Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
I’m going to tell you all about Apple’s wireless AirPods wireless headphones today. Before I do, however, I need to give you some backstory for context.
I Didn’t Like the Wired EarPods
First, I don’t care for Apple’s EarPods, the wired headphones that ship with iPhones. I find them uncomfortable after just a few minutes of use, and they fall out of my ears regularly.
Since the AirPods look almost exactly like wired EarPods without wires, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like ‘em.
I Don’t Like Wireless Headphones
Second, I’m not a huge fan of wireless headphones in general. I’ve tested dozens of them over the past few years, and while most don’t stink, they almost all make it too inconvenient to switch between devices. Within a few days, most of them end up in a drawer and I end up using my favorite wired headphones.
I tell you this so you understand that I never expected to like AirPods at all, much less like them as much as I do. And I do like them.
But, I Really Like AirPods
My first surprise was that, unlike the wired EarPods, AirPods are comfortable and fit my ears almost perfectly. In fact, the fit is so good that I can use them for hours without discomfort.
The first time you flip open the lid of AirPods’ included charging case (which looks like a dental floss dispenser), your iPhone will display a pairing window automatically, which is easier than most Bluetooth headsets, which use regular Bluetooth pairing.
For what it’s worth, AirPods can also connect to non-Apple devices, but they won’t pair automatically.
What’s especially cool and unique is that once you pair your AirPods with one Apple device, they’re automatically paired with your other compatible Apple devices via iCloud. So, rather than having to open the Settings app, tap Bluetooth, and then tap the headphones to enable them, you can simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen and select them in Control Center, which is much faster/easier.
AirPods’ sound quality is very good but not great. Still, I haven’t used any other headphones—wired or wireless—since the AirPods arrived.
They Do, However, Have Some Issues…
While I like them a lot, they do, however, have some issues. The big one, at least for me, is that there are no inline controls. You double-tap either AirPod to summon Siri, then you can say things like, “volume up,” or “next song.” Meh!
Furthermore, since they’re fabricated entirely of hard plastic, you can’t switch foam or silicone ear tips to get a more comfortable fit. This one’s not a big deal for me, but apparently is for others.
But the big issue is price—at $159, AirPods are 3x more expensive than my beloved Klipsh S4i wired headphones (about $50 at Amazon.com), which are more comfortable, sound better, and have an inline remote.
Still, I haven’t felt the need to break out my Klipsch headphones since I got the AirPods, and that should tell you a lot.
There is One Last Thing
The battery case looks so much like a dental floss container I couldn’t resist this parody sticker for $3.50 at Etsy.com.
AirPods. Apple, Inc. $159 at Apple.
Klipsch S4i-II. Klipsch. $50 at Amazon.
Parody Dental Floss sticker. $3.50 on Etsy.