This question has been keeping me up at night lately. Will it be possible to still get a taste of the “Apple magic” while using their trademark wireless earpods with a device that is not an iPhone or a MacBook?
The release of the AirPods was an important milestone in the development of wireless headphones and earbuds. Apple did what Apple does best – created a simple, convenient and usable solution that revolutionized – or revitalized – its segment. In this case we’re talking about wireless headphones, which generally could not boast great usability prior to the arrival of the AirPods. With the AirPods, you simply open the case and the earphones automatically connect to your phone. Put them back – now they’re off and charging. That’s the magic of the “fruit company.” I, however, have never been a big fan or a dedicated user of the Apple products. This is why I was interested how the AirPods wouldwork outside of the Apple ecosystem, namely – with my Huawei smartphone and my Windows laptop.
AirPods + Android = good
The wireless AirPods work flawlessly with iPhone – they connect instantly, support gestures and so on. However, one should expect a bumpy road when buying them for an Android phone.
When connected to an Android phone, the AirPods turn into ordinary wireless earbuds. The sound quality is still good, of course, yet a part of the magic is simply not there. They are easy to connect – you need to open the case cover and press a single button on the case so that the indicator starts flashing white. Then you need to find AirPods in the Bluetooth settings of your phone and you’re good to go. It is possible to connect headphones one by one, using them as a headset, or both at the same time.
On Android, you can not see how much battery is left in the case or in the individual earbuds The automatic stop function does not work if you pull one of the earbuds out of your ear. For obvious reasons, you cannot launch Siri with a voice command. Despite these shortcomings, AirPods remain comfortable headphones.
Some gestures work with Android too: for instance, you can pause a track by double-tapping one of the AirPods. Some reviews say that you can also skip tracks, but in my case only the pause function is working. Nevertheless, these gestures are a little uncomfortable, because it’s hard to knock on a small earpiece, you have to get used to it.
Some functions on Android can be added using applications. In the Play Store the most popular is AirBattery, I tried it out it. It adds a display of the battery charge and an automatic pause function if you remove the earpiece from the ear. There are nuances though. To begin with, you will need to pay to remove ads. Also, the battery percentage is sometimes not displayed correctly. If you connect several times in a row, then each time you will see a different result – a spread of 10-15%. Still, it is close enough to have an idea how long the earbuds will last. For the automatic pause function, the application has to run in the background, draining your phone’s battery.
In conclusion, the AirPods are quite usable with Android devices. Don’t hesitate to purchase them to use with your Samsung, Huawei, Sony or any other Android smartphone – if the price seems right to you. The experience won’t be as flawless as it is with an iPhone, but the AirPods are still better than most wireless earbuds.
AirPods + Windows = pain
Always give a second thought to the idea of buying AirPods for your Windows computer. Even better, a third and a fourth thought, and it would be best to test this setup before purchase. Windows does not get along very well with wireless headphones, and the AirPods are no exception.
If you connect the AirPods only to a Windows laptop and always use both earpieces, then there will be no problems. Except one – they do not work in the headset mode, absolutely, without exceptions. I came to this conclusion after a long process of digging through the thematic forums. This is a big disadvantage, because the AirPods are veryconvenient for calls, yet on Windows it is impossible. Yet you can play video games in them, since there isn’t a big signal delay.
Another problem occurs when you try to use earbuds one by one. If you are using one earpiece and try to get the second one, Windows goes into a stupor – only one of them will work. Even if you just open the case cover, the connection may break for a couple of seconds. Then you have to go into the settings, unpair the AirPods, put them back in the case and connect them again. Yikes.
AirPods – comfortable, yet very expensive earphones. Discussing the sound quality here is meaningless, they are definitely not intended for audiophiles. Some are scared off by the shape and form or the AirPods, since they don’t insulate you from the outside environment very well. In many cases it’s plus though.
In general, I was pleased with the AirPods. On Android they lost some of the notorious magic, but they still work well. With Windows it’s much worse, yet again I can’t say that a combination of a laptop and wireless headphones makes much sense.