FEB 21, 2018
"It's the case stupid" aka my AirPod review
I’ve owned a pair of AirPods for a month now and I’ve enjoyed them much more than I ever expected. I concede that they look a little goofy and are on the expensive end of the spectrum. But those are really my only main complaints. And, to be fair, when you really look at other bluetooth headphone options, they all look goofy in some way. They sound better than the normal EarPods and generally exceed my non-audiophile needs. I don’t know if it’s the lack of “cord weight” (as some have speculated) or a slightly different shape but they stay in my ears remarkably well. For me, they feel more secure than EarPods by a significant margin. I’ve run on a treadmill in them with no issues. In fact, the only time I can recall them falling out of my ears is when I’ve bumped them while taking off a t-shirt. Pairing them with my devices was painless and switching between using them with my MacBook Pro and iPhone 6s is trivial. Auto pause when you remove one pod is cool and useful trick. The double tap controls, while limited, have generally seemed sufficient.
But, for me, it really does all come down to the case. After the first few days, I’ve completely stopped worrying about the battery life and charging in general. I store them in case when not in use and I plug the case into a charger here and there as it’s convenient. That’s it. My Kindle is the only other electronic device where I feel so laissez faire about charging. It seems like a small thing but it really reframes my thinking from “this is a device I have to consciously manage” to “this is a tool I use.” And, in the one situation when I did find my AirPods almost out of juice, the fast charging got them from ~5% to ~30% in a few minutes.
The other, maybe more important, aspect of the case is that it has led to almost constantly carrying my AirPods with me. There, of course, was nothing preventing me from carrying around corded EarPods day to day but having the cord get tangled or bunched up in my pockets was enough of a deterrent. It is simply more convenient to carry the case and I find myself doing it more often.
In terms of small gripes…
- Using the AirPod microphone for video calls on my laptop has given me a slight echo a few times.
- Not AirPod specific, but I wish iOS was better as resuming playback from third party apps after 30+ minutes of idleness. It’s really annoying to try to resume playing a podcast only to end up with a random song on Apple Music instead. I assume this has something to do with memory or battery optimization but it takes away from the user experience in a material way.
- Not realistic but I wish the case where somehow a bit thinner.
- Switching from using both AirPods to a single AirPod is a little clunky but not that common of a use case either.