Quite by accident, I realised today that it’s a month since I first wrote about having a pair of Apple’s hard-to-get AirPods. So, one month in, what do I think?
I’ll say it now. The AirPods are fantastic for phone calls when I’m at my desk. I love being hands free, especially on long calls, so I can take notes, walk around my home office and avoid getting an achey arm from holding an iPhone 7 Plus up to my ear for an hour at a time. I can also leave my phone charging, regardless of how long the call is.
Nobody has yet been able to tell I’m using the AirPods, the sound quality on calls is great and the battery holds up to some quite extended use.
When not on calls, I’ve got into the habit of connecting them to my iMac when at my desk and listening to Spotify. Again, the sound is great and it’s easy to switch between devices. Pairing is as simple as a click.
Comparing them to my favourite Bose noise-cancelling earphones seems unfair, but they are so much lighter and easier to carry around with me. They also seem to charge faster and fit in my jeans pocket when not in use. The Bose earphones need their own case, or I have to hang them around my neck like a very short and bald DJ.
The AirPods are comfortable. I haven’t used Apple earphones since the pair that came with my very first iPod Nano (remember those?!) as they are horribly uncomfortable and for me at least, quite painful after a while. I forget I have the AirPods in – definitely a plus for something I use for hours every day.
There’s no denying it. They look stupid. Stupid in the box, stupid in the ear. I’ve had more than my share of funny looks from people around me (and yes, more than I usually receive) when I’m wearing them in public.
They also feel a little loose in my ear. They’ve never fallen out, but at the same time, they don’t feel ‘snug’. I’ve not gone running with the AirPods, more so because I don’t think they’re water/sweat-proof.
I’m no snobby audiophile, but the quality of sound when I’m out and about pales in comparison to the noise-cancelling earphones I’m used to. It’s probably safer to be able to hear what’s going on around me, but that’s at the cost of a solid base. In fact the change in sound quality as soon as I leave my apartment building is striking. It’s a lot more obvious when I’m listening to music, less so if it’s a podcast.
And when I’m on the Tube, I lose the sound completely from time to time when it’s drowned out by the screeching of the brakes or other ambient noise. That definitely doesn’t happen with my Bose headphones, but then again, they block out the sound of an aircraft engine…
All in all?
I’m going to keep them, for sure. They’re great for the home office, wandering around the apartment while on the phone and switching between my various Apple devices. But they’re not really great once I leave home and I’ll definitely be bringing my Bose earphones with me on upcoming long haul journeys.
Would I recommend them? I’m really not sure they’re worth the money. Yes, pairing is a breeze. Yes, they’re super light. But I’m not convinced I won’t lose once of them very soon and I’m vain enough to care that people point at me when I’m wearing them in the street.
I think they’re only for the biggest of Apple fans.