The design of the AirPods has been polarising, made from the same bright white plastic of the standard EarPods. Glossy or matte black would have made them blend in much better, but like the original iPod headphones, they make quite the statement in white.
The included charging case is bright white too, and very slippery. Unfortunately, the case picks up lint and dust very easily, and it shows. You’ll be constantly brushing it off, but cleaning it completely is next to impossible.
The AirPods are held in the case magnetically and begin charging immediately. The box includes a Lightning cable for charging the case, though you’ll have to supply your own USB power adaptor.
Pairing the AirPods with an iPhone is as simple as opening the case and sitting it on top of your phone. If you’re running the latest iOS, you’ll be prompted to pair them. If you use iCloud, this pairing will sync across to your other devices (iPads, Macs, etc.). Clever.
To pair with an Android device, hold the button on the back of the case. This will put the AirPods in pairing mode, and they will appear in your Android device’s Bluetooth scan.
Once paired, they operate just like other Bluetooth headphones. Audio and phone calls will be piped to both headphones in perfect sync, and the double-tap gesture on the AirPods works as a play/pause button.
If you use only one AirPod, it will work just as if you had two, playing both the left and right channels. It can be handy if you’re listening to music or making calls in situations where you need a bit more awareness of sounds around you.