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Apple Airpods - CES Connection Test

CES Test: Pass or Fail?

Published onJanuary 12, 2017

The Apple Airpods were one of the most sought after gifts of this past holiday season. Not only are they a brand new Apple product (which in itself warrants tons of attention), but they were also extremely hard to get. Most stores aren’t even going to be having them in stock until next month.We ended up getting a pair right in the middle of CES, the largest consumer electronics show in the world. This got us thinking, what better place to test the connection? Basically all of the reviews so far have been positive in terms of connectivity, but we figured we had one thing those reviewers didn’t: the CES show floor. This is one of the most jam packed places in the world, filled with Bluetooth devices of all shapes and sizes. If there was any environment that would truly put the connection to the test, it’s this one.

The Airpods use Bluetooth along with the new W1 chip to easily pair with iOS devices. We saw this already in the Beats Solo3 review that we did a while back, and it’s no different here. Opening the lid of the charging case initiates the pairing process, and a card pops up on iOS that helps you connect to the source device. All you have to do is hit connect and press the button on the back of the charging case and you’re good to go. The card then shows you the battery life of the case and the Airpods side by side on the screen. If you’re on Android the process is slightly different. You have to flip open the lid and hold down the button on the back of the case to enter pairing mode. Then it’s just like pairing any other pair of Bluetooth headphones. You have to scroll through Bluetooth settings until you find the Airpods which at CES was a pain. Once connected on iOS you can pause or play music by tapping the side of the earbud or by simply removing one earbud, and you can activate Siri by double-tapping the side of the earbud. You can also change it so that double-tapping will pause or play music, but you can only pick one. On Android you’re obviously more limited. The only feature that’s available is double tapping to pause or resume music.

Overall, everything we heard about the Airpods is true. Connection was flawless between the source device and both ‘buds and in an hour and a half of walking around the CES show floor, I didn’t have a single dropout. Whatever magic Apple worked on the W1 chip really shows here. We still have to put it through the full review process so make sure to check back for it. But at least we know that the connection is rock solid, which is one of the main issues when it comes to any truly wireless pair of earbuds.

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