Mother’s Day is just a few days away and if you haven’t ordered anything yet for mother dearest, we have great news for you: We’ve scoured the Internet and found significant discounts on the Apple AirPods (2nd Gen), AirPods Pro, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple Watch Series 5 today.
What’s the difference between the first and second generation of AirPods besides the wireless charging case upgrade? Not much, to be honest. They look exactly the same, although there are some notable improvements underneath the hood, including the H1 chipset, longer talk time, and support for voice-activated Siri. They also remain ridiculously easy to operate and set up for iOS devices, although the lack of waterproofing or workout features is baffling considering the price point (you can take the Galaxy Buds to the gym, and they cost less). Right now, you can get the AirPods 2 with the standard wired charging case for $136 (down from $160) at Verizon and $170 (down from $200) for those with a wireless charging case.
The latest AirPods rock the same golf-tee shape of their predecessors. A lot of people seem to like this design (considering how immensely popular they are), although if you ask us they look like the old EarPods with the wires cut off. Compared to its wired counterpart, the wireless charging case now has its LED lights on the front, which allows you to see charging status when the case is placed atop a Qi charging pad. Apple claims that the case can carry the same amount of reserve charging it did three years ago, offering up to 24 hours, which still beats most competitors.
The onboard controls are the same as before – for better or worse. Each AirPod works autonomously, which means they don’t run out of juice at the same time. They auto-pause audio immediately when you take one out — but only with Apple devices. As usual, they don’t have volume and song-skipping default controls, offering only play and skip forward with a double-tap. You can assign play/pause, next track, and previous track controls in your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings on either earbud if you want to, though. To change the volume, you can simply ask Siri to turn it up or down for you. If you have an Android phone, you’re stuck with doing it manually.
Speaking of Siri, voice-activated control wasn’t possible with the old AirPods. You can thank Apple’s new H1 chip for this, alongside lower gaming lag, and its “50% faster” connection for phone calls — although we didn’t really notice any difference compared to other true wireless earbuds, including the original AirPods. Apple also claims that the chip can significantly reduce the distortion of your voice in windy conditions for superior call quality. We tested this in moderate wind, and it actually worked. Despite all these extremely welcome new additions, it’s hard to forgive Apple for the fact that it still hasn’t made the AirPods sweatproof. For that, you’ve got to pay a premium price for the Airpods Pro, which also boast active noise canceling.
When it comes to sound quality, the AirPods 2 fall under the “Not bad” category. It reminded us a lot of the wired EarPods. It’s far from terrible, and we do appreciate the softness and warmth it lends to certain songs, but that’s not exactly what you’re looking for when you’re listening to hip-hop, rap, and other beat-driven genres. It’s a very safe sound signature, designed not to offend anyone.
You get a modest update with the AirPods 2. If you’re an iPhone user, these are the best true wireless earbuds to get, especially if you’re after convenience. If you already have the old AirPods, you don’t need to buy these.
AirPods with Charging Case — $136, was $160:
AirPods with Wireless Charging Case — $170, was $200:
It’s probably pretty obvious that we weren’t all that impressed with the standard AirPods. There are just several other true wireless earbuds out there that offer better value for your hard-earned money. So when Apple announced it was going to release the souped-up AirPod Pro, we were naturally skeptical. Would the company be able to deliver this time and improve on all the areas that the AirPods failed at? The answer is a resounding yes. The AirPods Pro are shockingly good and a huge win for Apple. Their sound quality has improved tremendously, their noise-canceling is spectacular, and they’re extremely comfortable to use even for a long period. The only problem we foresee is their questionable long-term battery life. Right now, you can score the AirPods Pro at Verizon for $225 instead of $250 – a cool $25 off.
Love it or hate it, the AirPods’ golf-tee design is iconic, so Apple didn’t stray too far away from it when designing the AirPods Pro. They just now sport a shorter stem, which brings us to this major concern: Battery life. While the AirPods Pro offer the same battery performance as the standard AirPods (roughly 4.5 to 5 hours of listening time and/or 3.5 hours of call time per charge), we fear that their smaller batteries might not last as long. Unlike the Airpods, the AirPods Pro come with three sets of silicone eartips that snap on with a satisfying click instead of sliding onto a little nubbin as so many other in-ear buds require. This change not only offers a more secure and comfortable fit but also contributes to a better bass response.
