Apple AirPods with Charging Case: A Complete Review

Apple AirPods with Charging Case: A Complete Review

$139.99

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9.2/10 (Expert Score)
Product is rated as #2 in category True Wireless Earbuds
They have a really good sound quality and excellent functioning inside the Apple ecosystem: you can, for example, use headphones with an Apple Watch without a smartphone, and you can play music on the iPhone, but control playback through the clock. Well, of course, you can connect other Apple devices with operating systems to AirPods.
Design
8
Sound
6.3
Price
6.4
Connectivity
6.9
Battery
7.1
PROS:
  • Balanced and detailed sound
  • Ease of use
  • Autonomy in conjunction with a charging case
  • Work in headset mode
CONS:
  • Only for Apple technology
  • The lack of player controls on the headphones
  • Poor sound insulation

Apple AirPods with Charging Case: Features and Specifications as mentioned on Amazon

  • Automatically on, automatically connected
  • Easy setup for all your Apple devices
  • Quick access to Siri by saying “Hey Siri”
  • Double-tap to play or skip forward
  • New Apple H1 headphone chip delivers a faster wireless connection to your devices
  • Charges quickly in the case
  • The case can be charged using the Lightning connector
  • Rich, high-quality audio and voice
  • Seamless switching between devices
  • Listen and talk all day with multiple charges from the Charging Case

Apple AirPods with Charging Case: A Complete Review

The first Apple wireless headphones raise a lot of questions: Are they worth their money or not? Are they convenient for everyday use? What’s with the proprietary technology? Why does the case look like dental floss boxes? What about AirPods sports? The list goes on, it’s long, so we will not waste time and proceed to the answers.

Almost like EarPods, only without wire and with a charging case

Someone would call the AirPods kit ascetic, given the solid cost of the headphones. But everything you need is present and even more. In addition to the headphones themselves, the company box made of high-quality and very hard cardboard has a miniature case, it also has a charger and a portable battery. A Lightning cable is used to recharge – it is hidden in a box under a plastic retainer.

Apple AirPods with Charging Case

The headphones are really very similar to the standard EarPods that came with Apple smartphones since the iPhone 5 (2012). A little thicker and longer “legs”, and in their lower part, instead of a wire, a pair of metal grids hiding microphones are installed. The rest are twin brothers, but this only applies to design. Inside are completely different devices.

After a few years of searching for a universal case for in-ear headphones, the company didn’t make much sense to invent a bicycle. Original EarPods are ideal for the vast majority of users – do not rub your ears, do not fall out, and in no way interfere with listening to music and other audio content for hours. The author’s personal experience is just that. In the case of AirPods, the situation is even better, since there is no wire, which adds weight, and sometimes causes the earbuds to fall out of your ears if you accidentally pull.

The only downside is that if wired EarPods do not fit in your ears, the wireless model will definitely not work. An interesting alternative is BeatsX based on the same technologies as AirPods, but that’s another story altogether.

The case at the earbuds and charging case is made of glossy plastic – it does not collect fingerprints but is rather slippery. It is not always possible to get the earphone out of the box the first time, and the charger itself strives to slip out of its fingers from time to time. But the accessories are very light – each earbud weighs only 4 g, boxing – 38 g.

In addition to microphones in the “legs”, AirPods stand out from the wired counterparts with an infrared sensor (a round black dot on the front). Thanks to this, one interesting function is implemented, which we will talk about a little later.

As for the cover, it’s really a narcotic thing – it really drags on the process of opening and closing it with a noticeable springy effect and a click. Just like with a Zippo lighter – you pick it up and start clapping on the machine.

The design is robust with a massive metal hinge, and the cover is magnetic. There are also magnets in the headphone seats, plus charging contacts. AirPods in the inside are fixed securely – they literally slip out of their fingers and snap into place with a noticeable click. At the bottom of the accessory is the Lightning port for charging.

