Apple’s AirPods are — without a doubt — one of my favorite tech products of all time. But Apple, like basically every company on the planet, uses some hyperbole to advertise features. This AirPods review and fact check will help you cut through the hype and claims to find the truth.
Apple’s big headline for promoting AirPods reads: Wireless. Effortless. Magical. Okay, well the wireless bit is obviously true (and something I’ve fallen in love with) but effortless? And magical?
If by effortless you mean “achieved with admirable ease” (as Google puts it) then ya, that’s mostly true (although I did run into a few hiccups which I’ll mention shortly).
Magical… hmm. I was completely prepared to catch Apple red-handed for using a ridiculous word which no tech company should really be allowed to use as part of a marketing campaign or product description. I mean — clearly — these aren’t supernatural or paranormal. But they are, as the dictionary says, “delightful in such a way as to seem removed from everyday life”. In that sense AirPods definitely earn the right to be called magical. I’m as surprised as you are. If things like this surprise in you in my AirPods review, I think you’ll be even more (pleasantly) surprised when you pop them in your ears in real life.
Apple touts a one-tap setup for AirPods and that’s real and awesome in practice (at least when pairing with an iPhone, as you’d probably expect). But I did run into an annoying bug when I first tried to pair my AirPods with my iPhone. It took about 20 or so tries to get the setup screen to appear (not sure why). Suddenly it popped up, I successfully paired and it’s been a perfectly solid connection ever since. If I had to guess this isn’t a widespread issue (just a guess though).
According to Apple using AirPods is just as easy as setting them up. For me the answer is both yes and no to this. On the one hand it’s very easy to stick AirPods in your ears and start listening to music. On the other hand it’s at least a minor annoyance (maybe more) to adjust volume using Siri since there aren’t any dedicated volume buttons or touch/swipe gestures. In any case I would say the utter design simplicity “presents few difficulties.”
AirPods are supposed to get 5 hours ...