One of the things I picked up in 2017 was a set of Apple Airpods. In my post favorite discoveries in 2017, I promised a review, and here it is.
As I have mentioned before, I have been using Bose headsets for years now, and am very happy with them. I wanted, however, to have an in-ear option, too, as the QC 35s can get a bit hard on the neck when worn for long periods of time. I also wanted a wireless headset, and started looking around. I initially picked up a set of Jaybird X3s, but found them to be highly underwhelming in performance, and when they broke down I didn’t hesitate in replacing them with something else.
That something else ended up being a set of Apple Airpods.
As I noted in my review of the Apple Watch; ease of setup is one area at which Apple excels, and Airpods are no exception. I unwrapped them, opened the case, and within a few seconds, a box popped up telling me that a set of Airpods had been discovered, and did I want to connect. Once I pressed “Connect”, they were set up after just a few seconds, Setup took less than fifteen seconds in all; here’s how it looked:
Even more impressively, once I’d set them up on one device, they became available for use on other devices connected to my iCloud account, meaning that I could immediately use them on my Mac or iPad, too.
One of the most important things to consider when it comes to in-ear headphones is how comfortable they are to wear. I have usually had problems finding earpods that fit me well, are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, and which sit securely. The AirPods are one size only, and this was one of my concerns before trying them out for myself. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed to find that they fit well and comfortably, and sit very securely – so much so that I am comfortable running with them, with no concern that they are going to fall out.
Being completely wireless, you can opt to use one or both earpods at any time. When you remove one from an ear, your device automatically pauses playback, indicating that there is some sort of proximity sensor in them (I suspect it is heat-based). They are also touch sensitive, and can be easily set up to perform any of a range of actions when tapped twice. Battery life is always a consideration with wireless earphones. The AirPods ships with a case which doubles as power bank. I’m generally a fairly heavy user, using the pods for up to ten hours per day, and I see the batteries discharge in about four days, which is about the same usage I get out of my Bose QC35s.
The Airpods deliver sound quality on par with other vendors. Sound output is decently balanced across the range from treble to bass. Though they will never compete with high-end headphones, they do deliver the sound quality you’d expect, in a very compact, comfortable, and lightweight package.
I am very happy to have added the Airpods to my setup, and will happily recommend them to any Apple users.