Apple AirPods long-term review

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Apple’s AirPods are expensive but are one of my favourite tech purchases in years. The quality is good, the utility is fantastic. They made my switch to an iPhone bearable. If you own an iPhone 7 or newer and like to listen to audio on your phone, I highly recommend them.

I’ve been using an iPhone 7 Plus daily for over a year now. I still really miss my BlackBerry Passport, but it was time to move on. One of the big downsides of moving to the iPhone was the lack of a headphone jack and the size of the device. The lack of a headphone jack meant that I listened to less music and fewer podcasts. The size and slipperiness of the iPhone made using it for actual phone calls a bit of a chore. Plus, when I’m on the phone, I usually need to use the phone for calendar access, camera access, or something else.

All of these down-sides went away when I purchased the AirPods in February. I’ve been using them constantly since then and it is no exaggeration to say that the AirPods have made my transition to the iPhone and iOS far smoother than it would have been otherwise.

The AirPods look nice. As a bonus, with my mostly grey beard, then tend to mostly disappear when I wear them. I almost always listen to podcasts and make phone calls with one earbud in. This lets me hear what’s going on around me and is still a decent listening and call experience for me and the person on the other end of the phone.

I should say that the AirPods are the first Apple earbuds I’ve ever used or liked. All previous models fell out of my ear and were of a low enough quality that I stocked up on BlackBerry-branded earbuds instead.

They aren’t flawless, the two earbuds can act independently in very helpful ways, but sometimes they can be a little quirky, pausing unexpectedly, or more often, resuming inconsistently. But these are minor flaws and don’t detract from their use. They are a simple but ambitious first-generation project from Apple. These quirks are acceptable to me.

The case for the AirPods deserves it’s own paragraph or two. The case is a deligjt! It’s small and smooth, and hearkens back to the iPod days while still being thoroughly modern. They both protect and charge the AirPods. The hinge to open and close the case is very satisfying. It’s fun to play with, operates smoothly, and I’m sure will last. The case design is particularly important, as I carry it with me pretty much all of the time. If it was bigger or bulkier than needed, this would be a real burden. Apple’s design of the AirPods and the case is simply perfect.

The battery life of the AirPods is also pretty much perfect. I plug them in for a bit every few days and never run out of battery. I listen with the AirPods between 1-4 hours a day on average.

The sound quality on the AirPods is great. For long, quality music listening I tend to use my Harmon/Karden Bluetooth over-ear headphones, but listening to music on the AirPods is a very pleasant experience. I haven’t used other similarly priced earbuds, so I don’t have a point of reference for how they sound compared to other high-end options, but I am picky about sound quality in general, and I find these to be just fine, and better than I expected. The sound is nicely balanced, not bass-heavy, and very clear.

Overall, I love the AirPods. They’re a little too expensive for what they are, but they sound great, and I love how they work. The utility they provide me makes them easily worth the expense. I like them far more than my iPhone 7 Plus. They are my favourite Apple purchase since the 11” MacBook Air I bought in early 2011. I very highly recommend the AirPods to anyone who uses an iPhone 7 or newer. They are super convenient and easily make up for the loss of the headphone jack.

GoSaBe Blog - Dec 15, 2017 | Hardware