The status LED notifies you of the charge level of the case itself, the process of charging it and the headphones, as well as the activation of the Bluetooth pairing mode.

Apple Tech

On the one hand, it seems that Apple did not come up with anything new, adopting the idea of devices such as The Dash, Bragi, Skybuds, Jabra Sport Elite, and Samsung Gear IconX. On the other hand, the idea is not so much important as its implementation, and here the American company showed itself in all its glory. True, beauty is limited only to branded devices, but this is Apple’s traditional policy.

The magic for which the Apple W1 proprietary processor is responsible starts from the moment you open the cover of the case – literally in a second, an offer to connect headphones appears on the iPhone. No need to pinch any buttons, and then break into the Bluetooth menu, just click on the “Connect” button on the smartphone screen and that’s all – the headphones automatically pair not only with this device, but with all the others where this iCloud account is activated.

Apple AirPods

In my case, in addition to the iPhone, they appeared on the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro. You can switch between devices literally on the fly – one click and the headphones immediately begin to play content from another source. In the future, AirPods are automatically connected to the gadget that is closest to them.

And this is not all the features of the accessory. For example, if you remove one earbud from your ear, playback will automatically stop. Return it to its place – the music plays again. For this chip, the infrared sensor mentioned above is responsible.

You can use any earbuds as a mono headset. Each of them has a directional microphone. Microphones themselves are a separate song. They work in tandem with an additional so-called acoustic accelerometer that recognizes voice vibrations. This bundle provides excellent voice quality even in noisy environments. The interlocutors were surprised by her and did not believe that I was talking through a miniature headset.

The second accelerometer in each earbud is needed for touch recognition. A double-tap activates Siri, with the help of which it controls playback, volume, dialing, and other operations. He recognizes speech well, responds quickly to commands, but do not forget about the need for Internet access for the voice assistant to work.

You can take the call and end it with the same gesture. Not the first time you get used to double taps, it takes a couple of days.

Alternatively, you can set the gesture to start / pause playback. Unfortunately, there are no other teams. May appear in the future. To access the settings mode, just click on the “i” icon next to the headphones in the Bluetooth menu. There you can control microphones and change the name of the accessory.

Work with alternative sound sources

There are no problems with this. To connect AirPods, for example, to an Android smartphone, just hold the invisible white button on the front panel of the case for a couple of seconds, which puts the accessory in Bluetooth pairing mode. After that, find it in the smartphone’s Bluetooth menu, one click and you’re done (the connection to Mac and Apple TV is similar). It is important that the gadget supports Bluetooth 4.0.

I checked it in conjunction with Xiaomi Mi Max – I connected it the first time, the headphones work fine, excluding Siri support. In this case, double-tap is responsible for start/pause playback. I don’t know if there are any technical features in transferring sound from iPhone to AirPods or with Mi Max, but in the latter case, the sound in the headphones was simpler – flatter less bass. Perhaps, when interacting with iOS, the built-in Apple W1 processor is used, which adds color to the sound of the accessory.

Apple AirPods

Since we’ve started talking about sound, it’s worth discussing it in more detail, because in some places AirPods are surprising, in some places they are upsetting.

Sound quality

It is believed that the sound of the new items is exactly the same as the wired EarPods. A similar design may matter, but again, the devices have different fillings. The acoustic part of AirPods is clearly modified and it is well audible.

In general, sound quality is a strictly individual characteristic, and there can be no objective opinion or description here. In the end, everyone has their own ears, and the range of perceived frequencies also depends on the person’s age (the older, the worse the audibility is high). Nevertheless, some general characteristics can be deduced by comparing several models of headphones on the same compositions.

If you do not directly compare AirPods with other models, but just put them on and start listening, then in 90% of cases a person will be satisfied. Including sophisticated users who own quite expensive models of headphones. This confirms both a small blind test on a dozen subjects and the author’s personal experience.

