Apple’s AirPods are the most popular true wireless earbuds in the world for plenty of reasons: They offer rock-solid connection, are very easy to use, sound great, and last long. They also tend to be pretty pricey. Luckily, we’ve found the AirPods and AirPods Pro on sale at Amazon and B&H Photo starting from just $139. Better take advantage of these deals quickly though as discounts on Apple products are never around for long.
AirPods with Charging Case — $139, was $159
Since hitting stores back in December of 2016, Apple’s AirPods have dominated the market for true wireless earbuds. And why wouldn’t they? They’re astonishingly easy to operate (well, for iOS users anyway) and have rock-solid connectivity, making these the must-have earbuds for diehard Apple fans. Unfortunately, if you already have the wired EarPods (you do if you’ve got an iPhone), you probably won’t be impressed with the AirPods’ sound quality – because they sound almost exactly the same. What you’re really paying for is the complete freedom from wires. Right now, you can get the AirPods with wired charging case at B&H Photo for $139 instead of $159.
The AirPods come with a white charging case and a standard-issue USB-to-lightning charging cable. You won’t find a USB wall plug here, but that’s fine since you probably already have plenty of those lying around. Out of the box, the AirPods already have a fair amount of juice in them, and this is where the magic happens. If your iOS device’s Bluetooth is activated, simply opening the case and taking the AirPods out will make a pop-up appear on the screen for immediate pairing.
The AirPods are also very easy to operate. Inside them are accelerometers and other sensors that determine when the buds have been inserted and removed from your ears. Removing one AirPod will automatically pause music, and tapping the exterior of either AirPod will summon Siri. You can ask her to set a reminder, schedule an alarm, place a call, or adjust the volume of your music up or down. In terms of battery life, the AirPods are touted to deliver up to five hours of listening time and two hours of talk time on a single full charge. Of course, it all boils down to the degree of usage. With multiple charges from the AirPods case, Apple says you can expect a total of 24 hours of listening time or 11 hours of talk time. If you’re a fan of the EarPods’ sound but hate wires, then the AirPods should be right up your alley.
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. Right now, you can get the AirPods 2 with wireless charging case for $169 (down from $199) at Amazon.
The latest AirPods’ 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. 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. Unfortunately, they still 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.
Speaking of Siri, voice-activated control wasn’t possible with the old AirPods. You can thank Apple’s new H1 chip for adding it, alongside lower gaming lag, and its “50% faster” connection for phone calls. When it comes to sound quality, the AirPods fall under the “Not bad” category. It reminded us 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. The AirPods are perfect for iOS users, but if you want premium features such as sweat-resistance and active noise cancellation in your earbuds, check out the AirPods Pro below.
We weren’t all that impressed with the standard AirPods, 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? The answer is a resounding yes. The AirPods Pro are shockingly good and are absolutely the best true wireless earbuds that you can get if you’re an iOS user. Their sound quality has improved tremendously, their noise-canceling is spectacular, and they’re extremely comfortable to use even when used for a long period. Right now, you can score the AirPods Pro at Amazon for $234 instead of $249.
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 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. Get them for $234 at Verizon today.
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