Apple AirPods: Reviews and price
Wire-free AirPods offer one-tap connectivity with Apple devices, but are they worth buying?
Customers have finally got their hands on Apple's new wire-free AirPods – its own solution to the headphone jack omission on the iPhone 7.
Previously, owners of an iPhone 7 could either use a third-party set of Bluetooth wire-free speakers from the likes of Sennheiser or Bose, or a Lightning to 3.5mm audio adapter with Apple's wired EarPods.
However, unlike regular wire-free headphones that require a trip into the set-up menu, AirPods allow customers to connect with a single tap in Control Centre.
On a single charge, the AirPods can play music continuously for five hours thanks to Apple's W1 processor. For serious users, a small charging case provides an extra 24 hours of power to the earbuds, which are held in place magnetically to minimise the risk of losing them.
The new AirPods provide buyers with an all-Apple wireless experience, but should you splash out on a set?
Here's what the critics think.
"They really do look like EarPods" without the cord attached, says TechRadar because they retain the long plastic stem, which "looks odd". However, the stems house microphones, which "point toward your cheek" for Siri to detect when you're speaking.
Most wire-free earbuds provide "differently-sized silicone eartips" that can be moulded to suit the user, but the all-plastic body of the AirPods means "you can't exactly customise them", TechRadar adds.
Connecting the AirPods is as simple as placing the case and earbuds close to another Apple device, says Pocket-lint. After making an initial connection, the AirPods will be "available via iCloud" and can be easily transferred from iPhone to MacBook. The W1 processor allows the earbuds to change from stereo to mono when one is removed, Pocket-lint continues, and the music pauses when both are taken out.
"Do they sound great? Not really," says Wired, pointing out that many sets of cheaper headphones will almost certainly "sound better than AirPods". That they "sound fine" compared to the significantly cheaper EarPods is one plus, but there are "better-sounding wireless headphones" available.
Where the AirPods excel is they are "ridiculously convenient", Wired adds. The easy interaction the user has with Siri means the AirPods have a "seriously bright future", although at present they are somewhat "awkward" to use.
Apple is selling the AirPods for £159, some £130 more than the wired EarPods with Lightning adapter.