Apple’s introduction of its first wireless earbuds has sparked a ton of rage since they were announced earlier this month. Engadget’s recent AirPods review could cause even more outrage.
Engadget is one of the few websites out there that has received a pair of Apple’s AirPods, the company’s first product aimed at pushing us towards a wireless future. The review is good, but some of the points seem off when you compare to what’s out there.
The review starts off with Engadget Senior Editor Chris Velazco highlighting some of the benefits of the AirPods, including how “dead simple” they are to pair with an iPhone. This feature is something that many reviewers and observers, including myself, have been talking about since the product was first announced.
Velazco continues telling us some of the headphone’s shortcomings, including the AirPod’s inability to switch tracks or turn up the volume unless you use Siri. This requirement is certainly a bit frustrating as it would be ideal to be able to perform these functions without having to reach for your iPhone or speak out loud.
Where things take a turn is when Velazco begins by saying “Here’s what gets me, though…”
First, he says “These things cost $160 and don’t sound that much better than the earbuds that come with your iPhone.” Perhaps he’s right about the sound, but that’s not what Apple’s goal is with these AirPods. The goal is about a good wireless connection and incredible battery life.
Compare battery life, which Velazco says he got more than five hours worth by the way, to other truly wireless earbuds out there and you’ll realize there’s a huge difference. In fact, we covered a review of Samsung’s Gear Icon X earbuds in which a reviewer said he couldn’t get more than 1 hour of use before he needed to recharge them. What does Samsung claim you ask? 3.5 hours.
Then there’s price. Apple’s AirPods will go on sale in late October for $159, which is cheaper than any pair of truly wireless earbuds out there. So far, the ones I’ve seen run at least $200 and go as high as $300. Oh, and none of them can get five hours of battery life.
In the end, I think reviewers need to realize that Apple’s first entry into this territory is already miles ahead of what everyone else is doing. This product doesn’t target the audiophile who is looking for incredible, high-quality sound. Instead, Apple sees the AirPods as its first step into a category that is likely going to become more important in our lives.
Giving people easy pairing, easy switching, easy recharging, good battery life, and good sound is a great start. You don’t need to wait for version two. If you want wireless earbuds geared for casual use and you’re an iOS user, there’s no question that this is what you should get.