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Review: AirPods, Apple's coolest product in recent years

Remember the old slogan ?Just works?, from Apple? It has been a while since she stopped playing with him, and the reason for that is very simple: in general her products * have * not been released completely trouble free, so he basically does not fit anymore.

Only that, after a long time, Apple has just put a product on the market that fits that well. It is a curious product, because those who have / have never tried one think that it is just more of the same. At the .

AirPods on top of iPhone 7 jet black

Today, I will talk about AirPods.

Video of hands-on

For those who lost it, a few weeks ago I recorded a video the moment I put my hands on the AirPods for the first time and, in a few minutes, I gave them my first impressions about it.

Here it is:

For me, a complete review like this, really, requires daily use for a few weeks and that's what I've done since then.

Are only EarPods wireless?

Short answer: no, much more than that.

AirPod being placed to charge with hands

it's easy to understand why some look at AirPods and laugh, thinking that all Apple did was "cut the wires" under the EarPods leg, make them five times more expensive, and sell them as "a revolutionary product ?. Now, passing the eye quickly, that's right.

But there is much more than that, there in those little pieces. And in the meantime: the shape of the headphones, with this little leg, may seem strange (no other fully wireless headset on the market has this) but Apple has made full use of their internal space (with battery, chips, optical sensors, high speakers and microphones), it contributes to the balance of the earphones and there is also the benefit of the lower microphone being "pointed" towards the mouth.

The combination of all the existing sensors on the AirPods with its software allows it to know exactly when it is in your ear, interrupting playback when one of the parts is temporarily removed (this is really cool, seriously!), And allowing you to execute a command by giving two touches on the handset without any button or touch sensitive surface thanks to its accelerometer and its light sensor.

AirPods in the box

I'm not the type to easily lose my stuff, but it's absurd to imagine that this can happen to many AirPod owners. Walking with their carrying case always helps a lot in that sense (you have a suitable place to store them, instead of throwing them in your pants pocket for example), but when that happens, Find My AirPods (which is coming in iOS 10.3) could be a good salvation.

In case you really lose one or both parts, and / or the charging case, in this article we inform you of the prices that Apple charges for replacement units (as well as how much it costs to ?change? their battery, this is not what happens in practice , as shown by the disassembly of iFixit).

Chip W1

One of the most amazing technical features of AirPods, we don't even see it. the W1 chip, created by Apple especially for its new generation of wireless headphones, also including some models under the Beats brand.

This chip, basically, is what made AirPods exist as they are. he manages all Bluetooth communication between AirPods and their devices (whether iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Macs, etc.) and also between the left and right parts of the headphones.

MacBook, iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods on a white table

The W1 that also brought to the market a ?revolution? in the Bluetooth pairing process: just open the AirPods charging case and they will be automatically and instantly identified by your iPhone and, with just 1 (one) single touch, you can pair them . That's it; no opening Bluetooth settings, no holding buttons for so many seconds

AirPods in the box next to iPhone 7 with pairing screen

Once paired with your iPhone, they will automatically be paired with all your other devices logged into the same iCloud account. With the exception of how easy the cloud is on fourth generation Apple TV, don't ask me why. You can use the AirPods with it (it even works with the gesture of removing a headset from the ear and the video stops automatically), but you need to do the pairing and connection manually through the tvOS Settings.

Even pairing with non-Apple devices, like an Android smartphone for example, simpler / faster with AirPods. You just need to open the Bluetooth screen and press the button behind the charging case. And that's it, everything works fine and the process is just for the pair (many fully wireless headsets still require an extra step for you to make one piece communicate with the other).

Apparently, the range of the Bluetooth signal itself is also enhanced by the W1. I already walked around my apartment without any signal loss and, at the gym, I also noticed that AirPods continue to play at a distance that other wireless headphones always started to fail / prick.

THE delay Minimum Bluetooth communication between devices and AirPods, but there is. In fact, I only really notice it when I'm using the headphones with the Mac; It is easy to notice, for example, when you adjust the volume on the keyboard and observe the return sound effect. Nothing that compromises their use, however.

Doesn't it fall from the ear?

This is the point of greatest doubt among those who want to buy AirPods, but are afraid of how they will look in the ear. It is natural, because, like the EarPods, Apple followed with its new wireless headphones the proposal of "a unique design for all".

It is obvious that this will not work in 100% of cases. Incidentally, no phone on the market perfect for everyone on the planet. But many of them include in their boxes adapters / pieces of silicone of varying sizes that help in adaptation depending on the shape of each ear.

