My Favorite is a deep-dive into the absolute best versions of things you use every day, from headphones to keychains to doggy poop bags.
I’ve always had a thing for wireless technology. I can remember obsessing over the wireless headphone sets at Best Buy in the 90’s, imagining watching TV at night as loud as I wanted… there’s something still magical to me about them.
So you can imagine my elation when the explosion of Bluetooth tech in the 2010s brought with it a cornucopia of affordable, high-quality wireless headphone options. My time had arrived.
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My First Love: The LG HBS-830
With their all-day battery life, great quality, noise-isolating earbuds, and surfeit of on-collar controls, I never once felt self-conscious about the large, blinking collar I wore around my neck most of the day. They were great headphones, but after an unfortunate incident with a car door in which one ear bud was brutally torn from its home, I knew it was time to upgrade.
My Rebound: The Anker Soundbuds
The Soundbuds were a step-up in comfort: gone was the cumbersome collar, replaced by a wire connecting the two sturdy, aluminum-clad earbuds. Battery power was solid. Sound quality, quite good. On-cord controls, acceptable. But more and more, I was resenting the presence of that cord. It caught on the back of my neck on hot days, and it wasn’t friendly for one-ear listening.
So my eyes (and ears) started to wander. There was a new kid in town — shiny, white, far more expensive than any other option — and its name was: AirPods.
At first, I wasn’t impressed. I’d owned what seemed like dozens of pairs of corded AirPods over the years, and while they were acceptable for free headphones, I wasn’t in love with the look, shape, or sound. Could wireless AirPods really be worth $150?
The answer, three years later, is Yes. And a whole lot more.
My Happily Ever After: AirPods
There are two key pieces of tech to consider when talking about AirPods — the earbuds themselves, and the case. The earbuds are fantastic. They’re comfortable and light, their sound quality is acceptable, and they feature built-in tap controls for your connected device – a worthwhile substitute for button-based controls (with the exception of volume control, which I still miss).
Mine are both set so that a light double-tap with the finger will start or pause anything playing on my device. This makes them incredible exercise headphones. Other fun uses include: single-ear listening while washing dishes, sharing one-Airpod-per-person while watching a movie in bed with your partner, and keeping them in your ear, silent, to avoid talking to people at the grocery store.
So how about that case? It’s even better.
This rounded matchbox of a case may be the best inadvertent fidget toy ever made. In fact, it’s quite possible my attention was originally drawn to the AirPods not by their incredible tech (which is still magical to me), but the captivating, snappy “click” the case makes upon closure. Yes, I know the primary purpose of the case is charging the AirPods, and yes, the secondary purpose is protecting them, but I’ve developed an almost Pavlovian response to that “click” that makes me think Apple knew how many converts the case alone could make.
Let's Talk About the Price:
Three-figures for a pair of headphones that, I won’t lie, are very easy to lose, or forget in your pocket and perhaps run through the wash – that’s not chicken change. But I can confidently tell you, I used my first pair Airpods for two and a half years before murdering one with the washing machine, and it took me all of three days to buy my next pair.
You've Got Choices:
Currently there are three models on the market — the original AirPods, the AirPods with wireless charging case, and the AirPods Pro, which boast a host of additional tech like noise-cancellation. I’ve tried the Pros, and I switched back to the originals. I love the pure simplicity of the basic AirPod, sitting lightly in your ear, putting your favorite song or podcast just two taps of a finger away.