I’ve had my Apple AirPods for about a full year now. I use them every single day as my go to wireless earbuds and after a full year of use, I figured I would give you guys my thoughts on them. I think even now they’re still a very polarizing product, people either seem to love them or hate them, and I’m on the side that absolutely loves these AirPods for a number of reasons. I know they certainly aren’t going to be a good fit for everyone, and I’m not trying to convince you that these are the greatest things on earth, but for me personally I just haven’t found a pair of truly wireless earbuds that are better than AirPods.
Durability-wise, these things have held up pretty well. The shiny hard plastic dental-floss looking charging case has definitely gotten scratched up quite a bit, it’s more obvious under a bright light but scratches aside with how much I tend to toss the case around and drop it on the floor at the gym, it hasn’t cracked, the hinge hasn’t broken, it still holds a charge and does what it supposed to do, so there’s no complaints there at all, it’s a tough little case and I really wasn’t expecting to have any problems with it.
The charging case is also, to my knowledge, the smallest and most compact one of any of the truly wireless earbuds. It doesn’t take up much room at all in your pocket and because the case is so small, I really don’t mind always having it with me and that’s not something I could say about some other wireless earbuds on the market, some of which have charging cases twice this size.
And it’s a similar story with the AirPods too. Both of them are still alive and kicking after a year and thankfully I haven’t lost them even once which I’m pretty proud of my self for honestly. They still hold as good of a charge as the day I got them which I think is the most important thing, and if I had to say one negative thing it’s that between the case and the AirPods themselves, everything does tend to get a little dirty and gross and it’s sometimes hard to clean, so like on mine the edges and corners of the case in particular don’t look as nice as they once did, but it’s not really that big of a deal
As far as the Bluetooth connection, after using these on my iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and my MacBook Pro, the AirPods have been 99% reliable. The w1 chip in these and some of the Beats products I think is top notch in the Bluetooth headphone space. I can get 20-30 feet of range which is more than enough, it’ll cut through a wall or 2 if necessary. Every once in a while 1 of the AirPods might have trouble connecting and I’ll have to wait a second, but it doesn’t happen often enough where its any sort of a real issue. A vast majority of the time, when you pop open the case, the AirPods instantly connect and you’re ready to listen to music and having such a reliable connection with that W1 chip that Apple has emphasized I think is one of the reasons these continue to stand above the competition.
When it comes to battery life, one thing I was worried about was the longevity of a tiny battery in a product so small and so delicate, but after a year, like I said earlier I don’t notice any worse battery life than when I first got these. The charging case still lasts over a week for me on a single charge, the AirPods on their own can reach over 4.5 hours of battery life even though I listen to music kind of loud, and when you compare the size and design of AirPods against the JayBird Run, or Bose SoundSport or the Gear icon X, it’s kind of incredible that AirPods still Deliver excellent and consistent battery life.
Now, as far as fit and comfort, do AirPods still look kind of ridiculous? Yeah, they do. But as awkward as they look coming out of my head, I think the design, having them elongated and pointed down, sort of hanging off your year like a hook, is what allows AirPods to work really well for me. When I’m lifting weight or running or doing whatever, for me they just don’t ever fall out. I could be standing up or sitting down or laying on a bench, and they’re solid and as you guys know, for me that’s just not something I can say about every pair of earbuds. I know for a lot of people AirPods are simply just not the right fit, but for whatever reason on my ears AirPods work perfectly.
One of the complaints I originally had with AirPods were the touch controls, you originally couldn’t customize them but this has been a recent addition and a welcome change for sure. The touch controls on both AirPods can be customize to to play and pause music, launch Siri or skip songs and you kind of have to get a feel for where to tap and how hard to tap, but I would say 8 out of 10 times it’s pretty accurate. Without a dedicated button like the JayBird and on a product this small I’m not sure you can ask for much more than that.
The other feature that has been perfect and super helpful has been the AirPods ability to recognize when they’re in or out of your years to play and pause music. This works 100% of the time flawlessly and you wouldn’t think it’d be that cool or that necessary, but with how quick it is with pausing the music when you pull an AirPod out, it’s just sort of that little extra convenient feature that’s nice to have and just makes sense on something like these
And last but not least, we have sound quality. Considering I’ve used these every single day for the last year, saying that I’ve gotten used to how they sound would be an understatement and also doesn’t say much in regards to their quality. You could ask 10 different people how AirPods sound and you’ll get answers ranging from “trash” to “excellent” but the way I’ll always describe AirPods is by comparing them to standard wired EarPods. They sound as good and sometimes even better, and you’re probably thinking ok, you’re comparing cheap, free wired earbuds to what’s supposed to be a high end, flagship expensive pair of earbuds. But you have to look at what AirPods even are. They’re these tiny, all wireless earbuds that somehow connect Alonso’s flawless every time, and somehow have excellent battery life while also sounds as good as something that’s wired, something that’s plugged directly into the phone. And when you put that into perspective, when you look at what you have here, what AirPods are and the technology behind them, it’s really really hard to say that these things aren’t anything else but great.