During last Apple’s keynote event that took place last September, there were a few “controversial” announcements that took place. Of course, Apple announced the iPhone 7’s familiar design but it was the removal of its 3.5mm headphone jack that caused quite a panic. But along with this, they did introduced their first wireless headphones – the AirPods.
I remember, when the AirPods were first announced, the criticism and mockery from people on social media was absolutely relentless. Who can forget all the pics of people with tops of toothbrushes in their ears… Also people were freaking out over the fact that you would lose them immediately, and others ranted about the price tag. Couple all of this with a release delay of more than two months, and the AirPods were ready to be a rather large disaster and flop.
But now, I was able to get my hand on them… let’s see if the magic is back with Apple or is it just the expected disaster?
One of the most important key point with them, Apple designed AirPods so that you can switch between devices with a simple tap or click, instead of the frustrating experience of disconnecting a Bluetooth device from your iPhone just so you can connect it to your Mac. You can start pairing them to your iPhone by simply opening the case. Yes, that easy!!! When you do, you’ll get an alert on your phone showing a picture of your AirPods with a button prompting you to “connect” them. Tap the button, and you’re done. You don’t have to go into your settings. You don’t have to enter some boring and annoying kind of PIN. You don’t have to wait for the Bluetooth radios to recognize each other. The process is quick and easy. MAGIC!
Even better, if you are signed into your iCloud account, Apple automatically configures the AirPods with your other Apple devices. So, instead of having to manually go through a separate pairing process for your iPad or Mac, the AirPods just show up as a connection option. And if you’ve connected your AirPods to your iPhone, but want to switch the connection to your Mac, you just select them on the Mac. You don’t have to disconnect them from your iPhone first.
Also, Apple has designed them to recognize when they are in your ears, using both optical and motion-detecting sensors. Put them in, and they will automatically connect to your phone. Take them out, and they’ll disconnect. If you are listening to music, you can pause it by taking an AirPod out of your ear. When you put it back in, the music resumes.
Apple estimates five hours of listening battery life, and my experience has been right in line with that claim. As an added bonus, the charging case (added another 24h of charge) charge-up the AirPods rather fast. Fifteen minutes of charge time gets you three hours of listening time. After a sweaty gym session, hop in the shower while the AirPods are in the case… and then, back to 100% for my ride back to the office 🙂
Despite high praises for AirPods so far, they aren’t perfect…. Magical but not perfect!
My biggest frustration point right now is controlling music playback, which can only done entirely through Siri (or using the iPhone / Apple Watch,…).
When using AirPods, you can double tap on either side to activate Siri on a connected device like your iPhone. This is the ONLY gesture the AirPods are currently capable of… WHAT?!? What if you want to change volume or skip a track??? You have only two options: ask Siri or pick up your phone and change it manually. I would love to see Apple add more tap gestures to AirPods through software updates, starting with triple-tap to skip the current track.
You can change the double-tap action to play/pause or turn your AirPods off, but more actions are needed. PLEASE Apple!!! Especially, Siri is totally useless without an internet connection…
- Very simple setup with the W1 chip! It just works!!!!
- Battery life is so great with 5h and 24h (case)
- Excellent Range for Bluetooth headphones
- Don’t easily fall out even in motion… but this will depend on your ears!
- Siri can be frustrating and limited…
- Need more control gestures to control music… Why not using one side to control something and the other side to control other things… Well, you’ll have to relate to your iPhone or Siri for all commands. (Update: it’s much better with iOS 11)
Rating: 8.7/ 10 (updated rating with iOS 11: 9.4 / 10)
Apple’s AirPods are the best completely wireless earbuds available today. Their flawlessly stable wireless connection and range alone puts them much ahead of their handful of competition. So yes, the magic is back with Apple…