Last week, Apple unveiled its new merchandise lineup, headlined by the iPhone 5. As always, the constant debate ensued between iPhone fan boys, Anti-Apple users, and the independents that may/may not use Apple products over whether or not this was significant. As an iPhone 4S owner, my decision to stand pat until next year was pretty easy. As intriguing to me as the iPhone 5 announcement was, I was even more interested with the release of the new Apple Earpods. They are free with the purchase of iPhone 5, and were made ready for purchase separately. Since I lost my old factory iPhone headphones, and they weren’t working too well anyway, I was due for an earphone upgrade. I hit up the Apple store on 5th Avenue in NYC on Friday and made my purchase. Sidebar: The option to perform a self check-out with the iPhone “App store” app is genius! If I’m there to buy accessories, I’m never waiting on line again! Anyway, many people asked me for my first impressions, so I decided to post a quick review.
As I unboxed the Earpods, the first thing I noticed was the new design. As it was explained in the Apple Keynote Address, the design was meant to fit more comfortably in the ear. As I placed the buds in my ear, it felt like they directly fit inside, as if they were designed for my specific ear canal. They felt weird at first but the more I wore them, the more comfortable it felt. I also still stumble putting them into my ear, but with time I will get better.
The remote looks similar to the old earphones, but to me is more distinctly designed. The buttons for raising and lowering volume are more pronounced. The middle area for pausing, rewinding and fast forwarding through songs, and answering/ending calls, makes these functions more precise.
So I went to the best places I could think in order to test the sound quality properly. I hopped on the NYC E Train on my daily commute, and brought them along with me to the gym. I also tested them on my laptop as I watched YouTube videos. As I turned on the music player on my iPhone, the difference in quality from the old earphones was night and day. The sound was way clearer and sharper, and the bass was booming! Actually, before I started selecting different songs, I had to turn the volume all the way down. When I had the old earphones, I had to turn the volume to the max in order to hear something that resembled music. With the Earpods, you won’t need to go too high past 50% to hear your music loudly.
The Earpods cancel noise OK for ear buds. If I turned the volume to the max, I could hear nothing too clearly outside of the music. When they were at more normal levels, I could hear faint conversation if I concentrated, but they still were effective. Needless to say, with the Earpods you can seclude yourself from the outside world as much as you want.
The Earpods work well with phone calls too. Speaking with my friends became easier than with the old earphones. They couldn’t tell I was using a headset. I didn’t have to ask them to repeat themselves constantly and vice versa. They sounded clear and my voice was received clearly on the other end.
Controlling volume with the remote is easy. I found myself tapping the buttons to control volume. I couldn’t hold the button down to gradually decrease/increase sound. Sometimes, when I tapped the buttons fast, the response on the phone was delayed. The volume change wouldn’t coincide with the pace at which I pushed the buttons. The delay wasn’t that much or really noticeable, but it’s good for you to know. I can also say that the left and right Earpods are distinct. It would be difficult to put them in the wrong ear, unless your vision/cognitive abilities were impaired for some reason.
At ~$32, I think this is a great purchase for current iPhone/iPod users who aren’t going to upgrade and get them for free. They come with their own case, so you can keep them safe and fresh. The sound is clear, sounds twice as good as the old earphones, and is crisp. My one concern is durability. Will these falter as easily as its predecessor? Will the sound degrade? It comes with a 1 year warranty, so if they make it that far, consider your purchase a success. I’m sure that with proper care, and exhibiting prudence with blasting music at its max level constantly, you should get a proper bang for your buck with these Earpods.
Enjoy your purchase!