I ordered my Apple AirPods the day after Christmas; they didn’t arrive until mid-February…and they were TOTALLY worth the wait! My only regret is I didn’t have them sooner. However, with all of the things I love about them, they do have some “challenges.” The biggest barrier to owning them: the $159 price tag.
When Tim Cook first announced them at the Apple Keynote last year, I was elated. I was more excited about the Apple AirPods than the iPhone 7 Plus I would soon order. The iPhone 7 Plus (which I own in 128 GB and Space Grey), is thinner, lighter, faster and comes with a better camera (just like every previous iPhone model). And of course the world freaked out because there was no headphone jack. The AirPods, however, stole the show.
There were immediately a lot of questions:
- How was the sound quality?
- Can you control the iPhone (i.e. – music, movies, SIRI, etc.)?
- How would you make phone calls?
- Would they fall out of your ears?
- How stupid would I look with these things hanging from my head like “ear snot?”
My tests on the treadmill, office chair, home and streets answer your much anticipated questions before you spend $159 and have to wait 3 months.
- Ears – The Apple AirPods will stay in your ears. I’ve chased the dog, run at the gym and fallen down the stairs (OK, that didn’t REALLY happen), and they stayed in my ears the whole time. This was a big concern because they are one size fits all. The original EarPods are weighted down by wires. The AirPods act like they have magnets keeping them in place.
- Control – This part does suck. To call someone or skip a song, all you have to do is ask SIRI. You are OK if you are alone in the car, but you look weird at the gym walking around saying “Hey SIRI, skip song.” If you want to turn up the volume you can a) use the phone or b) use your watch. I hope the next version allows me to drag my finger along the AirPods to raise or lower the volume.
- Battery Life – When you open the case to use the Apple AirPods, an image pops up on your iPhone to show you the charge of the case and each pod. Cool! Each one lasts about 5 hours before needing to be returned to the case for charging. To save battery life you can use one at a time, but make sure to keep the case charged! If the AirPods and case are dead, you can only listen through the speakers.
- Sound – The sound quality is slightly better than that of the EarPods. People have told me they can easily hear me through the “beam forming” microphones at the tips of each one. These are not noise canceling earphones, but Apple says the AirPods are listening specifically for your voice as you speak. In doing so they selectively choose your voice over background noise. Total Star Trek move!
- Value – It is hard to get over the $159 for the Apple AirPods. The wired headphones only cost $29, but I still had to make sure I had the ones with the lightning connector. There are a lot of alternatives to the AirPods (e.g. – Doppler Labs HER One, Motorola VerveOne, etc.), but all of them are pretty pricey. If your goal is a wireless world, be ready to spend a little extra money.
If you don’t mind the wires, stick with the standard headphones. However, it is much easier to have your iPhone 7 (or Plus) charging in the car, and I don’t have to worry about things getting tangled up. Since the AirPods work effortlessly in the Apple Ecosystem (i.e. – iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac), they were totally worth the money. Just make sure you don’t lose one. They cost $79 AirPod to replace. UGH!
Scientifically Speaking, of course…