There’s no hiding from the fact that I was not a fan of the original AirPods. They didn’t fit well in my ears and the stalk coming out of the ear was just so long. Fast forward five years and we’ve got ourselves a revamp finally, but this is more than just skin deep, this is all-new.
Gone are the long stalks, replaced by the design which debuted with the AirPods Pro. A shorter stalk, larger bud though on these 3rd Generation Apple Airpods there is no silicon tip as there is on the Pro.
For me, that’s the deal breaker. They just don’t fit and feel secure. Mowing the lawns on the weekend and they fell out a couple of times – and that’s hardly vigorous activity. But I guess that’s just my weird perhaps oversized ears? Millions and millions of people swear by the original AirPods (and wired EarPods frankly), neither of which worked for me, these are the same.
Leaving that aside, because it’s not an issue for everyone, if you’re an owner of an original set of AirPods, it’s time to trade up.
In the ear and touch that play button on your phone, and boom – the sound is dramatically better. Thanks to a new driver and adaptive EQ technology which listens to what is happening in your ear – there’s a real pro level sound to these.
There are no additional customisations on your phone, however you do now have the force touch controls on the stalk for pause, play, skip etc.
This is long overdue, and was an area of real comparative concern for Apple’s product. I prefer a touch control, but on these that would have unsettled them in the ear, so perhaps force touch is idea.
A better design, vast improvement in sound, oh and MagSafe on the case – so you can do this.
Not sure why you would, but – so be it.
My biggest issue here is probably more around value. It’s hard to say they are overpriced, because people have been very willing at this $279 price point, but for that same price or far far less, there are many other products to consider.
Jabra’s new Elite 7’s are just so light and powerful. Their RRP at $299 will surely drop in time to make them on par, though it doesn’t need to because those have more features like custom EQ settings and Active Noise cancelling.
Likewise JBL’s LIVE Pro+. Short stalk, black or what, noise cancelling and $50 cheaper than the new AirPods. Seriously, the only reason to buy AirPods is the deep Apple Ecosystem integration. That process of pairing first time and opening the case each use to show battery status on your iPhone screen – mind blowing.
A shame no other manufacturer has that capability – but that’s Apple protecting its own stuff right?
For people who are considering AirPods, these are an easy recommendation. They’re great, sound is amazing.
For people who are considering new in-ear headphones, they should be one of your considerations, along with the many others that are on the market, though their one defining advantage is that seamless integration with your Apple devices.
When I’m out for a walk, or mowing the lawns, there’s far more choices worthy of consideration, which is why I end up normally with a set of JBLs in the ear, or perhaps Sony – though yes, the Sony are at a higher price than these non-noise cancelling AirPods.