An audiophile reviews AirPods: ‘Apple’s best first-gen product in years’

“As The Verge’s resident headphones obsessive, I’m not supposed to like the AirPods. My initial reaction upon first seeing them many months ago was to pour scorn on Apple’s designers for crafting a pair of expensive and easy-to-lose cigarette butts. The AirPods were the resurrection of the awful Bluetooth headsets of years past, I thought,” Vlad Savov writes for The Verge. “But this year, I finally got around to testing a pair of the AirPods for myself, and I finally understand why everyone who owns them loves them.”

“Taking the AirPods seriously hasn’t been easy for me. I spend my days attached to large and pricey headphones like the exceptional Audeze MX4 because my priorities are heavily skewed in favor of maximizing sound quality over convenience,” Savov writes. “Convenience for audiophiles is a pair of cans that don’t require a toaster-sized amplifier. So when I first cast eyes on the AirPods, all glossy, frail, and vanishingly small, I had no faith that they’d sound good enough to justify their $159 price. Hearing they were just like the EarPods didn’t fill me with confidence either.”

Apple AirPods
Apple’s AirPods

“But here’s the thing: using the AirPods isn’t merely a ‘wireless EarPods’ experience. Or rather, there are surprising aspects to making the EarPods wireless that I didn’t appreciate until I used the AirPods,” Savov writes. “My impression of the EarPods has always been colored by how loosely they sat in my ears. The merest tug or tension on their wire would unseat them. Well, without a wire, that entire issue is obviated, and moreover, the stem of the AirPods sits flush with the side of my face and helps to anchor them in place. I have run with the AirPods, I’ve done push-ups, lifted weights, and moved around vigorously without either one coming close to falling out.”

‘I find their sound is also more dynamic and emotive than anything I’ve heard from the EarPods,” Savov writes. “In the category of truly wireless earbuds, the AirPods are the best I’ve yet heard.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: ‘Tis true: Apple’s AirPods are the best truly wireless earbuds.

AirPods just sound so much better than you think would be possible. More than once, while using AirPods, we’ve thought, “Wow, these things sound pretty, pretty, pretty good!”

At $159, Apple’s sublime AirPods are worth every single penny and then some for the convenience, ease-of-use, lightweight-but-stays-in-ears-ability, battery life, and sound quality for the money they provide in spades. — MacDailyNews, November 16, 2017

Nearly a year later, AirPods remain unrivaled as world’s best truly-wireless earbuds – November 16, 2017
Gizmodo: Google’s Pixel Buds suck – November 14, 2017
Apple AirPods totally dominate sales of wireless Bluetooth earbuds – September 1, 2017
The killer feature for Apple’s iPhone 8: AirPods – May 30, 2017
Early adopters adore their Apple AirPods – May 22, 2017
Apple AirPods are proliferating rapidly – April 6, 2017
I love my Apple AirPods – February 6, 2017
AirPods are Apple’s most Apple-like product in years – they just work – January 13, 2017
Apple’s AirPods grab 26% of wireless headphone market share – January 11, 2017
The success of Airpods could add $10 billion to Apple’s market cap – January 10, 2017
Apple AirPods are imperfect, but surprisingly awesome – January 4, 2017
Canadian Reviewer reviews Apple AirPods: ‘Very cool’ – December 28, 2016
I really hate how much I love Apple’s AirPods – December 28, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook tours New York Stock Exchange, calls AirPods ‘a runaway success’ – December 28, 2016
How to find out when Apple Stores have AirPods in stock – December 28, 2016
AirPods kick off Apple’s battle for our ears – December 23, 2016
Yahoo’s Pogue reviews Apple AirPods: Far more elegant and slick than others – December 23, 2016
Wall Street Journal’s Best Wireless Earbuds: AirPods, ‘Apple’s best new product in years’ – December 22, 2016
Apple AirPods are very cool, but I am returning them – here’s why – December 22, 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

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “ob1spyker” for the heads up.]


  1. As with all new products from Apple, the tech press initially ridiculed and disparaged AirPods, only to change their tune a year later when overwhelming popular acclaim for the product forced them to actually try the product and re-evaluate their initial negative opinion.

  2. So weird. I bought a pair and absolutely hated them. Either they were boomy or tinny, depending on where they happened to shift around in my ears. They fell out all the time at the gym. One fell into a sink and I just barely rescued it in time. When they would shift a little and think they were removed, the music would cut out. When I pushed them back in, sometimes they would think I had double-tapped, and Siri would activate. It was non-stop annoyance.

