Ok, so if you haven’t heard of these and have been living in a cave for the last year or so, let me explain. Released at the end of 2016, these are Apple’s first completely wireless headphones. They use Apple’s glorious W1 chip to connect seamlessly to your iPhone and if you don’t have an iPhone then they’ll use Bluetooth. I would however say that you won’t get the full benefit from them if you’re a non-iPhone user… So I will assume that you like to enjoy using a phone and therefore have an iPhone. Ok, next…
Design and Comfort
Shaped similarly to the EarPods, these are not to everyone’s taste or ears. Personally I like the simplistic design. You barely notice you have them in, so fatigue with these is not an issue. AND no more mucking about stuffing wires down your jacket! I do admit that the case however, does resemble a dental-floss holder. Depending on you ear size, some people have reported having issues with them staying in.. As I have small (but perfect) ears, I haven’t come across this. But be warned, if your lugs are on a par with the BFG, some third party AirPod covers (like these) may be required. Covers for the case can also be found very easily too if you’re worried about scratching it whilst in your pocket.
This really is where Apple have nailed it. Literally the easiest thing I’ve ever had to connect… I still occasionally feel like throwing my old Bose speaker against the wall when it insists on connecting to my phone in the kitchen and not the iPad I’m trying to watch Ultimate Beastmasters on… Or it decides to connect to my girlfriend’s phone (because she once used it a year ago). All very frustrating. This however, is a joy. Open up the case and they pop up on your iPhone, tap connect, done.
I was actually very impressed with these. Yes, they’re not a pair of Shure’s, and so Audiophiles will not, I suspect, be as kind. They have a quite pleasing/easy listening sound with enough bass to satisfy most users. Sure, the highs are not very high and the mids and bass are a bit muddy, but overall it’s an enjoyable sound. Commercial pop music sounds particularly good here. Turning up the volume to full, does somewhat diminish the aural pleasure, but that’s not a huge surprise. I tend to listen at around 80 percent, which is plenty.
My usual daily headphones are the £90 RHA in-ear MA750i’s. These are very nice sounding, reference quality (on-a-budget) in-ear headphones. I feel they match my Sennheiser HD650’s quite well with their flat (natural) frequency response. the AirPods are not what you’d call reference headphones. Does that matter? Well, for the majority of non-audiophile users, I don’t think it does. It’s all about listening pleasure at the end of the day. You won’t get the clarity and soundstage of many lesser priced wired headphones, but that’s not entirely what you’re paying for.
What are you paying for?
Well, in a word, convenience. These are just so easy to use. They’re fun to listen to and are excellent for making and receiving phone calls. Once you’ve got over the fact that there’s no volume button, you’ll be happily asking the vastly improved Siri to do your bidding. They have a great 5 hour battery life and work well with most bluetooth equipped devices. At a price of £159.99, they may seem expensive, but in my opinion are one of the best totally wireless (in- ear) headphones around.
Fantastic W1 chip – The future so it is… Great 5 hour battery life
Very easy to use
Ok sound quality
Ok sound quality
Might fall out if you have big ears