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    I do wonder how something with size constraints of any of these earbuds (Apple or otherwise) are meant to be repairable to iFixit’s standard. Yes I know complaining about Apple specifically gets them a bunch of payviews, but all of these are tiny with pretty much zero extra space.

    Seriously what repairable solution would not require giving up a considerable %age of the available volume?

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      The linked article to competitors models may give answers. https://www.ifixit.com/News/35377/which-wireless-earbuds-are-the-least-evil

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        [edited to add weights]

        So the following isn’t a comparison of quality or anything like that, this is explicitly focused on size+weight vs stated features+battery life. Through out this the rule is “more repairable == bigger”, with the exception of the “Jabra Elite 75t” which manages comparable battery life while being more repairable, but does that I think via just not doing as much as the AirPods, Alexa pods, etc

        Which is my point: at the scale we’re talking about here, ever 10th of a mm is a significant % size increase, every 10th of a gram is a significant weight increase. So it simply is not reasonable to say “this thing that is bigger/heavier/has smaller feature set” is more repairable, therefore so should this.

        I’m also still at a loss as to what breaks here that would be sanely replaceable other than the battery, and I’ll take lighter+smaller over “technically repairable”.

        I say technically repairable, because even the biggest most repairable thing here isn’t just a “swap out the battery” style repair. The one that had clips, the clips broke when opened, so you had to glue it shut, thus making it no longer repairable \o/

        For the airpods the ifixit people even acknowledged that the glue in the buds would be helping sound (this doesn’t apply to charging case).

        • Air Pro Pod Extremes

        Battery life o 6.5 hours, 30 hours with the case, I think this is 6.5 with noise cancellation? it says 5 hours with transparency or “spatial audio” which is explicit enough that I assume noise cancellation is less power hungry than transparency?

        5.3g a bud, 50g for the case

        • Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo

        Battery life of 3.5 hours, the case gives you an addition 9, but you can buy a separate one with something like 20 hours (though it’s 7.5 x 3.5 x 3 cm)

        5.5g a bud (weird that the marketing says 6?), 44g for the case

        • Powerbeats3

        Battery life of significantly larger device “up to 12 hours”

        29g, but I think that’s both buds? no case afaict

        • Bose SoundSport Wireless

        Match the air pod pro at 6.5 hours (per review, only 6 per marketing??), so actually match AirPods despite being easier to repair \o/ Downside: they are bigger than the air pods again

        weight 23g, but as above I think that’s both otherwise that’s nonsense, case is huge doesn’t appear to support charging?

        • Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen)

        Not the ifixit review, but gets 5 hours on a charge, 6.5 without noise cancelling, Alexa etc, case adds another 10 hours

        weight 5.7g per bud (without tip or wing, they mention this but I’m conservatively assuming the same applies to others and therefore weight is comparable?)

        • Amazon Echo Buds (1st gen)

        The Ifixit one, beats first gen air pods pro, but not the second, but they’re also much larger

        weight 7.6g per bud, 70g case

        • Jabra Elite 75t

        7.5 hours with no noise cancellation, honestly I can’t find size comparison for them, but based on ifixit these might be ahead of AirPods

        weight 5.4g, 35g case, it says it’s a charging case but I can’t find the capacity

        • Sony WF-1000XM3

        The most repairable, but rated to 6 hours a charge, but the various reviews seem to all say 3 which seems unlikely?, that said, as is the point I was making: these may be the most repairable, but they also the largest ones that they tested.

        8.5g per bud, 80g for the case

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          Awesome comment, thanks for all the work on it! Also, I totally agree.

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            Thanks! Honestly I was also simply curious, sure apple has a bunch of chip folk that others don’t, but the core functionality of these is all the same (hell the beats ones are apple products, so shrug)

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          Where they basically say, they all suck except the Sony model which are huge and nobody will want to wear.

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          I don’t see how they could change a standard on repairability because something is small. It’s up to you to decide whether the convenience is worth the cost to the environment.

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            The environmental cost may also be smaller for small things. If you could make them reparable but double the size then the amount of waste from a repair of the larger version may be the same as the amount of wast from replacement of the smaller one. if making it more repairable makes it easier to open it may also make it more fragile and make it more likely to generate waste by needing repairs.

            I believe most of the volume of these devices is the battery, which is the most likely thing to fail. Throwing away the rest when the battery dies is wasteful but I don’t know how it compares to the environmental cost of disposing of just the battery.

