Wireless Earphones for Smartphones
I was skeptical about adopting wireless/Bluetooth earphones for my phone. My past experience with Bluetooth was clunky startup - slow or no connection. Plus it is expensive to get multiple sets so I've got to keep the one pair with me.
After my Google Nexus 5 died unexpectedly, I got a Google Pixel 2, which has no headphone jack. So I jumped back into the Bluetooth world.
First I eliminated all of the products with flexible ear seals - I find these very uncomfortable. I thought that just left Google Pixel Buds, so I got a set. These are GARBAGE. I didn't even get to pairing them. They don't fit in my ears. It looks like they would fit if I cut the cord (a cord connects the two earpieces). They also look like the weight distribution will cause them to fall out if they fit in. The recharging box is clunky and big compared to the AirPods case (I didn't know this until I replaced them with AirPods).
I looked for more options and discovered that Apple AirPods are just Bluetooth earphones with some extra function that only works with Apple phones. Verizon made the trade from Pixel Buds easy - no paperwork, two cents credit to my account, and I walked out with them.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE! AirPods fit in my ear, are comfortable, and do not fall out. They feel just like Apple's old corded earphones, which have always worked well for me. After a little problem pairing them with my phone (I had to reboot), they are now paired and whenever I take them out of their recharging case, they are connected to my phone in a few seconds. You can can use either one or both. They sound fine. I don't care about any missing function dealing with digital assistants. The case is nice and includes a battery, so it can recharge the ear pieces even when it's not plugged in. It looks a lot like a dental floss case, so there could be an identity crisis on the horizon.
Apple - please keep your hands off of this superb design. I can't think of a design change that will make it better - it can only get worse.
A note from days later - rebooting the phone kills the pairing. Pairing is not hard, but requires the case. So not as convenient as I thought, but then I don't reboot the phone very often.
Google - you need to fire the people that designed Pixel Buds and everyone in your organization that approved the design.