I was wrong about the AirPods

Sort of

Let’s be honest, Apple headphones suck. They always have. I can’t remember the last time I even removed them from the iPhone box. It’s probably been nine years. Seriously — every time I sold my phone it surprised the buyer that the headphones were still wrapped up.

Mostly because of this, when the AirPods were announced I ignored them completely. Wireless, in-ear headphones? Shitty sound quality? Welcome to 2012. No thanks.

Well, it seems a lot of my assumptions were wrong. Maybe not wrong, but the sheer usefulness of these things was hard to grok fully without actually wearing them for a while.

Fit

They fit me perfectly. I can run, vigorously shake my head “no” (you know, for work), and generally just move about without them so much as reminding me they’re in my ears.

I think fit is going to be the single biggest factor in determining whether you like them or not. If they don’t fit well, you’re going to hate them and say they’re silly. If they do fit well, you’re going to want them.

Convenience

Honestly, it’s off the charts. I have some nits about invoking Siri, and the inability to change volume tangibly, but otherwise the experience is just amazing.

Their utilitarian qualities are legion: super tiny (including the smaller-than-you’re-expecting charging case), great battery life, magnets(!), fast-charging, etc. The design pragmatism and utility of these things really is difficult to capture in words.

And the W1 chip? Incredible. It shouldn’t even be called “pairing” anymore. They’re simply…connected.

A low bar for sound quality, but those mics tho

If you’re expecting to be blown away by the sound quality of these things you’re going to be sorely disappointed. I’m told they sound better than the EarPods, but let’s be honest, that bar is comically low.

Point is, buy these to get stuff done and interact with your phone, not to shut your eyes while blasting Frank Ocean’s Blonde. Do I listen to music on them? Of course. All the damn time, and in places where I never would have before (e.g., the bathroom), but it sounds mostly like ass.

The mics on the other hand are sick. In fact, they’re kind of mind-blowing. Reminds me a bit of how I felt after buying the very first Jawbone Bluetooth headset. I’m impressed.

Price

$160? I know many are balking at the cost, but honestly it seems like a steal after using them for a couple of weeks. I have a pair of Bose QC35s ($350), which I absolutely swear by when I want to drown out the world, especially on planes. I also have a pair of JH Audio JH16s ($1500), which, despite their unmatched performance, I don’t use too often these days because, you know, wires.

Anyway, I don’t feel $160 is unreasonable for the amazing (amount of) tech that’s packed into these things.

Conclusion

Apple got the AirPods right. They’re some kind of magic. Buy them — you won’t regret it (unless, of course, they don’t fit 😬).

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