The existence of the 3.5mm headphone jack in Apple Airpod can be traced back to several decades: and the credit to modernizing it so well goes to Sony’s Walkman. Since then, almost every mainstream device has had it, and that includes laptops, mp3 players, smartphones, & even in-flight entertainment systems. And before you blame Apple for removing something that we were all so used to, and a part of our daily life, by no means were they the first to remove it. Just like you, I was also under the impression that Apple was the first one to do this, but after a Google search I found that several other OEMs’ had tried this. And the one common reason behind their failure: They were all unable to provide validation for their action; and also the fact that they weren’t as huge a company like Apple. Apple however justified their decision with the all new completely wireless earphones: Airpods.
So does Apple’s excuse for the removal of headphone jack make any sense? Have they hit the right spot? Will their consumers be happy? Are we ready for Apple’s completely wireless future? We’ll find out.
So the Airpods when released along side with the iPhone 7 & 7 Plus in 2016, stirred up a lot of controversy. Not because they launched something new, but because none of their new phones had a headphone jack. They had only one port that was Apples’ proprietary Lightning Port, which had to be used for both charging and connecting your now obsolete 3.5mm headphones, however doing both together was no longer an option. The 7 and 7 Plus shipped with lightning connector earphones and a “lightning to 3.5mm” connector in the box.
Apple carries on with the same universal fit design for the Airpods and the magnetic charge case(which some say looks like a dental floss) is compact, light and a delight to use.
P.S:- Opening and closing the case will bring out the 12 year old in you, it’s a very satisfying feeling.
The two individual earpieces have the same design from Earpods that come in the box with any iPhone; it just has a longer and thicker stem because that houses the battery and microphone. Each one weighs just under 4 grams which adds to the comfort.
Everything is made of plastic with a smooth finish and feels very premium in hand, but the case scratches very easily and also attracts a lot of dust inside it; for which I have purchased a silicon cover from Amazon. It adds a little bulk and protects the case from small drops and scratches.
P.S. Thanks to the compactness of the case, I carry it around in the coin pocket of my jeans.
Connectivity & Features:
Connecting your Bluetooth headphones with iPhones has always been somewhat a mixed bag experience, sometimes they connected easily when turned on and sometimes they just don’t, with the Airpods, all you have to do is open the case, click Connect(for first time pairing) and then every time you open the case and pop one of them in your ear, you’re good to go; it’s that simple. Sometimes I don’t even look at the phone, I just open the case, put the airpods in my ear, double tap the left airpod and resume the music. You also have the option to invoke Siri with a double tap, that’s the only way you can control volume without reaching out for your phone.
What I use Airpods the most are for answering calls. For example, when I am working on something and I receive a call, all I do it pop one airpod in my ear and answer the call, the call automatically goes to the airpod, it’s seamless and extremely convenient.
Another good thing about the Airpods are that they can be used as normal Bluetooth earphones, and work great with Android phones as well. So great, that my Dad sometimes takes them to the office to use it with his One Plus 6. He loves the convenience of not having any wires, the amazing battery life and also that both the L and R side have microphones so you can swap it when one of them dies. They charge pretty quick too. From zero to hundred both of them take about 20 mins to charge and the case is good enough 4-5 full charges.
With the W1 chip and the Class 1 Bluetooth technology the range is phenomenal. I could cover my entire gym area, which is huge, with my phone lying in a corner. Although I personally wouldn’t recommend using it for workouts if your gym particularly plays loud music. I had to crank the volume to 80% in order to listen to my music clearly, and such loud music with prolonged use is definitely not good for your ears.
The beam forming microphones on the stems of the Airpods do an excellent job of cancelling out most of the background sound, but most of all, it sounds crystal clear to the other person without feeling echoey or distorted which is common with most Bluetooth earphones.
Their auto-pause functionality works like a charm. If you’re listening to music and you remove one of the airpod from your ear, the music pauses(thanks to the proximity sensors on them)and it resumes when you put it back in. This is great especially when someone comes up to you to ask something or strike a small conversation.
Apple’s Airpods sound very neutral to say the least; they have almost the same sound signature as their wired counterparts; that is when you are listening to them in a silent environment, once you are outdoors, the bass fades away and volume has to be cranked up really high which not only takes the whole listening experience away but is not good for your ears. If you are a bass-head and listen to a lot of EDM or hip-hop then you might be disappointed as they lack the serious thumping bass that some other earphones have to offer, but again, those don’t give you the same level of convenience and wireless capability.
Unlike the silicon tipped earphones in the market that provide some sort of noise isolation; because of the Airpods unique design, they provide little to no noise isolation. There is a lot of sound bleeding as well; people around you can very clearly hear what you are listening to.
In a nutshell I’d say that the Airpods sound very appealing; with a very balanced sound signature they cater to all sorts of listeners. But the lack of noise isolation can be a deal breaker for some people.
• Seamless connectivity and pairing experience with iOS devices.
• Secure fit and comfortable for long listening hours because of lightweight design.
• Flexibility of connecting it with practically any device which has Bluetooth.
• Pure wireless experience.
• Balanced sound profile.
• Battery life lives up to the claimed time.
• Double tap feature can be customized for several operations.
• The magnetic case gives a satisfying feel on opening and closing.
• Compact, well rounded design which fits into coin pockets of jeans or trousers.
• Always have to use your phone or Siri to control volume. No dedicated volume control.
• One size fits all design.
• Fails to block out ambient noise making it difficult to use in noisy environments.
• The magnetic case is easily scratched.
• Only one color option i.e. white.
Priced at $159(12,900INR), the Airpods are not a cheap offering; but, they do justify their asking price in a lot of ways. With the W1 chip and their technological prowess, Apple has just upped their game in the Bluetooth earphones market. The best part about the Airpods are that they JUST WORK, like all Apple products, they are extremely reliable, foolproof and will never disappoint you. Purchasing the Airpods are a no brainer if: 1) You own an iPhone. 2) You can afford them. 3) They fit you well.