I’m a big fan of the Bluetooth headphones because I don’t like cords anchoring me to my ginormous iPhone. Don’t get me wrong… I love my ginormous iPhone, but I don’t want it snuggling up to my body all the time so that my Bluetooth can work.
You might be familiar with the eternal struggle of owning a working Bluetooth for telephone calls. I’ve tried Jabra, Motorola, Jawbone, my car Bluetooth, cheap Chinese knock-offs… even Apple Watch (Series 0)… It has been a never-ending struggle to find a Bluetooth that let’s me:
- talk on the phone
- be heard clearly while talking on the phone
- listen to my music
- dictate a note
- connect to my multiple devices to listen to audio (e.g. iPad, iPhone, macOS)
Talking on the phone has been the top task that I’ve wanted my phone to do, but no Bluetooth has ever worked 100% at that task. And it’s a safety issue for the sake of wanting to drive hands free.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the preliminary reviews on Apple AirPods. People forget that Apple released the worst overpriced Bluetooth I’ve ever bought in 2007. That was 10 years ago and I was hopeful that things have gotten better.
AirPods are Simple to Use
They look like dental floss. You flip open the lid, push a button on the backside, and follow the prompts on your iPhone to pair the two. It then shows up on any iOS or MacOS device where you’re logged in to the same Apple ID account.
When you’re not using the AirPods, they charge while they sit in the case. If you run out of juice, you can get a 3 hour charge in 15 minutes. They use a lighting connector (the same one you charge iPhone 5 and newer with) to charge the case, so that’s one less cord I have to carry around.
I’ve had my AirPods since launch day and I have really used them every day.
Using my AirPods during Pre-Work
My morning routine consists of doing everything I need to do to get out the door as quickly as I can so I can get to the office. I put in my AirPods and drink my coffee while listening to something. NPR One if I want to make sure that the world didn’t blow up, Howard Stern for when things are too crazy, or something on my Jams of the Moment playlist.
Using AirPods during Work Days
When I get into the car to drive myself to work, my AirPods go back into the case, unless I need one (in my right ear) if I am expecting a call, in which case the left one goes into the case by itself. Same goes when I drive the company car, as I put them away, unless I’m expecting a phone call. The whole time I’m driving (30 minutes to work, 50 minutes to my office), I’m listening to NPR, Podcasts, Howard Stern, or Audible (audio books), or music on the Bluetooth device I’ve rigged up to the car – not the AirPods. Listening to stories or music I can sing to makes my drive go quicker.
At The Office
Once I’m safely at my destination, my AirPods go back in as I walk from the parking lot into my office. There’s something to be said about knowing your surroundings, but It’s a quick jaunt.
While social workin, AirPods have been useful for listening to music as background music while writing my notes or updating my charts. I willl lose myself in music because my brain can’t untangle the nuances of a psychosocial assessment while listening to a security expert on NPR go on about the dangers of our President’s tweeting behavior.
If I get a phone call on my iPhone while I’m in the zone, I don’t have to creak my neck, I can double-tap my headphone, pick up the call, and go on with my day.
I like how clearly my connection sounds when talking to people. On every single Bluetooth I’ve ever owned, I’ve been told that I can’t be heard or that I’m breaking up. As expensive as those devices were, the microphone should have been called the “why bother hole”. On AirPods, my conversations are clear with nary a complaint.
I’m a fan of dictating my notes when I leave a home visit. I just do a brain dump about the main points of what I did. How I speak and how I write my notes are two styles types of communication, but I’ve been practicing for years and can now state the who, what, when, where of my note, describe interventions, and responses, and all of that fun stuff in a coherent order.
Apple’s Siri is useless, and it’s sibling, Dictation, is a slight step up. For the most part, it translates most words, except when it thinks I’m writing that gibberish or doesn’t know how to translate some of the clinical words (“client” is often transcribed as “plan”). It’s hit or miss, It does save me time though. I’ll dictate to my Apple Notes non-client identifying information, log in to iCloud at my work computer, grab the text and then construct human sentences from those.
Overall, I like having the AirPods with me during my work day.
Using My AirPods Post- or Off- Work
Less of a Chore
When I’m not working at my job, I’m working at home. I’m doing errands in and out of the home, grocery shopping, or completing house chores. My chores. Go quicker when I’m listening to a story and when I’m in public, I can tune out screaming children. It should be noted that these buds are not sound isolating, but they do have the power to give you tinnitus if you’re not careful.
Sleepy Night Night
If I’ve made it sound like I go my entire day with the AirPods, that’s pretty accurate to say. When I’m in client sessions, work meetings, conversations with my colleagues, or simply want silence, they go back into the case… where they get fully charged and then go back to my ear.
After I’m done spending time with my family at night, I do like to listen to Music as I lull off to sleep. It works for me and relaxes me. Because the AirPods fit snugly into my ear, it’s not like they’re poking into my skull when the side of my head hits the pillow. It’s a fun task to search for them in the morning to put them back in the case to charge up enough to get me through my morning routine.
Are Apple AirPods Worth It? Hell Yes.
I am nit picky and don’t write a whole lot of reviews on tech gear that I use. That being said, I love my AirPods. They’re reliable.
I love that they’re in the menu of all my Apple devices that are hooked up to my iCloud account, so I get my wish about easy pairing with all my Apple devices – I just have to tell my iPad or iPhone that I want to use.
The sound is pretty good when listening to music, I can talk on the phone and be heard, they are not at all complicated to use, they charge quickly in the case and the case itself charges at a steady pace. I don’t have to deal with a cord I’m afraid of fraying.
The big win for me is being able to sleep with them in my ear without burying them in my skull. They’re the only Bluetooth device I’ve ever owned where the other person can hear me.
Is it Perfect? Not 100%, But Damn Close.
AirPods simply work. for me. Mostly. There are times when the sound is distorted, but it is fleeting and I’ve maybe had to re-pair it to my iPhone 3 times since I bought them in mid-December.
They don’t quite pair as seamlessly with my AppleTV. I have to navigate to the Home Screen > Settings > Bluetooth > find AirPods > Click connect. With my iDevices, I simply swipe up to bring up controls, swipe left to my music controls, and click the source list at the bottom to pair to my device. Not quite the pain in the ass to pair to AppleTV. My only other grievance is that they fall off when I put my shirt on and that they are sometimes hard to find in the bed the next morning after I sleep with them.
10/10 would buy again.
A minor caveat: AirPods came out in mid-December and today, mid-March, there is still a 6 week delay on Apple’s website to have them delivered. People have using iStocknow to get alerts on local stock. Also, r/airpods is a good place to get advice on where to find them!