I was surprised today by the delivery of my AirPods, two days earlier than expected. I’ve had an opportunity to use them for a few hours and these are my early thoughts and impressions.
The case seems impossibly small. Though I had heard it described similar to “dental floss” it was hard to take that as a literal size comparison. It is. The case has comfortably rounded edges and will easily fit in the palm of your hand or in a pocket.
While the AirPods in a case are probably overall bigger in volume than EarPods with their wire, it’s a much neater package. No cord to untangle or straighten out. It’s a very pleasant experience. I typically keep a pair of headphones (usually EarPods or older earbuds) in my purse, in my car, in my desk drawer (home and work) and in a drawer in my kitchen. I expect I’ll want the AirPods to replace these headphones for just about every occasion.
Magnets are used generously throughout the case. They help snap the lid of the case open and close and help guide individual AirPods into their bays. It’s a delightful touch.
There’s not much to write about the pairing process other than it works as advertised. If you’re using a Mac running Sierra or iOS 10, just flip the lid and your device will detect the AirPods and prompt you to pair. It’s that easy.
For everyone else, they will also pair via a more traditional method with a little button on the back of the case.
With as little time as I spent with the AirPods I couldn’t evaluate battery life. However, I don’t think it will be a problem. Given their size, you’ll want to keep the AirPods in their case. When they’re in the case, they’re charging. I think as long as you charge up the case every few days (via the accompanying lightning cable) you’ll be fine.
Fit and Feel
This is hard to review because it will be different for everyone. All I can tell you is that I’ve always liked the fit of EarPods. In fact, I much prefer them to Apple’s rounded earbuds. I never had a problem with EarPods slipping out of my ears nor have I found them uncomfortable when wearing them for extended periods of time.
I think, generally, if you are happy with the fit and feel of EarPods you’ll likely be happy with AirPods. Because AirPods don’t have a cable, that weight that would otherwise be pulling on them is also gone. So if you're on the fence, I think you probably have a better shot of AirPods staying in your ears than EarPods. Finally, no cable means nothing to snag on. No cables also means they feel amazingly lightweight and freeing.
I wore AirPods off and on for a couple hours today. They were comfortable and when moving about I never felt like they were going to fall. I wore AirPods at the office, in the car, running errands and when cooking dinner. No problems.
Admittedly, I’m not an audiophile. I think the EarPods sound fine. I think just about any headphone that isn’t crackly or insanely “boomey” sounds fine. So, I’m happy with the sound of the AirPods. I listened to podcasts and music and was happy.
The AirPods have no noise cancelation function. So probably won’t be great in noisy environments like on a plane.
During the time I used the AirPods I haven’t had any issues with audio sync or playback.
Siri and Control
Out of the box, there are two ways to control the AirPods. If you pull one (or both) out of your ears the audio will pause. In my experience this worked well.
The other option for controlling audio is to double tap and invoke Siri. This is where things started to fall apart a bit. Siri can be hit or miss. I’m not sure how much of this is a limitation of the AirPods and how much is a limitation of Siri.
Occasionally my double taps wouldn’t register. Sometimes, I would double tap to do something, say pause music to invoke Siri to add a reminder, but once creating the reminder was completed, the music would not restart. Once, dictation stopped working until I put the AirPods away and re-paired them. I suspect most of this is limitations with Siri, some of it may be the AirPods.
Here's a tip, make sure you have your iPhone set to allow Siri control from a locked screen, otherwise your AirPods won't be able to do much.
Overall, after my first day with the AirPods I’m impressed. There are a few bugs, especially with Siri control. But overall they deliver as promised. These are the earphones I want to use everywhere.