Airpods are way more impressive than you think

Discussion in 'Home Theater and Stereo' started by CJ, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    AirPods are a bit of controversial product. Some of the criticism is valid, some of the criticism can be filtered out as biased hate from people who will rag on any Apple product.

    For me, they serve a purpose that I have not yet found to be replicated. They sound better than fine IMO and they are headphones that I always have on me. Barring when I'm sleeping or in a pool, my Airpods have been in my pocket 99% of the time since I purchased them. I'm not exaggerating. They are in my pocket MORE often than my car keys or wallet because I actually frequently have them on me on a weekend when I'm wearing pajama bottoms but the AirPods are still in my pocket. I also use them exclusively as my hands free phone device when I work from home, which is typically a few times a month.

    As a new product they only have ONE weakness IMO. Truly, only one. They don't block much ambient noise at all. This makes it difficult sometimes when I'm trying to throw on a podcast while my kids are all watching TV in the room and listening to something besides background music in a louder car environment is difficult. I find them to be essentially useless on an plane as you have to max out the volume to overcome cabin noise. This isn't a design flaw... all earbuds (as opposed to what I'll differentiate as in-ear headphones that have a rubber tip that seals your ear canal) suffer from this. Its just a trade off of the earbud style.

    But the genesis of this thread is that I now have a secondary problem. I have used my AirPods a LOT as you might guess from my carry time above. My pair is starting to suffer from shorter play times. Now its not terrible and they recharge from the case insanely quickly to be honest. I don't expect rechargeable devices that get HEAVY use to last forever. But the battery life is becoming noticeable.

    I could buy a new pair of AirPod 2s. My problem is I'd like to solve the inherent weakness I mentioned. I'd like essentially, an Apple in-ear AirPod. It doesn't need (and at the size it would probably require defying physics) active noise cancelling. I've owned a number of corded in-ear headphones and they typically block 80% or more of ambient noise. But here's my problem... even setting design aside, I can't even find in-ear bluetooth headphones with a case as small as AirPods. It really should make you have a ton of respect for Apple's engineers if you aren't a biased hack.

    I've got a few other pairs of in-ear headphones. Anker Liberty Zolos - the case is about twice as large and much heavier. They are generally fine but the bluetooth to the "slave" bud drops out from time to time, a problem that Apple never suffers due to a different design (no master/slave bud setup) and better overall engineering. I also own a pair of Jlab Jbuds. I bought these when the Ankers started losing connectivity frequently at the gym (probably a lot of BT interference there). These are uncomfortable and tend to work their way out of my ears even when sitting perfectly still, breaking the seal resulting in no bass (like way less than the Airpods which aren't tuned with a seal in mind) and failing to block as much ambient noise.

    Of course I also find that many in-ear headphones don't offer the feature set and integration with iPhone that AirPods do but I'd be willing to spend a lot (within reason) on a pair of in-ears that meet my other criteria.

    Maybe I'll have to wait for Apple to release an updated AirPod 3 with some of the features which were rumored when the v2 came out. If anyone knows of an in-ear true wireless with a charging case NO LARGER than AirPods, shoot me a link.
     
  2. Phil Rose

    Phil Rose Active Member

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    Have you looked at the Beats? Not as small but...
     
  3. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    Yeah, the problem there is two-fold. I actually hate the over the ear hooks. Another nice thing about the AirPods that I didn't mention is they pop in and out so easily. Its critical for me as people pop their head in my office all the time and start talking. If I have to remove a "sports style" headphone and then put it back on the headphones will just sit on my desk all day. Bose has the similar pair, same problem. Second issue is I'm not willing to budge on the size. The Beats case isn't just a little too large it is WAY WAY WAY larger. Like 2-3x as large. There are number of "in the ballpark options" from Sennheiser to Sony to B&O. I'm not looking for in the ballpark. I have two pairs of headphones named above that are "in the ballpark" as far as the size of the charging case but it is too large to carry around in my pocket every day.

    It probably just sounds like I'm being insanely picky but I think it also points out what I was trying to get at in my original post... my search skills are pretty good and I really don't think a product that does even 50% of what AirPods can do at that size even exists. Its kind of crazy. And no, this post isn't just bait to prove that point. I legitimately am looking for a solution. If I could find it on my own I would.
     
  4. Barry_NJ

    Barry_NJ Well-Known Member

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  5. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    Look at the Momentum wireless. This photo doesn't quite do it justice but this is one of the smaller charging cases out there. It is ALMOST as wide as TWO AirPods cases and probably 60% thicker.

