Apple AirPods review

7.6/10 AVG.
RATING
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  • Apple AirPods

Apple’s AirPods are the best fully wireless earbuds you can buy.

- Caleb Denison, Digital Trends 


The company's first wireless earbuds aren't perfect, but they have potential.

- Chris Velazco, Engadget 

Specs / Features


Specification
Warranty (Months)
Release date
Size
Weight N/A

What's good

  • Simple charging
  • Simple pairing with iOS devices
  • Rich sound (for earbuds)
  • Plenty of volume
  • Great mic
  • Decent battery life
  • Great range

What's bad

  • Expensive
  • Less useful for Android or Windows users
  • Fit issues for some
  • Voice-only controls not ideal for basic functions

After some delays, Apple’s AirPods promise a future without wires and an experience unmatched by existing bluetooth headphones. Does the lack of wires and improved connectivity make these earbuds worth buying?

Reviewers have spent the last few weeks running around with shiny white sticks coming from their ears. Let’s see what they’re saying!

Apart from the wires and subtle differences to the shape, AirPods look almost identical to the wired EarPods that ship with every iOS device in existence. Reviewers who had issues keeping EarPods in place during moving had similar issues with these. Then again, there were reviewers mentioning jogging, doing flips and living with their AirPods in with zero issues.

As with any earbud, fit will be the ultimate factor in how much use you get from your AirPods.

Ars Technica summed up fit and design opinions well, saying, “The AirPods are shaped exactly like Apple’s standard EarPods, so if you hate the way the wired earbuds feel or if they physically don’t fit in your ears, you won’t like these either. But the sound quality is noticeably better than the 3.5mm or Lightning AirPods.”

In particular, reviewers noted improved audio quality—particularly for bass response.

While each AirPod includes a mic for use when taking calls or using Siri, you'll find no other dedicated hardware controls. This concerned many reviewers. Simple tasks, such as skipping tracks or changing volume levels require pulling out your phone. However, the quick double-tap to launch Siri received rave reviews. You can also pause playback by removing one earbud from your ear. But, resuming requires interacting with your device yet again.

This was the biggest issue reviewers faced. Apple Insider said, “There's room for improvement. It'd be nice if Siri could handle a subset of common tasks on local devices, particularly for music and volume controls that beg for a faster response than an iCloud roundtrip can logistically accommodate.”

Charging and pairing we’re both high points for most reviewers. Using the W1 chip, the AirPods pair with any iOS 10 device by flipping open the carrying case and tapping connect on the device you wish you pair with. Pairing with your iPhone will also pair the earbuds with your Apple Watch, MacBook and other Apple tech.

Charging is equally simple. Just drop your AirPod back into their carrying case. AirPods offer 5 hours of streaming with a single charge. The carrying case hold enough power for 24 hours of use before you must plug the carrying case in to charge. A full charge of the earbuds takes less than an hour.

You'll need an iOS device to use many of the AirPods' featues. Android users must use a dedicated button on the carrying case to pair with each device you want to use. You’ll also lose access to Siri, with the double-tap pausing and resuming audio playback instead.

Overall, reviews had no problems recommending the AirPods as long as you don’t mind the price. Ars Technica stated, “The AirPods are pretty good wireless headphones for a specific sort of person. You need to like Apple’s EarPod design and be OK with the way they sound and fit in your ear—the audio quality in the AirPods is noticeably better, but it’s not night-and-day. To get the most out of them, you’ll want to be embedded deeply into Apple’s ecosystem, since only Apple devices can seamlessly pair with the headphones.”


Critic Reviews


Consumer Reports

Decent sound quality but disappointing controls

from Consumer Reports

The AirPods didn't score well enough in our tests to earn a Consumer Reports recommendation, but many people will find the sound perfectly acceptable. And the AirPods have a convenient case, work really well for phone calls, and make life easy for Apple users. But the controls are disappointing w...More

The AirPods didn't score well enough in our tests to earn a Consumer Reports recommendation, but many people will find the sound perfectly acceptable. And the AirPods have a convenient case, work really well for phone calls, and make life easy for Apple users. But the controls are disappointing when you're using Android devices, and less functional than Galaxy Buds' controls in general.

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What Hi-Fi

Big on tech and features, not the greatest sound

Ultimately, this is the sort of sound you’d expect from an average pair of affordable earphones, but it’s contained within what is a pretty incredible feat of engineering. In the end, it probably comes down to whether you’re prepared to put up with passable sound in order to get onboard with the next generation of wireless tech.