With Apple headphones, no; they either look good on you, or you should basically give up on them. It is clear that, being a product of Ma, the market soon tries to cover these ?holes? and are already popping up by several third-party products that promise to hook the AirPods in the ears in other ways. But it is up to each one to decide if the extra investment is worth it, and that if such products really fulfill their promise.

AirPods

The good news is that there are few, very few cases of people saying that AirPods simply do not stay in their ears. Notably, I remember the guy who wrote their review for the site The Verge and, here among us, we have the example of Breno Masi himself. It is clear that they are not the only ones, but it is incredible to see people who even said that the EarPods were not at all in their ears, but the AirPods are (in the case of Eduardo Marques).

The rule is basically this: if you got along well with EarPods, you will surely get along with AirPods. If not, it is worth experimenting (there are demonstration units in Apple stores for you to test); you may be surprised.

In my case, the problem with EarPods was not getting out of my ear but hurting them. In other words, AirPods don't really fall out of mine at all. As for hurting, they don't bother me nearly as much as the EarPods did, but after about an hour of using the AirPods straight away I already eat the to feel something in the ears; It is not something that makes me want to stop using it, but I already "notice" that they are there.

The only moment that makes me ?adjust? the AirPods once in a while when I'm at the gym * very * sweaty. It gives me the impression that they are going to slip and I keep it moving from time to time, but still they never failed.

And if you do, my friends, there is nothing to worry about: AirPods are very, very resistant.

Sound quality

Since EarPods hurt me a lot, I rarely used them. And it was a disappointment for me, because I really like their sound quality considering that we are talking about earbuds without sound insulation, of course (there are people who only enjoy circumaural headphones, which cover the whole ear, for example).

In this regard, my tip is not to wait for AirPods to be anything other than what EarPods already offer. If you have a very sharp ear, you may even notice a slightly clearer sound, with more pronounced bass, but most people will simply say that the two are the same in this regard.

Which is quite an achievement by Apple, considering that we are comparing wired headsets (with digital connection, in the case of the Lightning model of iPhones 7/7 Plus) with wireless headsets.

League

Like any self-respecting Bluetooth headset, AirPods are also for you to make and answer calls when connected to your iPhone.

A really cool thing about that, I was even surprised while recording the video for hands-on, that you hear the person in both pieces (as if it were a stereo sound). But, if you want, you can very well take one of them off your ear and continue talking for the other, automatically and instantly. In the settings of the AirPods it is possible to define that he always uses the microphone on the left or right part, but honestly I don't know why anyone would do that.

AirPods pick up your voice through the microphone at the bottom, and they use the second microphone at the top to analyze the ambient sound and improve call quality for those listening to you by reducing noise. The comments of the people I tested with are the best possible, no one even noticed that I was speaking through headphones.

They have already painted for information from people who are observing loss of connectivity from AirPods during calls, but here it never happened. And no wonder: the reports seem to be related to iPhones 6s / 6s Plus; as I am on an iPhone 7 Plus, I did not have this problem.

Touch Aces

As I mentioned above, AirPods use their built-in accelerometer, combined with the ambient light sensor, to allow you to perform actions by double-tapping a finger on either part.

By default, they are set to activate Siri, but you can change this to ?Play / Pause? or simply turn off the shortcut completely. In my video hands-on I changed this setting because I rarely use Siri, but then I reversed the change as it is much simpler / faster to pause AirPods simply by taking one of them out of my ear. That is, it would be a kind of waste of function.

The gesture itself, at least for me, works wonderfully well. Whenever I wanted to double-tap an AirPod to call Siri, this worked first (it also works to answer / hang up calls). But the big problem is that!

Asian woman with AirPods in her ears

For those who just tested Dash, by Bragi (I'll talk more about it later), it was like getting out of the popcorn at Salvador's Carnival into the middle of the Sahara Desert. There were so many commands on the Dash that I even got lost, while on the AirPods, Apple simplified too much, on the other end.

Since AirPods don't have a touch-sensitive surface, like Dash, there really is a big limitation on what can be done with his "gestures". And I understand, for example, that there is no shortcut to just touching the phone as this would result in several accidental activations (you would just need to use your hands to adjust the AirPod on your ear).

But it would be easy for Apple to offer actions for three or four rings on the headphones, and maybe some with you touching and leaving your finger on the phone (like touching and holding). The fact that the finger covers the light sensor would possibly be enough for a "gesture" to work properly.

I say this because using Siri to advance / rewind tracks and, mainly, increase / decrease the impractical volume. I am lucky to own an Apple Watch and be able to control these things by the wrist, because if the person depends on being holding the iPhone all the time it must be very boring.

Drums

Officially, Apple promises up to 5 hours of continuous playback with AirPods charged to 100% and up to 24 more hours of battery stored in its case.

