2 days ago I ordered the Airpods online on the Apple Store. The same day, I collected at the Apple Store Orchard. This tiny little thing has been in high demand for almost a year since its original release. I had the opportunity to collect the Airpods on the same day I ordered it due to immediate stock availability.
I was really curious as to the whole experience of using these truly wireless earphones. Were they easy to pair with your phone? How long is the battery life? How small and light are the Airpods including the charging case?
I immediately went upstairs to the second floor of the store so that I could unbox it and set it up right then and there. My first impression upon seeing this thing in person was how small the case was. Almost the same size as a box of Tictacs! Pairing was dead easy (and to some extent, quite magical, I have never experienced quite like it before). All I had to do was to ensure that my phone has wireless and Bluetooth switched on. Then I had to place the Airpods near my phone and flick the case open. Almost immediately, a prompt appeared on my phone asking whether I want to connect the Airpods to my phone. All I had to do was to tap ‘connect’ and you are done. It was that simple. Next I just had to pull out those tiny earpieces, put on my ears, fire up Spotify and voila, I was already using it like a pro. Pairing a Bluetooth device has never been easier.
Next is the sound quality. Now, I wouldn’t consider myself an audiophile, but I do appreciate a good pair of either earphones or headphones. My criteria for what considers a good pair is that it must produce a good amount of bass. Tight bass, one that does not bleed to the mids and muddle it up. Mids has to be warm and highs should never be too tinny. Soundstage must sound expansive, but not too airy and good sound separation, with the ability to discern the myriad of musical instruments and effects without sounding too ‘jumbled’ up.
So how does the Airpods stack up? It’s not bad actually. It was definitely better than I expected. The bass is more prominent than I expected. I think, the sound quality is good enough for the majority of people out there. However, the Airpods has poor noise isolation, as it doesn’t provide a good, airtight feet in your ear to keep external sounds out. While the audio quality is good, the lack of noise isolation actually marred the sound quality quite significantly. And when you consider the price you are paying for a pair of Airpods, at S$248, you would expect to get better quality audio and at least sound isolating feature built it. Sound separation and overall soundstage is above average. The sound coming out from the Airpods is generally very clear, but you can definitely hear the bass bleeding to the mids, and not as tight as I would like them to be.
The Airpods, fortunately, fits pretty well in my ear. I had no problems with Airpods coming out from my ear during my morning commute, and it stayed put throughout the entire journey from home to the office. But because I take the train to work every morning, it can get a little noisy and without noise isolation, the Airpods, while producing very good sound quality is hampered by outside noise.
So is spending S$248 worth it? I’m not sure. When it comes to choosing headphones or earphones, the number one deciding factor is sound quality, followed by overall comfort, convenience and aesthetics, At that price point, the sound quality is somewhat lacking. What you are paying for instead is ultra-portability; it has a very small footprint, maximum convenience; you only need to pair once. After you just have to wear the thing to get started. For those looking for a good sounding pair of earphones, you might want to look elsewhere. But for those who are looking for portability and ease of use, the Airpods might be a good choice.