The most-read blog post in the almost two years I wrote was on AirPods.
I wrote about my frustrations with AirPods back in December 2018. I talked about my disliking for its sound quality after a few listens, the lack of noise isolation, and the weird stem design that I thought looked a bit tacky. And, with little surprise, I received quite a few lengthy comments criticizing my opinion. In hindsight, I probably could have been a bit fairer and do a longer test.
When the Powerbeats Pro released this past May, my intrigue for a pair of true wireless headphones spiked again. But, after reading a few reviews of ear fatigue and seeing the hefty $250 price tag, I cautioned myself against just jumping in. Also, the lack of availability and one black color at launch didn’t help the case I tried to make to myself to buy them. And so, as any member of Generation Z would, I ran an Instagram poll to see if it could help me make a decision.
A week later, in June, I went to the Apple Store and bought AirPods 2.0.
For the past two months, I’ve been using AirPods as my main audio consumption gadget. I left my Bose QC35s in my backpack more often and put these through public transit, traveling, and just daily listening sessions.
And I am officially declaring today that I am conceding to those blog post comments. AirPods are great.
Most of my criticisms from my initial writeup still stand. They don’t isolate sound, resulting in me having to trade off playing music at absurdly high volumes or just accepting them as background noise. The look is still a bit funky and the sound is not that great.
But that is all I have for downsides.
It is one thing to have a pair of earbuds that you can throw in your pocket, but it is a completely different thing to have AirPods with you. The case is almost undetectable in my pocket everywhere I go. I’ve got mine in a small rubber case that I clip onto my keys, and every time I leave the house, it’s with me. Forget the fact that you’re charging the buds while they’re in the case, the convenience alone as an audio solution in daily life is something I truly did not grasp until I had my pair.
Yes, the sound is about average to above average. But surprisingly, AirPods shine with podcasts. No, they are not an over-ear pair of noise-canceling headphones. However, voices are sharp and clear, and you can hear even the microphone crackles in lower-quality audio. Music also sounds solid, and for a pair of buds this small, the earbuds pack quite a bit of bass.
If there was one thing that I think amazed me the most about actually owning a pair of AirPods versus just trying them on a few times, it is the fit. This is one of the aspects of owning a pair that is the most variable. For some, their ear shapes just don’t go well with them. But for me, they create a near-perfect fit. And that goes miles towards a better sound. I haven’t had them fall out of my ear in any movement or activity, whether walking, jogging, or anything in between.
As much as I wanted to dislike the gadget that initially received a ton of memes and hype at and since launch, I enjoy AirPods, a lot. There are four things I carry with me everywhere: my phone, keys, a Muji pen, and AirPods. The price at $160 or going for the $200 wireless charging case version I have has been one of the best tech investments I’ve made in recent memory. No, they may not blow your mind in audio quality, but their convenience and practicality alone make them worth it. I don’t see myself getting another pair of true wireless earbuds for at least a few years if these hold up with reliability. I was completely wrong, and I own up to that.
Get AirPods. They indeed are worth the hype.
Being Noah Tesfaye #96: I Concede — AirPods are Awesome
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