Cool wireless earbuds like the Apple AirPods are cool, but they may not be for everyone.
I’ve been happy with my AirPods Pro since I bought them almost two years ago, but when I recently found an unused pair of wired EarPods in an old iPhone box, I started wondering how they compare.
Before I got my AirPods, I was already using wireless earbuds, but there are some problems with using wireless earbuds instead of wired ones that everyone knows about. I’ll talk about these things and what I found after switching between the two earbuds for a week.
I think the AirPods Pro is better, which shouldn’t surprise me. But the difference isn’t as big as you might think, and that should make you consider whether upgrading to wireless earbuds is the best way to spend your money or if you’re better off sticking with cables.
AirPods vs. EarPods: Price and Design
Let’s start with how much these two sets of earbuds cost differently. The list price for a pair of AirPods Pro is $249/£239. However, you can often find them on sale for less than $200/£200. Compared to that, the EarPods cost $19 or £20 and come with either a Lightning or 3.5mm jack tip. You may have already gotten a free pair of EarPods like I did because Apple sent a pair with every iPhone before the iPhone 12.
The AirPods 2 and EarPods have an older, open-fit design, but the AirPods Pro has gel tips. I find these are much more comfortable to wear for long periods, but I know many people who don’t agree. I haven’t tried the AirPods 3, which has a new design with an open fit, but I think I’d still like gel tips better.
Unsurprisingly, the main difference is whether or not there are wires. The cable on the EarPods can easily get tangled up in your pocket or get caught on your hands, door handles, or other annoying things. However, they are much easier to get out of your pocket and use because they have a simple connector. There is no need to wait around for Bluetooth to wake up.
AirPods vs. EarPods: Features
The thing I liked most about the EarPods, besides how cheap they were, was that the cable had both a microphone and a remote. The sound quality of the EarPods is much better than that of the AirPods. This is because the AirPods Pro’s Bluetooth can’t send as much data wirelessly as a cable can.
This is paired with buttons for the volume and play/pause. Tapping and holding the stems, you can move through a playlist with your AirPods. However, there is no tap gesture to change the volume, which is something I didn’t realize I missed so much when I switched to the EarPods.
Also, unlike with the AirPods, you never have to worry about running out of power. The EarPods’ combined battery life of 24 hours is good, but you never have to worry about charging them or decide if you can go to work without your charging case.
Even further into the future, you don’t have to worry about the EarPods becoming useless because the battery wears out too much. If you take good care of the cables and connectors, the EarPods could last forever. On the other hand, the batteries in the AirPods and their charging case will always die. Google Pixel Buds Pro: Everything You Need to Know
Wireless, however, is much nicer, and since it needs to be charged in a carrying case, it behaves much better when left alone in a pocket or bag. If you have powered earbuds, you also get active noise cancellation, which is one of the things I missed most when I used EarPods. Without the AirPods Pro’s ANC to block out engine noises and nearby conversations, my bus rides to work were much noisier. Even listening to music at home was ruined because I could hear traffic noises or my fan spinning through the EarPods.
Strangely, it’s also easier to use wireless earbuds these days because Apple has been slowly getting rid of the headphone jack and, more recently, the Lightning port. Currently, only iPhones and the basic iPad have that, while only MacBooks and the same basic iPad have a headphone jack. If you don’t have a dongle, you’ll need to use whatever port you have to connect your EarPods. Then you won’t be able to charge your device or plug in other accessories. This isn’t a big deal on a MacBook, but it’s a real pain on iPhones with only one port and even the best iPads.
AirPods vs. EarPods: Audio
But enough about the features, let’s get to the most crucial component: audio quality. Although this was the tightest round of the AirPods vs. EarPods tournament, I believe I must award the EarPods the victory. Read More; AirPods Max 2 — 5 Upgrades Unleashed
The mids of “Sweater Weather” by The Neighbourhood, including the guitars and vocals, were clearer on the wired earbuds when I listened to it on Tidal. The bass and percussion didn’t sound all that different between the two pairs of ‘Pods, but the mids were sharper and clearer with the EarPods.
That all changes in a noisy area due to the AirPods Pro’s noise canceling. The ANC keeps the important parts of the song audible above whatever hubbub’s going on nearby.
The head-tracking surround sound technology built into Apple’s Spatial Audio is one more benefit the AirPods Pro has for listening to music. You can’t utilize this feature with the EarPods, albeit I don’t frequently use it because I find it a little unsettling.
AirPods vs. EarPods: which are perfect for you?
Picking a “default” option when purchasing technology is one of the biggest blunders you can make since you’ve heard the product is nice rather than the ideal alternative for your needs. Any set of AirPods, even the AirPods Pro, are excellent devices, but they’re also pricey and come with just as many restrictions as new features. I’d really evaluate whether switching to wireless earbuds is the appropriate choice for you if your tech budget is constrained or you currently own a set of EarPods that are lying around. Read Also; Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 Review: Buff Up
Apart from the price differential, these inexpensive wired earbuds have an advantage over a device that costs more than ten times as much due to the practicality of a better quality microphone, in-line volume controls, the absence of battery concerns, and arguably better overall audio quality. But if I only used EarPods, I’d miss the appeal of noise cancellation and the ease of having no cables. Another drawback is the absence of gel tips, although if you’re not tied to EarPods, other wired earbuds also include these.
Because AirPods have some very useful capabilities, you shouldn’t feel pressured to give up your EarPods or other wired headphones just because they have become so popular. Before clicking the purchase button, consider your needs. Perhaps you’ll discover that your older wired ‘buds still allow you to enjoy music, podcasts, or whatever else you want while also helping you to save money.