Apple EarPods review: They’re free with all iPhones but are they any good?
Apple’s EarPods have been a common sight on the morning commute for years and it’s easy to see why. They come bundled with every iPhone, the iPhone is the most popular smartphone on the planet and people are lazy.
To be fair, since Apple last revamped the design of its in-box earphones – back in 2012 – and introduced the EarPods, there has at least been a good reason for this. They work, they have a good quality in-line microphone and sound quality isn’t totally awful. That, for many people, is good enough.
The question is, if you’ve broken or lost your much-used and abused Apple Earpods, is it worth spending the money to replace them? Or do you go for a pair of third-party earphones instead?
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Apple EarPods review: What you need to know
There are several things in the EarPods’ favour: the design timeless design, an impressive in-line microphone and the fact that they’re light and comfortable to wear in bed. Unlike in-ear and earbud earphones, the EarPods are a kind of hybrid, designed to rest in the outer part of your ear and protrude only a little way in.
There are two different types of EarPod: the older model terminated with a 3.5mm headphone plug and the newer variant with a Lightning connector, introduced when Apple dropped the 3.5mm jack in the iPhone 7.
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Apple EarPods review: Price and competition
Both the Lightning Connector type and analogue EarPods cost £29. That might seem cheap, but there are plenty of earphones that cost the same or less than this. Two particular models stand out: the Brainwavz Delta at £20, which are wired in-ears with an in-line mic, and the incredibly impressive wireless Bluetooth Creative Outlier One at £20.
Apple EarPods deal
At the time of writing the cheapest deal, you can find from an authorised retailer is around £29. However, if you shop around and not afraid of buying from other retailers, you can find it cheaper. For example, you can find it for around £27 at Currys, £23 on Amazon, and £17.50 (new) on eBay.
Apple EarPods with 3.5mm Headphone Plug – White
£18.00 Check price
Apple EarPods review: 3.5mm EarPods vs Lightning EarPods
For this review I listened to both the 3.5mm and Lightning EarPods, the former taken from the box of an iPhone 5S dating back to 2013 and the newer one sourced from the box of a 2018 iPhone X.
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Both models have the same design, build quality and look. However, there’s a slight difference in the sound quality. The EarPods with Lightning connector sound a little flatter and have a mid-range that’s slightly cleaner. The older variant, which I tested with an iPhone X using the official Apple Lightning to 3.5mm adapter, sounded warmer and less revealing.
The bigger difference is the convenience, or lack thereof, of having a Lightning connector earphone or a 3. 5mm pair. It’s worth bearing in mind, for instance, that if you opt to replace with a Lightning connector pair, you’re basically restricting the use of your headphones to your iPhone or iPad whereas with a 3.5mm pair you connect them to pretty much any device.
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Apple EarPods review: Build quality, design and comfort
The Earpod has a distinctive all-white design. The somewhat alien-looking plastic nozzle is aesthetically pleasing on the eye and they’ve been designed with a one-size-fits all approach.
As someone who wears earphones with medium-sized tips on other in-ear headphones, I had no problems with the comfort. However, if you normally use larger or smaller sized tips, you may struggle to find a good fit.
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On the positive front, they sit flush in your ears, which allows you to sleep with them on and they don’t need to be hooked around your ear, and I didn’t hear any cable noise (known as microphonics), when I took them on my daily commute.
The EarPods have a few flaws, though, the biggest being the overall build quality and connection between the cable and both plug and earpieces. The whole thing feels flimsy and fragile to me and I’d advise when removing them to do so by grasping the plug and not pulling the cable itself. I also found they weren’t the most secure in my ears, the glossy plastic shells meaning that they kept slipping out.
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Apple EarPods review: Sound quality
The EarPods are, quite frankly poor, when it comes to audio output quality. If you’ve gone for many years wearing the EarPods and never tried another pair, now is the time to jump ship and here’s why: the bass is all over the place, the earphones have no sub-bass presence whatsoever, and the mid-bass is uncontrolled and lacks definition.