The AirPods Pro inherit the original AirPods’ controls which means they’re ridiculously easy to operate and, as expected, Siri is always listening and ready to obey your every command. As with most true wireless buds with active noise-canceling, you have the option to either shut noise out or let it all in. Apple calls the latter feature “Transparency Mode” and activating this allows sounds from the outside world to arrive in a very natural way, almost as if you’ve taken the buds themselves out. Noise-canceling is decidedly top-notch and almost on par with what over-ear ANC headphones offer. Last but certainly not least, the AirPods Pro deliver a pretty impressive sonic performance. Their sound signature is terrific, rich in subtle details with some zesty treble, rounded-up by a full-bodied bass.
We tip our hats to the Apple AirPods Pro. These are absolutely the best true wireless earbuds that you can get if you’re an iOS user. Get them for $225 at Verizon today.
Syncing the Apple Watch Series 3 to your iPhone via Bluetooth allows you to receive real-time notifications and music playback control. You can get notified of calls, text messages, and social media alerts even if your phone is tucked away in your bag. This smartwatch doesn’t have a built-in eSim card, though, so you cannot make phone calls on your wrist. For that, you need to spend a few extra bucks and get the cellular version.
The Apple Watch Series 3 is a very reliable fitness tracker. It boasts a gamut of health-centric sensors, including a heart rate monitor, accelerometer, and gyroscope. With this watch you can track a multitude of activities, including walking, running, swimming, and cycling. When you’ve been sitting for too long, this watch will remind you to get off your feet and take a brief walk. It also helps you relieve pent-up stress through the Breathe mindfulness feature. All health stats and metrics are aggregated in the Activity app.
This smartwatch comes with a strap band called a “Sports Loop.” It has a simple hook-and-eye system that’s guaranteed to fit all wrist sizes. The band is replaceable if you wish to get other styles, colors, and even materials. The watch face is also fully customizable, with a variety of designs to suit your personality.
Even though it’s not the latest or the most feature-packed Apple Watch, the Series 3 is great value for your money. It is currently on sale on Best Buy for just $179.
Visually, there’s nothing that sets the Apple Watch Series 5 apart from its predecessor, the Series 4. It still sports the same square design and digital crown control system. Its case is made of 100% recycled aluminum (perfect for the environmentally conscious), although it also comes in titanium, stainless steel, and ceramic if you have the money to splurge, with a case size of either 44mm or 40mm. Curvy and ergonomic, it’s small and light enough to let you feel like you’re not wearing it, and it won’t get caught on your shirt cuff.
The biggest difference between the Series 5 and the previous Apple Watch iterations is its always-on display. It will always show the time and you no longer need to raise your wrist in order to wake the screen up. This might sound a tad silly and inconsequential, but having to raise your hands quite unsubtly isn’t something you’ll always be comfortable doing, so we appreciate the slight upgrade. Workout stats are also immediately shown as soon as you start exercising. For example, do some push-ups and the Watch will automatically display the corresponding metrics. There are plenty of watch faces to choose from, with designs that range from the elegant to the quirky. And if you’re thinking that the always-on display will take a serious toll on the battery life, don’t fret. It’s possible to get a full day and a half out of a single charge. Recharging takes about an hour.
The Series 5 also has an internal compass, an even more powerful S5 processor, and a much larger storage capacity. The interface is fun and simple to use. Using the digital crown to zoom in and out of the app screen is smooth and fun, and the haptic feedback provides an impressively tactile experience. All your basic fitness-tracking needs are covered, plus a few more. It takes care of steps, calories, hourly movement, relaxation, VO2 Max data, hours spent standing, and workout tracking for a range of sports including swimming and biking, and it even handles more unusual activities like yoga and elliptical training.
Probably the most important health feature of the Series 5 is its electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor, which was introduced first on the Series 4. It’s not exactly a heart rate monitor — which is useful for fitness tracking as well as for medical purposes — but instead is designed for use when you feel an irregularity in your heart rate. Having it there will provide peace of mind to anyone with concerns over an irregular heartbeat, as it will send a notification if one is detected.
The Apple Watch Series 5 is nearly perfect and is the best smartwatch that you can buy right now. Get it at Best Buy starting at $299.
Apple Watch Series 5 (40mm, GPS) — $349, was $399:
Apple Watch Series 5 (44mm, GPS) — $327, was $429:
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