Read full review

Ultimately, this is the sort of sound you’d expect from an average pair of affordable earphones, but it’s contained within what is a pretty incredible feat of engineering. In the end, it probably comes down to whether you’re prepared to put up with passable sound in order to get onboard with the next generation of wireless tech.

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Finder

Great sound but limited utility

If you’re an Apple aficionado, a pair of AirPods might be the perfect thing to complete your tech set — and you won’t be disappointed by the audio quality. But if you’re looking for the best wireless earbuds, regardless of brand, several competitors have Apple beat.

Read full review

If you’re an Apple aficionado, a pair of AirPods might be the perfect thing to complete your tech set — and you won’t be disappointed by the audio quality. But if you’re looking for the best wireless earbuds, regardless of brand, several competitors have Apple beat.

Read full review

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Pocket-lint

Apple is setting the benchmark for a wire-free future

from Pocket-lint

Regardless of what you think of the design, the AirPods are great in terms of connectivity, which is where they come into their own. They are really clever in terms of functionality and sound isolation for voice calls, whether you like the look of them or not. The simplicity of connectivity, auto...More

Regardless of what you think of the design, the AirPods are great in terms of connectivity, which is where they come into their own. They are really clever in terms of functionality and sound isolation for voice calls, whether you like the look of them or not. The simplicity of connectivity, automated cross-device use via iCloud, and automatic stop/start controls based on whether one or both AirPods are in your ears is a glimpse into the future of wireless listening.

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NDTV

Deliver pleasing audio quality for most use cases

from NDTV

The AirPods might seem a little expensive at first but considering their versatility, features, and performance, they're easily one of the best value offerings in Apple's current product portfolio. 

Read full review

The AirPods might seem a little expensive at first but considering their versatility, features, and performance, they're easily one of the best value offerings in Apple's current product portfolio. 

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Apple Insider

Still the best wireless headphones around

from Apple Insider

People who actually buy them are extremely satisfied. They sound amazing, the bluetooth connection and range is better than any wireless earphones we have used and build quality and design are top notch. Overall, this is one of the best products Apple has made in years.

Read full review

People who actually buy them are extremely satisfied. They sound amazing, the bluetooth connection and range is better than any wireless earphones we have used and build quality and design are top notch. Overall, this is one of the best products Apple has made in years.

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CordCutters

A brilliant mix of price, audio quality and ease of use

from CordCutters

These, simply put, are excellent wireless earbuds for casual listening. They sound surprisingly good. They're nearly seamless to pair with an iPhone, and still easy with everything else (including Android).

Read full review

These, simply put, are excellent wireless earbuds for casual listening. They sound surprisingly good. They're nearly seamless to pair with an iPhone, and still easy with everything else (including Android).

Read full review

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TechRadar

Apple's fully wireless earbuds solve its newest problem

from TechRadar

Apple AirPods provide an almost perfect future for anyone who wants to don fully wireless earbuds. With superb sound quality and seamless device pairing, all you have to worry about is if they fit your ears and if you can deal with the lack of an in-line remote to control your music.

Read full review

Apple AirPods provide an almost perfect future for anyone who wants to don fully wireless earbuds. With superb sound quality and seamless device pairing, all you have to worry about is if they fit your ears and if you can deal with the lack of an in-line remote to control your music.

Read full review

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The Verge

So much more than just wireless earpods

from The Verge

When I look at the limits of what’s possible today — in terms of miniaturization of audio and wireless components — I can’t see a better combination of price, features, and performance than what’s offered by the AirPods. The price is fair and the compromises are acceptable.

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When I look at the limits of what’s possible today — in terms of miniaturization of audio and wireless components — I can’t see a better combination of price, features, and performance than what’s offered by the AirPods. The price is fair and the compromises are acceptable.

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The Gadgeteer

Definitely better than the wired headphones that come with the iPhone

from The Gadgeteer

I’m really impressed that Apple has been able to put such great features and electronics in such a small product. I’m not an audiophile, so I can’t comment on how good the audio is compared to other really good headphones.

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I’m really impressed that Apple has been able to put such great features and electronics in such a small product. I’m not an audiophile, so I can’t comment on how good the audio is compared to other really good headphones.

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User Reviews


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