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AirPods and Running

AirPods and Running

Since the iPhone 4 I have wished for Apple to make a pair of wireless head phones, I would tell anyone that listened that the EarPods were great but cut off the cord and they'd be perfect. Most other rubber/silicone tipped bud style products I've found uncomfortable and somewhat gross. Since the early 2000's I have listened to a lot of podcasts and books while going through the day and have constantly looked for the best Bluetooth headphones to free myself from tangled and snagged cables but while the PowerBeats came close I was never satisfied. This year Apple finally came through and made what I really wanted. With some persistence I was able to get a pair of AirPods when they finally were released a couple of weeks ago and have been using them happily ever since.

There are many reviews circulating and the consensus is that they are a great first generation release. Several reviewers have pointed out and I would agree that they are the first product in some time that demonstrate the very best of Apple design, product category improvement and simple whimsy. I'm not going to dive super deep you can get very comprehensive reviews from The Verge, Gizmodo and iMore but I did want to quickly focus on my experience using them while running.

If you've ever used the EarPods that have come with iPhones for a few years you are already familiar with the shape and fit of the AirPods. Just remove the wire and make the stalk a little thicker and you are there. While there have been questions about fit, I personally really didn't wonder if they would stay in while running, I've used a pair of very secured PowerBeats for months but in the past I have used the wired EarPods and really only ever found a problem with the cord pulling them loose, particularly as the cold made the wire less pliable and in the end it was the cord that got me to seek out something wireless.

I've logged about 30KM wearing them and haven't ever felt them coming loose. In fact given that it's winter and I am usually wearing a head wrap and/or a hat I much prefer the way they fit over anything else. The PowerBeats design means that they are uncomfortable when tucked under anything pressing on them and the short cable will sometimes get snagged or pulled under layers and hoods. The AirPods are secure but you can hardly feel they are there, if you are wearing something on your head they are even more so held in place and pretty much invisible to others. While everyone's ears are different I think that generally you shouldn't have a problem with them falling out in regular use, working out or while running.

I would like to see future versions have more controls beyond Play/Pause (or Siri) and given they and their charging case are pretty small it does take some mental energy not to misplace them at first. But the pairing and re-connection is the best of any Bluetooth device I have ever used, the battery life is ok and the design is inspired right down to how the case snaps closed and uses magnets to suck the individual AirPods in for charging.

These have quickly become my favorite device of the year and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for something to use while running, working out or just moving through the day. Just knowing that you will never again violently rip out your headphones out of your ears catching the cable on something is life changing. The sound quality is great but not so noise canceling unless turned up very (too) loud that they are blocking out the sounds of the world around you, an important consideration if you commute or run in areas of busy traffic.

They are not shipping until February for most new orders but Apple stores get regular daily shipments so it shouldn't be too hard to track a pair down as the holiday's wind down.

 

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