The mids are recessed and pushed back and, as for the top-end treble, it’s completely rolled off. The EarPods offer neither spark nor excitement. On the plus side, the EarPods’ warm overall presentation is easy to get along with and makes for comfortable listening for long periods.
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There are some mild positives. The soundstage, though somewhat disappointing, isn’t as bad as you’d imagine given the other sound characteristics. There’s good instrument separation, and relatively good depth, too. Overall, though it’s fair to say, these are among the worst earphones I’ve ever listened to.
Perhaps the EarPods’ one saving grace is that the in-line mic provides excellent call quality and the three-button remote works well for both call handling and media controls.
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Apple EarPods review: Verdict
The EarPods are certainly stylish, and they look great. They’re comfortable to wear, too, and have a good quality microphone. However, they feel fragile and sound quality is sub par, even at this seemingly low price.
If you’ve got a set of EarPods and are happy with them, keep them till they break and then get yourself a pair of Brainwavz Delta for £20 or the incredibly impressive Creative Outlier One for £20 instead; both are miles better than the EarPods.
Apple EarPods (with Remote and Mic) review: Apple EarPods (with Remote and Mic)
As part of the launch of the iPhone 5 and new iPod Touch and iPod Nano, Apple introduced a set of completely redesigned earbud headphones, the EarPods. Apple says they were three years in the making.
These in-ear headphones have a built-in microphone for making calls and an inline remote with volume and transport controls.
The EarPods are included with all of Apple’s new iPhones and iPods and will also be offered as a separate accessory for $29.
The EarPods in their protective case (included). Sarah Tew/CNET
Big sound improvement
Earlier Apple headphones were the black sheep of the company’s product family: unlike the world-class iconic designs of the iPod, iPhone, MacBook, and iMac, the original Apple headphones lagged behind nearly all other competitors. The first-generation models (the freebies that were included with all iPod models) were downright terrible. The 2004-era In-Ear model was OK, and the 2008 iPhone-friendly In-Ear headset was better still — but still short of “insanely great,” especially compared with the increasingly long list of cheap but great-sounding headphones we’ve been seeing.
Thankfully, the EarPods hit the reset button in the sonics department. Apple has really improved the sound; the EarPods offer much more bass and generally clean, pleasant sound. Their fit is significantly better, too (I could never use the previous model because it simply didn’t fit my ear), but the design is not without its potential shortcomings. I found the EarPods quite comfortable to wear but the one ding against them is that they didn’t fit all that securely. Of course, ears come in all shapes and sizes, and the EarPods may fit some ears more snugly than others, but I had a few editors try them and they agreed that they don’t offer the most secure fit.
The EarPods have one main side-firing driver along with two smaller apertures that output sound. Sarah Tew/CNET
The other small downside is that they leak some sound. Apple has said it has worked to reduce sound leakage, and it’s not as bad as I thought it would be, but there’s still some spillage as you bring the volume up to higher levels.
The EarPods slightly resemble Bose’s MIE2i in-ear headphones in the sense that they are both made of hard plastic, have side-firing drivers (the EarPods also have two smaller apertures on the bud that output sound), and don’t feature a noise-isolating design (translation: you don’t jam a set of silicone eartips into your ears). However, the Bose earphones, which at $129 cost $100 more, have added silicone covers, including a set of wings that keep the earphones securely in place. The EarPods do not have any extra silicone pieces; the hard, smooth, sculpted buds are all you get.
Close-up of the inline remote (with microphone). You hold the center of the button to call up Siri, and tap twice to advance a track. Sarah Tew/CNET
Great, as a freebie
Let me be clear about one thing. I think anybody who gets these as part of an iPhone or iPod package will be happy with them. Most earbuds and headsets that come with mobile devices these days range from mediocre to poor. In comparison with what you usually get, the EarPods are excellent. On top of the bigger, richer bass, they simply sound more open and less canned or recessed. You do lose a little low-end sound by not having a tight seal, but the bass is surprisingly full, and while the midrange is a bit aggressive, I think Apple has a done a good job of creating a sound profile that’s well suited for a broad range of musical genres. It’s not going to please everyone, but it’s going to please a majority of folks.
