AirPods review: They sound great, but Siri holds them back – Macworld

When Apple pulled the headphone jack off the iPhone 7, it also unveiled a new set of wireless earbuds called AirPods, and claimed they were so great, users wouldn’t mind the missing headphone jack. The AirPods didn’t come out for nearly three months after the new iPhone’s release, but now that they’re here, they’ve solved every problem an iPhone 7-using music lover could have, right?

Oh, heavens no. Like so many Apple products before them, the AirPods bring with them as many problems as they solve. With no onboard buttons, the AirPods require users to ask Siri to do everything, from changing a track to adjusting the volume. What’s more, Siri doesn’t have the same abilities in all music apps—an arbitrary restriction set by Apple to steer you toward Apple Music.

The fit

But let’s start with the first question everyone has about the AirPods. Aren’t you worried they will fall out of your ears? As soon as they were announced, even Conan O’Brien had to make fun, producing a parody of the old iPod commercials, only with AirPods flying off in all direction with the slightest move of the dancers’ heads.

apple airpods review adam with earpodsAdam Patrick Murray

The wireless AirPods resemble the EarPods, but the AirPods have a heftier, more substantial design that stays put in my ears. 

That’s funny, but it’s bull. The AirPods stay put when I’m dancing, headbanging, jogging, hanging upside down, riding my stationary bike, sprinting to catch the bus, and shaking my head around smacking my temple like I’m trying to dislodge water stuck in my ear. Really, they aren’t going to fall out. Check the video above for proof.

My skin is on the oily side, and sometimes in-ear ’buds with silicone tips get a little oily, and I have to wipe them off or keep shoving them further into my ears for a good seal. The wired Apple EarPods (you know, the cheap pair that comes with your iPhone) fit me OK, and I’ve been wearing them since the iPhone 7 launch. But the EarPods wire does trip me up from time to time, getting snagged on armrests when I’m on the bus, or requiring adjustment when I’m wearing a scarf.

So I wanted to go wireless, and knew the AirPods had to be comfortable enough to wear all day, and not fall out. It turns out they’re very comfortable, virtually the same shape as the EarPods but with more heft. They perch right in my ear openings and stay put better than the EarPods or silicone-tipped earbuds.

The sound

I care more comfort than sound because I’m not an audiophile. I listen to tons of music, and can tell good earphones from terrible ones, so Apple’s bundled free EarPods suit me just fine for streaming music and podcasts. I used to rock a $130 pair of Bose MIE2i in-ear ’phones (since discontinued) when my iPhones had jacks for them, and I expected the AirPods to fall somewhere in between these earphones and the EarPods. Well, I’m happy to report the AirPods sound great—just as good as the Bose set, with full, detailed sound and plenty of volume.

apple airpods review adam closeupAdam Patrick Murray

The AirPods sound better than the EarPods, but they have that same kind of fit, where the bud itself just rests in your ear opening, instead of going way down into your ear canal. And since they don’t have a silicone or foam tip like the ’buds that get shoved more deeply into your ear, they don’t seal off outside noise as fully. But their impressive volume quickly drowns out your surroundings. Once my iPhone is at about 60 percent volume, I can no longer hear myself speak at a normal volume while I’m wearing the AirPods.

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