While they were not the first fully wireless headset, the first generation Apple Airpods released in late 2016 quickly became one of the most popular wireless headsets available. I enjoyed using them for my daily commute for a few months. However, the competition quickly surpassed what Apple had to offer and the new AirPods release is disappointing.
The first generation AirPods were worth considering due to the ease of connecting, solid battery life with a convenient charging case, and loud volume. However, the fit was not adjustable, there was no water resistant rating, and controls on the headset were very limited. These same limitations exist in the new Apple AirPods with a price $40 more than the first generation.
Apple's new AirPods advertise one hour more of talk time, a new chipset for improved connectivity and Hey Siri support, and a wireless charging case. While I'm sure people will appreciate the longer battery life and convenience of wireless charging, it would have been great to have seen some level of water resistance so people could work out with the AirPods and some way to secure the fit if the AirPods don't work for you.
For the past year I've been running with the Jabra Elite Active 65t and this is my favorite wireless headset of all time. The Jabra delivers long battery life, customizable fit, high level of dust and water resistance, great audio quality, solid phone call quality, wireless assistant support, and easily manipulated buttons for full control of your headphone experience.
Lately, Jason Cipriani (see his full review) and I have been using the new Samsung Galaxy Buds and they are clearly better than even the new AirPods at a price $70 less. The Galaxy Buds have a minimal level of water resistance, have various wings and tips for a perfect fit, have long battery life, charge wirelessly, look great, and provide touch controls. The $129.99 price is awesome and in some cases people received them for free with a new Samsung Galaxy S10 bundle.
Apple is sure to sell millions of the new Apple AirPods, but before you jump on buying them just because of the Apple name make sure to take an honest look at the competition. Rivals have definitely stepped up since the first AirPods were released and since my current AirPods end up on the ground all of the time I will not even be considering these new earbuds from Apple.