I’ve always hated my tangled up wired earbuds. But are wireless earbuds like the Apple AirPods really worth your money? The recent tech-craze fueled by the church of Apple has shown that there is a big demand for a future in which no wire will ever be tangled up again.
But would you buy AirPods Pro for a whopping $249.99 USD?
There are a lot of really good wired earbuds you could purchase for that price. And you’d never lose them as fast, because that’s what tends to happen to wireless headphones all the time. It’s no surprise that Apple had to include a tracking feature in their devices. So why would you have to avoid AirPods? Are they worth it today, and in 2022 or beyond? No, and here’s why.
Why Wireless Earbuds Are NOT Worth It
Bring on the haters, because I’m ready to destroy a whole market niche here. True wireless earbuds are garbage. Stop reading there if you feel like it, but I’ve got some arguments to support my bold claim. Hopefully, this helps you with your purchase decision.
1. Audio delay in wireless earbuds
A major problem with wireless devices is the audio delay. This is a core issue that is unlikely to ever be solved — it simply takes time to transport information through the air. While Bluetooth is improving with this, the delay will still cause noticeable audio sync problems.
That’s also true for your fancy new AirPods, by the way.
Audio delay can be accounted for by the manufacturer, but sync problems keep popping up left and right. For now, audiophiles will not be able to enjoy their wireless headphones. The latency problems are simply too big, in almost all true wireless earbuds.
Don’t take it from me, but use hard data from an AirPods latency test performed by this blog:
|AirPods Gen 1||274 ms||Apple W1|
|AirPods Gen 2||178 ms||Apple H1|
|AirPods Pro||144 ms||Apple H1|
2. The battery dies (a lot)
One of the major problems I’ve always had with wireless devices is the battery. Trust me, I’m definitely not alone in this. The battery gives me straight-up anxiety to actually use my earbuds. Because what if they die mid-session?
These days, I go out of my way to purchase wired products. They’re not only better, but also cheaper.
Having one less problem to worry about is a blessing to me. It frees up so much space in your mind, to enjoy life. It’s the worst feeling in the world to see your battery low, and having to charge it before using it.
The worst part isn’t even the low battery though. It’s the fact that battery problems always get worse over time. The more you use the devices, the harder the battery dies. This is true for your smartphone, laptop, and also your wireless earbuds. And there’s no way around it.
At best, AirPods Pro will give you 4.5 hours of listening time. Imagine you wanted to listen to it at work, and you forgot your case. Tough luck buddy, you’re going to have to sit there with a sad face after half a day. Because you’re all out of juice.
3. You can easily lose wireless earbuds
Don’t come at me with the argument that your AirPods don’t fall out of your ears. They do. Because that ‘perfect fit’ is not perfect when you’re running or working out. Gravity will always be stronger. Especially when you sleep with your AirPods Pro in bed.
And if they do fall out, or you happen to leave them in that cafeteria, what are you going to do?
Yes, you can track your device on your iPhone, but:
- AirPods can go offline: Remember that batteries of wireless earbuds die quickly? That includes the tracking functionality. Sure, it’s nice to track them, but when they aren’t getting charged soon, you’ll only be able to use that for the ‘last seen’ location. Completely useless.
- You can be at the location and it can be anywhere: For the sake of argument, let’s say your battery magically has infinite power. And you’re literally at the location where those AirPods were last seen. Then what? Are you gonna go through the pile of dirt to find a device not bigger than your pinky? Some people never find them back, or will only find back one AirPod.
- If it’s stolen and you track it going to bumfuck nowhere: Are you gonna catch the bad guys? Probably not. If someone took your AirPods and they take it to their home, the police aren’t going to help you. Especially if the bad guys are clever and take them to another country. Enjoy tracking your AirPods all the way to Somalia. No offense to people that are from there, but it happens.
4. Wireless earbuds aren’t built for the elements
Many wireless earbuds aren’t waterproof. And they often can’t stand heat either. They’re fragile devices, when it comes to actually using them. And that makes them a lot worse than a lot of the cheaper alternatives.
Fair enough, your AirPods might survive the washing machine (if you’re smart).
But that’s an exception rather than the rule. You can’t take your AirPods in the shower, for example. You might take your device with you in the rain, but even that can be a questionable exercise. So you’re going to have to sit in your air-conditioned, humidity-controlled, CO2-balanced office space only.
Don’t bother taking your wireless earbuds outside, because they can’t deal with water nor heat. And if they could, they would fall out and you’ll have to go back to my previous point: you’re going to lose them. Which is not very nice, considering the high price point.
5. Wireless earbuds are needlessly expensive
Sure, those AirPods are a nice fashion statement, but at what cost? Replacing them non-stop and having no money in your bank account? All I’m saying is, if you don’t care well for your earbuds, you’re going to have to fork over a lot of money for new ones.
I’ve mentioned the price of the newer AirPods Pro at the beginning of this article.
That’s obviously an Apple price point, but the competition isn’t far behind. Complicated wireless technology is simply a bit harder to make. Wired devices are simple, they don’t need all these fancy app connections. Wired headphones just work with plug-and-play.
Considering their fragile nature and the likelihood of losing them: why bother? To experience delayed audio for a premium price? That’s not for me, but if it’s something you enjoy, go right ahead and buy them. If they’re worth it to you, that is.
Would AirPods Be Worth It To You?
There’s no denying that so-called “true wireless earbuds” have a big future. Companies like Apple make sure to create demand for such niche product, even if there would be none at first. Futuresource Consulting has estimated that true wireless earbuds will capture two-thirds of the entire earbuds market by 2023.
For a lot of people, true wireless headphones are the future.
For me, my cheap wired earbuds work just fine. For you, this might be different. It’s a personal preference. If AirPods or other true wireless headphones (Sony, Sennheiser, Bose, etc.) are worth it to you, will depend on a range of factors:
- How you use headphones: If you’re a casual user, the investment might be a bit high. But if you use them all day every day, the higher price might totally justify your use of the new tech. Hardcore users will get much more out of their money than people that only use their headphones occasionally.
- How much you’re willing to spend: If the relatively high price of wireless earbuds is worth it to you, go for it. I don’t know your budget or spending habits. I’m someone who’s not inclined to spend much on an audio device if it doesn’t improve the audio quality. Wireless doesn’t do that. If anything, it makes it worse. But you’ll get a whole range of other tech advances for the money.
- How much social status matters to you: AirPods have become a fashion item. In some social circles, you aren’t cool if you don’t wear them. Social status is meaningless to me, but if you want to fit in, this could be a big reason to jump on the trend. Just like I don’t care about wearing excessively expensive ‘Supreme’ shirts, you might find that essential to your being.
- How careful you are with your earbuds: There is no denying that small wireless devices can be lost easily. Together with the high price, this could pose a real problem to people that tend to lose their stuff. If that’s you, some cheap wired headphones might be a better option for you. You’re less likely to lose them, and if you do you simply get new ones for a small amount of money.
So, are AirPods or similar true wireless devices worth it to you? I’ve shared my personal opinion here, but I’d love to hear what you think of this new trend as well.
Does the new trend excite you, or are you still on the fence about getting your own? Let me know in the discussion section below!