AirPod reviews outside the Apple bubble

I’m a fan of M. G. Siegler’s writing, so I was interested in his take on the Apple AirPods:

In my mind, without question, they are the best new product Apple has done in years. Are they perfect? No. But they’re so good at their core purpose: wireless earbuds, that it’s honestly hard to complain about a single thing.


I use them with my iPhone, my iPad, and my MacBook. They’re so seamless to use it’s honestly frustrating to think about using anything else.


Pairing, thanks to the W1 chip, could not be easier. It makes pairing any other non-W1 Bluetooth device seem like a farce. And believe me, I’ve paired a lot of Bluetooth devices over the years. That it took this many years to perfect such a task, only for Apple to come along and do it seemingly overnight, seems like a joke. A really bad joke. Everyone else who has played in the Bluetooth game for a long time should be ashamed.

This is a love letter. And not the first AirPods love letter I’ve encountered.

With that as background, I’ve been talking to non-Apple folks about the AirPods and, almost universally, they tell me they’ve read that the AirPods are mediocre. This is mystifying to me, since the only negative I’ve heard has been from people whose ears are not a great fit.

I started doing my own digging and, sure enough, the internet is filled with one-off reviews that seem ambivalent about AirPods. Some of the reviews were clearly about poor ear fit, some complaining about the lack of an attaching cable (pull an AirPod out of your ear and it will fall to the ground), and the ease with which they can be lost.

I turned to Amazon to read their reviews. Problem there? The only Apple AirPods on are outrageously priced markups sold by a third party. And the negative reviews are all about the price. But without digging further, the appearance is that the AirPods are mediocre.

Finally, I found a crowdsourced set of reviews that felt genuine, on Best Buy’s web site. Unlike Amazon, Best Buy sells AirPods direct from Apple. They are backordered until Feb 24th (as of this writing), but the reviews are almost universally positive.

So if someone asks, I’d send them the Best Buy link and tell them about the issue of ear fit, make sure they buy them from somewhere with a pain-free return policy.