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            At least the carrying case has no reason to be a blob of glue.

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              I would need to know what the glue was doing.

              If it’s holding things in place, then the glue would need to be replaced with something. I haven’t watched the video but I’m assuming that the glue is holding the electronics in place, which would mean rerouting and creating space on the board.

              If it’s holding parts of the case together that presumably to ensure that the water proof ratings can be met (otherwise you need to add seals and grommets, and deal with clips failing.

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            I still struggle to understand the appeal of wireless earbuds, Airpods or otherwise. Under my value system, the costs are significant while the benefit is small:

            • you have yet another battery to keep charge
            • you have another object to lose
            • you have yet another flaky wireless connection to contend with
            • you must pay a good fraction of $1000 for the mediocre audio quality supported by said wireless connection
            • you have to live with the knowledge that after two years you will have introduced yet another sliver of unrecoverable minerals to a landfill somewhere

            While the last consideration alone is, for me, enough to summarily rule out wireless earbuds from my purchasing options, apparently there is no shortage of people who feel that the benefit had in being rid of a cable outweighs all of these costs. Given that any decent set of wired earbuds will have a relatively tangle-free cable and carrying case, I can’t help but wonder whether I am failing to see some key benefit beyond not having to occasionally manage a cable.

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              In my experience with wireless earbuds - the battery lasts lost enough that I basically never worry about it running out, the connection basically never drops out, and the audio quality is surprisingly good.

              The reason why I personally went with wireless instead of wired is that, at least at the time, I wasn’t able to find wired in-ears with good ANC. The best tech seems to go into wireless earbuds, so they can end up as the best option all-around.

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                This is why I wound up with big wireless over-ear headphones. The best-in-class noise cancelling now is all wireless, even though I don’t particularly care about having wires or not.

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                you must pay a good fraction of $1000 for the mediocre audio quality supported by said wireless connection

                The base model 3rd-gen AirPods are priced at $169. The “Pro” version at $249. If that’s “a good fraction of $1000”, then I’m going to start referring $1500 laptops as “a good fraction of $10k”.

                Meanwhile: I used to be skeptical. Then I got really really tired of snagging headphone cables on all sorts of things and having them ripped out of my ears or, worse, out of the jack (I once had a pair of decent headphones destroyed by being yanked untimely from the jack). And I decided to try a pair of AirPods.

                The audio quality is not “mediocre” by any reasonable measure. I own a pair of genuinely nice over-ear headphones for use at home, and I’ve basically stopped using them, in favor of the AirPods. The audio quality is just fine to my ears, and the added lightness and ability to get up and move around is a huge plus – I can listen to music while I’m puttering around doing chores or cooking or whatever and not have to carry the source device around with me or deal with a heavy headset or worry about snagging a headphone cable on things.

                you have to live with the knowledge that after two years you will have introduced yet another sliver of unrecoverable minerals to a landfill somewhere

                My first pair of AirPods lasted around five years before the battery life started to decline too much to continue my heavy daily use. I took them with me to an Apple store and handed them over to Apple to recycle as I picked up a new pair.

                you have yet another battery to keep charge

                The buds charge quickly in the case and get hours of listening time on a charge, in my experience, and the case itself is easy enough to plug in overnight.

                you have another object to lose

                As I mentioned, my first pair lasted five years, during which I lost them zero times. Including when wearing them on public transit and while out and about walking, shopping, etc. The case is about the same size as my keyring; I don’t lose that all the time, why would I lose the AirPods any more often?

                you have yet another flaky wireless connection to contend with

                I have owned flaky Bluetooth devices. I have used flaky Bluetooth devices. I have been forced to work with flaky Bluetooth devices. AirPods are what I wish every Bluetooth device could be.

                I can’t help but wonder whether I am failing to see some key benefit beyond not having to occasionally manage a cable.

                Yes. Also, several of your points are simply factually wrong.

                Having been through this cycle before, I’ll just say that Apple did with the AirPods what they did with the iPod: took a product category that historically sucked, and made one that didn’t suck.

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                  I hate cables on and around my body so much. I always catch them on my elbows and yank them. Or stand up to get something and yank them. I got an extra long cable so I could stand up at least and it got caught on other things like my chair, or knocked things off my desk. When I had the chance to buy actually decent wireless headphones for 3x the price of my wired ones I did it without hesitation.

