Monday, January 18, 2021

Controversy corner: Wired earbuds vs Airpods

This is a "just for fun" post on the pros and cons of traditional wired earbuds vs Apple AirPods for everyday use. 

Hat tip to my brother Jeremy for inspiring me to finally put this post together. He was recently seen on Instagram rocking some sweet wired earbuds, even though he's retired, and has sufficient discretionary funds to buy himself AirPods, if he so chose!

Wired Earbuds

Apple AirPods

Price tag 💸

✅ From around US $10-15 💰

US $159+ 💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰💰

Ease of switching between multiple devices (e.g. iPhone 📱 and MacBook 💻) 

✅ Plug them in

Fiddle with the Bluetooth settings menu

Troubleshooting pairing issues / charging issues / audio issues

✅ 100% reliable

Seldom, hopefully...?

Charging ⚡

✅ Never needs charging

Up to 5 hours listening per charge; requires charging case + Apple lightning cable or wireless charging mat (💰)

Anxiety when they get lost 😰

✅ Shrug and buy a new pair


Works with Nintendo Switch, the treadmill TV at the gym, the entertainment systems on airplanes

✅ Plug them in

No; can work around with Bluetooth adapter (💰)

Battery lifespan 🔋

✅ Unlimited

2-3 years

Audio quality 🎶

✅ Great

✅ Great

Can simultaneously charge device 🔌 and listen

✅ Yes (on devices with a 3.5mm jack, like my iPhone 6S)

✅ Yes

Risk of inadvertently getting yanked or knocked out of ears 👂

Wires can get caught when doing chores

✅ Minimal 

Works with newer iPhones

Dongle needed 🙄

✅ Yes 🍎💰

Looks like AirPods win in a landslide! Let's all throw away our inexpensive, never-needs-charging, high-fidelity earbuds, and buy AirPods! 😜

For clarity, I am indeed perfectly aware that the ship has (for the most part) sailed on this debate. Apple, at least, doesn't seem likely to release a new phone ever again with 3.5mm headphone jack technology, when they could sell the folks buying that phone $160 AirPods instead. I stand by my entitlement to my (unpopular) opinion on this topic regardless. 😁

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