    I was quite relieved when somebody stole my AirPods at the gym. Then I bought some Bluetooth ear buds on Amazon for $18.95. They sound consistently great. The sound doesn’t vary when the ear buds shift in my ears because they don’t shift. They have silicone ear tips and stay in place. They have never fallen out, and if they ever do, they have a little cord between the two ears so they won’t be damaged or go down the sink.

    Basically for 10% of the cost of those crappy AirPods, I got some excellent ear buds and I’m listening to music and podcasts more.

    I’ve been using Apple’s computers since the 70s. I’m a Mac and iOS developer. And when Apple ships garbage products like the AirPods, it saddens me. This is something Scully would have done.

      1. some of THAT weirdness (his ear shape) is kind of weird. There are very few products where Apple doesn’t seek the best fit/ergonomics, enable adjustment, or redesign for an item to function by all.

        The fact that so many earbud makers do allow for a great fit range speaks in contrast to the actual situation that you/Nick, call weird.
        Since the iPod intro, I’ve found all of Apple’s earbuds lacking in *good fit. Good design is an Apple ideal and the fit of their “in-ear” earphones have never aligned with their design ideal.

  3. I have mixed feelings about my AirPods. On one hand, it’s great that I can seamlessly switch them between my rMBP, iPhone X and Apple TV. The sound is pretty good.

    But, I do ALWAYS feel like they’re about to fall out even they almost never do. One did once, but I think I didn’t seat in my ear correctly- so I’ll take responsibility for that. But the biggest problems for me are:

    1) After a while they no longer feel comfortable. I prefer soft rubber earbuds to hard plastic

    2) They don’t keep the sound out. Many consider this a plus. When I’m biking to work down hill and the wind is louder than the music, I don’t consider this an advantage

    3) They lack any way to adjust the volume. I think this could easily be fixed by having a metal strip which one could stroke up or down to increase or decrease the volume. They may yet do that in version 2, but it’s sorely missing in the current incarnation.

    4) It’s almost impossible to take them out of their case with one hand. Also, you can’t stand the case up, because it’s rounded on the bottom- very annoying.

    Otherwise, I love that the battery lasts pretty long (for its size). I’m keeping them for now, but I would love to see some improvements…

    1. Never has a problem with them falling out or feeling uncomfortable, but the volume issue yes, as well as the clumsiness of getting the slippery plastic AirPods out of the case. For me the annoying thing is that I only use them with my iPhone but when playing an ebook or podcast it will regularly start playing from my iPhone and I’ll have to manually choose AirPods even though I had just been using them earlier that day. Even my Bose QC35s can stay connected to two devices at once, while AirPods have trouble with even one Apple device.

  4. Best First Gen Product is kind of like rating your new car by how it performed on the first trip home from the dealer. If this is the best thing Apple can do, what does this imply for the hobbled Macs and anorexic phones Apple has been making?

    Like most Tim Cook era products, it’s a one size fits all deal. Even if the hard plastic earbuds were comfortable, there are many other issues that make them unattractive to me. If you find them usable and value added, goody for you. I have superior quality and fit in my headphones which I now have to use an ugly adapter to use with the newest iPhones. Stupid answer to a nonexistent problem. Bluetooth sucks.

  5. I love my AirPods, and tell the same to my friends, three of whom bought them on my recommendation. All of my friends are 100% thrilled with them, despite the fact that one of them was quite skeptical for over a year.

    I do know one other person whose fit is less than satisfying. Its true that some people’s ears don’t fit ideally, but I believe that for the vast majority they work beautifully

    You can try them in an apple store and find out for yourself.

    I believe the cheap ones people are talking about are not “True Wireless”, as they have the wire connecting them, which is WAY less convenient IMO

  6. “Like most Tim Cook era products, it’s a one size fits all deal.”

    That’s kind of a ridiculous statement. Steve jobs, as absolutely great as he was, was more “one-size fits all” than anyone else who’s ever worked at apple.

    It was during Cook’s era that we went from one single iPhone size to iphone’s sizes for every taste imaginable. With even more sizes coming in the next generation

    As for bluetooth sucking: That’s true. But I’ve never had a g-d damn single dropout with my year-plus-old AirPods, which is really extraordinary considering bluetooth.

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