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Apple AirPods

Apple AirPods

from  $159+
product image
80 Engadget Score
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.
80

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Engadget Review

With Apple kissing the standard headphone jack goodbye, it's hoping people will buy these completely wireless earbuds instead. They're elegant in some ways, with a simple pairing process and good voice-call quality. It's too bad that Apple otherwise fell short in the sound department, and that you're forced to talk to Siri to get just about everything done. Still, while this first attempt missed the mark, the concept has plenty of potential.

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Pros
  • Dead-simple to set up
  • Siri and calls work very well
  • Solid battery life
Cons
  • Controls aren't flexible enough
  • Mediocre audio quality
  • EarPods-inspired design isn't for everyone
80 Engadget Score
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.
80

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Scores

Engadget

80
 

User Reviews

90
jayrygeo
Sound quality is fair, much better for podcasts and audiobooks than for music....read more
100
julez29192
The 10/10 rating is a bit forced with these sliders here, because to me "Noise...read more
80
Nexus458
SOUND I've had these for about three weeks now, and they're pretty good. They're...read more
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Score Breakdown

 
90
Average user Score
 
90
jayrygeo
08.09.19
Sound quality is fair, much better for podcasts and audiobooks than for music. I've heard some people complain about the fit, but mine are perfect and don't fall out. I can wear them for as long as I want without them being uncomfortable. As far as noise isolation goes, you can hear just about every whit these in. But if you're buying AirPods for the noise cancellation/isolation, you don't understand the product. In a way, I sometimes prefer the complete lack of noise isolation (especially in the office) because I can still hear my coworkers if one has a question. I washed my Gen 1 AirPods and them immediatly stopped working (surprise, surprise) but I constantly run with my AirPods and they don't seem to care about sweat too much. Plus, since they are always in their case when they are not in my ears, there is very little chance of the AirPods taking damage. These are my go-to walking around, exercising, and general purpose headphone and the convince factor they offer is worth the price.
 
100
julez29192
02.11.18
The 10/10 rating is a bit forced with these sliders here, because to me "Noise Isolation" is actually something bad. So their lack of much isolation is a huge plus to me! I used Powerbeats Wireless 2 for two and a half years before switching to the AirPods. The Beats have -40dB "Noise Isolation" that you can almost use them for ear protection in loud environments! This can be a great upside to the product, but is only useful in 10% of the time I used them. The other 90% I used only one side at a time, to be able to hear others, the doorbell, traffic at junctions..... This counteracts their great audio when you seal yourself from the world. When using one side only on a connected pair like the PowerBeats you also have a tugging peace of wire around your neck, thats uncomfortable. To me the AirPods check all boxes: seamless pairing and transitioning to other devices nice enough audio, especially for no silicone in-Ears great battery life great mics for phone calls, way better than those on the Powerbeats size and weight is brilliant, and no wire when using only one! I don't mind what people think of how they might look, as I don't care if people think that MacBooks are overpriced, they can think what they want... they fit well in my ears, this will vary, my wife can't wear them The box is slippery, but after one fall from about 5feet nothing happed, not even a scratch. I use them on iOS 11, and only use AppleMusic as a streaming service, so I use their "little controls" as follows: auto pause/play when removing/replacing one in my ear left double tap, previous track right double tap, next track Even with the little inline controls of the Powerbeats I rarely used them.. for volume adjustments I'm used to use the buttons on my iPhone inside my pocket. I often stream music from it to AirPlay speakers as well, then you have to use your phones controls anyway. The battery life and management is great here. When making phone calls the individual battery of the AirPods lasts about 2h, but you can seamlessly switch between the left and right one while the other is charging in the Box. (e.g. Stereo to left only to stereo to right only, when taking both out of your ears the iPhone will switch to its speakers) I always argue that comfort/usability goes before features/price. That holds true for me here, the Powerbeats Wireless 3 would be about the same price but more inconvenient than these, so to me the AirPods are a better choice.
 
80
Nexus458
01.16.18
SOUND I've had these for about three weeks now, and they're pretty good. They're well-built and designed fantastically, the way they work with the charging case is great, and they don't necessarily sound bad. Compared to Earpods, they have ever-so-slightly less definition in the highs and mids leading to a slightly muddier overall sound, but it's a comparison you'd only be able to make for the first 24 hours or if you're switching back and forth between the two. They're perfectly acceptable, almost bordering on good, and will sound great to most people. If you're an audiophile that uses mid- to high-end headphones while at home or sitting at a desk for work, however, you'll be disappointed by their small-ish range, apparent emphasis on lows, and lack of soundstage. FIT, CONNECTIVITY AND BATTERY LIFE As for fit, these stay in my ear better than Earpods because there's no cable constantly pulling them down and out of my ears, a problem that made wired Earpods pretty much unusable for me. I've never tried running with Airpods, but I can confirm that shaking my head around violently wasn't enough to cause them to fall out, so take that for what it's worth. Pairing is also just as simple as people make it out to be, but it's easy to overlook just how seriously quick these connect to your phone. Because they start to connect as soon as you open the case, by the time you take even one out and put it in your ear, it's connected to your phone and ready to play music. It's almost scary how fast they are. Five hours of battery may not seem like a lot, but unless you're on a marathon work session or flying across the entire continental United States, five really is a reasonable number. Combined with the fact that they quickly charge whenever they're in their case, it'll seem like they're never dead. ISSUES: I've noticed two notable issues, the most glaring for me being that they're hard plastic and will hurt my ears after serious prolonged use. This will vary from person to person, and I do have sensitive ears based on other headphone's I've used, so your mileage may vary. The other issue that's more of an annoyance is their extreme lack of noise isolation. I'd say they're even a little bit worse than Earpods, so you'll really have to turn your music up to drown out external noises if you're somewhere busy. I gave them a 3/10, but they're closer to a 2.5/10. CONCLUSION All of this is to say that their best use case is...any situation where you'd use Earpods. That might sound obvious, but it's true; walking, biking, skating, on public transportation, possibly running, for sharing music with a friend, anything like that. Normally, that wouldn't justify the $159 ($172 after sales tax, by the way) price tag, but add the wireless connectivity, great battery life, and seamless connection and integration with your Apple devices, and they just manage to be worth the money (for me, at least). Having something as small, portable, and inconspicuous as these while being completely free of wires is one of the most liberating experience you'll have if you've never owned wireless headphones before.

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