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I originally thought the Apple AirPods were ridiculous. The look, the price, and the apparent lack of necessity were all reasons I strayed away from them. But I finally decided to stay open minded about them and tested out the Apple AirPods for close to a month. Now, I’ve finally arrived at an opinion on these things…. After being skeptical for months, I can honestly say that I am a huge fan of the Apple AirPods! And heres why I took a 180º turn.
They work great (most of the time)
The Apple AirPods work surprisingly well most of the time, and I rarely have any issues with connectivity. Occasionally, there’s a quick interruption when I’m listening to music, but I suspect this is because I mostly stream from Spotify and use a third-party app on my Apple Watch to control the music that can be a little buggy at times.
In any event, the issue does not happen frequently enough to make me frustrated with the AirPods performance, so I am generally impressed that they do what they are supposed to do the vast majority of the time.
Also, Bluetooth ear pods are notorious for their latency shortcomings that arise from the Bluetooth signal being transferred from one ear pod to the other. Since each Apple AirPods receives its own Bluetooth channel independently at the same time, there’s little to no latency.
As far as sound quality goes the AirPods are good enough for me. I know that there are other wireless headphones offering higher quality sound but I’m by no means an audiophile, so these work just fine for me. I do wish they didn’t let in as much ambient noise at times (when working out I can still hear the TVs in the gym that others refuse to turn down), but it’s not a major negative to me.
They are simple to sync
One of the beauties of the AirPods is that they are so simple to use. They come equipped with the W1 chip, which makes them easily synced to iPhones, Macs, and Apple Watches. As soon as you open up the case near your iPhone (assuming your blue tooth is on), a window appears for you to connect your AirPods, as demonstrated in this video. And just like that you’re ready to go.
If you’re signed in to iCloud, your AirPods are set up automatically with any of your supported devices that are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID. For instructions on how to pair your Apple AirPods to other Apple Devices read on here.
Also, in case you weren’t aware, Apple AirPods can also be used on other non-Apple devices, since they act as standard Bluetooth devices.
They charge lightning quick
There’s nothing worse than having some useful piece of tech only for it to lose power and be unavailable for hours at a time. One thing that I love about the AirPods is that you can get up to three hours of power with just a 15-minute charge. That’s a life saver. Now when I forget to charge my headphones before a workout, I can just plug them in and wait out around 10-15 minutes and then I’m right in the gym.
The AirPods will hold a charge for 5 hours of listening time and 2 hours of talk time, which is more than enough time for me. The charging case (which everyone agrees looks like a pack of dental floss) can maintain up to 24 hours of battery life and connects via a Lightning USB cable (wireless charging capabilities should be out next year). The charging case is a sweet little case that the AirPods fit perfectly into and seals shut magnetically. I like to carry around the case in my pocket when I’m using the AirPods so I always have a safe place to store them.
I do find myself monitoring the power levels of the AirPods and the charging case a lot, though. Luckily, it’s not hard to do. You can check it via your battery widget on your iPhone, on your Apple Watch, and by clicking the Bluetooth or volume icon on your MacBook. One of the easiest methods is to just open up the case (when the AirPods are inside) near your iPhone and the battery levels of both your charging case and AirPods will pop up. You can also just ask Siri what battery level your AirPods are at.
They are functional (though still a bit limited)
The AirPods don’t come with a lot of functionality but there’s still some there. You can program them so that when you double tap your AirPods you activate the following functions:
- Use Siri to control your audio content, change the volume, or do anything else Siri can do
- Play, pause, or stop your audio content
- Skip to the next track
- Go back to the previous track
I use Siri on my right AirPod and the skip to the next track function on my left, which I found to be practical when working out. Also, if you get a phone call, you can double tap to answer the call.
With “automatic ear detection,” AirPods sense when they’re in your ear and receive the audio from your device. So as soon as you put them into your ear, sound begins streaming in from your synced device. AirPods also pause and resume playback when you remove one of your AirPods, or stop playback—and won’t resume—when you remove both.
This is very convenient when someone comes up to you very quickly to speak with you and you can just pop one of them out of your ear to pause your music. But it works differently with other uses. For example, if you’re watching a YouTube video on your MacBook you can expect the video will continue to play through your MacBook once you take out (both of) your AirPods so be prepared to mute if necessary.
