First Impressions of Apple AirPods

I was fortunate enough to order a pair of Apple AirPods the moment they went on sale. Given the overwhelmingly positive reviews from early testers and the huge buzz surrounding them from the Apple community, I have been anxiously waiting to get my hands on a pair; yesterday that happened. Here are my impressions after less than 24 hours with them.

Pros

  • Pairing is unbelievably simple. It will make you hate pairing anything in the future that’s not this dead simple. Just open them up next to your phone and boom — you’re connected.
  • They will not fall out of your ears. EarPods never fit well in my ears. I always had to use Earhoox to keep them in, but this is absolutely not the case with AirPods. While they look exactly like EarPods (only sans wire), the lack of a wire pulling down on them makes all the difference. Never once have I even thought for a second these would fall out.
  • They are very well made. AirPods feel like a premium product in your hand. Even the battery charging case is top-quality. The way they magnetically suck in the AirPods is weirdly satisfying, as is flicking open the case to take them out or check battery life.
  • They sounds very good. I am very picky with my sound, so this was my biggest concern outside of fit, but I’m happy to say they sound really good. While they don’t sound like Audiophile-grade headphones, they are a richer, deeper sound than the EarPods, which already sound pretty good given their price range.

Cons

  • They’re not very good in noisy environments. Sure, you can crank up the volume, but on a loud subway or airplane, you’ll have to nearly max out the volume to hear well. To be fair, it’s not an issue unique to AirPods, but when you’re paying $170 on wireless earbuds, it’d be nice if they had some sort of noise reduction capabilities.
  • There is a real lack touch controls. Siri is the default action when you double tap on the AirPods while in your ear, although you can change that in settings to either turn them off or play/pause. I don’t know about you, but if I want to turn up the volume, asking Siri to make my music louder in public will just make me feel like a clown. I don’t understand why they can’t mimic the EarPods remote actions (tap to play/pause, double-tap to go forward, triple-tap to go backward). Also, some volume controls would be nice. I’ve used bluetooth earpieces in the past where sliding your finger up on the device raises volume. I am hoping that these features will come in a future firmware update.
  • You will look weird wearing them until more people get their hands on them. I’m all for being an early adopter, but wearing these in public, especially when they haven’t been in stores for more than 24 hours, means you will definitely stand out. Expect people to ask you about them or look at you weird like you have in some strange earrings until they become as ubiquitous as the EarPods.

All this said, I’m really loving the AirPods thus far. I’ve heard a few early reviewers say that these are the best new thing Apple has made in years; the more I use these, the more I’m buying into that statement. I’m also really excited with what’s to come with the underlying technology — the W1 chip is a game-changer and will hopefully set a new standard on how devices connect together in this wireless world.

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