Thoughts about Apple’s Airpods

Recently I finally bought myself a pair of Apple’s Airpods, which are their wireless earpods (or headset) so to speak. I’ve used the Apple earpods for years now, needing to buy a new pair every year, sometimes twice a year, because I always got stuck behind some tiny hook or even my own knees with the wire, while listening to podcasts and audiobooks during cooking, cleaning or travelling. Which in turn caused the drop of my iPhone on the cold hard floor more times than I dare to remember.

My second main use of the (wired) earpods, next to listening, was using the microphone function for recording video. And each time I accidentally moved or touched the wire, it was audible in said recording, with some creaking. Very annoying.

So after hesitating for about a year, mainly because of the price, I finally decided to treat myself to some Airpods. And here are my first experiences.

Looks

Of course the design is visually very pleasing. Starting with the clean and elegant packaging – don’t forget to get your complementary Lightning-USB wire before you throw it out, I almost didn’t notice it underneath the first layer of the box!

The Airpods come in a beautifully sleek, tiny, hightech storage box that somehow reminds me of a flattened egg.

The looks of the airpods themselves are an acquired taste I guess. If you’re always wearing earrings you could get away with it, but I still find they look a bit weird – especifially on men. Let’s hope Apple’s designers will fix that in the future. In the meantime guys could always use their gauge piercings to store their Airpods… (found on Pinterest):

Pairing to your device

Pick any Apple device, turn on bluetooth, hold the ‘egg box’ close and open it. The pairing with your device will be almost instantaneous and will offer you a very slick dialogue screen. If you close the box, the pairing will sever and the dialogue screen vanishes, also instanteously. Very fun to play with the first few minutes 🙂

Bonus: the Airpods can be paired to other devices like Android phones! Instructions on cnet teach us: To start pairing to anything new, put the AirPods in their case, then flip the lid up and press and hold the small button on the bottom rear of the charging case until the little LED light starts pulsing white. They should then show up in any Bluetooth-pairing settings on an Android phone, or computer, or TV.

Using the Airpods

Somehow the Airpods ‘know’ when you put the first one in your ear, you’ll hear a short ‘On’ signal. If you’re playing some media on your device via its speakers and you put the Airpods in your ear (provided they’re paired to that device) the playback on your device will immediately switch from speakers to the Airpods, without pause. As soon as you remove the first Airpod, your device will stop playback, very convenient I have to say. It won’t switch automatically back to speakers though, it stops playback and you’ll have to manually press Play again to continue listening on speaker.

One of the main reasons I bought the Airpods is wireless audio enhancement during video recording, thanks to the microphone function. Which of course means you can use them for phone calls, Facetime, Skype and audio recordings as well. They work perfectly, and I’m never scared they’ll fall out of my ears.

If you go to the Airpod settings on your iDevice (a subsection of your bluetooth settings) you can assign different functions to double-tapping each earbud, like start/stop playback.

Charging is easy, you stick the Airpods back into their little box, attach the wire (that came with their packaging) to any USB charger and you’re good to go.
You can add the very handy Battery widget to your iDevice’s screen to always keep track of your Airpods’ batterylife status.

What I’m missing

What I’m really missing is remote volume control via the Airpods. I’ve gotten very used to that function on my earpods. Now I have to dig up my device to adjust the volume, which is not very practical and seems to defeat the purpose of handsfree or wireless listening (and roaming around without your device on your body).

Another minor annoyance is battery life. I found that I have to charge the Airpods at least once a day, often more when I’m using them a lot.

Conclusion (so far)

After my first 2 weeks of use I’m finding the Airpods a very comfortable, easy to use, good quality wireless headset, with the special ‘Apple touch & feel’ that I’ve come to appreciate. They’re not cheap, but if you can afford them, I’d definitely recommend them.

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