I rarely either get a chance or get around to sharing my thoughts on the different products that I use. However, I have found the Apple AirPods to be something that has quite surprised me.
When I say I would not purchase them myself, I honestly mean it. There is no world in which I believe for what I need headphones of any sort are worth more than about $15. In fact, if the Apple AirPods I have, get lost or stop working in any way I would not go and buy another pair. But in saying that I do for the most part hope the paid I have last forever.
Getting Apple Airpods
I would never have purchased the Apple AirPods for myself. But it turns out just before Christmas 2017 that a friend got tired of watching me try to untangle my headphones. I had been using different pairs of Apple Earbuds for around a year to counter a sound problem on my iPhone.
So it was somewhere around the third time I was trying to untangle the earbuds that day he asked where to buy the AirPods. I ran through every reason why they were not needed, why they were not what I wanted and problems others experienced in using them. He was not having it and headed to the closest Apple Store.
At AUD 229.00 they are not a cheap purchase, especially when you have perfectly good if somewhat tangled earbuds. But I guess he thought it was worth the price to no longer have to watch me untangle the earbuds.
My Objections & Thoughts
I figured the best way to talk about the Apple AirPods was to look at my original Objections and how they have played out. There were a number of objections I had to getting Apple Airpods in the first place. Having read about them and even researched some reviews initially seeing if they were justifiable. I loved the idea, but you can only love an idea to a certain value.
They May Fall Out
When I first heard about what Airpods were, I was certain they would be something that would easily fall out. I have had enough trouble keeping my regular earbuds in, but at least when they fall out, they are still attached. The AirPods, if they were to fall out who knows where it would end up. Even after watching one lady walk laps daily on my South Pacific Cruise with Airpods in and no trouble I still was not sold.
Having been using the Airpods now for close to two months, I have not had them fall out of my ear once. I still have the thought in the back of my mind that it could happen. But I am getting a little more comfortable with them, and not avoiding quite as many drains as I was. I have even got brave a couple of times and used a single one when riding my bike. It works but is not practical.
People Speak About A Sound Delay
One of the biggest complaints that I had read about the Airpods were sound latency and being out of sync. Discussions of a noticeable difference in sound compared to other options were abundant.
The reality is that if there is a sound delay or not is only noticeable if you are doing something such as watching a video. If you are talking on the phone, playing music, listening to a podcast, there is no discernable way to identify a delay. If there is it is something that I don’t know about (ok I don’t know about lots of things) or is not that much of an issue for me.
They Are Too Expensive
As mentioned above the price for the Apple AirPods in Australia is around $229.00. The cheapest I could find them listed in a Google search for a new pair was $225.00.
To me having never paid more than around $30 for a pair of headphones, this is a big jump in price. As long as I can in some way plug headphones into my device, I do not need anything else. There is a difference between having something and using it all the time and needing it.
The Battery Time
Initially, the claims on battery seemed like maybe they could be a little far-fetched. Often the claims on battery life for a device seem somewhat difficult to achieve in the real world. I have not attempted to verify the battery life claims that Apple Makes, 5 hours on one charge and 24 hours with the storage cafe. But to date, I have never come up flat when I need them.
My usage patterns are probably quite similar to what Apple might have expected. In general, I might use them for one to two hours when walking, before returning them to the case. If I am on a call and that is what I am using them for it is rarely more then 10-15 minutes. So as long as they are stored in the case, I am seldom going to run down to 50%. My only concern is what sort of life the battery will have in the Airpods on continuous charging.
Some Ongoing Thoughts
Probably my biggest problem to date with the Apple AirPods is an intermittent problem with static. My phone is almost exclusively in my pocket when listening to a podcast with the AirPods. Maybe one out of ten times the sound will get static and not be clear and continuous. If I take the phone out of my pocket, it often fixes the issue. But I just wonder why most of the time it is not a problem, and on occasion it is.
There are two other small issues I have had. The first is that initially, I was hanging up on people when going to answer a call. The result of misunderstanding what a double tap on the AirPod would do. It turns out that it activates Siri and does not answer the call, Opps. The second issue is sometimes the Airpod is not detected in the ear. Not a problem in most cases, but if you are trying to get it in to answer a call, it can be a problem.
There is no doubt that they can be a great asset. There are no cables to get tangled and mostly they just work. However, I still could not see myself paying the price to purchase them again if anything happens to the set I have. I would be more comfortable with a price around the $100 mark. I am sure at some point in the future the perceived value of the Apple AirPods will align to the price for me.