable music player. AirPods are a bold that has no better competitors in sound, style and functionality when it comes to true wireless
Build and design
Apple is still great at build quality and design and that’s still the case with the AirPods. Kind of. Even though it’s made of plastic, the charging case feels great in the hand. It’s lightweight and sturdy enough to easily be tossed in your pocket, which is good because you’re going to want to keep the case on you at all times if only for a place to store the ‘buds when you’re not using them. The bottom of the case has a single Lightning port for charging and on the back there’s a button to enter Bluetooth pairing mode on non-Apple devices. But what really makes the build quality stand out are the magnets. The lid is held closed by a magnet and flicking it open or closed just feels secure and easy. There’s also magnets on the inside of the case that keeps the earbuds in their rightful place so even if the lid does open, these won’t fall out. Then on the inside of the lid there’s a small LED light that tells you if the earbuds are pairing or not.
In terms of sound quality, the AirPods are nearly identical to the EarPods you get free with the purchase of an iPhone. Bass is satisfying in that it reaches surprisingly low, has appropriate presence, and is pleasantly tight and tuneful. We’re not talking Beats-level bass here, but most folks will find bass levels just fine. Treble is sparkling, but not particularly refined or detailed – perhaps the best thing about the treble is that it is not overly aggressive or aggravating. Midrange performance will leave you wanting for more presence and warmth.
AirPods are an excellent tool for taking phone calls. The sound quality and ambient noise reduction afforded by the AirPods matches what you get with an iPhone’s built-in microphone or an EarPods wired in-line microphone, and in some ways exceeds it. Apple credits its “beam-forming” microphone design for the AirPods’ performance here. You can use just one ‘bud for taking a call, like a Bluetooth headset. You can’t do that with ordinary Bluetooth earbuds, because they’re wired together. The ability to use just one AirPod also comes in handy if you’re using Siri (or any other map app’s voice prompts, for that matter) for directions. There’s no need to plug up both ears just to hear Siri tell you to turn right in 500 feet. But the AirPods, just like the EarPods, don’t provide particularly good noise isolation, meaning you’re likely to hear that bus bearing down on you, or that siren from an approaching ambulance, whether you are using two AirPods or one.
To connect your AirPods to a smartphone, you simply turn on the Bluetooth wireless settings of your device, open the charging case and your phone or tablet will automatically recognize the headphones and pair with them. The AirPods pair themselves with your Apple ID, which makes it easy to switch between your different Apple devices. Say you use an iPhone, an iPad and an Apple Watch and they’re all signed into the same Apple ID – AirPods can tell which device you’re using and will connect to the appropriate one.
Overview of the features
- Audio automatically plays as soon as you put them in your ears and pauses when you take them out.
- To adjust the volume, Change the song, make a call, or even get directions, just double-tap to activate Siri.
- Because the ultralow-power W1 chip manages battery life so well, airpods deliver an industry-leading 5 hours of listening time on One charge.
- They’re made to keep up with you, thanks to a charging case that holds multiple additional charges for more than 24 hours of listening time.
- Need a quick charge? just 15 minutes in the case gives you 3 hours of listening time.
Should you buy it?
Yes, If you’re considering buying AirPods, you probably already have a modern iPhone, and in that case it’s very easy to recommend the AirPods as a compact, portable, extremely convenient addition to your Apple-powered repertoire. The ease of use of flipping open that little case and having your entirely wireless earphones instantly connected to and piping music or podcasts from your iPhone is hard to beat.
For voice calls, considering the size and weight and portability and form factor of the AirPods, it’s hard to go past them. Dual microphones and jaw-sensing smarts means that you can have a lucid conversation in a loud environment, and the combination of AirPods and iPhone has clearly been optimized to make live voice sound just about as good as possible. For music, the AirPods sound good for their size, but you can absolutely find better sounding earphones — wired — for less money.