AirPods are trendy
Initially, like many other people, I didn’t like the appearance of the AirPods. Whether it was toothbrushes, cigarettes, or some other random object, people drew a lot of unfavorable comparisons for what the AirPods resembled.
To me they just looked silly, since they literally looked like standard Apple headphones with the wires cut off. But the look slowly started to grow on me. I started seeing other people in airports and lounges with them and I started to become more intrigued about their potential.
And now, after trying them out for about a month, I think Apple AirPods are actually trendy. It’s almost like Apple has made Bluetooth headsets cool once again and these pieces are a bit of a fashion statement. I guess that’s just the power of Apple?
The AirPods stay in (for me)
The AirPods have a slightly modified design that is supposed to fit our ears better (EarPods are a bit more round and AirPods are slightly more contoured). I’ve personally never had an issue with the EarPods fitting and staying put in my ear and the AirPods are just the same, if not better.They even stay in during activities. I don’t feel like they will fall out even if I go for a jog on a treadmill. Obviously, this will vary from person to person but in my own experience, the AirPods fit fantastic.
If these little things didn’t stay snugly in my ears this would be a deal breaker, though. I’d be way too worried about losing them and it just wouldn’t be worth it.
Speaking of losing them, that’s just a risk you have to take with wireless ear pods. You can always buy some type of attachment for your charging case to help keep tabs on them but at the end of the day you’re just going to need to be more attentive.
They are the great with the Apple Watch
To me the Apple Watch is incomplete without the Apple AirPods. Now that you can have take calls on your Apple Watch and stream Apple Music, I feel like AirPods are pretty much a necessity if you want to get all of the value that you can out of your Apple Watch.
I’ve been very impressed with the quality of the microphones in the AirPods, too. Each AirPod has a microphone (though you can program it so that only one AirPod functions as the mic). I’ve handled a number of calls with these AirPods now and nobody on the other side of the phone call has had any complaints about voice quality.
AirPods are fantastic during workouts
I love to workout with my (sweat resistant) AirPods. I can place my iPhone on the gym floor/in a bag while at the gym and not have to worry about getting a wire tangled up (which probably happened to my clumsy-self way more than it should have). I don’t have to worry about my heavy iPhone swinging in my pocket when jogging or slipping out when doing things like bench press. It’s just an overall smoother workout experience. Also, if you have the Apple Watch, you can easily control the volume for your AirPods and navigate through playlists.
Wired headphones are now inferior
This will no doubt come down to personal preference, but I really feel like my wired headphones are just inferior now and will be on the verge of obsolete in the near-future. I should note that this was my first experience with wireless headphones so to me the feeling of not being attached to to a device was very new and exciting the first time I put these things in my ear.
Now when I go back to wired headphones, they just feel old-school. I quickly realize how much I appreciate the freedom to move about from my laptop around the house or device in the gym. It makes getting comfortable when working, relaxing, meditating, etc. much easier — I honestly never realized how constricting headphone wires were until I didn’t have to deal with them any longer.
The price point is around $159. This is a bit high for many but it’s not so outlandish when compared to Bluetooth headphones offered by top brands out there. Originally, I was skeptical about the price point being worth it but now I feel like these AirPods were worth it. AirPods are dominating the Bluetooth headphones market though and so your oder might even be put on delay right now.
Are AirPods good for travel?
Obviously noise cancelling headphones are going to be the most useful when trying to find peace and quiet when up in the air at 35,000 feet or in any noisy environment. But that doesn’t mean AirPods aren’t suited for travel. They are an effecient way to communicate when on the go given how easy they are to take out when needed and how good the microphone quality is.
They also are great for planes or other forms of transportation where your headphone wires would normally be getting caught on trays, dishes, seats, etc. It’s just a lot easier to manage without wires, at least for me. So I think the AirPods are great for travel and I will certainly be brining them along with me on all of my future journeys.
I think one of the major reasons I love these so much is that they’ve been my first experience with “truly” wireless headphones and I just can’t get enough of the freedom that comes with that. But I also really value some of the unique features of Apple AirPods.
I really like how simple AirPods are to sync and to use and how they are somewhat of a fashion item now despite the rocky entrance they made into the fashion world. They also help make the AppleWatch much more practical (and vice versa). They’ve made my life easier in the gym and while traveling and since AirPods fit my ears so perfectly and the sound quality is more than sufficient for me, I think I’m going to be rocking with these for a long time.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.