In general, the sound can be called smooth. There is a noticeable bass, but it does not overlap the mid and high frequencies and does not make the brain dance to the beat with shock. The sound detail is impressive. So, in comparison with the pleasant in terms of acoustic capabilities PowerBeats 2 Wireless, in many compositions, it was possible to discover completely new notes. I listened with pleasure to all my favorite tracks. Compared directly, Apple’s wireless headphones are weaker, but the sound is generally cleaner and more detailed than in the mentioned model.

AirPods is good at electronics, pop music, heavy like Dimmu Borgir and even the Behemoth band, which is very difficult for high-quality reproduction (in low-cost models, songs merge into a roar and mess). Mixed genres sound generally great. The same Algorithm just blew my brain:

Continuing the comparison, it is worth mentioning the Philips Fidelio S2, which win in the bass, are comparable in sound detail, but has too sharp high frequencies. AirPods, in this case, was more balanced.

The volume level is sufficient and even with a small margin. As for the sound stage, it is definitely wider than the mentioned models and any other in-ear headphones. AirPods has an open design, which allows you to create sound around the head, and not inside it – this is a pleasant moment. But there is a minus. Sound insulation is practically absent. That is, these Earbuds are definitely not for the subway.

Operational experience, autonomy, and other trifles

Apple AirPods

He took the headphones from the post office just before training. I could not wait for its completion and began testing in the process of working with weights.

The first thing that pleased us was the quick and intuitive connection of AirPods to the iPhone 6s Plus. He opened the case, pressed one button on the smartphone screen, began to listen to music – just a few seconds. Magic!

The design of the headphones does not imply serious sound insulation, but when music plays in them, it covers not only the noise in the gym but also the roar of the local music center. The plus here is that the headphones, in principle, can not be removed and calmly communicate with people, hear them, answer questions. The downside is that listening to podcasts in a noisy environment is problematic. The same applies to the metro and other noisy places. Although on the street next to the roadway there were no difficulties with listening to podcasts.

If you have no problems with wired EarPods in a noisy atmosphere, then there will not be any problems with AirPods – sound insulation is at the same level, that is, it is almost absent. Please note that it is in a quiet environment that the headphones fully reveal themselves in terms of sound quality.

Nevertheless, in the gym, where a powerful music center is constantly playing and rods are rattling, the novelty easily replaced the familiar PowerBeats 2 Wireless, not to mention the alternative Plantronics BackBeat FIT. In terms of sound insulation, the latter is close to AirPods. By the way, they are similar in sound too.

It is impossible to use Siri in a noisy environment – the assistant does not understand you, extraneous sounds interfere. The Apple Watch solves the problem, with the help of which it is easy and convenient to control the player, but if they are not there, then it’s worth setting up a double-tap to start/stop playback. As an option, remove one earphone from your ear, which also pauses playback, but this is not always convenient. Plus the likelihood of losing the earpiece. And if you remove it from your ear and put it in your pocket, then AirPods will switch to mono headset mode and playback starts again.

Simply put, the accessory of player controls is still not enough, and Siri does not always solve this problem. It is not available with branded smartwatches, but not all iPhone owners use it. Maybe in the future, Apple will expand the possibilities of interacting with the headset with the help of touches, updating its software. For example, single tap – start/pause playback, double – switch to the next track, triple – return to the beginning of the song or to the previous track.

I frankly liked the lack of the need to turn the accessory on and off with a separate button, as in other headsets. He opened the cover, put the headphones in his ears – they automatically connected to the smartphone. Hid them back in the box – disconnected. You get used to it, and it is sad to return to the old scheme of operating traditional headphones.

There are no complaints about the reliability of landing devices in the ears. During the week five times they visited me in the gym and did not fall out during an intense warm-up (including when you actively rotate your head and the whole body), neither while running on a treadmill nor when working with weights. The moment is individual and depends on how well AirPods sit in the auricles. For mine, they fit perfectly.

