I love my Bluetooth earbuds, and considering the runaway success of Apple’s AirPods , I’m not alone. But every once in a while I run into a situation where I wish I still had some headphones with a good ol’ 3.5mm cable.
Airplanes are a great example, mostly because there’s no easy way to connect your AirPods to the in-flight entertainment system. The same goes for the gym, if you like watching live TV while you’re on the treadmill.
There’s a simple hack for all of this: just buy a cheap set of earbuds specifically for flying and working out. But if you’re looking for a more elegant, high-tech solution, you have a few options.
Twelve South , a company known for its well-made Apple accessories, just came out the AirFly, a Bluetooth adapter that has a tiny 3.5mm cable on one end and an eight-hour battery (long enough for most cross-country flights). The device also has a slim white design that matches the AirPods’ case, and it’s little enough to slip right into your carry-on luggage.
Engadget didn’t note any audio issues with AirFly in its short review of the product. Their only real issue is that connecting your headphones to the adapter during the flight means having to reconnect them to your smartphone when you land. That could be annoying if you’re using them at the gym everyday, but it’s still a small price to pay for the convenience of connecting your Bluetooth earbuds to a non-Bluetooth device.
At $40, AirFly isn’t cheap, especially given that most Bluetooth adapters (according to a quick Amazon scan) hover somewhere between $10 to $30 . Most of these alternatives are also pretty well-rated—assuming those reviews are even worth trusting.
Still, you might not want to go cheap with a Bluetooth adapter for your AirPods. If you pick up a lame device that has so-so audio quality, you’re going to have a pretty unpleasant experience the next time you’re stuck on a six-hour plane flight and can’t rock out (or podcast out ) to pass the time.