I’ve had my AirPods for several weeks now (after a monumental wait for their arrival). And you know what? They’re great.
As you’d suspect, I have a few observations, and I’ll start with the most obvious.
Do AirPods fall out of your ears?
This one is really simple. Every iPhone owner will have worn a pair of Apple EarPods at some stage, and no matter how many reviews you read that suggest AirPods are in some way designed to stay in your ears better than their be-wired forefathers, they act identically when placed in your lug-holes.
That means if EarPods fell out of your ears easily, AirPods will, too.
My ears are weird. My right ear can retain an Apple earbud without fuss, yet my left ear is rather unpredictable when it comes to its Air/EarPod grippiness. On certain days, it fails to obtain any meaningful purchase at all; if I eat, the movement of my jaw eventually pushes the bud out of my ear; running is a no-go; even smiling dislodges the pod placed in my left ear.
This means I have to be miserable, hungry and unfit if I’m to enjoy Apple earphones in any meaningful way.
Your ears may not be weird and, in truth, I’ve become accustomed over many years of using EarPods to the process of continuously repositioning the one placed in my left ear; it doesn’t really bother me during everyday use.
AirPods are comfortable, but due to the requirement for Apple to produce a one-size-fits-all earbud, your mileage may vary in terms of how willing they are to stay in your ears.
They are a bit magical
If there’s one thing most reviewers agree on, it’s that Apple has seemingly regained some of its magical mojo with AirPods.
They’re devilishly simple to use and clever – a tricky act to pull off. Pairing is stupidly easy (flip the case open near your phone and press a button on the screen), they connect near instantly from that point onwards and link to your iCloud account, enabling you to use them on every compatible Apple device you have within your possession.
AirPods even know when they’re in your ear, and will automatically pause playback when removed. Handy, when you have to momentarily break from your solitary dog walk to talk to someone you really can’t be bothered to talk to on the street.
This is what Apple was always about – magical, simple products. Let’s hope the AirPods signal similar innovation inbound for the rest of the product line sometime soon.
The range is nuts
I can wear my AirPods throughout my house without carrying my phone everywhere. Granted, I don’t live in a castle, but I’ve stretched the distance between my AirPods and iPhone further than any other set of bluetooth headphones has allowed me to in the past.
This might seem a like a small thing, but it really is liberating and adds to the magical nature of AirPods. You soon forget you’re wearing headphones, thanks to the effortlessness with which they feed audio into your ears.
They need more tap-based controls
I rarely use Siri (because I still think voice commands make us look and sound a bit daft – we don’t live in Star Trek), therefore I immediately switched the double-tap function on my AirPods to activate play/pause.
This is fab, but it immediately demonstrates one of AirPods’ biggest failings, which is the lack of further tap-based controls. What about three taps to skip a track? Or some method of decreasing/increasing volume?
Let’s hope a software update adds additional tap controls soon.
They do look a bit silly – at the moment
There’s no getting away from the fact that I feel rather self-conscious wearing AirPods. You do look a bit of a tit with both of them in your ears – there’s no getting away from it (wearing just one isn’t quite as bad for some reason).
Because of their design, it simply looks like you’re walking around with a pair of EarPods that have had the wires snipped off… which to the untrained eye means you’re walking around listening to nothing with two bits of white plastic sticking out of your ears. Not a good look.
As AirPods come down in price (which they will, at some stage) and eventually become a standard accessory for iPhones, they’ll lose their gawkiness, because everyone will look like a tit. I look forward to that day.
They sound great (but, then, so did EarPods)
To my fairly well-tuned ear, AirPods sound identical to EarPods. Again, there was a fair bit of talk in the tech press of them sounding better, but I can only put that down to the initial joy that comes from playing with these mini marvels.
My guess is that Apple uses the exact same components inside. Which is fine, because EarPods were admirable performers, and offered a seismic leap in audio fidelity compared to the god-awful original white earbuds they replaced.
Would I recommend AirPods?
Absolutely – if you don’t think the price is too steep (incidentally, I think they’re pretty well priced, given how flawlessly they work and the benefits they offer).
Just get ready for a few sideways glances from strangers when you air them in public.