Apple Airpods: What’s the low down?

The last year has seen the rise in popularity of true wireless earphones. As is normal with products released by the biggest tech companies in the world, consumers are weary at first, but once it becomes a thing, it becomes the thing. So, what’s the story with Apple Airpods? Are they worth the money? What are my alternatives as a runner? What’s the best fake version? Read on to find out RunWay’s opinion…
AirPods Pro vs AirPods 2: What's Different? - Dignited
Airpods and Airpods Pro

Versions

There have been three versions of the Apple Airpod released since the product was first announced in 2016.

The first version, appropriately named the Apple Airpod Generation 1, has been discontinued.

What are the differences between the Apple Airpods Second Generation and the Apple Airpods Pro?

Shape

The first and second generation Apple Airpods, seen on the left of the image above, have the traditional shape of wired earphones that come as standard with all iPhone models. Airpods pro, seen on the right in the image above, have interchangeable ear tips.

So, if you have always found that the wired earphones that come in the box with your iPhone fit your ears perfectly, it is safe to say that the first and 2nd generation Apple Airpods will fit you too.

If you are somebody who opens up the box when you buy a new Apple iPhone, and you throw the wired earphones into a box on the shelf, then you may need to go for the custom fitting Apple Airpods Pro.

Battery Life

When it comes to battery life, you have 2 things to be aware of. Firstly, you need to know about the battery life of the earphones themselves, and secondly you should know about the number of full charges that the case holds.

Apple AirPods Pro Vs AirPods: What's The Difference?

The cases are quite different in appearance. The Airpods Pro case is shorter, due to the difference in shape of the Airpods themselves. The Airpods Pro has a shorter stem than that of the Airpods 1st and 2nd Generation. However, the battery capacity is the same.

So how often will I need to charge them?

You will get 4 to 5 hours of play time from a single charge of the Apple Airpods 2nd Generation and the Apple Airpods Pro. The case of each model will also hold approximately 4 full charges, meaning that you can listen to your earphones for about 24 hours before needing to plug them in to a wall socket.

We here at RunWay are truly blown away by the battery life of these latest Apple Airpods. It doesn’t seem like the storage capabilities of the batteries have diminished over time either. This is something that Apple hasn’t been great for in the past.

Compatability

Well, as with all Apple products, you are not going to get the full range of capabilities from these earphones if you do not pair them with an Apple product, such as an iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad or Mac computer.

From the moment you unbox these earphones, they will automatically pair with your chosen Apple Product when you open the charging case. Opening and closing the case also prompts a window to appear showing the Airpods battery status.

Both the 2nd Generation Apple Airpods and Apple Airpods Pro have fully integrated Siri capabilities, should you be connected to an Apple device. Simply saying ‘Hey Siri’ will activate Siri in your ears, and from there you can control your device with your voice. We found this super useful for running, eliminating the need to take your phone out, or raise your wrist to control your music.

The Airpods 2nd Generation and Airpods Pro also both have comprehensive touch features such as tapping once for play/pause or answering a call, tapping twice to skip a song and holding the stem of the Airpod to active or deactivate Active Noise Cancellation

Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode

Active Noise Cancellation, or ANC, has been a feature reserved for high end earphones and headphones until lately. Now it comes as standard on most consumer audio devices. So what is it and how good are the Apple Airpods at doing it?

Very simply, the earphones have a number of small microphones which pick up the noise of your surroundings, and convert this noise to a frequency. It then inverts this frequency and plays it through the earphone, which cancels out the noise from your surroundings. When a device can do this well, it’s a very welcome feature, especially for your commute on a busy train, or for those of us who work in noisy offices.

So, are the Apple Airpods range good at doing this?

They’re not just good, they’re awesome.

Not only are they awesome at cancelling the noise in your surroundings to help you hear your music or podcast more clearly, but they have a mode called Transparency Mode which does the complete opposite. It uses these tiny microphones to amplify your surroundings in your ear, which is a great feature for those of you who run in busy streets and fear not hearing a nearby moving car as you bypass a pedestrian on the sidewalk.

Running

So are they any good for running?

The short answer is … yes! Especially if you are lucky enough to own an Apple Watch. Running with the Apple Music and GPS enabled watch, paired with your Apple Airpods Pro, you can stay active, tracking your workout and listening to music, for hours on end, without the need for your iPhone to be nearby.

The Apple Airpods Pro is a particularly snug fit, if you are very worried about your Airpods falling out as you pound the pavement. This is due to the customization feature whereby the Airpods come with different sized tips, one of which is bound to be your size.

However, it must be noted that the Airpods Second Generation are also well able to hang on in there. In fact, in testing, we did not find these to feel lose whatsoever. Unfortunately, after some time, they did become more uncomfortable than the Airpods Pro.

But, as mentioned above, if you have been wearing the wired earphones that come as standard with iPhones and have never had a problem, the you will be sure to find the Airpods 2nd Generation no different.

Alternatives

Many companies have tried to make competitors to the Apple Airpod. Some have been sucessful, others have not. Some have moved away from the Airpod design, others have not. If you’re not an Apple product lover, or if you would simply prefer a lower priced alternative, have a look at these featured products which have also made their mark in the true wireless revolution.

The Huawei FreeBuds 3, priced at £113/€127/$138

With equally impressive active noise cancelling, a lower price tag and a range of colours to choose from, Huawei have done a great job with their true wireless products.

The Samsung Buds Plus, priced at £126/€140/$154.

Samsung’s second venture in to the true wireless market are a really great product. They stray from the Apple style and have a really neat look when in the ear. They also allow for ear size differences by letting you choose your earpiece.

The Bose Soundsport Free is an old favourite of ours here at RunWay. They are more expensive, coming in around £179/€200/$220. However, the sound quality is on another level, as to be expected from Bose products.

Okay, okay, okay. We know you want to see it… The best Fake ‘Airpod

The i500 TWS is somewhat of an iClone of the Apple Airpod 2nd Generation. Needless to say, the battery life, Apple owned features such as Siri and sound quality come nowhere near that of the real deal, but if you can’t face splashing the cash, and you want a cheap alternative, the i500 TWS is your obvious choice.

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