Bluetooth headphones have been around for years, but only within the last six months or so have they become popular with regular consumers. This sudden uptake in popularity is largely due to the release of the iPhone 7. More specifically, the devices’ lack of a headphone jack. This caused headphone manufacturers to adapt to Apple’s wireless future and begin to focus on creating new and more reliable pairs of Bluetooth headphones. Unfortunately, a decent amount of Bluetooth headphones are still plagued with connection issues and subpar audio quality. But now it’s Apple’s turn to take a swing at a great pair of Bluetooth headphones with what the company is calling AirPods.
AirPods just recently hit store shelves and last week I was finally able to get my hands on a pair. My first impression of AirPods was “wow, it’s amazing that all of this tech can fit into such a small form factor.” I mean, seriously, these things are super small. I also quite liked the glossy white charging case that they came with, which everybody is saying looks like a box of floss. Then there was the sound quality, which was basically on par with Apple’s wired EarPods. That may not seem impressive, but Bluetooth earbuds sounding as good as their wired counterpart is definitely not a small feat.
Fit and design
The first thing that you will notice when it comes to the design of the AirPods is that they look virtually identical the standard earbuds that you get from Apple. The only thing missing of course are the wires, which is definitely a plus. Not having wires dangling around, getting caught on things and worst of all, getting tied up, is extremely convenient. This means no more accidentally ripping your headphones out of your ears or pulling your headphones out of your pocket only to have to spend 5 minutes untangling them.
As far as fit goes, if you’ve used Apple’s regular earbuds before then this fit will be familiar because they’re virtually the same shape and size. All-in-all, the fit is pretty decent. Although, some people’s ears just don’t agree with the unique shape of AirPods, and they’ll tend to fall out of their ears quite often. If this is what’s deterring you, fret not, as you can head down to your local Apple Store and the staff there will be more than willing to let you try out a pair of AirPods to see how they fit.
The question that is likely on your mind as far as sound quality goes is how the AirPods compare to the EarPods. Luckily, that’s an easy question to answer — almost identical. The only real difference that I was able to discern in sound quality was the volume level. AirPods just aren’t able to achieve the same volume level that the EarPods can.
Other than that, AirPods just sound alright. These headphones definitely aren’t going to blow your mind or replace your Beats earbuds, but they will suffice for most users who aren’t audiophiles.
Bluetooth is obviously a key aspect of Apple’s AirPods, so the pairing process as well as the connection reliability are rather important. Fortunately, out of the handful of Bluetooth earbuds and headphones that I’ve used in the past, AirPods are by far the easiest to pair, and most reliable. If you have an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, all you need to do is hold your AirPods near your device and flip the charging case open. AirPods will also pair with older Apple devices and even most Android devices, although the pairing process will not be as streamlined and seamless.
However, being able to easily pair your AirPods to your device doesn’t mean anything if the Bluetooth connection isn’t reliable. But yet again, Apple takes the cake in this department as well. I have been using AirPods for a little over a week now with my iPhone 7 and have had absolutely no connection issues or drops. Listening to music, watching videos, phone calls — no matter what I used the AirPods for, the Bluetooth connection was stable.
In the time that I’ve been using the AirPods, they have quickly become my go-to earbuds. They stay in my ears (yes, even on runs), are truly wireless, and sound decent. Honestly, you’d be hardpressed to find a more well-rounded pair of wireless earbuds on the market today. The only thing that might deter you is the $160 price tag, but then again, all wireless headphones are on the pricier side.
So, if you happen to be in the market for a pair of wireless earbuds, especially if you own an iPhone 7, check out the AirPods. If you are, however, seeking wireless earbuds with amazing sound quality then I would recommend you look elsewhere.