The tiny letters on the company's website do not lie:

Tests conducted by Apple in August 2016 using AirPods pre-production units paired with iPhone 7 pre-production units, both with preliminary version software. The playlist comprised 358 different songs purchased from the iTunes Store (256Kbps AAC encoding). The volume was adjusted to 50%. The tests completely discharged the AirPods' battery, playing audio until the first AirPod stopped playing. The battery life depends on the configuration, the use of the device and several other factors.

I, as I like to listen to music at high volume, would hardly arrive at such 5 hours. But I found their performance absurdly satisfactory in terms of drums, they never let me down. I already noticed, for example, that during calls the battery consumption is higher (possibly by activating the microphones, which is obvious) in these cases, Apple promises up to 2 hours.

And the practicality of the cargo case is simply sensational. It is very light (38 grams), tiny and taking out / putting AirPods to recharge could not be simpler. The pieces before they ask, each weighs 4 grams, they just stick to the bottom of the case for months (there's no use turning upside down and shaking; they don't fall) and start to recharge automatically.

If you happen to run out of battery in the AirPods, only 15 (yes, fifteen!) Minutes of charging in the case is enough to provide up to 3 hours of playback or 1 hour of conversation. basically a system of "Quick Charging" on an Apple product that we hope will reach the next iPhones too, by the way.

To check the battery status of the AirPods and / or the case, simply pull the Notification Center on the iPhone / iPad, ask Siri (How much battery do I still have on the AirPods?), Touch the battery icon on the Apple Watch or, on macOS, go to the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar and open the AirPods sub-menu.

In my use of the AirPods, which is ?neither 8 nor 80? (I use it basically * every * day, but not for hours on end), my experience has been to recharge the case only once a week. This, for me, too much!

Comparing with Dash

The Dash (Bragi)

It is inevitable, having received my AirPods shortly after publishing a full review of the Dash (which I already mentioned above), that I dedicate a chapter for a comparison between them. I will do this in a very direct / summarized way:

  • In what AirPods beat Dash: price (US $ 159 vs. US $ 299 in the US), portability (mainly from the charging case), battery (and its integration with iOS to show the current level of parts and case), ease of use, sound volume, pairing process, Bluetooth range and quality of connections.
  • As Dash beats AirPods: design, small pieces of silicone with different sizes, numerous gestures / actions, acoustic insulation with optional ?Transparency? mode, sensors for monitoring activities (something I didn?t miss personally, because I already have the Apple Watch for this ), internal storage for music (although it does not work with DRM protected tracks, such as Apple Music), dedicated app for control of functions and kills the stick for being waterproof.
  • What both are equated: comfort in use, freedom to be fully wireless headphones and audio quality.

Each person needs to put these characteristics on the scale in order to determine which of the two (or if any other competitor) is the most suitable for their use. Personally, the only thing I will really miss about Dash being able to use it when I'm swimming.

Should I buy?

This is a question that I usually try to answer very carefully in my reviews, but this one I will ask differently.

Loose AirPods

First, it is ?easy? to rule out a possible investment in AirPods: if you don't want / can spend so much on headphones, if you tried AirPods they fall easily from your ears and / or if you already have a competing wireless headset please.

Besides, my friends, my recommendation: YES, buy. This is the coolest product from Apple in the last few years, it works wonderfully well, delivers what it promises and uses totally wireless headphones too nice of the bill. I feel in the future.

If you think you know what to use AirPods simply by browsing the product page on the Apple website or considering that they are ?EarPods with the wires cut?, you are sadly mistaken. This is a really magical product, and I'm not talking about it affected by Reality Distortion Field of any Ma keynote, let alone one who has never tested another product in that category.

Between Dash and AirPods, I wouldn't hesitate to opt for Apple's.

Price and availability

As you all may already know, Apple has delayed the availability of AirPods quite a bit. They were announced in early September last year, on the same keynote as the iPhones 7/7 Plus, and were due to hit the market in late October but landed in mid-December.

Fortunately, when launched, AirPods were made available once in more than 100 countries including Brazil. In the United States, they cost $ 159; in tupiniquins lands, the official price is R $ 1,399 (but this is in installments up to 12 times; seen, they go for R $ 1,259.10).

AirPods flying out of the case with iPhones 7 on the side

Availability, however, is still an issue even more than a month after they have been released for purchase. It is very difficult to find them in Apple Stores all over the world and, buying online (both abroad and here), the current delivery time of six weeks. A lot of people say that Apple has delivered orders well before that, but good at creating expectations because the official deadline is even that.

The AirPods box comes with two parts (left and right), the charging case and a Lightning to USB cable.