AirPods Review and Unboxing


Review / Friday, February 17th, 2017

The AirPods were released in December ’16 so you may be curious as to why I am doing a review and unboxing now. That would be because I just got them, two months of agonising waiting. Those who don’t know me are unaware of how inpatient I am, but when it comes to tech I could be considered insufferable. Also the amount of AirPod adds that Apple have been playing recently did not help. I could be heard yelling at the TV “stop advertising them until I have them!!!”. Yes the three exclamation are necessary. Watch the Unboxing:

First Thoughts:

AirPods box Square.jpgI got a notification that they were being delivered, every noise made me look at the door. I was worse than the dog.

Many people make fun of just how nice Apple packaging is. It is truly a work of art, and if this wasn’t my (I’ve stopped counting) Apple product I would have been once more amazed. At this point I look at it and think how much of the price is for the cardboard. Put it in a paper bag if it knocks off a few dollars. Apple is expensive.

These too are expensive, at $229 aud. Now there are many other wireless pods you could get and many cheaper but these are special. I won’t bore you with a bunch of stats but I will take you through what I love.

Case and Pods square.jpg

A concern many have with the AirPods is that they are small. They are not much bigger than the normal pods that come with the iPhone. To house them they come with a case that also charges the AirPods when they are tucked away.

It looks utterly Apple and fits neatly in your pocket. It would be a very good idea to put them back in the case when they are not in your ears. Like I said I have just got them but am trying to train myself to always put them away.

In the latest iOS I hear they are creating a find my AirPods. I haven’t got a developer account so haven’t tried it but feel like this is going to come in handy.

AirPods Back.jpg

Connecting the AirPods couldn’t be easier. I show it in my video but if you skipped it let me give you the instructions. First unlock your phone, open the case and then press connect. It’s that easy and it works. Then through key chain it shares it across your devices.

I understand that it is technology that makes it work but it feels like magic in your hand.

If you are connecting to a device that isn’t compatible with the magic, to connect you press the button on the back. The one down the bottom, look at the pic to the left.

It really is that simple.

To charge the case, you plug a lightning cable into the bottom of it. The AirPods themselves charge when they’re in the case. The case has 24 hours of charge to distribute to the AirPods.

airpods-butt
Gratuitous Butt Shot

I haven’t had them long enough to cause the charge to run out and I don’t think it will happen because I plan to keep them in the case. It is good to know though if they do go flat that a 15 minute charge will keep them going for 3 hours.

Sound Quality Review:

There are three main reasons I use any pods with my phone. To make calls, listen to podcasts and listen to music.

AirPods Keyboard.jpg

As soon as I took them out of the box and paired them I needed to make a CALL. With any new tech, particularly wireless, it can be  worrying to make a call without testing first, could just be me. The call felt like I was on my corded headphones, and I forgot I had them in after a while.

The people on my call couldn’t tell that I was using anything but my normal headset. That was till I bragged about them. It was a work call and I am fortunate to work with some Apple fans. When I get new audio equipment my expectation of a call is that I can hear the person and they can hear me. That was achieved, the benefit is the comfort of them.

They disappear once you’ve had them in for a while. My old headset was over ear and they would make my ears get hot and sweat. These are the least intrusive listening devices I’ve had.

I am a big PODCAST fan and listen to quite a few. It was important that the quality of the podcasts were good but also the volume on them is sufficient to where I can walk around everyday and hear. This is perhaps the biggest surprise for me, the volume is as good if not better than the corded ones.

It is no problem for me to walk around or sit in the office and listen to a podcast. Again because they are so comfortable they disappear and you are left with your podcast. It’s a really immersive experience.

Podcast’s are very personal, the subject matter and the fact that someone is talking directly into your head. Listening to them on the AirPods does what any good tech should, it disappears.

Airpods Open Case Keyboard 2.jpg

The biggest and most important reason to have any headphones is to listen to MUSIC. The AirPods have a much better bass profile than the corded variety. I listen mostly to hard rock and metal, the bass on the AirPods is perfect for this.

I actually am surprised that they could bring the bass out as they do. I’m currently listening to Gun ‘n’ Roses Paradise City (read my Not In This Lifetime Review) and the drums come through so crisply. As a drummer this is a big plus for me.

Pods of any sort generally mush the instruments together. After all you sacrifice quality for size. The AirPods reverse this, I can hear each instrument clearly. The quality is a shock, and frankly exactly what I want to be listening to walking around or at work. Again here the AirPods disappear into the music. The sound feels like it is beamed directly into your brain.

Overview

The AirPods look like an Apple product, depending on your feelings on this it’s either a good or bad thing. For me I like the look, its familiar while still being interesting. The case design is minimalist and the curved edges have a practical nature in that it always them to go easily in and out of your pocket.

The quality is good for pods, great for wireless pods. Cutting the cord doesn’t cut the quality, in many respects it increases sound quality and volume. The quality of the design is such that they disappear. They feel heavy in the hand but in you ear they disappear.

The design also keeps them firmly in your ear and I have not had an issue with them falling out. I have stood, sat and laid down, and they stayed in. I even jumped around the house trying to make them fall out. Nothing, except my dog looking at me like I’d lost my mind.

airpods-b-bookshelf

The best thing about the AirPods is the fact that they’re wireless (obvious I know). The only time my corded headphones fell out was when the cord caught something. It was either annoying or painful as it grabbed my ear. Problem solved with these and I look forward to working out in the garage without fear of being caught. I’m surprised that my neighbours haven’t complained about the expletives that come from my house when my earpod cord gets snagged. I have big enough ears they don’t need to be stretched.

These are great, the design is what you would expect from Apple and the sound better than what I had been using. The ease of connection is the best of apple on display and may be a selling point for people to jump over to wireless. At $229 aud they are an investment and you can find much cheaper alternatives. I believe they are the best truly wireless pods and definitely at this price point. Really you are buying convenience and cool tech and if that’s something you like these will make you very happy.

One thing I hope they improve and have read promising things is the gesture technology. Using Siri to turn the volume up/down is annoying, particularly in public. I have an Apple Watch so I use that anyway. I am sure there is better to come but right now I think gestures were an underbaked idea.

Rating

AirPods Desk Case.jpg

These and any Apple products I review will have two ratings. The first is my rating, what I think they are rated to myself and any other Apple fan. The second is a rating with bias taken into account. Reducing the score between 0 and 1 star depending on a number of factors and how I feel at the time.

My Rating: 4½

Bias Acknowledged: 4

Byron

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