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                    Don’t throw them in a landfill! They’re a fire hazard in trash compactors. You have to keep them forever, bequeath them to your descendants, etc.

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                      Or sacrifice them to the garbage disposal gods! Behold the fire as they rejoice! :D

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                      I still struggle to understand the appeal of wireless earbuds, Airpods or otherwise.

                      I have broken multiple cable-attached devices, and physically hurt my ears, trying to use wired headsets on busy public transport.

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                        you have yet another battery to keep charge

                        Yes, but the battery lasts “forever”, where forever means I never have to be aware of the battery status. Maybe I charge mine every couple of weeks when I feel like it (not because I need it). When was the last time you had to be consciously aware of your wireless keyboard battery status?

                        you have another object to lose

                        Same with wired headphones, the number of objects in question is the same.

                        you have yet another flaky wireless connection to contend with

                        Not with Apple headphones you don’t. But non-Apple Bluetooth headphones are terrible here, yes.

                        you must pay a good fraction of $1000 for the mediocre audio quality supported by said wireless connection

                        The quality supported by the wireless connection is good enough, no bottleneck there, however the airpods themselves (AirPods Pro v1 and v2) are pretty mediocre in terms of audio quality, which I find surprising. I have much better IEMs than Apple AirPods. Surely Apple can do better here. I will note that AirPods Pro v2 (not v1) have the best noise cancelation of any headphone I ever tested.

                        However, audio quality is not the reason I use these headphones. It’s because they take no space, and I don’t have to deal with any wires. I have an evergrowing collection of real headphones at home, which have uncomparable audio quality, but they are simply different products with different use cases.

                        you have to live with the knowledge that after two years you will have introduced yet another sliver of unrecoverable minerals to a landfill somewhere

                        Two years is a stretch, mine don’t even last one year, maybe six months. I produce a lot of earwax and these things just get worse and worse. So what? Nothing lasts forever, I get a lot of value from $200 worth of airpods every six months.

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                          For me the convenience is a huge advantage. I listen to audiobooks/podcasts a lot more when it’s easy to start and stop without fiddling with cables. I only spent around $30 on mine. The sound quality is plenty good for me and I’ve never had connectivity issues.

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                            You only have to have a snagged headphone cable pull your $1200 phone out of your pocket and smash it on the ground once, and you’ll get it.

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                              I like them for sleeping. They’re a bit uncomfortable when I sleep on my side, but I got used to it. The noise cancellation is great for fans / AC or partner’s snoring.

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                                I find I actually do things like walk around, exercise, etc. a lot more than having to deal with wired headphone ceremony (untangling the cables….) when outside. That, and the nature of IEMs with transparency/ANC as someone who isn’t deaf but has occasional hearing difficulties is a big help. The charging isn’t also a big deal; I just throw it on a Qi pad when I’m at a desk using wired headphones (since the cable there is fine).

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                                  I use wired IEMs almost all the time I need to listen to audio but in the gym, while lifting, using wireless earbuds make life 1000x better.

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                                    My GF has a pair of those things. We found an interesting use for them once: being able to listen to the same thing while walking. She wore one and I wore the other. The fact that it wasn’t stereo didn’t really matter, because we were listening to GPS announcements from the screenreader on her phone. She likes them because she has destroyed quite a few headphone wires over the years.

                                    I wouldn’t buy them myself. Old wired headsets are cheap, ubiquitous, reliable, and don’t need a battery. When I wore one, I always felt like it was going to fall out of my ear. I don’t know how people manage to keep them in while exercising.

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                                      My GF has a pair of those things. We found an interesting use for them once: being able to listen to the same thing while walking.

                                      FWIW there are 3.5mm splitters, and nowadays iOS can attach multiple Bluetooth headsets for shared listening, at least for music.

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                                    its nice to be able to wear them while exercising

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                                    My first submission to Lobsters, not sure if it fits here, but let’s see.

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                                      Wired earbuds are also not repairable! The wire or connector often breaks! I’ve tried to solder them back together, but they are almost microscopic enamel-coated wires which are pretty much impossible to fix at home.

                                      My airpods have lasted over 3 years, which is far longer than any pair of wired earbuds I ever had.

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                                        Wired earbuds start at, like, $1 and don’t have chips or lithium ion batteries at that price point. That they are fragile and disposable is a problem, yeah, but you’d have to shithouse a lot of even the fancy lightning headphones with the mic and controls on the cord to equal the aggregate waste of running a single pair of AirPods through the laundry.