1/19/18 - Apple AirPods Review
For the longest time after the AirPods were announced from Apple I was skeptical of them. I'm not sure why I was so skeptical, maybe it was the $159 price tag on them that made me wonder how good they actually would be. After buying a cheap bluetooth headset off Amazon to use for my business iPhone at home when I was working from home and realizing how crappy it actually was, I figured I needed something better. I purchased the BeatsX Bluetooth headset from Apple for $149 because I was still afraid I would end up losing the AirPods since they were so small and that I might actually have one fall out of my ear. I have used the BeatsX for about half a year now and for use on my work phone they work great. One of the biggest problems I had though when I was working was that if I wanted to use them on my personal phone, I had to keep switching them back and forth between the two phones. What I really needed was a second set of Bluetooth headphones for my personal phone, but I couldn't wear another pair around my neck all day, so the AirPods seemed like the best choice at this time.
Of course, when I chose to purchase the AirPods was right in the middle of the Christmas rush and there weren't any in stock anywhere, or even online. Therefore I was slated to get them after the new year. I was surprised when they arrived just before New Years Eve, so I was able to try them out and play with them some before going back to work. Right off the bat the storage/charging case seems smaller than I figured it would be. It is also very slick without any type of grip on it at all. I know Apple is all about streamlining their products so that they are smooth and look good, but damn if it doesn't make them hard to hold. The wireless earbuds themselves are the same size as the regular earbuds, just without the long cord attached to them. They fit in my ears very well, and actually stay in better than the BeatsX headphones, especially when I am working out or moving around. I am very cognizant though if I am doing something (putting on a sweatshirt or jacket) where one might fall out of my ear though as I don't want to lose one. I guess it would probably be more optimal if I were to just remove them whenever I am trying to put something on my head. I have almost knocked one of them out when I was exercising though and wiping my face with a towel. The towel will hit it and it will move in my ear, so I'm quick to reach up to make sure it doesn't fall out.
So once I got them unwrapped and played around with them I took them out and put them in my ear and boom, they immediately connected to my personal phone without me having to do anything. I had read that pairing them to your phone was easy, but that was a little too easy. I remember the BeatsX were pretty easy like that too, but I think I actually had to go into the Settings to choose them from the list of Bluetooth devices, but that may have just been after the fact. Anyway, once they were connected, you put the earbud in your ear and you hear an audible noise. This means that the sound from your phone is now going to be coming through the earbud in your ear. The earbud actually senses when it's in your ear and when it's been taken out. This means that if you are watching a video or listening to music your phone will actually pause the sound when you take them out of your ear, and then re-start it again when you put it back in. Pretty neat, and something that I would expect now that we're in the year 2018.
The sound quality of the AirPods is really what stands out. The BeatsX have good sound, but the AirPods just provide a little more oomph when you are listening to things. You can hear the bass better in the music as well as the movies, and the voice calls are crystal clear as well. The other thing I was skeptical about is how well the microphone on the earbud would pick up my voice when I am talking to someone on the phone or via facetime. I must say that so far people have said that my voice is very clear when I am talking to them. I am a strange person in that I normally only have one earbud in when I am talking on the phone compared to most people that put two in at the same time. I like to listen like I am actually talking on the phone and leave my other ear open to hear sounds that are around me. This means that I can get twice as long battery life out of the earbuds too as I only use one at a time. Now if I am listening to music while working out or cutting the grass or watching a movie, I will put them both in. Thankfully the AirPods don't care if I am using one or both, they work great either way. The only gripe I have is that if you have them both in and then take one out, whatever you're watching or listening to will pause. This is great, but also kinda crappy if you want to just take one out and keep listening but maybe have to listen to something else quickly. It's a minor nitpick really.
After using the headphones for a couple of weeks now, I haven't found any problems with them thus far except one. I tried to use just the left one today, but was unable to do so as it would not connect up to my phone. The right one was working fine, but the left one was not even showing up at all. I had to remove the airpods as a bluetooth device and then re-discover them to make them show up. Once that happened, I realized that one of the reasons why the Left was not showing up was that the the battery was low on it. This was strange considering the fact that it had been in the charging case for the past day or so and the charging case was fully charged, and the right one was fully charged as well. I ended up playing with it a bit and found that it had to really snap into place hard to get it to start charging. Once I messed with it, I was able to get it to start charging and it's worked fine ever since, but strange that it didn't want to charge all of a sudden.
In conclusion, I would recommend the Airpods for anyone that is looking for a good sounding bluetooth headset for your iPhone. The only downside I really see is that they might be easy to lose one of the earbuds, or even the whole charging case (as it has slipped out of my pocket and got lost in the couch once). However, if you're good at taking care and keeping up with stuff, then that should not be a problem for you.