AirPods, Apple's biggest tiny product since the iPod Shuffle, just might have a secret feature that makes them an even better deal at $159: they're super durable. A video posted online shows that the AirPods (in case and outside of case) survive falls from up to 10 feet, submersion in water, and a full-cycle in a washing machine.
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The washing machine test was done by placing the earbuds in-case into a 30-minute wash cycle, with detergent alongside some clothing (and a pair of Apple Lightning EarPods for comparison). This is likely an even more risky move than what some forgetful folks would do, as I could see users keeping the teeny tiny earbuds in their case in a pocket, which would provide more protection.
The AirPods came out of the wash still in the case, though the case was soaked and had retained water inside too. The glowing LED light inside the case was still on after the wash, but rather than air dry them for a safer process like I would, EverythingApplePro then threw the AirPods and inside their case into the dryer, along with the Lightning EarPods. The earbuds fell out of the charging case during the dryer cycle, but they still worked after the washer load.
After the washer and dryer load, the AirPods paired and played audio exactly as they did before, at the same exact quality as before. In comparison, the Apple Lightning EarPods still played after coming out of the washer and dryer, but didn't sound as good, now emitting fuzzier noise.
Apple doesn't promote the AirPods as waterproof or water-resistant, but the earbuds still played music from the iPhone they were connected to while they were submerged in about a foot of water. After a five-minute swim in the water, the AirPods and their case still worked and connected to their case.
The earbuds showed scuffing after drops from as high up as 10 feet, and while the case scuffed, the case kept charging and the buds kept working and didn't show any damage. The lack of marks on the headphones may be because the AirPods themselves are so small that they can't pick up much velocity on the way down.
One issue the tester noticed is that when you drop the AirPods inside of their case, there is a tendency for the buds to shoot out like Nerf missiles. Stay tuned to Tom's Guide for our forthcoming review of the AirPods; we can't wait to tell you how they sound.