On the occasion of Black Friday and the Christmas holidays, one of the gifts that everyone can enjoy and that will certainly be the subject of great interest are the best sounding wireless headphones. Small, comfortable, pocket-sized, easy to use and immediate in daily use. For those who hate the wire, but love music, they are a must have, and with all the devices that are slowly eliminating the mini jack headphone input, they are necessarily becoming the object of many people’s desire.
Launched in September 2016 together with the iPhone 7, for many, to date, they are the best true wireless headphones in existence and are, in my opinion, the most innovative product that Apple has ever launched after the iPhone.
We are talking about Apple’s AirPods, which two years after their release have allowed a lot of products to flourish. The question we ask therefore is this: are we still sure that today they reign supreme or begin to make their age felt and there are other more valid products?
We have therefore tested them together with two other headphones that at this moment are having a lot of success and that we think are worthy of being in this comparison: the Padmate Pamu Scrolls and the Mobvoi Ticpods Free.
Before leaving, however, a premise is necessary: the true wireless headphones seek more experience, comfort and perfect integration with the device at the expense of sound quality.
It goes without saying that if you are looking for headphones based on their sound quality, you should aim for other types of products such as over-ear headphones that are often wired and not wireless. You cannot expect great quality from true wireless headphones because they are not born to satisfy this demand. If you are not audiophile, then they remain a good choice.
The Padmate’s Pamu Scrolls are the sensation of the moment, for the low price on Indiegogo ($ 49 until recently, $ 79 at the moment, $ 149 the final price expected). Let’s say that at 49 dollars they were a real bargain, at 79 they are at the correct price, at 149 they are overvalued.
At first they didn’t convince me so much, but after trying them for a week, I consider them worthy of being in this confrontation.
The case is larger than the other two, in my opinion a bit inconvenient for transport, but it has 4 blue LEDs on the right side that indicate the status of the battery in the case (each led represents 25%).
There is wireless charging receiver but only with an additional component to buy separately. They are water resistant with Ipx6 certification and have a high reception thanks to Bluetooth 5.0.
What surprised me most is the sound quality: the bass is deep and the sound very good, such that I consider it superior to the other two headphones, especially with regards to bass. Battery life, however, is the sore point: only 3 hours, while the case recharges it 2 times.
They are earphones in the ear, so they isolate a lot, and this must please. Personally I consider the use of in-ear uncomfortable for everyday use (in fact I tended to use only the right one to avoid feeling too isolated from the outside world), but I consider it perfect for sport. I used them to go running and they are fantastic.
I repeat, in-ear headphones are a type of headphones that must please, if you like listening to undisturbed music then they are made for you, which AirPods can’t give you being on ear.
Eye that the music does not stop by itself if you take off the earphones and do not start again if we put them back with the music turned off.
It should also be noted that the right earpiece is the main one, the one that connects to the phone and then sends the pulse per second to stay synchronized. It follows that if you pull out the left earpiece first and want to use only the one immediately and directly with your smartphone, you won’t be able to get anything out of it.
The surface where to go to intervene for the various commands is very sensitive and it is enough to touch even simply to adjust them well in the ears for the music and this can be uncomfortable.
In some cases I have also noticed that the single and double tap is not immediately perceived and it is necessary to press a little stronger and this is annoying for the ears.
It was rumored that they could be renewed in a second version at the Apple event on October 30th in Brooklyn but this was not the case.
To date, for many, the best existing true wireless headphones and are, in my opinion, the most innovative product that Apple has ever launched after the iPhone.
I tried them both with iPhone and Android devices to verify their integration with various systems.
Aesthetically they are very beautiful, with a clean and well-groomed design as Apple has accustomed us. The case is small, so they are very pocket-sized, more than the others.
The autonomy is about 5-6 hours, 24 total recharging with the case while as setting they have very dry and almost non-existent bass, but the sound is still very good.
Two years after the launch, however, there are some gaps that are being felt and on which the other two competitors that we will see are beating them: for example, there are no gestures for volume, resistance to water and dust, wireless charging (this is possible today) with third-party houses) and better noise reduction especially in the call (I tried them several times on the bike for example and I had a hard time making myself heard).
But what makes them truly unique compared to competitors?
The fact of being on ear instead of in ear;
The audio quality on call, despite the flaw of noise reduction we were talking about earlier, is still better than the competitors;
Their perfect integration with iPhone;
The precision and speed they have in response to taps.
The fact that (let’s specify it: with the iPhone) mate almost alone, turn on once put in the ears, turn off automatically once removed, and finally the fact that they are easily connected to all the apple devices registered under your account .
This perfection, however, ceases to exist when used with Android, for example the music does not stop if removed from the ear, as happens instead using them with iPhone. This is therefore a sore point to keep in mind if you don’t use the apple device, note that it almost puts them in the same plane as the competitors.
179 euros the list price, but can now be found at much lower prices. Keep an eye on Amazon, now I’m at 148.99 but have had moments under 120 euros.
The Ticpods instead present themselves with a case that is a cross between the AirPods and the Pamu Scrolls.
They come in three colors: Free Navy as these in trial (blue), Free Lava (orange) and Free Ice (white).
They are undoubtedly the most complete headphones for gesture integration:
swipe up and swipe down to raise and lower the volume;
double tap left or right to move forward;
tap extended to the right to activate the voice assistant;
long tap left to pause the music.
From the point of view of sound performance they are very close to the Airpods with low bass. In general call the AirPods are better but as noise cancellation the Ticpods win. On a bike, for example, and with a strong wind you can entertain a conversation, something unthinkable with the others.
The main advantage besides the gesture is the fact that both with iOS and Android the music stops automatically once one or both earbuds are removed from the ear and starts again and once worn again.
Bluetooth is 4.2, they resist splashing water thanks to IPX5 certification and offer around 18 hours of total autonomy, with the case recharging up to 4 times. Less than 4 hours of earphone life.
A treat: I tried them with gloves (the classic ones not for smartphones) and unfortunately don’t recognize the taps.
In the past they were 90 euros on indiegogo, now they are at 129 euros. I think the price is good for the quality they offer, maybe if they cost 10-20 euros less it would be even more perfect. You can buy them for 129.99 euros on amazon.it
To conclude we can say that if you have an iPhone, you want the perfect integration with your device and you don’t get along with the in ear, then the AirPods are made for you. Headphones still perfect and always responsive today.
If you like in-ear earphones and you have an Android smartphone, then TicPods are the best alternative.
At the moment, however, the Pamu Scrolls are the winners because of the price, at least until they exceed 80 euros. Let us remember that they have deeper bass, a very good sound, bluetooth 5.0 superior to competitors, as well as water resistance is better. So if they are your choice, take them before they go up in price.