AirPods: my impression after a month of using them

Hardware & Accessories

Hey everybody,
It’s been right around a month exactly since I first posted about my AirPods. I figured this would be a good time to share an update and mini review now that I have had some more time to play with them.

The good:
While it seems like Apple has been losing the plot lately when it comes to simplicity and intuitiveness with some of their products, the AirPods totally get it right in this area. This is one of few Apple products since the loss of Steve Jobs to really live up to those design ideals for which they were once known. The things just WORK. Setting them up and pairing them for the first time is easier and faster than most third-party Bluetooth headphones. I love that there isn’t any cables attaching them to one another. Each of them can operate autonomously or you can use them both for stereo sound. The sound quality is good. Some have claimed it’s better than the stock EarPods, but I’m not sure I agree. They sound about the same to me, which I consider pretty good for my purposes. I was somewhat concerned that they might easily fall out of my ears and thus become very hard for me to find. That has never happened. In fact, they seem to stay in my ears better than their corded counterparts, because its usually that very cord that snags on something and yanks the EarPods from my head. I get several hours of battery life from them, and another several from the charging case itself, meaning these things never die unexpectedly. Overall, I just find them comfortable, intuitive and ideal for listening to things on the go. It’s nice not having to deal with the constant tangling of cables.

The not-so-great:
As discussed in my original post a month ago, there is some noticeable lag when using AirPods with voiceover. As many of you pointed out, you do get used to it with time but I can’t say it isn’t still slightly annoying. As you can probably tell, though, I am generally happy with these things so it’s not a dealbreaker for me. Still, I had expected Apple to have some special technological tricks up their sleeve‘s with their proprietary wireless protocol that might result in less lag then standard Bluetooth. As it turns out, these are basically standard Bluetooth and susceptible to the same limitations as some other headphones on the market. I don’t have many other gripes, but it does take some getting used to that there are no physical controls on the AirPods whatsoever. If you want to adjust the volume, for example, you will need to do that from the device itself.

The overall verdict:
Probably kind of redundant at this point, but yes – I like the AirPods a lot. They aren’t cheap, but they feel like high-quality technology and they function exactly as advertised. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend these if you are looking for wireless headphones that pair with and operate intuitively with Apple products.



Submitted by Seanoevil on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Thanks for taking time to write this review. I am sure it will be of benefit to many.

Submitted by Seyoon Choi on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

I enjoyed reading this review and could absolutely agree on the goods that you have talked about towards the beginning of the writing piece. I disagree however when you discussed some of the bluetooth lag you are talking about. There are far less delay with AirPods say compare to other bluetooth standard accessories such as speakers. I don't think unless bluetooth standards advance, W1 is the most lag free for now.

I don’t have much experience with other brands of Bluetooth headset so I couldn’t really make a comparison there. My comments about lag were based solely on my experiences with the AirPods, and the lag is most certainly there. How this compares to other brands of headset, I cannot say, but the lag makes it difficult to type using voiceover. I think it’s something for folks to be aware of before they shell out the cash for these, but as I said in the review, it certainly is not a showstopper. It’s not necessarily a fault of the AirPods either but more of a personal preference thing. Everyone probably has a different tolerance for this kind of thing so it’s worth trying them out and seeing how it works if you are on the fence

Submitted by Blinken223 on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

I too must agree with Jo regarding the lag. I've had a pair since the holidays, finally taking the plunge after hearing multiple podcasts claiming there was barely any lag, and after setting them up, noticed that there was definitely a noticeable lag. Now people's tolerance may vary. Some may not find the lag that noticeable, while others do. Noticing it myself, like Jo, even though it is there and can be a little annoying at times, it is not a deal breaker for me. One of the issues though here in Canada is the price. Apple has them listed for $220, which can be a little steep, but if you have the money, then for all means, feel free to spoil yourself. I've had colleagues and friends asking for my opinion and I always tell them the good and the bad. One thing I always tell them is to go to an Apple store and try out a pair for themselves. That way they can try first hand on their own device and see if these are worth it.

As for saying that the A1 chip makes the AirPods the best when it comes to less lag, I disagree. It is true that if you compare them to various Bluetooth speakers or headsets, some devices may have more lag then others. That all depends on which version of Bluetooth the manufacturer has placed in their device. You can get more lag from a device using Bluetooth v3 then one using Bluetooth v4. I do agree that the AirPods seem to be one of those who have less lag, but there is a pair that has less lag then the AirPods. I've been using a set of Aftershokz Trekz Titanium for several years and have notice that the Trekz have less lag then the AirPods. Regardless of what Bluetooth device you're using to listen, there will always be lag, to some varying degree. It's an issue with the technology itself.

Adding to Jo's review, one thing I would like Apple to improve on the AirPods is to allow a triple tap gesture. This way you could have all on one pod, a double tap to skip forward and a triple tap to skip back. Just a thought.

There are rumors though that a new version of the AirPods may be released this year and that these would be water resistant and would have "Hey Siri" work without having to tap one of the AirPods, so who knows what Apple may have in store. Great job Jo on the review and keep them coming.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

In my experience, lag is there but is minimal. I don't find it an obstacle to typing, listening or to any kind of audio or video call. As someone mentioned elsewhere though, the lag does make a difference playing certain audio games. I've tried playing Access Darts, for example, and it is far more difficult than when wearing the standard earpods.

Submitted by Jo on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

I love my Airpods also; but after doing some research, I was just wondering how you prefer to ware yours? I've seen online that some wear them with the stems pointing towards the mouth, because they say that the microphones work best that way. But I've also seen in some tutorials etc. that some prefer to wear them with the stems pointing down with the slit pointing forwards in the ear. Just curious.

Submitted by Blinken223 on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

I never really thought of how I was putting them into my ears. I just slide the speaker grill into my ear canal, with the stem pointing down, as that seems to be the natural way they go in and they seem to stay securely in my ears. . When I originally went to the Apple Store to try them out, I even went as far as to vigorously shake my head and was surprised that they stayed and didn't slide out.

Submitted by Lielle ben simon on Thursday, March 29, 2018

Club AppleVis Member

Hi, Thank you for your great post. i have AirPods also, and i am very love them. it's amazing product. but, i think that it's little expensive for some users.

Submitted by Abdulaziz Alshmasi on Thursday, March 29, 2018

For me, there are two things that played a significant role in improving my user experience regarding Apple products, the first one is Touch ID when it rolled out with the iPhone 5S, the second one, is Airpods.
I bought the Airpods back in January 2017 when they became available in Saudi Arabia and used them since. For me, the lag isn't that much of an issue, since I mostly use them for reading and listening to music / watching Youtube.
As far as typing concerned, I always type using Braille Screen Input, so I don't have to listen to every character while typing.
The only issue for me is the microphones. As far as I know, there's no way to cancel the noise reduction when using them, therefore, the recording quality isn't that good, but it's understandable, since they're designed for phone calls.