However, grading the EarPods as standalone $29 headphones, it’s a tougher call. Their sound holds up well against competitors in their price class, though I wouldn’t describe their sound or build quality as truly exceptional (Apple does say that the EarPods are more sweat-resistant than its previous ‘buds). While they may sound as good as or better than many $30 earphones, and some pricier models, they look and feel like they should cost less than $30.
The plug is very slim, which means it works with thicker iPhone cases. Sarah Tew/CNET
But all those performance observations come with a caveat. With all these types of non-noise-isolating ‘buds, noisier environments can present a problem for them because they simply let in too much sound.
When I was sitting at my desk listening to the EarPods, I was impressed with them. They sat in my ears well enough, they felt comfortable, nice and light, and they sounded quite good. But later on, when I left the office and took them out onto the streets of New York and made my way home on the subway, they really didn’t cut it. For starters, as I was walking, they always felt like they were about to slip out of my ears. (For the most part they managed to stay in, sometimes barely, but the feeling that they were about to slip out was irritating. ) And then when I was on the subway itself, my music was largely drowned out by the sound of the subway. I found myself longing for the noise-isolating ‘buds I typically use.
Is my experience with the EarPods an aberration or closer to the norm? That I can’t tell you. However, I think it safe to say that the EarPods will fit some ears better and much more securely than others. To say that these offer a universally secure fit would not be true.
As a throw-in with a new iPhone or iPod, the EarPods with Remote and Mic are clearly a cut above the freebie headphones that typically are included with mobile devices. They fit and sound significantly better than the last generation of standard-issue Apple earbuds and they work well as a headset, too, with one-touch access to Siri. But they won’t fit all ears equally snugly and for some folks (like me), using them on the go may prove troublesome.
Could Apple have included some sort of silicone cover that would make them fit more securely? Sure. But it didn’t, so I suspect third-party manufacturers will fill the void with special covers that give the EarPods more grip.
Of course, many folks will be fine with them the way they are, will have nothing but praise for them, and will think I’m crazy for not awarding them 4 stars. But then again, others will think they’re only so-so for $29 and will think anything above 3 stars is a reach.
Because how you’ll end up feeling about the EarPods is so dependent on the shape of your ears, it’s hard to nail down an exact rating for these guys. The good news is that with so many people buying new iPhones and iPods, there will be plenty of these around for you to try before you buy. And I suggest you do.
Editor’s note (5/29): The rating on the EarPods was originally 3.5 stars, but after evaluating the product for several months and experiencing continued issues with the fit of the EarPods, the score was lowered to 3 stars.
2nd generation Apple AirPods Pro headphones review: almost perfect
It so happened that for the last couple of years I went with the classic AirPods of the 2nd generation, and when they broke down, I tried almost everything that was on the market, mainly made in China. The result turned out to be sad – the sound quality is so-so, the volume is not outstanding, and they don’t stay in the ears normally. So when the opportunity arose to get acquainted with the updated AirPods Pro 2, I immediately took up this.
It’s worth recalling that the AirPods Pro line has become a new direction for Apple through the use of built-in noise reduction. This market was originally formed by Sony, and Apple, as is usually the case, ignored it to the last. And the release of AirPods Pro a couple of years ago with active noise cancellation (ANC) and in-ear fit became a notable event.
And now the 2nd generation. In terms of appearance, the AirPods Pro 2 case is no different from the first generation. But compared to the classic AirPods, it is more elongated and noticeably resembles Chinese headphone cases.
The weight of the case has become more – 50 against 38 grams in the previous model. The weight gain is the result of adding speakers to the case. The battery has slightly increased, but rather symbolically – now 523 mAh instead of 519 mAh. An interesting improvement was expressed in the appearance of a strap attachment. Now lovers of straps do not need to buy an additional case for this.
As for the headphones themselves, the design has not changed much. However, the location of microphones and sensors has been significantly rebuilt. For example, the microphone is moved to the top face. As a result, the headphones more accurately determine when they are in the ears and when they are removed.
