I bought myself a pair of 3rd gen Apple AirPods towards the end of 2021 and after several months of using them, I have some thoughts. This is not a comprehensive review, just some thoughts that I thought I would share.
First, let’s deal with comfort. I have never liked earbuds that sit inside the ear canal, I find them uncomfortable and after a short time, they tend to hurt my ears. This is why I have held off on embracing true wireless audio; full wireless headphones are ludicrously expensive and earbuds, by and large, have a closed in-ear design. The AirPods have an open design, which does mean that sound does leak quite a lot, so they may not be suitable for use on public transport or in busy offices. This isn’t an issue for me as I work from home and am generally a bit of a hermit. The upside of the open design of the AirPods is that they are infinitely more comfortable, meaning that I can wear them for as long as the battery lasts without really noticing that I am wearing them. The other plus side of course is that they do let world sounds in, so they are great for when I am out walking as I can still hear traffic noise, so they are a bit safer.
When it comes to battery life, I can typically get 5 to 6 hours from just the AirPods. When I factor in the case and the fact that they charge quite quickly, I can easily get a full day of life from them. I am very happy with the battery life I get from these earbuds.
For listening to music, the AirPods aren’t brilliant. Sound quality is very skewed towards the upper end of the audio spectrum, and the lower end sounds very thin. I’m not even a big bass-head, but even I can see the limitations of using the AirPods for listening to music. You do need to use EQ to get decent quality for listening to music. For listening to audiobooks or podcasts, though, the AirPods are great as they untether you from wires which means you can do things as you listen. Audiobooks as I go walking or as I work is my primary use case for the AirPods. For music, I must stick with my full size wired Sennheiser HD660S unless I can find a pair of earbuds that both sound good and don’t make my ears hurt after 15 minutes.