Apple AirPods – Feature Packed, but not really designed for activity

I’ve only owned my AirPods for a short time, but I’m already a huge fan.. I stated before that I was using a cheap Chinese knockoff brand of headphones, and was thoroughly impressed! I still think that they are the only knockoff type product that I would even recommend, but after about six months of serious usage I was beginning to notice some issues with them. For $40, I’ll admit, 6 months was a lot longer than I thought they’d last. The battery was no longer going the full three hours it once did, especially when taking phone calls, and they would randomly connect and disconnect when being stored in my pocket and moving around, and additionally I was beginning to notice some connectivity issues that I didn’t have before. I originally bought them not for the price or quality, but in reality to see how much I would actually use them, and if eventually purchasing the $150 Apple Branded device was even going to be worthwhile. Well, I guess if anything this really brought to light how much content I intake via earphones. I listen to somewhere between 12 and 18 hours of Podcasts a week, as well as Music as I’m accomplishing tasks at Work and at Home. As the battery was starting to wear on the other device, I figured that this was as good of a time as any to try out the new generation of Apple AirPods.

The first thing I thought when I put them in? Wow. This look goofy… but they sound incredible… if only they fit just a little better. I shouldn’t knock the look though, that stem adds a serious hardware advantage that other varieties just don’t have, it allows for more to be crammed in there, and if it weren’t for that space, the H1 Chipset that allows the “Hey Siri,” feature that is more handy than I ever thought it would be on a set of headphones, wouldn’t be there. The double tap controls are programmable via Bluetooth, and can be set to Summon Siri, Play/Pause, Skip Song (or Fast Forward Podcasts), or Go Back. In addition being able to setup Automatic Ear Detection (default on) is handy if you’d like to have it automatically pause when you remove one of the pods. Lastly, you can configure which AirPod the microphone is set to, or have it set to automatically select one. I’ve left most of the controls where they were preset when I pulled them out of the box, my left ear tap is pause, and right ear tap is skip, though asking Siri to skip or rewind is the more common thing I do anyways.

Within 48 hours of using these though I noticed a severe accumulation of pocket lint/dust within the case, which isn’t the end of the world. Pairing them couldn’t be more simple, unlock your phone, ensure Bluetooth is on, and open the case. The rest is automatic! While I’ve been on a longer stretch of days where I really like to have audio going while I’m working I haven’t truly tested how long it’d take to kill the batteries completely, in my time so far I haven’t been able to get the case down below 75% by the end of a 10 hour day. The headphones themselves I put below 80%, as I’ll have to pull them out to talk or perform particular tasks, so they go right in the case, and in that matter of 20 mins (maybe), they’re back to fully charged!

The quality sounds just like the Apple Wired Headphones… maybe even slightly better, which thoroughly impressed me. Losing some quality via bluetooth is pretty much expected as far as I’m concerned, but there is no loss that I can hear. Even with bass heavy music, an area that I have always found Bluetooth audio to be somewhere around the level of listening through a tin can, that just isn’t the case. It is impeccable sounding.

The fit is something I’m not too crazy about, but at the same time I’m not really concerned. They fit exactly like the wired headset does, but with that being said, they stay in a bit better as you don’t have the wire to knock around… with that being said you don’t have the wire to catch them if they slide out. There are numerous little slip over covers, and hooks to go around an help these grip to your ears, something I now have on order and should be seeing tomorrow. For me, part of the beauty of wireless headphones is when you’re working out, or are just plain out and about and you don’t necessarily want to have your phone right nearby. The reason I went with these over the Galaxy Buds, or Bose (which are in the same price wheelhouse) is due to the capabilities that these offer – customization of the touch controls, as well as full voice control are something that this really offers that nobody else does.

The case, as I mentioned before, seems to get ‘gunked’ up pretty quickly, so finding a case… for the case… ??? … seems like it may be a good idea.

All in all I really am fond of these, however the issue of the fit, which can hopefully be solved with silicone tips is kind of keeping me on edge about actually hanging on to these – the Apple 14 day return policy is something I’ve never had to use, but if these little covers don’t do the trick, I may have to. Last thing I want is these pricey little things slipping out of my ears somewhere along a 60 mile bike route.

Anybody else have any experience with these? Any tips or tricks to keeping them in? The next best thing would likely be the Powerbeats Pro, they’re the same specs as the AirPods 2, however with the Beats logo, and are $100 more, which is not something I’m feeling like shelling over money for.

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