Another new option is additional XS size ear pads that will fit people with very small ears. As before, you can check the fit and secureness in the settings on your iPhone – this is important for the best sound quality and noise cancellation performance. Most in-ear headphones fall out of my ears, with the AirPods Pro 2 things are much better. At least I can bend down with them and even crawl under the table. And after I replaced the standard ear pads with the largest ones, everything became just fine. I will especially note the mechanism for attaching the ear pads – Apple has the best one. Information for fans of outdoor sports – the headphones themselves, as well as the case, received an IPX4 protection class, so they are not afraid of rain.
In fact, the cover has been upgraded almost more significantly than the headphones. About adding speakers has already been said, but it has not been said why they are needed. The design about various sounds when charging is turned on and opened is all from the evil one and is turned off in the settings. But the fact that now the case can squeak when the “Locator” is launched is cool. This is especially useful if the cover falls somewhere behind the sofa, as is often the case
But in Russia it does not work so cool. But sanctions have nothing to do with this issue. To accurately determine the location of the case, it has a U1 chip, as in all iPhone 11 generation and older, as well as in AirTag tags. The chip uses UWB (Ultra WideBand) technology. We already wrote that this technology does not work in Russia due to problems with access to these frequencies. A year ago, Apple was waiting for its application to be considered by the SCRF, but then everyone was not up to it.
In addition, the case has support for MagSafe and Qi wireless charging, which can now be implemented using the Apple Watch charger, which means you can carry less on one charge.
Speaking of battery life, it’s not perfect. The thing is that all these noise reduction and other embellishments are quite voracious in practice. And some, like the transparency mode, are also not very noticeable. So AirPods Pro 2 run out much faster than classic AirPods. Combined, the batteries in the case and earphones should provide approximately 30 hours of battery life, which is several hours more than the 1st generation AirPods Pro. But in general, I can not say that I was delighted.
But not a single battery. The AirPods Pro 2 has an Apple h3 chip. He is responsible for system performance and processing of all enhancements, including noise reduction. The headphones also support Bluetooth 5.3, but this does not affect the sound quality yet. Bluetooth LE Audio is not here, which is a pity. And the battery would have lived longer in this situation.
In terms of control, the sensor part has been modernized. You can now adjust the volume by moving your finger up or down the earpiece foot. Each of them has a special flat platform for this. But the trick is that each movement lowers the volume by one division. So if you need to sharply make it quieter, you will have to rub your legs very fiercely. And in this situation, the familiar buttons on the iPhone case look more attractive. And the very location of these sites did not seem very comfortable to me.
Now about the sound itself. Let’s start with the sound itself. It has become more interesting, there are basses, good mids. This is especially good for accentuating the voice or vocals. There are no questions about the quality of calls either. Both speakers and microphones work great. The voice is heard clearly, nothing is clogged with the wind. There are no manual sound adjustments, these AirPods Pro 2 are unfavorably different from competitors, but as for me, it is redundant to consider this a problem. These are still not audiophile headphones, but a headset.
Apple says the AirPods Pro 2’s noise cancellation is much better with the new h3 chip, microphones and algorithms. As for me – a solid noise canceler. There are no problems with audibility even in the subway or train. Car noise and announcements are cut off flawlessly. The “transparency” mode, when external microphones broadcast sound from the outside, is cool. And probably the best on the market. But very voracious – the battery, I repeat, flies away with a bang.
iOS 16 adds spatial audio that is personalized for each user. But I didn’t see much of a difference. But spatial stereo, when the sound reacts to head turns, is a very funny thing. Surprisingly, it works very well. And when listening to music or watching movies, it adds the effect of presence.
What is the result?
I really liked the new Apple headphones. The way they implemented the ear pads is my compliments. The first in-ear ears that I don’t fall out. The sound quality is decent. They handle music well, the volume margin is excellent. When talking on the phone, the interlocutors do not complain about the sound quality, they do not ask anything again. Shumodav pleased – it is no worse than that of Sony. Disappointed with battery life. It seems to be a lot – the declared 30 hours. But they run out more noticeably than regular AirPods. But this largely depends on the usage model. There is no point in using them with Android smartphones, since most of the chips work only within the Apple ecosystem. But this is the case with most headphones released by brands that produce Android smartphones.
