With mixed reviews of the iPhone 7, we took a look to see whether the same was true of Apple’s highest-tech headphones, the all-new wireless AirPods with their ultra-slick pairing system facilitated by the W1 chip.

Here, however, we found greater agreement. Everyone was impressed by the instant pairing and by the intelligence in the AirPods – like auto-pausing when you remove them from your ear. Most people seem to agree that the sound quality is distinctly average but acceptable to most. And there’s also widespread agreement that the look is definitely on the dorky side …

Business Insider describes them as ‘a mixed bag,’ with Siri control the greatest drawback.

They fit nicely in my ears, they sound fine, and Apple finally solved the annoying Bluetooth pairing process. I also enjoyed having a new way to communicate with Siri.

At the same time, a lot about the AirPods make it apparent that this is a version one product, especially when it comes to controlling your music […] Unlike Apple’s wired EarPods, there’s no dongle for controlling your music, answering calls, or adjusting the volume. That means you have to do everything through Siri or directly on your phone. It’s easily the biggest drawback to the AirPods, and it will likely be a deal breaker for many unless Apple comes up with a software fix between now and launch.

Let’s take volume control, for example. If you’re listening to music and want to turn up the volume, you have to double tap one of the AirPods. That activates Siri, which in turn pauses your music (ugh!) so you can say “raise the volume.” Then the music resumes with the volume turned up. Compare that to simply tapping on the volume button on the wired EarPods, and you can imagine how annoying the process is.

Buzzfeed said the W1’s instant pairing was the best feature, and they also stay in well. The sound quality was okay, the design less so.

No settings menus, no tapping around, no button holding — once you open the lid of the floss-sized case, it’s done. The AirPods are paired. It makes normal Bluetooth look dumb […]

The AirPods must be full of dark magic, because they do NOT fall out. Something about their giant-‘80s-earrings-esque shape helps them latch onto your ears for dear life.

The sound won’t blow your mind, but they’re good enough for runs and talking on the phone, if that’s your thing […]

When they were in my ears, it just looked like I was wearing broken earbuds. The permanently angled stem that directs the microphone towards your mouth is curiously long. I wish they made you look a little bit less like a…cyborg.

CNET is not sold on the look, thinks the sound is okay – though still prone to pops and cutouts.

One AirPod looks like a futuristic Bluetooth headset. With two in place, they look like hipster earrings. Or tiny vape pipes. Or sci-fi jewelry. Or worse. OK, AirPods look ridiculous […]

[Sound-wise], mostly they’re good. I liked listening to music with AirPods. I started finding myself preferring them to plug-in headphones, thanks to the freedom of movement they provided.

Until, of course, they produced some of the same little pops and interruptions I always get from Bluetooth earphones when I’m walking. I didn’t seem to get quite as many with the AirPods, but they sometimes happened…and skipping interruptions made me wish for something wired.

Engadget likes the pairing, usability for Siri & phone calls and the battery-life, but not the controls, design or audio quality. It thinks this is more of a proof of concept than a solid product today.

They’re elegant in some ways, with a simple pairing process and good voice-call quality. It’s too bad that Apple otherwise fell short in the sound department, and that you’re forced to talk to Siri to get just about everything done […]

If you’re reading this, Apple, this was a solid first attempt. Don’t give up on the concept, because I believe future AirPods could be great.

The Loop‘s Jim Dalrymple was impressed by the fit, the pairing and the intelligence, while the sound quality was better than expected.

I walked, jumped, ran, shook my head around, bent down, tipped over, and did every other move I could think of to make the AirPods fall out of my ears—they never did […]

All you have to do with the AirPods is open the case. The iPhone 7 recognizes they are available and brings up a screen on the iPhone with one button that says, “Connect.” Press it and you’re done. My AirPods were connected to my iPhone 7 Plus, Mac, and Apple Watch all at once. Not just one device, but all of my devices […]

I thought the audio quality of the AirPods was exceptional for Bluetooth headphones—actually it was just exceptional. I’ve been using them much more than the Lightning EarPods because they were so convenient and they sounded so good […] While they may not be for the audiophile, they are perfect for the average user and those that want convenience. That’s what Apple is going for here and they nailed it.

TechCrunch loves the pairing and the reliability, and was happy with the sound, but most of all liked the idea of keeping Siri in your ear.

“Pairing” the AirPods is incredibly easy, thanks to the W1 chip. The method is so easy in fact that Apple does not use the word pairing anywhere in its instruction manual — using the word ‘connect’ instead. It’s marketing, but it’s also a fair differentiation between the baroque drama that is most Bluetooth pairing sessions and the process of connecting AirPods […]

The W1 chip […] also does some quality-of-service work in the background. Think of it as a buttress under the Bluetooth’s rainbow bridge of questionable reputation […]

The sound quality is very solid. Nice thumpy bass and crisp highs produce a very listenable sound, though it’s far from audiophile quality […]

Before Apple’s AI becomes a true audio platform, it needs hardware that makes it easier to put Siri in your ear — and no real reason to take it out. Enter the AirPods.

TechRadar likes the intelligent connectivity and auto-pause, as well as the battery-life, but has mixed views of the design and is concerned about the ease with which they could get lost and the fact of another thing to charge.

They look and feel just like those familiar EarPods – minus the cable – and their play-and-pause connectivity is so intelligently designed, it’s enough to bring back the “magical” descriptor.

With five-hour battery life and a charging case for 24 hours of additional battery life, AirPods could stealthily set the bar fully wireless earbuds in October, all while everyone is focused on the past and the missing headphone jack [but …]

The funky design isn’t for everyone, [it’s] yet another thing to charge [and] what happens when you lose one?

Wired wasn’t impressed by the look or the sound, but did like the pairing and the microphones …

Wearing AirPods is like wearing a toothbrush in your ear […] I say they look both weird and bad […]

Your $159 doesn’t buy you any better audio than you’ll get from the EarPods that come free in the box with your iPhone. I mean, look: they sound fine. Statistically, most people are fine with the EarPods, and they’ll be fine with the AirPods too. But if you’ve ever purchased a pair of headphones that cost more than $50, I’d bet they sound better than the AirPods. If you’ve spent more than $100, they definitely do […]

Take the AirPods out of their box, open up the lid to the dental-floss-dispenser case, and set them down next to your iPhone. A pop-up window appears from the bottom of your phone’s screen, asking if you want to connect your new AirPods. Of course you do! So you press the very large “Connect” button, and you’re done […]

The microphone is fantastic. The dual-mic setup, along with Apple’s clever noise-cancelling tech that uses subtle vibrations to know you’re speaking, makes for one of the clearest remote-input devices I’ve ever used.

One additional piece of good news: some of us had been under the impression that the ‘secret sauce’ of the W1 chip required matching tech in the iPhone 7, but it turns out that’s not the case. The W1 chip in the AirPods are able to perform their magic with older devices too (as far back as iPhone 5 with iOS 10).

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