    IMG_2908.jpg
     
  6. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    No. Because I have to take those off to put them in the case and then carry the tips. Again, sorry, not trying to be negative its just not what I'm looking for. My earbuds go in and out of the case probably a dozen times every day. What would work is if that was an Apple design and the buds went into the charging case with the tips on them. That's what I was hoping they would do with the AirPods 2 but all they did was upgrade the electronics and add optional wireless charging. That design itself isn't terrible but the fact that I'd have to take the tips on and off a dozen times a day is a non-starter.
     
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  7. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    Jabra Elite 65t MIGHT be the answer. I think I came across this model in prior research. The case is larger clearly but its not like 1.5x or 2x larger in all three dimensions like many are. In this photo it looks like the Jabra is about as deep as the AirPods are wide. It is definitely taller than AirPods are thick and its wider than they are tall. I'm eyeballing dimensions assuming the cases were closed. These might be worth trying to see in person if possible.

    jabraairpod4.jpg
     
  8. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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  9. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    @CJ, it happens that I bought a pair of Jabra Elite Active 65t True Wireless Sport Earbuds (Manufacturer Refurbished) on eBay for $99 just a few weeks ago. They ship direct from Jabra and mine arrived in perfect condition. I think this sale is still on...? (Edit: oops, now $119)

    I haven't spent a lot of time with them yet but think they sound pretty good; fit my ears well without going too deep (I know that's an issue with you); do a decent job muffling outside noise (they also have settings to amplify outside sounds called "Hear-Through") and, unlike many other BT IE's, have full controls on the ear pieces including volume. They obey Siri commands and their phone app is also top notch.

    If I had to complain about anything I wish they'd go a bit louder, but my Galaxy S8 (and old ears) may be a part of that...

    Case Dimensions: 2-3/8" Wide; 1-7/8" Tall; 1-1/8" Thick
    Weights: 1.9 oz w/IE's; 1.4 oz w/o

    For $99 $119 they may be worth checking out?
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  10. RJ

    RJ Member

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  11. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    Yeah, I thought about the Sony's but in reality the Sony's have a major flaw IMO. When two devices they've been paired to are both in range it is almost impossible to get the headphones to pair to anything but the last used device. Example, if I'm using them with my iPad and then three days later I want to use them with my iPhone I'll turn them on and they'll connect to my iPad in the den. I'll open bluetooth settings on my phone and choose the Sony headphones. It will say right there that it is connected but when I go back to whatever application I'm using (e.g. Apple Music or YouTube) the sound won't come out of the headphones. The ONLY option will be to go get my iPad three rooms away and turn off bluetooth or turn the headphones off and turn them on and go all the way into pairing mode as if they've never been used with the second device. TERRIBLE software design. When Apple fans say their stuff just works this kind of behavior is exactly what we're railing against. I suspect millions of people don't realize stuff should work better than that.

    Also the Sony charging case is too large.
     
  12. DYohn

    DYohn Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    CJ: If you like the AirPods, and it appears that you do, then the answer is simple: replace them with a new set to get back to full battery life.
     
  13. Stefan

    Stefan Active Member

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    The lack of noise blocking or cancelling is the only reason I have never bought the AirPods. When I was deciding, I ended up with the BeatsX.

    I did buy my son the $30 Walmart knock offs. The sound sucks, but he loves them.

    Stefan
     
  14. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    so @CJ, did you look at that Jabra link I posted above?
     
  15. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    Yeah I stopped in Best Buy and looked at them. I think I'm just going to hold off for now. I like the AirPods too much and am unwilling to budge on the combination of size and integration. I'll just take my large over the ears or my existing "gym" headphones in the use cases where the AirPods are not ideal due to ambient noise.
     
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  16. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    Makes sense. I read that Jabra is due for an upgrade as well.
     
  17. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    FYI, manufacturer-refurbished Jabra's are back on sale on eBay for $99. I made the same purchase some weeks back and they are quite good and arrive in like-new condition.
     
  18. DustinDavis

    DustinDavis Well-Known Member

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    Just wanted to [finally] chime in here as an AirPods user too. I love them. They're in my pocket all day every day. I put them on/off many times per day and they're so easy to use. My only real fear is somehow dropping one in a toilet. But they stay in my ears pretty securely and mostly I don't do handstands on the toilet, so it's probably an irrational fear.
     
  19. Carl V

    Carl V Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    funny....handstands
    do you have a western sitting toilet or an international Slit/trench?
     
  20. Max Yokell

    Max Yokell Well-Known Member Top Poster

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    I have been thinking about the Sony noise canceling ones lately but I have a hard time pulling the trigger on really expensive stuff that only I will use.
     

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