I Don't Like My AirPods 3

     Just because something is flashy and cool doesn't mean it's better. You don't need me to tell you this, but Apple is smart with marketing. When I was in Paris last summer, giant ads hyped up AirPods, making the marketing presence surrounding that product especially evident. I fell for the hype and have owned two pairs of AirPods: the second and third generations. However, I can now safely say while my first pair was fine, I sincerely hate my AirPods 3. Here's why.

    I'm an Apple fan, make no mistake. I am writing this on a 2020 MacBook Air while listening to some tunes on my iPhone 14. However, these tunes aren't coming through my AirPods. Instead, they come from a random $20 pair of earbuds, the KBEAR KS2s. Other than being wired, they are superior to my AirPods in every way. For one, the AirPods 3 don't stay in my ears well, so their sound quality is greatly diminished from this alone. I cannot speak for how they sound for someone with different ears, but the refusal to use rubber tips on all AirPods models is a confusing choice when my KBEARs boast comfy tips at a fraction of the price. They also sound significantly better and naturally cancel noise much more effectively. Note that neither of these buds has ANC.

    AirPods are all about convenience, though, and no wired headphones can replicate the sheer convenience of TWS earbuds. The problem is, I genuinely like my older pair of AirPods better. Maybe I'm weird, but I prefer the shape of them. They do sound worse, but they haven't had the frequent issues plaguing my AirPods 3 in particular. Annoying things like the left earbud inexplicably not charging, the phone thinking the earbuds are out of the case when they're not, and having the audio default to playing through them, add up. Oh, and did I mention that the battery drains super fast? Since the AirPods aren't properly recognized by the case, they stay connected to my phone and drain over the day. It really, really sucks.

    Yes, a lot of this is bad luck, and all of these issues may not apply to the majority of other AirPods 3 users. However, these are $169 headphones, and they are nowhere near as good as competing products. Is it really worth it for Apple's reliability, status, and features? Maybe, but that reliability just hasn't been there for me. The lack of interchangeable tips is simply unacceptable at this price, and I strongly believe that if you really want AirPods, you should pay the extra cash for the Pros. Alternatively, you could get the KBEARs and a Lightning to 3.5mm jack adapter for less than $30.

    To finish off this rant, it's easy to fall for the Apple hype, and I am of the firm belief that they make incredible products. There's plenty to like about AirPods 3, like their size, controls, and software integration with iPhones. That said, if given the chance again, I would buy something less expensive than the AirPods with more features. They may not be as cool or recognizable as the AirPods, but they’d accomplish the same goal. Regardless, AirPods are all about status, so they'll sell no matter what. After all, people will always pay more for something that’s “cool.” I guess that I just expected more from Apple, and this time around, I was severely disappointed. That's a lot of complaining though, so I should mention the AirPods' one secret advantage over the competition: They make excellent nose plugs.

These things kind of suck.

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