The accessory is practically not felt in the ears, and the absence of wires even between the headphones is a big plus for any physical activity. In the same PowerBeats 2 Wireless, you often have to fix the wire sticking to the sweating body and tugging the headphones. Before AirPods, Plantronics BackBeat FIT was the most convenient in this regard.

Protection from increased humidity and sweat in the new product is officially there, which is further confirmed by the wild headphone tests, which appeared in large numbers on YouTube. They were washed, drowned, and dropped, and at least henna would be an accessory.

There are no revelations in terms of the range of Bluetooth. The standard 7-10 meters, although the headphones keep the signal perfectly, make their way through two thick brick walls and where the PowerBeats 2 Wireless began to be naughty, AirPods worked flawlessly.

As for autonomy, the headphones really work out the declared five hours without recharging. By modern standards, not so great an achievement, but there is a nuance. In just 15 minutes, AirPods charge in a case for 3 hours. Finding these 15 minutes is not a problem at all. In general, the charge of the kit is enough for a day of continuous listening. During the week of active use of the headphones, there was never a situation when they were completely discharged. Excluding the case when I checked how much one charge really is enough.

Even on an airplane or train, you won’t be continuously watching videos or listening to music for five hours. Anyway, you pause and return the headphones to the case, where they quickly charge. But you can’t do this with the alternative models mentioned in the review – you need an external battery and a micro-USB cable. Although autonomy PowerBeats 2 Wireless and Plantronics BackBeat FIT are superior to AirPods by about 50%

Is it easy to lose headphones? There were a lot of jokes about this after the announcement of AirPods, but in reality, not everything is so sad. A miniature case is always with you, you hide the headphones in it on the machine. There were no situations that I accidentally (or on purpose) stuck one earphone somewhere and couldn’t find it later.

The only caveat – the device is easy to knock out of your ear. For example, when pulling a hood, if it fits snugly to the head. Here you have to be careful. Once in this way, I knocked out the earpiece and dropped it on the asphalt. Fortunately, this in no way affected the performance of the device.

For whom are AirPods

First of all, for owners of Apple equipment (starting with the iPhone 5, iPad mini 2, iPod Touch 6Gen and Mac with Handoff support). The headset works perfectly with it – a real technology. Even better, if there is an Apple Watch, so once again not to choose between Siri and fast player control.

The sound quality is level, although for the same money you can find more interesting wireless models in this regard. But the chip is not only in sound but in the aggregate of characteristics and in ease of use in general. Here AirPods will give odds to most competitors, including fully wireless models like the Jabra Sport Elite or Samsung Gear IconX. By the way, AirPods has never encountered difficulties with the out of sync of the headphones when one of them suddenly turns off. At the same time, users complain about alternatives.

It is completely pointless to purchase AirPods to work with Android gadgets and other sound sources. Trite will lose most of the accessory tokens but pay dearly. Apple has made a very niche device, maximally tailored to branded products.

Are AirPods worth the money or is it better to buy something alternative for the same price? For example, more interesting in terms of sound Bose SoundSport wireless, Jaybird X3 or BeatsX? Here, everyone decides for himself. I personally like the sound quality – it is really good, but in terms of ease of use, Apple wireless headphones leave most of the competitors far behind.

Specification: Apple AirPods with Charging Case: A Complete Review

Brand
Play Time Range
Price Range
Rating Range
Product Dimensions AirPods (each): 0.65 by 0.71 by 1.59 inches (16.5 by 18.0 by 40.5 mm), Wireless Charging Case: 1.74 by 0.84 by 2.11 inches (44.3 by 21.3 by 53.5 mm)
Weight AirPods (each): 0.14 ounce (4 g), Wireless Charging Case: 1.41 ounces (40 g)
Battery AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: More than 24 hours listening time, up to 18 hours talk time; AirPods (single charge): Up to 5 hours listening time, up to 3 hours talk time or 15 minutes in the case equals up to 3 hours listening time or up to 2 hours talk time

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Apple AirPods with Charging Case: A Complete Review
Apple AirPods with Charging Case: A Complete Review
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