And traditionally – a big thanks to the guys from the BigGeek.ru online store, who bring us various cool gadgets for testing.
review, price, specifications, sound quality, how are they different from AirPod s Pro
000Z” itemprop=”datePublished”> 07.07.23
left with headphones for a week and a half
For the last week and a half I have been using the new AirPods – the third generation.
This is a new version of the classic AirPods, not a pro version. They differ from the previous ones in the shape of the case – now they just look like Pro: the legs have become a little shorter, and the headphones themselves are slightly larger.
Like previous regular AirPods, these do not have ear pads. For those who prefer rubber inserts, more functional and expensive AirPods Pro have been left on sale.
Basic AirPods have been around for a long time. The original model turns five this year – since then, other wireless headphones have stepped far ahead in terms of sound quality, autonomy, and affordability. And if the sound of AirPods 3 is really all right, then there are questions about the price.
Apple AirPods 3 at a Glance – Features
|What is||AirPods 3 – Apple’s current|
|Headphone battery||6 hours of listening to audio|
|Case battery||30 hours|
|Connection||Bluetooth 5. 0|
|Interesting Features||Spatial Audio, Apple Ecosystem Amenities|
|Retail price||16 490 Р|
What it is
AirPods 3 – Apple’s current wireless headphones
6 hours of audio 90 003
Security from water
Spatial audio playback, the convenience of the Apple ecosystem
16 490 Р
The design has been updated, but the materials are the same
In terms of design, the third generation AirPods are, in fact, the same Pro, but without rubber inserts. The shortened “legs” are now directed downwards not exactly, but at an angle. As for me, this is a good solution: the headphones follow the shape of the ears and lie well in them.
A new approach to design has refreshed the look of the headphones. The identity of Apple technology is immediately read: graceful rounded edges, bright white color. The AirPods case is made of smooth plastic – it is pleasant to hold it in hands, it does not slip in the palm of your hand.
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The material of the case is the same as that of the headphones, and this is rather a minus: after a few days of use, slightly noticeable scratches appeared on it. If you are worried about the appearance of the case, it is better to buy a rubber case right away.
The case is strong, its cover does not wobble when opened. The case is still smaller than the Pro
One of the most common complaints about the first generations of AirPods is that they could not fit well in the ears. A big minus for those who planned to play sports in them: no one wants to be distracted from training every five minutes in search of a dropped earpiece.
This problem was solved in the firmware. Rubber ear pads fit better on their own, and they also came in several sizes in the kit. In addition, Apple developed software that helped determine how firmly the headphones fit in your ears – and, if anything, advised you to change the ear pads.
How much does it cost to turn a smartphone into a portable audio system? Thanks to the shortened “legs”, the headphones wobble less in the ears when turning the head sharply.
AirPods 3 have IPX4 water resistance – the headphones are resistant to splashes and dirt. They are also protected from sweat during training. Headphones repeat the anatomy of the ear
But it is important to understand that a secure fit of headphones is a purely individual moment. For some, the first AirPods are great, and for some, “firmware” with ear pads also fall out.
I have headphones of both the first and third generations that fit well in my ears, the new ones are somehow more confident. During active functional training, they never fell out – neither when jumping, nor when running, nor even when doing vertical push-ups. The only thing: the right earpiece all the time, it felt like it was trying to fall out, but in the end it remained in place.
As with the first AirPods, it’s a lottery: you can’t predict in advance whether they will fit a particular person, because the shape of the headphones has changed. All that remains is to wait until one of the friends buys them, and try it personally.
Sound just got a lot better
Headphone sound quality is always subjective, but one thing is for sure about AirPods: past base models can no longer compete. The first generations sound too flat for their price – due to the design of the headphones, they lack bass.
