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Why Apple AirPods are the best wireless earbuds of 2020

The Apple AirPods, workout earbuds pulling double-duty as everyday earbuds, have become a major plus for my busy, ever-moving life. Here’s why.
For fitness expert Stephanie Mansour, the Apple AirPods proved to be "the best workout headphone." Here's why.
For fitness expert Stephanie Mansour, the Apple AirPods proved to be "the best workout headphone." Here's why.Stephanie Mansour / NBC

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Whether I’m working out at home (as many of us have been forced to do in recent months), sweating outdoors or (eventually) working out at a gym (again), having reliable headphones that are easy to set up are imperative for me, especially when it comes to getting a good workout. The National Health Center, a nonprofit that provides medical information to consumers, found that working out to music could actually result in a better and harder workout, as well as in better spirits during and afterward. In other words, equipping myself with a solid pair of earbuds for my fitness could be as valuable as getting a solid pair of fitness shoes. And to that end, Apple’s AirPods have become the best pair of earbuds I’ve ever used, placing them solidly in my essentials bucket.

IN THIS ARTICLE Why I love Apple AirPods | Specs and features

For years, I was using Apple's wired headphones, the same pair that showed up with my iPhone. A creature of habit, I was reluctant to commit to a new version of headphones. I liked my trusted earphones: They plugged into my phone, never required charging and allowed me to adjust the volume right there on the chord.

Recently, though, I started recording workout videos with earphones so I could hear my own music, and I realized how outdated my wired headphones looked in the videos — so, I set out on a mission to find a better looking pair that were still as simple to use and dependable as my wired headphones.

Why I love Apple AirPods

I’ve tested earphones with chords, larger headsets, bigger earmuffs and wireless ones. I knew nearly immediately I’d hit the jackpot after I bought the Apple AirPods earbuds.

Apple AirPods

  • When I’m running on a treadmill or using the elliptical, I don’t have to deal with the chords interfering with my arms moving or the handles on the elliptical.
  • When I’m doing at-home workouts, I can easily move from a plank position to a jump squat without the chords interfering and without my phone (and my music) attached to an arm band or in the waistband of my workout pants.
  • I also don’t spend time worrying that the headphones will pop out of my ears, as the AirPods stay in throughout any fitness routine.
  • I can go for a walk and be on a conference call outside without distracting noise from the outdoors
  • And then, once I hang up, I can transition into a run by simply turning on my music and tuning out the noises from nature (responsibly, of course).

I’ve seen people at the gym wearing AirPods, business travelers sporting them, making their way through crowds and countless people wearing them all over town.

And while I figured they must stay in your ears throughout high intensity workouts and help cancel out background noise, I never expected how far these earbuds took things. In windy Chicago, Illinois, I found myself able to speak through a phone conference without any other participants thinking I was standing in a wind tunnel. (Since I bought the Apple Airpods, Apple’s released the AirPods Pro, an upgraded version with even stronger noise-canceling features.)

Apple AirPods: Specs and features

Other than proving to be the best workout headphone I’d ever used, here are the details that make them a solid investment.

  • They carry up to five hours of battery life on one charge
  • Charging them for 15 minutes gives you up to three hours of listening time
  • They come with a charging case
  • You can double-tap the earbud itself to play or skip forward while listening to music or a podcast.
  • Beamforming microphones help filter out external noise, focusing on the sound of your voice
  • You can split your music into another set of AirPods.
  • AirPods sense when they’re in your ears, automatically pausing when you take them out.

Other features include the ability to summon Siri via the earbuds and utilize basic smart assistant features: I can ask her about the time, the weather, to play music and call my mom. Because the AirPods need to charge, I keep their charging case next to my phone charger and just plug it in to another charger whenever I charge my phone. I also never have to deal with tangled chords anymore when I do so (was never a fan of spending 30 to 60 seconds untangling those each time I was ready to listen to music or get on a phone call).

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