Justin Duke

A month with the AirPods

I bought them, you see, despite my better instincts.

I already had BlueTooth earphones that worked (albeit not well).

I already had a pair of Bose over-the-ears that are perfect for day-to-day work and for noisy situations, like planes and crowded coffeeshops.

And my army of EarPods (or, perhaps, EarPods knockoffs — I purchased five of them for like $50, with the understanding that I’d lose or break a pair every month or so) was still fine, though its ranks were slowly dwindling.

But I’d been seeing more and more AirPods in the wild, and decided to get a pair.

The good parts:

  • To get the most important thing out of the way first: it is such a marked experience improvement over Bluetooth headphones that I can never go back. It is magic. I pop the little tic-tacs into my ear, I hear a nice little “boop!” noise, and I’m connected. No futzing around with pairings or Bluetooth settings. Even switching from my iPhone to my iPad or MacBook (and vice-versa) is an order of magnitude easier than on BlueTooth.
  • The comfort and sound levels are pretty comparable with EarPods. If that’s good (like it is for me: when I’m listening to stuff on them it’s usually an audiobook/podcast, so fidelity isn’t a huge deal), then, well, good.
  • The case is really nice. There’s something so pleasantly polished about it, and it’s small enough that you can toss it in your jeans pocket or messenger bag and not think twice.

The bad parts:

  • They look dumb. Like, really dumb. Their continued (and strengthened) popularity has not assuaged this at all for me.
  • The battery life is determinedly subpar, especially compared to other bluetooth headphones I’ve used. I’ve drained the entire thing in the morning and then even if I remembered to charge the battery case, I have to go without using them for a chunk of time in order to charge them.
  • The things are incredibly tiny and if you are a clumsy or forgetful dude like me, you will drop and misplace them. It is legitimately a wonder that I still have my AirPods.
  • The lack of physical controls is annoying. Having to use my phone to skip forward a song 1 or toggle the volume is bad.

Anyway. The AirPods are the most performant, practical headphones I’ve ever used. They make it incredibly easy to jump from morning chores to working out at the gym to video chatting. They’re goofy as hell, but that (and the $150) is a price I’m willing to pay to not have to futz with Bluetooth.


  1. Okay, or to skip podcast ads. [return]
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