Apple AirPods review: Are they any good?

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Apple Airpods have been up and running for a while, but their combination of features and performance make them one of the best truly wireless headsets out there. While it may not fit in your ears, for the lucky ones who can use Apple's audio products, they are a real pleasure. If you are receiving one of the many new iPhones, you can take a look and see what AirPods has to offer.

Editor's Note: This article was updated on September 24, 2018 to reflect the new iPhones, objective test data and market context.

Related: The best true wireless headphones

Content

The Apple AirPods match the minimal aesthetics of the company.

The box is pretty standard for the Cupertino company: everything is white, with an image of Apple AirPods on the front. Inside the box is the charging box with headphones, some warranty instructions and brochures, and a lightning charging cable.

How is Apple AirPods manufactured?

Apple is the king when it comes to quality and design, and that's still the case with AirPods … kind of. Although they are made of plastic, the cargo case feels great in the hand. It's lightweight and tough enough to be thrown in your pocket. This is good because you will want to keep the case on you at all times, even if it is just to store the sprouts when you are not using them.

  Apple Airpods: headphones in hand for the scale.

Apple AirPods are small but annoying as they hang directly from your channels.

The bottom of the case has a single Lightning port for charging, and on the back there is a button to enter Bluetooth synchronization mode on non-Apple devices. But what really makes the quality of the construction stand out are the magnets. The lid stays closed with a magnet and opening or closing it is easy. There are also magnets inside the casing, so even if the lid is opened, these will not fall off. Inside the lid, there is a small LED that indicates whether the buds have been paired or not.

Then Apple's AirPods are obtained. Honestly, they're not great. On the other hand, I saw many people at CES 2018 dressing them and they did not look as bad as I expected. Still, I can not force myself to actually use them. If you were one of the first to adopt Google Glass, then maybe this does not deflate you, but I hate the way I see myself using them. I really like the elegant and minimalist black design of the Jabra Elite Sport Wireless, but these go in the opposite direction.

  Apple AirPods: a top-down image of the headphones in the case with the case open.

The case is absolutely necessary when using Apple AirPods. If you do not carry it with you, it is very easy to lose and lose your headphones.

The AirPods hang from your ears. On the good side, they fit very well while I'm sitting or walking, but not so much with other physical activities. We did an adjustment test video on how they fit together with this one, so be sure to check it out if that's your main concern. As for the design of AirPod, they do not look very different from normal headphones, just obviously without the cables. You have the rigid plastic shell that is supposed to be a one size fits all, which I doubt very much if the AirPods are something to go through. But in each headset you have a small microphone for voice calls and a small sensor that gives you some controls when you touch them.

Connectivity

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AirPod works quite well with iOS devices due to proprietary chip W-1 , but they do not work so well with Android devices. [19659022] Connecting to an iOS device

Connecting to an iOS device is as simple as touching connect on the card that appears on your device. When you connect to a device, it also connects to every device in your iCloud account. During the tests, the music never skipped once while connected to my iPad Air (except when I was actually testing the range, but that does not count). You also have full access to all the great sensors and features in iOS. For example, when you listen to music, you can take out a headset to pause the music, and put it back in your ear to resume the music. You can also touch the outside of the headset twice to access Siri.

You'll have to get used to talking to Siri because that's also the only way to control the volume, which does not make sense, especially if you're on the subway. In the iOS settings, you can change the double tap to pause or play music, which also makes no sense. If I'm getting to play twice, I could also remove the headset to pause the music automatically. When it comes to reach, I could leave them on my desk and easily walk around the house without stuttering. That's about 60 feet away with walls and a floor on the road, not bad. In general, I would say that the connection was great with iOS.

  Apple AirPods: an image of the headphones on a white table with a mechanical keyboard in the background.

When the Apple AirPods were initially released, they were not compatible with the Google Assistant; however, as of July 2017, that has changed.

