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Apple AirPods Hands-on Review: They Sound Better and Have Built-in Smart Tech

They’re actually pretty good

Apple AirPods: There’s a Reason Why They’re Sold Out

When Apple announced their wireless earphones, the AirPods, we were skeptical. We thought that they just added wireless connectivity to their wired EarPods. We finally got our hands on it a few days ago here in an Apple Store at San Francisco and we can confidently say after using it for a little less than an hour that it’s a great upgrade over the free EarPods that come with your iPhone. Our only issue with it is the price (it’s steep at $150) but we’ll get to that later.

So what’s so nice about it?

Three main highlights.

It Sounds Better than the Crappy EarPods

They don’t sound the same as the EarPods! There’s a very noticeable upgrade in sound quality. Everything from the bass to the clarity of the mids and highs have improved. Soundstage and noise isolation are still not that good though and that’s a bit of a letdown, especially the latter.

How does it stack compared to other wireless earphones in the same price range? The JayBird X2, JayBird Freedom Wireless, and the JayBird X3 are still clearly superior and they’re in the same range. This issue coupled with the noise isolation are the two main disadvantages holding us back from fully recommending the AirPods.

Smart Tech is Awesome

Smart Tech Built-in

Apple went through great lengths to make the AirPods smarter and easier to use. One of the pain points with bluetooth audio gear is the pairing process. There’s none of that with the AirPods. Turn it on and hold it close to your iPhone. A pop-up will automatically appear on your iPhone screen asking you if you want to “connect” the AirPods. Note that Apple doesn’t even call it “pairing” anymore. It just says connect.

The AirPods also automatically pause the song being played if you remove one of them from your ears. This is awesome since we usually have to hit pause when we take our headphones off if someone talks to us. Apple eliminated that extra step (though people who like to listen with just one ear might get annoyed but you can turn it off anyway).

Apple also took advantage of the software-hardware integration. Battery levels of each EarPod and even the carrying case are displayed on-screen in the Notification Center. This is something they started with the Apple Pen and it’s nice to see it finally carried over to wireless headphones.

The Carrying Case is Awesome

Looks like floss haha

It looks ugly but it’s functional. Not only does it carry and protect the AirPods, they also charge ’em.

Everything taken into consideration, the AirPods are pretty solid. Again, our main issue is really the price. But then again Apple has always been priced at a premium so that’s the “extra” you have to pay if you want it designed and made by them and not just by a third party.

Do we recommend it over the JayBird? No. If you want to be practical, just go for the X2, X3, or the Freedom Wireless models.*

*Even if you want one, it’s sold out and the backorder wait is 4 weeks as of this writing.

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.


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