HWM (Malaysia) - - TEST -

First in­tro­duced in Septem­ber last year, the AirPods are in a sense, Ap­ple’s pro­posed so­lu­tion for their de­ci­sion to re­move the head­phone jack from their iPhones – a wire­less al­ter­na­tive for a fu­ture with­out cables. These come in their own car­ry­ing case that acts as both pro­tec­tive stor­age and charg­ing base.

The case has been clev­erly built to ini­ti­ate pair­ing with Ap­ple prod­ucts – sim­ply lift­ing the cover starts the pair­ing process, mak­ing it a real no-brainer. A but­ton on the back of the case does the same task for non-Ap­ple de­vices, and the ex­e­cu­tion over­all is typ­i­cal Ap­ple – slick and ef­fi­cient.

This case also acts as an ex­ter­nal bat­tery pack, charg­ing the AirPods for up to 24 hours lis­ten­ing time, with a quick charg­ing fea­ture that gives you three more hours with just 15 min­utes of charg­ing. On top of that, there’s also a cus­tom W1 chip in the AirPods that helps to man­age bat­tery life, giv­ing the set a good five hours of wire­less lis­ten­ing per charge. It also uses optical sen­sors and a mo­tion ac­cel­er­a­tor to de­tect when they’re in your ears, dis­en­gag­ing to save bat­tery life once they’re out.

De­spite the slightly odd look­ing de­sign – the AirPods have ex­tended ends that make them look more like candy canes than ear­phones – the AirPods did give us a fairly com­fort­able fit. How­ever this didn’t trans­late to a good seal, as we could very much still hear every­thing that was go­ing on around us, forc­ing us to raise the vol­ume to block it out.

In terms of au­dio qual­ity, the AirPods de­liv­ered au­dio per­for­mance con­sis­tent to their wired coun­ter­parts, which is to say – pretty av­er­age. The head­phones have a very flat sound sig­na­ture, with lit­tle in terms of dy­nam­ics. It does do a de­cent job on vo­cal-heavy tracks, so peo­ple who lis­ten pre­dom­i­nantly to pop should be fine. How­ever the bass re­sponse is lack­ing, so on a groovy piece like 24K Magic by Bruno Mars, what gets you mov­ing is more Bruno’s vo­cals than the lush bass beat. This is again re­flected with our for­mal test tracks, where the head­phones per­formed best with Ho­tel Cal­i­for­nia by The Ea­gles, a piece that’s more heavy on the highs.

Just open­ing the case starts the pair­ing process.

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