Connecting to Android

This was more of a process and a very different story. The connection was still impressive, just not excellent. To connect you must open the casing, press and hold the button on the back of the casing to enter the synchronization mode, and also find the AirPod in your Bluetooth configuration. Okay, that's not really a big problem. But once connected, the experience is different. The strength of connection to my Google Pixel was not as good as on my old iPad. I counted about nine stutters in just two hours of listening. Rank also suffered when in Android. I was able to reach the 50-foot swaths before the stutter occurred if I turned to the wrong side.

This is to be expected considering that the new W1 chip is optimized to work with iOS, but it is something worth mentioning if you want to use these with your Android device. You can not pause music automatically when you remove a headset. The music just keeps playing. Double clicking on the side of the AirPod will also not access the Google Assistant (as of July 2017, now it is possible). For starters, they do not have many features, but on Android they have hardly any features. All you can do is tap twice to pause or play whatever you're listening to. Although I was still impressed with the reach and synchronized playback of music, it's easy to say that they will not work as well on Android as on iOS.

Battery Life

[19659014] Apple claims that the battery will last you about five hours on a single charge, but during our objective tests, we could not achieve that. In contrast, at 75dB we found that Apple AirPods could provide 3.45 hours of playback time through the AAC codec. Although this may seem like a significant drop, for Apple's credit, most people will not listen to their music at 75dB. On the one hand, this could damage your hearing if it becomes a habit, and it simply is not realistic. In that case, most listeners should be able to approach four or more hours of playback time from a single load.

Sound quality

  Apple AirPods: headphones in a magazine.

Since Apple AirPods are unable to create an adequate seal, there is minimal passive isolation that degrades the sound quality.

As already mentioned, AirPods have a one-size-fits-all approach, so these are not likely to fit your ears perfectly. This means that external noises easily find their way into their ears and these things seep in as if no one cared. If you do not want the person next to you to listen to your music, you will have to lower the volume substantially.

  A graph showing the frequency response of the Apple AirPods.

Apple does a good job The goal is for AirPod to have a very user-friendly sound, and you can see it above. However, this is only in perfect conditions. The AirPods point to a somewhat serious response, but most people will not hear it simply because the AirPods do not cancel the sound or block it.

The bass (pink) and the medium (green) are where most voices and musical life are, and this type of response is very common in consumers' headphones. There is a peak in the treble (cyan), but once again, it is a very common feature in headphones of all kinds intended to mimic how the human ear listens to high frequency sound.

Lows

Right to the point, the lower end is not great. It may be due to the lack of a seal, but the bass in California by Childish Gambino feels like a very low mid rather than a low one.

Mids

Like the regular wired EarPods, the media is given a great boost in these; the voices come out clear as crystal. This goes for voice calls too, by the way. These are probably the clearest phone calls I've made about Bluetooth outbreaks. When it comes to music, you can easily sing your favorite songs, but the background elements do not feel good with each other. Basically, each instrument in Generator ^ Second Floor by Freelance Whales seems to lose its weight and depth.

Highs

Considering how strong they can be, I'm actually very impressed with the highs. Of course, there is not a ton of details reproduced by a cymbal hit, but nothing becomes hard or painful.

Should you buy Apple AirPods?

Let's be honest, you probably do not buy AirPods for sound quality. If so, it's best that you only get the regular Earpods because they sound very, very similar. The only difference I can find between them is that the AirPods get louder, and they are wireless. The reasons for buying AirPod have nothing to do with sound and everything related to comfort. The charging case is incredibly constructed and easy to transport; removing a bud to pause or play music works perfectly, and the connection rarely goes down. Having said that, they are clearly designed for iOS users and still do not offer much in terms of additional functionality. The Jabra Elite Sport Wireless or Bragi Dash also offer things like heart rate monitoring, training tips, sweat or waterproofing, and a nicer design in my opinion. But they are also significantly more expensive. If you do not mind any of those functions and just want to listen to music, the AirPods do not have a terrible price at $ 159.

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