CNET reviews Apple AirPods: Better than you’d expect

“Yes, wearing Apple’s AirPod headphones makes you look positively goofy,” David Carnoy writes for CNET. “Here’s the bigger question: Are they actually good headphones? And are they worth buying versus other ‘true wireless’ models, with separate left and right earpieces, let alone versus ‘regular’ Bluetooth in-ear headphones, those quaint old-fashioned wireless models that connect the two earbuds with an actual cable?”

Carnoy writes, “The short answer is that these $159 Apple headphones (£159 in the UK and AU$229 in Australia) are better than you’d expect, especially for Apple product owners.”

“I tested the retail version of the AirPods, now that they’re finally available after being announced alongside the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus way back in September,” Carnoy writes. “The AirPods are super lightweight and stayed in my ears better than Apple’s EarPods. Although the AirPods look similar to their wired siblings, they have some small design upgrades that are supposed to help create a better fit. The EarPods’ cords are slim but still add weight to the buds, which can cause them to slip out if your ears aren’t EarPod friendly (mine aren’t). But with nothing dragging them down, the AirPods sat loosely nestled in my ears.”

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“Apple’s custom Bluetooth chip, the W1, is designed to allow for automatic pairing with Apple devices running iOS 10, WatchOS 3 or MacOS Sierra. And it totally delivers: Just place the headphones near your compatible device and they’ll automatically be detected and ask for pairing, no diving into settings menu needed. You can also transition easily between Apple devices, toggling between the sound of your computer to your iPhone or iPad’s,” Carnoy writes. “Thanks to dual optical sensors and accelerometers in each earpiece, the connected device (iPhone, iPad, Mac) knows when the AirPods are in your ears and will pause your music when one or both of them are removed. Depending on the music app you’re listening to, they’ll unpause your music when you put them back in your ears. Not surprisingly, everything works flawlessly with Apple Music, but with Spotify, when I took both AirPods out of my ears, the music had to be restarted manually.”

MacDailyNews Take: This is because Spotify sucks.

“Compared to other totally wireless earphones, the AirPods’ sound quality is above average,” Carnoy writes. “The AirPods aren’t as ridiculous looking as some critics made them out to be when they were first announced. But there’s still something slightly unfashionable or off-putting about them.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There’s still something slightly NEW about them. That’s all.

As for the AirPods looking alien: Tape a pair of wires on the ends of each and you’ll see that they look very much like the type of earphones that everyone is very used to seeing by now (which, for those who remember, we weren’t used to seeing before iPod – people thought those looked “alien,” too). We’ll all get used to the lack of wires soon enough.MacDailyNews, September 14, 2016

Marathoner tests Apple AirPods on 10K run – December 19, 2016
Rolling Stone reviews Apple AirPods: ‘Surprisingly awesome’ – December 14, 2016
Apple AirPods could arrive in stores as early as November 17th – November 10, 2016
Apple’s AirPods remain on track to launch this year, sources say – November 2, 2016
Apple AirPods may be delayed into 2017 – November 1, 2016
Apple delays AirPod rollout – October 26, 2016
Survey: 12% of U.S. consumers say they’ll buy Apple AirPods; extra $3 billion in revenue – September 29, 2016
Bill Atkinson: Why Apple’s AirPods are the best place for Siri – September 28, 2016
Apple’s response to Amazon Echo: AirPods – September 20, 2016
Apple’s AirPods make Google Glass look even more ridiculous (if that’s even possible) – September 19, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook: AirPods won’t fall out of your ears (with video) – September 14, 2016
Why Silicon Valley is all wrong about Apple’s AirPods – September 17, 2016
What AirPods can tell us about Apple’s future – September 12, 2016
Hands-on with Apple’s new AirPods: Stayed in my ears, sounded awesome – September 10, 2016
Apple and a truly wireless future: AirPods are just the start – September 10, 2016
Whoever makes the first AirPods strap is going to get rich – September 8, 2016


  1. Seriously, I might think about these at $99 in black, but even then I wouldn’t think that hard. And there are add-on third-party ‘wings’ that really will make Apple’s shape stay in my own ears. Without these I’m afraid they do fall out rather easily. Everyone’s ears are of course differently shaped, but none of the stock Apple shapes over the years has worked for me personally.

    1. I had the same problem over the years as well but these do really stay in – I did also buy the Earhoox items but actually don’t need them – I might use them for heavy activity but don’t think I will need to. These are awesome!

  2. I see people with large “Star Trek” ear pieces hanging out of an ear all time. I personally don’t think AirPods look that strange for their function. I use Bose noise-cancelling buds, but I like the idea of a completely wireless alternative.

  3. Nice. Was expecting on Dec. 29th taking delivery of AirPods from Apple as a Christmas present for the wife but just got notice they will be here Dec. 22nd. I was hoping this would happen as it often does with Apple. They will give you a later delivery date and then deliver early.

  4. I am a huge Apple fan and longtime stockholder and this is the first time since the iPhone intro that I have been enchanted by the magic of something that does so much so well. Finally! Go out and get a pair asap, you will not be disappointed.

  5. I picked up my pair yesterday at the Apple Store. LOVE them. I was hesitant about the fit and feel, but to my surprise, they stayed put, didn’t move, and sound fantastic. Couldn’t be happier, and I was close to a silly giggle with how I liked them… rolling eyes… I would suggest getting a pair.

  6. “This is because Spotify sucks.”

    Or is it because Apple hasn’t exposed a private API? I can think of other APIs that the Apple Music app uses that other music apps have been banned from using.

  7. I can believe that not having a cord is a nice feeling, but bluetooth has always been a mess in my experience. I even ditched the Apple Magic Mouse because it was a flaky battery eating waste of time. Wired Evoluent mouse to the rescue.

    I just don’t see how having another thing to charge is an improvment to my life. I have great Klipsch headphones now, they fit my ear perfectly, they sound dramatically better than any bluetooth mini headphones i’ve ever tried, and they plug in perfectly to my iPhone 6. I think I’ll save my $160 for something more meaningful in the new year.

    Maybe Apple could find the time to update its entire iPod lineup?

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