Are Airpods really that bad?

There have been serious debates about the new wireless (Bluetooth) Airpods – the question is are they really that bad?

Change is tough to handle for anyone. So the understandable first hiccups are there, for sure. But doing away with cables for earphones is pretty standard. Standard for a revolutionary company that brings in surprises for customers and defines the consumer market for years to come. Sure.

Let’s play the blame game

But this time, ┬áhas Apple (again) made a serious error? I was going though this well written account of first hand experience about the Airpods – and he makes it clear that the experience was sub-par, to say the least. What is interesting is that he gives Siri as the reason and not the item as a hardware itself. Lets see if there is some merit to it after all or not.

Airpods in their white glory
Airpods in their white glory!

First things, first – the Airpods are good. They paired easily when I checked them out. It was no hassle. The sound quality is quite good, especially for a wireless device – I could not make any difference when compared to their cabled counterparts. The tough part came later.

This is when you intend to change the Volume for example. Instead of using the phone, the idea is that you call Siri to do that for you. That is what the hands free experience is supposed to deliver – right? Well, this is where it fails and miserably. The author I quoted earlier had a similar experience it seems – the sound commands are totally messed up. I am not sure what might be the culprit here – the Airpods, or the microphone quality. Whatever may the reason be – it is obvious that Apple did introduce a flaw here. My older iPad 2 can still respond to my voice commands fine.

And this over reliance on voice commands make it terrible. Yes, that is the word – without the control buttons, switching, answering, stopping calls become a lot more difficult and requires a lot of getting used to. By that I mean you need to get used to dropped calls, lowered volumes, music playing in the background and what not. It almost makes one wish to have the older buttons back. But then what’s the use of having a hands free device anyway? Exactly!

I will cut Apple some slack here, as this is clearly a device slightly ahead of its time and it will take some time to mature. But I wish they waited for a year before releasing it to the public. That way the shortcomings could have been ironed out. I guess we have to pay and then wait for that to happen. Not fair.