When Apple first announced its iPhone 7 earlier this year, they also unveiled a new set of earphones to complement the iPhone 7’s lack of a headphone jack. And these were the AirPods. After months of delays, they are finally heading into production and you can pre-order them, but don’t expect to get them until early next year, around January.
So, taking it out of the box, you’re presented with a small case with the AirPods inside and a USB-type C charger. Nothing too fancy. But what makes these Bluetooth headphones special as opposed to other types like the JayBird, is the W1 Chip. The chip produces pretty efficient wireless for a better connection and improved sound to all of your Apple devices. All you have to do is open the case next to your Apple device, and an icon will appear on your phone saying to ‘connect’. To pair the device to your phone, just press ‘connect’ on the screen and you’re instantly connected to your iPhone. And it’s not just connected to your iPhone, but also your Mac, and iPad. The icon on the phone also shows battery life of the AirPods and the case.
When the AirPods are in the case, they are charging and off. But once you take them out they turn on but do not play any music until you actually put them in your ears via a proximity sensor. Also, if you take one pod out, the sound will stop until you put it back in.
So, unlike normal wired earphones, where you have inline controls such as the play, mute, and volume buttons, the AirPods have a different solution. You can tap once on the side of an AirPod to pause/play and double tap to activate Siri.
Now, the battery is a bit of a mixed bag. Apple states you can get around five hours on a single charge, but you can put them back in the case to get an additional three hours of charge in fifteen minutes. So you can theoretically get 24 hours on a single charge. But we have yet to test that.
The audio quality is pretty much the same as the regular EarPods. They provide nice high-quality AAC audio with dual beamforming microphones to filter out any background noise when you make calls or talk to Siri.
Now, the design does make a bold statement, especially for earphones. It does look futuristic in some sense, and also provides a unique take on the wireless earphone genre.
The cost of the AirPods is $159 USD. To be honest, I can get a nice pair of JayBird X3 for $129.95 which provides much better sound quality; boasts a nicer sleek design and has inline controls.
If you definitely need these and are willing to pay the $159 price tag, it’s not bad, but these are more so a gimmick than useful. But if you want a pair of Bluetooth headphones that has better sound quality, better design and aren’t easy to lose, I’d recommend the JayBird series.