AirPods

I have a set of AirPods, and I think they're pretty great!

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They took almost six weeks to arrive (Apple overestimated the delivery date, and they actually arrived quite a few days earlier than advertised) which I think testifies to the demand for them still, months after their eventual and delayed release. I was a little reluctant to commit to the purchase initially. They are expensive — but when I looked up reputable bluetooth earphones I found that I wouldn't have paid much less for another high quality set. This combined with the feature set of the AirPods made them the obvious choice.

There are two features in particular that stand out for their convenience. The first is setup and pairing, which is so trivial you kind of have to do it to believe it. And the second remarkable feature for me is the proximity detection; two little infra-red sensors that figure out when an AirPod is in your ear. This means that the AirPods react to the situation in which they are being used. If only one is inserted then only one plays, and plays both channels of audio. If you have both in and take one out music is paused until you re-insert it, and if you remove both playback is stopped until you restart it directly. This is useful like if like me you find colleagues need to interrupt you from time to time.

The sound quality is great. They are still earphones and there will always be better options from a pure sound quality perspective but I have no complaints. They're loud enough and the wireless range on them is great. They are also remarkably secure, and I have not been able to shake one out without using a hand (or clothing) to physically dislodge it. Making calls on them is a pleasure, and while the microphone quality is slightly poorer than the iPhone the voice audio is crisp and much easier to hear in a noisy environment.

Once paired any device on your iCloud account can automatically pair to them. You have to initiate it manually (except in the case of the Apple Watch) and remember to switch back when you need to, but the actual re-pairing is handled quickly and without further user input. They work well with Siri, and initiating calls has been my primary use of that feature. I tend to access media controls via my watch while using them, which isn't an option for everyone but is actually a great and more capable replacement for in-line audio controls if it is an option for you.

All in all, highly recommended.

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