Apple AirPods were undeniably one of the hottest gifts this past holiday season. If you got a pair, or got enough cash to buy some, read on. We’ll dive into what’s sweet about the new AirPods, how they’re different from the old AirPods and whether the upgrade is worth it.
New AirPods 2020
Apple is the best at making must-have products that seem to differ only slightly from previous versions. However, if you are into the latest greatest, the AirPods released in 2020 are probably either on your list or already in your pocket. Or their case. You should keep them in the case.
Let’s start by reviewing the in-ear options.
AirPods—in all of their perfectly white, fine-tuned glory—come in a comfortingly familiar iteration with the basic model. Starting at $159, they feature a universal fit (hard plastic), H1 chip, automatic switching and a five hour battery life (with one charge). The charging case is included and can even be personalized. If you’re looking for basic, no frills, high-performing wireless in-ear headphones (say that 10x fast), the baseline AirPods will do the trick. Of course, Apple has plenty of upgraded options.
The next step up from the basic AirPods are the AirPods Pro. The most obvious difference is that the ear fit is customizable. Depending on how you’re built, this can make a huge difference. Especially considering any AirPods will cost over $100, having them fall out on a run is a huge bummer. The AirPods Pro starts at $249 and also has additional features like spatial audio, active noise cancellation and are sweat/water resistant. The battery life on one charge lasts about 4.5 hours and a wireless charging case is included (but not a standard charging case). Some people doubt the “noise cancelling” effectiveness of these. However, our testing has indicated that you can, in fact, loudly sing 90’s alt rock into someone’s face and barely be heard.
For most standard uses, AirPods and AirPods Pro are great options for daily use. But if you’re really looking to get into hi-fi audio, Apple has two additional options.
The AirPods Max are over-ear headphones that feature a brushed silver finish, white mesh, chrome accents and undeniably Apple sleekness. Of course, there are additional color options (white, black, blue, red, green). The cups rotate independently to balance pressure over the ear. Cushioned with memory foam, sliding these on gives you a truly immersive experience. They really do seal over your entire ear, creating an almost private experience, as external noise is canceled out. The produced sound is described as ultra-low distortion and has a custom-built driver. Even at full volume, there is a consistent and clear playback. They can also be personalized with custom engraving. The AirPods Max start at $549.
Bottom line is that all three of these are reliably good products that will work with your Apple devices. If you really want to treat yourself, the AirPods Max is a totally different listening experience that may be ideal for a busy dorm room, crowded flight or living room full of kids. Not that we recommend you tune out to life, but putting all of the noise on pause for a minute is definitely doable with Apple’s noise cancelling features.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the Airpods.
How Much Do The New AirPods Cost?
Basic AirPods will cost between $159-$199. Upgrades to this model include custom engraving. There is a wireless charging case with the $199 package, which works with a lightning connector or a Qi-certified charger.
The AirPods Pro will cost $249 but keep in mind that they only come with a wireless charger. There is a Lightning to USB-C Cable, for which you’ll need a separate charger. You can upgrade with custom engraving.
The AirPods Max cost $549 and include a Smart Case.
You can add on AppleCare+ for headphones, which will increase the cost a little.
What is the Difference Between New AirPods and Old AirPods?
The primary difference between old AirPods and new AirPods is a processor. Older models of AirPods had a W1 chip. The new AirPods have an H1 chip, which translates into a faster connection. A second difference is the use of “Hey Siri” (always on) for the new AirPods models. If you use the virtual assistant on the reg, this may be a beneficial feature. Lastly is the battery life. New AirPods may provide at least three hours of talk time for a charge, which is about an hour more than older models.
Are New AirPods Worth It?
If you want faster connections, access to Siri and longer talk time, the new AirPods are probably worth the investment. True to form, Apple regularly ages out older models of tech, so there could always be upcoming compatibility issues if you cling to old devices. Even if you don’t want to go all out for the AirPods Max, both the newer models of the AirPods and AirPods Pro are an upgrade and have worthwhile features.
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