In the third generation, it seems to me, the sound has become much deeper: closer to the quality of “firmware”. The bass has become richer, and the instruments in the melodies are better distinguished. As always, the sound passing through the headphones can be customized through the equalizer settings in the players.
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Screenshots of settings from the music playback apps – Apple Music and Spotify
But what can’t be adjusted is adaptive equalizer – a new feature for basic AirPods that was previously introduced in Pro and Max versions . Thanks to special microphones directed inside the ear, the headphones adapt the mid and low frequencies to the wearer.
However, it’s still not very clear how this adaptive EQ works. You can’t turn it off, so it’s not clear whether the sound got better thanks to it or thanks to the updated speakers.
AirPods 3 have improved the skin contact sensor: the headphones now better determine whether they are actually worn and do not play music in a jacket pocket
The third generation not only lacks ear pads, but also active noise cancellation. On the one hand, the headphones are very light, your ears do not get tired of them at all: after five minutes you generally forget that you have something in your ears, you can carry them for at least a few hours.
On the other hand, in the third generation of AirPods, you can hear absolutely everything that happens around: from speech to the hum of traffic. In old subway cars at medium volume, you can hardly hear anything – you have to increase the volume to 80%. This is not only dangerous for the ears, but also loud for those around you: everyone around begins to hear your music.
“They don’t make them like this anymore”: 12 old gadgets that we are not ready to change for new ones They hold well in the ears, and active noise canceling does not let in sounds from the outside. But if you don’t like ear pads, then AirPods 3 are a better fit.
New features from Pro
Like previous generations, AirPods 3 integrate seamlessly into the Apple ecosystem. At the first opening, my iPhone offered to connect to the headphones – after half a minute you can already listen to music.
When I compared the AirPods 3 and Pro, the laptop instantly switched between them, as soon as I put one earbuds in the case and took out the others. It works like this: AirPods take into account the position of the iPhone relative to the headphones themselves and change the sound source. For example, if you turn your head to the right, your left ear will become closer to the iPhone – the volume in the left earpiece will become higher than in the right.
An interesting feature: as soon as spatial sound is turned on, it starts to seem like there are no headphones, and the sound comes directly from the iPhone. But you will have to get used to it: nevertheless, you expect stable and predictable sound from headphones, and not changeable.
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And this is an elegant solution: from excessively frequent tapping on the earpiece, there was discomfort in the ears. Pressing the button is more comfortable
And AirPods 3 also have the longest autonomy among the entire line. It is stated that one charge is enough for 6 hours of use – during my test, this is approximately what happened. The case never had to be recharged at all.
I tested the third generation of AirPods in parallel with the Pro two years ago, and the difference in “survivability” is obvious. Immediately after the purchase, the “firmware” kept 4.5 hours from a single charge, but over time, the batteries wore out. In contrast, the autonomy of the new AirPods seems like a breakthrough, although 6 hours of charge is more or less the norm among models from other manufacturers.
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And one charge from the third AirPods case will last 30 hours – against 24 for Pro.
The AirPods 3 feel like a cut down version of the AirPods Pro, but that doesn’t make them any worse.
AirPods 3 are better than their basic predecessors in every way: the design has been updated, the sound quality has been improved, and autonomy has been increased. They are still comfortable, the ears do not get tired of them. Using them within the Apple ecosystem is a pleasure.
But the obvious stumbling block was the price. The official retail price is 16,490 R: this is expensive for such headphones. AirPods 3 generally sell for more than the first two generations at launch, $179 versus $159. Apparently, Apple hoped that the third AirPods would become the new bestseller in the wireless headphone market, but this will obviously happen no earlier than the price drop or the first sales.
If you have Android, then there is no point in looking in the direction of new headphones from Apple: all the charms of the ecosystem disappear, and for such a price and even cheaper, you can find much more successful solutions from other manufacturers. For example, Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 or Sony WF-1000XM3 with noise reduction.
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And if you stick to Apple technology, then in Russia you can add 2500 R and buy AirPods Pro, which are better in everything – active noise cancellation alone beats the difference in price. You can find firmware from unofficial resellers even cheaper than the third generation model – with the warranty preserved.