They have been with us since late 2016. And have not even received an upgrade. Which should make the AirPods, Apple’s “true wireless earphones” really dated. However, it is a tribute to just how well Apple has crafted them that they remain the best option for anyone wanting true wireless earphones. Sounds hard to believe? We have used the best from Sony, Bose, Bragi, Jabra and JBL, and well, we still think the AirPods beat them all. Here’s why:
We have seen our fair share of Bluetooth earphones and we have not seen any that connected as smoothly as the AirPods. Pairing them is as simple as just opening the case and pressing the button on it. There are no passcodes to fiddle with (no, not even with Android devices), and disconnecting and reconnecting them is as simple as closing and opening the AirPods’ case. It does not get simpler than this, really.
Phenomenal ease of use
It is not just connecting the AirPods to your phone that is easy. The device itself is very easy to operate. There are no buttons on them to fiddle with, and while some might say that asking Siri to do everything from skipping tracks to changing the volume is odd, it is a whole lot more convenient than fiddling with some teeny button on a bud in your ear.
We also love the fact that invoking Siri is as easy as tapping on the AirPods twice (you might need a third party app on Android) and that on the iPhone, the buds actually recognise when they are in your ears, and if set up properly, will even pause music when you take one of them off and resume when you start playing it again. Some might prefer buttons and gestures, but we love their sheer simplicity. No wireless ear buds are as easy to use. Period. You can check out some cool AirPod tricks here.
Decent battery life
They are not exceptional when it comes to battery life, but with careful usage, the AirPods generally see out about four to five hours on a single charge. That is very decent by totally wireless Bluetooth earphone standards. And there is another thing… which is the next point actually.
Superb battery case
One of the strongest points in favour of the AirPods is their charging case. Incredibly compact and of the size of a floss holder, it can easily slip into a pocket. Amazingly enough, it can also charge the AirPods 3-4 times from scratch. We found ourselves getting by close to a week on a single charge. And the AirPods get charged whenever they are stored in the case, which is kind of super cool. We have seen other brands come with larger cases giving far less battery life. Incidentally, most brands have really poorly designed battery cases!
Great for calls
We have used truly wireless earphones from a number of brands, and what we have discovered is that the AirPods are by far the best for calls. And that is because of a feature that many have criticised — their design. Many have said that the AirPods look like EarPods with the wires snipped off.
Yes, they do, but the slightly “longer” design of the AirPods also means that the microphones at the end of each AirPod is significantly closer to your mouth than the ones you would find on most other wireless earbuds that are “dot” shaped. Small things, but they do make a difference. Incidentally, those microphones allied with some software magic mean that you can also use the AirPods as hearing aids.
Good sound quality
They do not come with active noise cancellation or even very effective noise isolation, but we believe that the AirPods do not get enough credit for the quality of music they deliver. The volume is decent (sometimes almost too high) and bass and treble are handled in a very balanced manner. In short, these will not deliver mind-blowing music quality, but unless you are an out and out audiophile (in which case you will not even be looking at them in particular or Bluetooth earphones in general), you will not be disappointed by the audio quality on these.
We know some people will be shocked at this point, but at Rs 12,999, the AirPods are still more affordable than most options from Bose, Sony, Bragi and even Jabra.
Traveller’s Tip: They may be the best truly wireless earphones out there, but the AirPods are not water resistant so we advocate caution while using them in rainy conditions, forget about pools. And yes, they do fall out of ears, so we do advocate caution again!