I’ve been using AirPods for a month and this is how I feel about them

The efficiency of the connectivity, the beautiful design of the case and the pods, the perfect syncing. It all just made sense.

Test Drive

Before the actual review, I need to tell that I actually bought a Chinese copy for around just US$ 19 (instead of the US$ 159 charged for the original pair at the Apple Store) and used it for 2 to 3 months. They were a bit bigger, heavier and had the cable longer than the original. I do confess that I looked myself in the mirror and did not like what I saw. They were not just big, they felt big.

The most annoying thing though is that it had — a lot of — connectivity issues and it took forever to correctly sync. Sometimes it synced only the left pod, sometimes only the right pod, and sometimes when I got both pods to properly connect to my iPhone, the volume would go way down for no reason, even though it was set to the maximum volume on my phone. So after I went through that nightmare for 2 to 3 months, I bought the original Apple AirPods the first time I had the opportunity to.

Chinese copy versus original Apple AirPods; can you spot the difference? (Photo: Lucas Wetten)

Why did I go through all that? To understand what would be like to get used to listening to my playlists and podcasts on a Bluetooth pair of phones instead of a corded one, but also — and mainly -, for safety. If I were to buy the original, I needed to test people’s reaction on the streets, public transportation, etc., and I’m glad I did that.

First Impression

If I was having headaches with my Chinese copy, the moment I tested my new AirPods I was simply amazed. The efficiency of the connectivity, the beautiful design of the case and the pods, the perfect syncing. It all just made sense and I was kind of mad with myself for not purchasing it sooner.

The magical features — which means the double-tap to change the song or the automatic pause when you unplug one pod from your ear — of course, I had already heard of them (since they were released in December 2016, am I right?), but testing them — and seeing how they actually work perfectly, no tricks there — was mind-blowing as well.

Double-tap settings are just as easy you’d think it could be.

Safety

Okay, let’s talk safety. I have to confess that wearing them outside on the streets is not the most secure thing in the world. There are blocks and even neighborhoods that I can assume nothing is gonna happen — like in my work’s surroundings. However, in most other places it feels like Is that weird guy staring at me, I mean, at my AirPods? So, yeah, not cool.

Buses here in Brazil are also not very secure for them, even if its perimeter is around middle-to-upper class neighborhoods, so I usually unplug them from my ears right when I get to the bus stop — I know, bummer. The subway, on the other hand, I’d say is pretty safe even at night times (considering it operates from 4:40 AM to 00:20 AM only). It does have a lot of thefts though if you’re not aware of your things, but, as I’m aware pretty much all the time when I have my AirPods on, no problems there.

Final Thoughts

Well, let’s start with the pros list: the case’s battery life is good enough for me to charge it once a week — if so — , the battery life of each pod is good enough to listen to them for at least 3 hours on the maximum volume — as a matter of fact, each pod has 1% of the iPhone 7 full battery power, so I’ve read -, they definitely do not fall out of your ears — you can jog, you can jump, I guarantee -, zero connectivity issues so far and — the main point, some would say — no more issues with tangled earphones.

Now the cons. Well, the only con that I could find: volume control. When I was a regular — wired — EarPods heavy user, I was used to turning the volume up or down whenever I felt like by just pressing the buttons that came with it. With AirPods, on the other hand, you have two options: 1) asking for Siri to turn it up or down, or 2) buying an Apple Watch so that you can set the volume on it — okay, pretty expensive option. Besides the volume thing, I don’t think there’s any other con — at least, not that I can tell so far in this first month of trial.

The volume button of the EarPods may be missed when using the AirPods. (Photo: Lucas Wetten)

After several ‘mistakes’ — or at least uncanny decisions — Apple has committed during these last few years — such as the USB-A ports removal from the MacBooks or the headphone jack removal from the iPhone 7 — , the AirPods were definitely a spot on. This is something I believe Steve Jobs would be proud of.

The Apple AirPods can be bought in the Apple Store for US$ 159.

Edit: as of February 2019, that was the price, just before the launch of the 2nd generation of Apple’s AirPods, released in March 2019.

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