Read huge enthusiasm for AirPods… never owned any. But I also read about poor battery life and minimal controls onboard.
I use an old version of these.
Plantronics BackBeat FIT Wireless Bluetooth Headphones - Waterproof Earbuds with On-Ear Controls for Running and Workout, Power Blue $75
My Old Ones
Ok sound, 7 hour battery after a couple years, finicky but useable controls by touch — volume, track, pause … verbal announcement of battery time left on startup — mine are water/sweat resistant. Don’t like band they make no band models — stay in ears
Why did you choose AirPods as opposed to less expensive or ones with pretty good sound?
I have been using different types of Bluetooth headsets for a long time, usually with the short cable connecting the two buds. This was a nice step up from a fully wired solution from a convenience point of view and decent enough sound for podcasts.
In December, I got my first pair of “true wireless” and I love it. Reasons I did not to go with AirPods were
fit (very uncomfortable in my ears, poor isolation of external sounds)
less than stellar audio quality for music
limited, touch based controls
For a similar price, I chose the Jabra Elite 65t and got a significantly higher value for money imo. They fit me very comfortably, the play controls are easy and reliable and they sound surprisingly good too. Bluetooth 5 is probably an important enabler to push more data to the buds. (I have applied a slight EQ curve to compensate for my age.)
For maximum musical bliss, I still put on my wired open back cans or IEMs hooked through an external DAC, but obviously this is less convenient on the go.
I loved mine, but then I started travelling to work every day on a train. Took me a while to decide, but then I bought a set of those Sony noise cancelling cans that are never on sale. Pretty happy with them, and all music listening now takes place on those when outside the home.
I still use the airpods for phone calls and listening to podcasts while puttering around at home, but when time comes to vacuum, the Sonys shine again
I bought them because I got tired of other portable ear buds breaking and falling out of my ears. There weren’t viable competitors at the time and are some now, but I still use Airpods because the sound is good, the battery is good and I prefer something that shows up on Find my Phone.
I don’t like the aesthetic of the Plantronics at all, so I didn’t consider them. I’d rather run wires down my shirt.
I have more serious cans when I need to focus on audio or block sound, but the need is rare. I prefer non-noise-cancelling in most situations, especially outdoors.
I chose AirPods based on reviews I read from people I trust. The points I found most compelling were:
Better sound quality than Apple’s wired earbuds
Stay in the ears better than Apple’s wired earbuds
Effortless shifting of connections among paired devices
Good sound quality for the microphones for phone calls
Simple ability to switch between using both or just one at a time
Audio turns itself off when you pull them out of your ears
All of those ended up being true for me. The shifting connections among devices does occasionally fail, but not often enough for it to be an issue.
I’ve had my AirPods for over two years and have used them every day, I think. I enjoy them even more than I would have imagined.
On the few occasions when I’ve had to go back to using wired earbuds, I find them to be almost comically inconvenient — like the wire is some sort of cruel joke somebody is playing on me. I can’t believe I ever tolerated them.
I didn’t buy airpods when they originally came out as I didn’t care for the wired version. My Wife bought them for me as a gift because I do spend time on the phone with clients. I would not have purchased them for myself.
However, after using them and loving them, I bought her a pair as a gift. The sound quality is fine for me, and they just work (no matter if with my iphone, macbook, or Ipad. I don’t use them at the gym, but that’s more personal preference for the workout headphones I had already.
If you’re buying earphones with a very specific use case in mind (in the gym, on the airplane, podcast recording, etc.), maybe AirPods are not for you. But if you’re buying earphones because, well, you just need a pair of earphones, I don’t think there’re, if any, better choices on the market. The product is not successful because it’s excellent from a certain perspective, but because it’s arguably good from all perspectives.
When Airpods first came out, I didn’t get them because I couldn’t afford them. It was probably a good thing, because I got to read all the reviews and think long and hard about what I wanted in earphones.
I really like having passive noise isolation. Earpods don’t fit my ears and tend to fall out. If I’m on the go, I’m listening to music or podcasts, but never video. My previous go-to setup was a set of MEE Audio M6 Pro IEMs (wired), and MEE Audio X8 IEMs (Bluetooth). The Bluetooth X8s are advertised as providing 7.5 hours of music playback, but I never got more than 4-5 hours out of them, and by the time I stopped using them the battery had dwindled down to 2-3 hours per charge, meaning that the only use I had for them was in the gym.
I constantly adjust the volume of whatever I’m listening to. I constantly pause and unpause. I constantly move to the next track or go back to the previous track. I almost never use Siri, and if I ever do, it’s always at home when I don’t have headphones on. I’m in the gym several days a week and the earphones need to work well in that environment. When I’m sitting down to work for an extended period of time, I’m using either speakers or headphones (Sony MDR7506, generally for audio or video production). I do not own an Apple Watch (yet!)
Given my particular set of requirements, the Jabra Elite Active 65t was the better choice for me. If I watched video on my iPhone regularly (where the 65ts suffer a slight but noticeable audio lag) or constantly switched between multiple devices while wearing one pair of earphones — who knows. Additionally, the 65ts sound amazing. I can’t say how they compare to Airpods, but I will say that the first time I put the 65ts on I made some happy noises!
I own a 1st gen pair: first (and only) wireless headphones I ever owned.
The problem they solve for me is that i cannot keep wired earbuds for longer than 5 minutes in my ears… they just fell out even if i stan still.
So I was in the market for something with a clip (which I didn’t like at all - I could get them for running / workout) or something on/over ear (which i own and used for sometime) when the AirPods came out.
I use them while commuting (30-45 mins) and for calls (usually never longer than 30-45 mins anyway), they stay on no matter how I move (I cannot run with them but i don’t care), I have non need for controls on them (just use the phone) and after 2+ years the battery life is still good for my use case, so i’m pretty happy and will get a another pair when this one dies .
I walk several mines outdoors daily, weather permitting. And I found my airpods stayed in place better than Apple’s wired models especially in windy conditions. However, after spending 30+ minutes searching for an airpod after a particularly strong gust, they were banned from outdoor walks longer than to/from the car.
My wired headphones fall out more often but are never hard to find
I’m not a fan of bluetooth audio, but if the sound isn’t too base heavy, I might be tempted to try the new Powerbeats Pro earbuds.
I’m pretty hard on my wired headphones and tend to destroy them after 3-4 months, so I buy these $12 in-ear Panasonic canalphones - sometimes three at a time, if they’re on sale. As they don’t let in much outside noise, the sound quality is superior to Apple wired/wireless earpieces, and they come with three different-sized earpieces to customize fit. But the Panasonics don’t let you adjust volume on the remote, and being in-ear they are also potentially hazardous on the street and you usually need to remove them to talk to people face-to-face.
I like the fit of the Apple earbuds, so I would probably like AirPods, but the sound quality of these cheap Pannys is better and music sounds more detailed with them, and you can play music/podcasts at a lower volume because you don’t have to make allowances for street noise.
I’ll sometimes be out listening to podcasts on my iPhone for upwards of 5-6 hours in a day, and wireless headphones might not be the best option for me.