by Sandy Berger
Wireless headphones and earbuds have been available for quite a while, but Apple’s new AirPod earbuds take wireless to a new level.
Most so-called wireless headphones have a cable connecting the two earpieces. These Apple earbuds, however, are truly wireless – no wires or cables at all. Just pop the earpieces in each ear.
The earbuds, which are made of hard white plastic, have a slightly unusual look. The speaker fits inside your ear while a small white microphone boom hangs on the outside. The earpieces are marked with “L” and “R” to aid you in getting them into the proper ear.
Although made of much harder material than most earbuds, the Apple AirPods are quite comfortable. There are no different-sized tips. In fact, there are no removable tips at all. The oval-shaped buds were created to be comfortable in ears of all sizes.
Looking at them for the first time, you might wonder why there’s a metal tip on the end of each earbud. This is a functional design rather than an aesthetic design.
When you put the earbuds in their case, the metal end magnetically grips the bottom of the case. As a result, they are both stored and recharged. The AirPods come with a lightning cable that is attached to the bottom of their case for USB recharging.
My AirPods lasted about five hours before they needed to be recharged. The case itself holds enough juice to replenish the AirPods several times. Charging is quite speedy – just 15 minutes yields about three hours of listening time. If you’re curious, you can check the remaining charge by accessing the iOS Control Center.
The AirPods are amazingly easy to sync. Make sure your Bluetooth is turned on in your mobile device. After that, simply open the case near your iPhone or iPad, tap “Connect” on the screen and you’re done. You can also pair the AirPods with Android devices by using the traditional pairing methodology.
The sound quality is vivid. There is excellent separation as well as synchronization between the two buds. Sonic variables have good depth of quality including steady treble and terrific base. The new W1 chip powering the Apple AirPods provides a robust Bluetooth connection. As you’d expect, Apple’s AAC music on these earbuds sounds great.
Controlling the AirPods are easy too. The music pauses when you remove one earbud. When you remove both, the music stops completely. You can also double-tap on either earbud to talk to Siri and/or make and receive phone calls.
Overall, The new AirPods from Apple are well-designed and have some great functionality not found in any other wireless headset.
They don’t come cheap. While you can find a decent pair of Bluetooth headphones for around $30, these truly wireless Apple AirPods will set you back a cool $159.00. And at the time of this posting, Apple says it ships in six weeks.
Sandy began her career as a computer programmer and over the years has become a trusted authority on a variety of tech, gadgets and gizmos. A regular on TV, radio and podcasts, Sandy speaks at tech events around the world.