A Week with AirPods

I’ve had Apple’s AirPods for a week. Here are my impressions so far:

Getting them

  • The back order is a real bummer. I bought these the same day I bought the 10.5” iPad Pro, but I had to wait a month and a half to get them. Two days after getting them, Amanda tried them out and loved them, so I ordered another pair for her. Those don’t ship until some time in September.
  • The inside of the beautiful white case had dust in it when I opened it up for the first time. Not ideal, but I bet they are just cranking them out as fast as possible to fill demand.
  • I first thought that one of the plastic seams on my right bud was misaligned. It isn’t exactly the same as the seam on the left. But the more I look at the renderings, the more I think there is supposed to be a ridge there, so I’m note sure.

Using them

  • I’ve used them for podcasts, audio books, music, phone calls, and video chats.
  • The battery life is good enough for me and I just diligently pop them back in their case (and plug it in) when not using them. I work from home, so I don’t wear headphones all day. If you need to wear headphones all day, the battery life might not be up to par yet.
  • They are great for workouts and walks. I’ve done a few Starting Strength workouts with them and Amanda went for a run with them and they stayed in without an issue.
  • They are so much more comfortable than the wired earbuds that come with the iPhone by default. They look similar, but you can wear these for hours without discomfort.
  • Tapping twice for Siri works well, as does pulling one out for pausing.
  • Siri’s control of third-party apps like Overcast and Audible is still lacking. I liked that Overcast was able to hijack the control buttons on the wired headphones to fast forward or rewind. If there are special voice commands for this that I haven’t figured out yet, please drop me a line.

Sound & Sync

  • The sound quality is pretty good, or at least it is good enough that I can’t notice anything negative about them. I’m not an audiophile, but I can definitely tell crappy sound from good sound and these make the cut.
  • Connecting them to other devices is super easy. Flip open the top on the case, tap the button on the back, and tap the button on your closest device. I also thought it was interesting that I tried to pair them with Amanda’s iPhone by going to the Bluetooth settings after pairing them with mine and I got a message on-screen saying that these are paired with someone else’s phone and I’d need to pair them using the case. It is good to know that someone on the train can’t hijack my audio.
  • During about 15 hours of listening over the past week, I noticed temporary sound glitches about 5 times. Each time the phone was in my pocket, so it wasn’t a distance issue. It must have been either a sync issue or some sort of interference. None of these lasted for more than a second, but it was enough to be noticeable. Still, this is better than every other Bluetooth headphones I’ve tried. I’m willing to overlook it given their convenience.
  • I’d love if these could adjust volume to compensate for ambient sounds. Walking by loud areas like construction sites or having semis/busses roll by sometimes drowns out the sound entirely.

Overall

  • They are very good, but they aren’t perfect. I suspect that v2 is going to be amazing whenever it comes out.
  • They are ultra portable, so I don’t think twice about tossing them in my Tom Bihn Small Cafe Bag whenever I go somewhere. Before these, I’d have to choose between wired headphones or my heavier backpack if I wanted my wireless noise canceling headphones.
  • Even though I love noise canceling headphones while on planes, I’m going to take these on a trip next week instead of the larger set to see how it goes. The portability tradeoff is too enticing. I like traveling light.
  • Despite the few audio glitches and inability to drown out ambient sounds, these are now my daily use headphones.