Airpods… If I lost them…
I have used Bluetooth headphones for ages so I had some idea what to expect when I first tried the new Apple AirPods, but I was completely blown away by how much better the AirPods in almost every respect.
Pairing was typical of that Apple out of the box experience, I just popped the lid open and a notification appeared on the iPhone, do you want to pair – done!
I’d heard that the AirPods could be shared easily across devices, but expected it to be painful, unpair old device (or turn off it’s Bluetooth), access the Bluetooth menu and try to find and pair… but with the AirPods, all I had to do on my Mac, was click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar, my AirPods were already there, and click connect! Swapping back to the iPhone was even easier, swipe up to get the control panel, swipe right for the now playing pane, and hit the drop down for the output device, and there were my AirPods. When I popped out for an errand and left accidentally the iPhone behind all I had to do was force touch the music app on my Apple watch, and select the watch as the source device – the Airpods were selected automatically. I feel like I’m living the dream!
Note: you can pair the AirPods with an Apple TV (you did know it supports BlueTooth right?) but it’s not as seamless yet, you have to press the button on the back of the case and pair the old way, like an animal! I’m sure Apple will address this anomaly with an update.
Mono or Stereo simply a matter of choosing to put in one or both ‘pods, and if you want an instant pause, just plucking out a pod, pauses whatever was going on so you can give full attention to shop assistants, service announcements, or even demanding toddlers. Want to share a giggle? just hand over one ‘pod to your partner and hit “skip back” and you can both share the magic.
Battery? I have yet to drain them in a day of pretty heavy use. OK maybe podcasts, (spoken word) uses less juice than pumping bass, but seriously even on a long walk (3+ hours) they keep delivering without interruption, and I know popping them in the case will give me a top-up on the go.
OK I miss having a volume control on the side of the ear pad. Yes! you can double tap and ask Siri to “set the volume to 50%” but I’m also pretty good at hitting the volume up/down from the outside of whatever pocket my iPhone is riding in is faster. And if I left the phone downstairs (yes! the range is incredible) I just bring up the Now Playing widget on the Apple watch and a twist of the crown to get just the volume I needed (or a tap skips over the add!)
Do they fall out, is a question I get hear all the time, but I’ve only managed that once (and you do notice straight away) the difference is that without wires there’s nothing pulling them out. OK I am more careful leaning over the bath to pluck a toddler out, her flailing arms might be enough to inadvertently test just how water resistant they are. I’ve also started running again (thanks NHS for the Couch to 5K podcasts) and they still stay in, and help keep me motivated. If they did fall out I’m pre-warned by Rene Richie’s trick, turn up the volume and press play… and listen! But there are also rumours that a “Find my AirPod” app will be available from Apple shortly.
For voice, or two-way conversations, they work fantastically, indoors, less amazing on a busy road… I could hear the other party fine, but they had difficulty hearing me.
No apologies, the AirPods work best in a world where you have embraced the Apple way, seamlessly connecting from iPhone, to iPad, to Mac makes it feel like it’s three headsets in one and so helps to ease the sticker shock.
Cons? Well they are not cheap, and that little box will collect every scrap of lint you have in a pocket, but the test for me is that if I did loose them, or drown them – I’d be straight to the apple store to order a replacement, maybe only checking to see if version two was out yet, maybe waterproof?