Apple AirPods battery life test results: how long do they last?

We have spent the last few days testing the Apple AirPods and you can already see our full review of Apple's truly wireless earbuds, but there is one particular aspect of the experience that deserves a separate mention: battery life.

Apple promised that the headphones will last 5 hours each on a single charge, with the case itself providing an additional 24 hours worth of playback, so we wondered: do the actual headphones live up to those numbers? After all, we'd already tested some competitors like the Samsung Gear IconX and while we loved their more discrete design, we only got between an hour and an hour and fifteen minutes, depending on the volume.

Well, do not worry: the Apple AirPods not only live up to their promise, but they even exceed the expectations: we tuned in to iHeartRadio and started streaming non-stop until the buds battery die. The test started at 11:04 AM and finished at 5:06 PM, which works out to 6 hours and 2 minutes of battery life on a single charge. Impressive!

What impressed us no less is the fact that you just return the AirPods in their dental floss-like case and they get fully charged from 0 to 100% in just 20 minutes. In comparison, the same pair of Gear IconX's that we tested took an excruciatingly long one hour and 10 minutes to get fully charged.

This is a gamechanged for wireless earbuds: sure, many people don't like the design of the AirPods with the tips sticking out of your ears, and more importantly, some people don't like that the AirPods just don't fit well in their ears, but it's hard to argue that Apple has done a wonderful job making these little things last and last.

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1. Xboxsucks69

Posts: 28; Member since: Sep 01, 2016

We got 6 says it all, iphonearena

23. sgodsell

Posts: 7605; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

There are a lot of better options than these airheads when it comes to price and features. Especially when it comes to battery life. If I am going to have something stick out of my ears anyway. Then I can pick up a Bluetooth headsets that can offer 40 hours of battery life.

32. azimesmail

Posts: 264; Member since: Nov 23, 2014

Aren't these cheaper than almost every "truly" wireless earbuds? Gear IconX, Jabra Wireless Elite, Bragi Dash, Earn, etc. It's cheaper than them all, and have a better connection...

44. sgodsell

Posts: 7605; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Azimesmail you have to point out that Apples AirPods are cheaper. However I notice that you didn't even mention that all the ones that you listed have features or options that are not found on Apple's AirPods. For instance the Gear IconX, Jabra Elite, and Bragi Dash all have fitness tracking capabilities. The IconX, and Bragi Dash both have 4 GB of on board storage, and can play back stored music without carrying your phone. Plus they have health tracking and can track your heart rate as well. The Bragi Dash go a little further in the sense that they can track laps when you swim. The Jabra Elite are the most expensive at $349. However they can track your fitness level like nothing before these came into the picture. These even have an VO2 sensor, and can track your oxygen levels as well as your heart rate. Not to mention they can automatically track a number of different workouts. So if you drop down to do some push-ups, they can automatically track that, and know that you are doing push-ups. But that is not the best part of Jabra Elite's. They also have a built in Coach, so you receive voice prompts and alerts during your workouts. It's like having a life coach in your ear. The Earin's are more for audiophiles, especially when they can reach 105 db with a range of 20-20000 Hertz. So they offer really great sound quality for $40 more than Apples AirPods. Plus all of the devices you listed have volume and music controls on their outside. Something that is missing from Apple's AirPods.

3. TerryTerius unregistered

That's actually kinda impressive.


Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

I like how they look...Sorta. if these things have a mic in the base for telephone calls, that would be awesome. Personally, my only gripes with these are that a) they're too expensive, and b) they're from Apple

34. azimesmail

Posts: 264; Member since: Nov 23, 2014

Expensive, yet cheaper than other "truly" wireless options. Gear IconX, Jabra Wireless Elite, Bragi Dash, Earin, etc

31. vincelongman

Posts: 5806; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yep, I'm really impressed with their battery life and easy connect with Apple devices Sound quality, lack of physical controls and aesthetics are disappointing Overal I'd say they are wroth it if people want battery life and easy connect with Apple devices

4. bucky

Posts: 3797; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Still trying to find a pair. I got a gift card to bestbuy and they have absolutely none of them just yet.

5. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1354; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

And at what volume % was this test performed? What type of music/audio was used? These variables make all the difference.

13. dorianb

Posts: 617; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

My only regret is that I have only but one (1) up vote to give to this statement

15. Unordinary unregistered

I'm getting a solid 7 hours out of mine with 70% volume and at home. A full 10 hour work day with 40% volume (office)

6. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Icon X? You're using them wrong. They get up to 90 mins if you stream the music from your phone. You get 3 hours if you put the music on the earbuds themselves. I guess you were to lazy to copy a few tracks to the earbuds and test them that way?

8. Victor.H

Posts: 1104; Member since: May 27, 2011

No, we were not too lazy, we tested playback times on the IconX when you copy music (90 to 100 minutes in our tests), but we need to compare the two on equal terms. And on equal terms, that's the numbers that you get. And let's get real: how many people will actually copy music to their earphones in 2016 rather than just listen to Spotify / Apple Music?

11. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"And let's get real: how many people will actually copy music to their earphones in 2016 rather than just listen to Spotify / Apple Music?" The US isn't the world, bruh... Copying music to an earphone is actually more budget friendly than subscribing to a music streaming service and/or paying for internet data to stream music. "And on equal terms, that's the numbers that you get." So you got 6 hours on the AirPod... Couldn't it be actually less than that? Just curious.

21. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Bet you are totally right on both. Apple released a low number just to make them look good.

33. cmdacos

Posts: 4381; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Equal terms? Icons are headphones and fitness trackers which will skew battery life significantly. Please compare airpods to other headphones for a true comparison.

18. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1354; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

I have a $30 Anker set that gives me about 5 hours and personally it sounds better than Apples headphones to me.

7. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

The most expensive q-tips in the world.

9. Acdc1a

Posts: 477; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

Those are the ugliest things I've ever seen. Good luck Apple.

10. bucky

Posts: 3797; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

It seems they don't need the luck. They're sold out everywhere.

12. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"It seems they don't need the luck. They're sold out everywhere." Not sure if the "sold-out" wasn't inflated artificialy, though... Just a thought.

14. Tipus

Posts: 912; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

This is got to be the supidest earbuds design ever

16. jonartpop

Posts: 199; Member since: Oct 25, 2012

The priiiiiiice

17. MKeditor

Posts: 97; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

Anyone actually think this is a good look? Poor iphone peeps are stuck looking like they have cigarettes in their ears.

37. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Someone called them tampons and can't really look at them now. But they seem to be pretty good. Better then the Icon anyways. But 160 bucks. That's a negative.

19. Tizo101

Posts: 644; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

my earphones are seemlessly integrated to every device with an aux, they sound 100x better than these, they might cost more but they have a lifetime battery life lol...

22. drunkenjay

Posts: 1703; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

the battery life is decent for such a small device.

36. FlySheikh

Posts: 444; Member since: Oct 02, 2015

Interesting review. Not surprised by the score.

41. Motionless

Posts: 12; Member since: Dec 02, 2014

I'll stick with my Samsung level u pro's and their amazing battery life. Also they are alot cheaper.

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