Not least because of various YouTubers publishing rave reviews, fake AirPods enjoy great popularity. These so-called BlackPods Pro cost a fraction of the original Apple headphones, but how close to they come to the real thing? Let's find out.
Everything is faked
There are several versions of the so-called 'BlackPods' available online these days. The fake Apple headphones were hyped - a dangerous hype, as it turned out. Because most of the shops that sell the supposed all-rounders are set up by fraudsters. Often, you'll receive no goods for the up to $100 that a pair of these headphones typically cost. Sometimes you'll get goods - but they are nothing like the hyped products in reviews.
In serious shops, you can always pay by PayPal and are protected by the buyer protection. Dubious providers only demand payment by credit card - where whoever pays is at fault. I had to experience this myself last year after a review of fake AirPods by the poplar tech YouTuber Unbox Therapy, I fell for a BlackPods scam. I only got half of my order delivered and the headphones I got for €60 were not even worth six percent of the sales price - I could only pay by credit card and was left with the costs.
So I was all the more pleased that the online shop Lectrify provided us with a pair of BlackPods Pro for a review. Some reviews on the internet really knock you off your chair. The BlackPods Pro are said to be able to do quite a lot of what Apple's expensive, original AirPods Pro can do. Such as:
- A smart charging case with wireless charging.
- Transparency mode.
- Ventilation for pressure compensation.
- Siri Compatibility.
- Fabulous audio experience thanks to the H1 chip.
- Long battery life.
I have taken a closer look at the listed features and will tell you what is fake and what works well.
1. A smart charging case with wireless charging
When unpacking the BlackPods that were sent to us, I was amazed at how high quality the charging case looks and feels. The matte black crackles nicely and feels velvety on the fingertips and the rounded corners invite the touch. Just like the real Apple headphones, the lid is equipped with a magnetic closure, which offers a very pleasant resistance when opening and closing. The charging case of the BlackPods Pro is also smart, because my iPhone 11 Pro recognizes the headphones as AirPods Pro within seconds after opening the box. That made me want more.
But first I wanted to find out if the wireless charging promised on the website worked. Or rather: whether the product claims to work. Because with the BlackPods Pro, we have to make a very clear distinction between "works" and "pretends to work", as I quickly found out.
When you place the BlackPods Pro on a charging pad, the green light flashes. Unfortunately, I could not find out if the headphones are really charging, because every time I open and close them, a different battery level is displayed on the iPhone screen. The values are randomly mixed up for the right headphone, the left headphone, and the charging case. See for yourself and pay attention to the time on the display in the background:
So let's be clear: the charging case is quite smart, yes. It easily connects the headphones to an iPhone when you open it. Wireless charging onboard? I can't verify that. Even the battery indicator in the widgets overview, which shows the charge status of an Apple Watch or my Sony headphones, for example, shows fake values for the BlackPods Pro.
I didn't really expect the BlackPods Pro to have active noise cancellation, but others do. The online shop doesn't use the term "ANC" either, but uses Apple's visualizations and shows drawn sound waves in the corresponding area on its website. In fact, the BlackPods Pro only offer natural noise cancellation, which is caused by the in-ear tips and the negative pressure when worn in the ear canal. I find this poor. In my opinion, the word 'noise suppression' is often misused by advertising fraudsters anyway - it suggests a technological approach when really you are just putting silicone in your ears here.
3. Transparency mode
Of course Apple's transparency mode is not available here either. This mode is designed to let sounds enter the ear canal in the real AirPods Pro. By pressing the pressure sensor on the bottom of the AirPods Pro, all-important environmental sounds can be heard. The BlackPods Pro also pretend to copy the expensive original at this point. In the control center, we find the BlackPods Pro right next to the slider for the brightness. By pressing the symbol, a continuative menu appears in which I can operate manually, thus without a sensor on the headphones, with options for the noise-canceling and the transparency mode. The fake headphones can also be controlled, but nothing happens with the BlackPods Pro.
This somehow reminds me of my childhood, when I had miniature versions of real technological role models and could play with them. Many toys with buttons pretended to do something, but nothing happened when they were pressed. It was just as disappointing today as it was then.
4. Ventilation for pressure compensation
At first glance, you'll notice that, just like the original AirPods Pro, there's a vent on the inside of the BlackPods Pro for the ingenious pressure equalization. However, what is a striking black grid on the Apple version, is actually just a sticker on the BlackPods Pro. The sticker is the perfect symbol of the fake. However, when you stick the headphones in your ear canals, the edges of the sticker cut into the skin unpleasantly.
5. Siri compatibility
Thanks to the real sensors on the bottom of the fake AirPods Pro, Siri actually pings up and waits for commands. At first I thought it really worked - Siri creates calendar entries, reminders, and sends messages. But as soon as you are a few meters away from the iPhone, the whole thing doesn't work anymore. In the course of this trial, I exposed the next sticker fraud: the microphones on the outside do not exist at all. The "sensors" only send a signal to the iPhone to activate Siri. The BlackPods Pro do nothing. Ergo, you can't even make a phone call with them. Unbelievably cheeky.
6. Incredible audio thanks to the H1 chip
This point left me even more stunned. The shop actually advertises on the website quite brazenly with the H1 chip from Apple, which is in the current AirPods Pro model. The fact that they even advertise with stolen pictures tops the audacity.
What you get is not an H1 chip at all, but the cheapest scrap metal technology. The battery, loudspeaker, and circuit board have no contact to Apple's headphones. I took them apart for you. See for yourself.
The music that comes out of these things doesn't sound absolutely awful, it's actually fine. I'd compare it to the sound quality you get in standard airplane headphones. But they have a more stable connection thanks to cables - the BlackPods Pros I tested were moaning in my ears every five minutes due to connection problems. The iPhone was only 20 centimeters away during this test.
7. Long battery life
This is the only feature I can be reasonably optimistic about. But it's also important to state that the BlackPods Pro don't really push the battery. They don't have high-quality audio, offer the worst Bluetooth connection, have no microphones, and no high-end audio chip. So of course the battery lasts a long time. Exactly how long they last, I did was not able to fully test because after a few hours of wearing, my ears started to hurt.
Do not buy the BlackPods Pro
The BlackPods Pro cost around $69.95 at the moment, down from the original listed price of $99.95. I cannot recommend you to buy these headphones. Fake AirPods have become a scam and only because of the hype of technology reviewers and the criminals have an easy time. But this is another, more complex topic, which I will get to the bottom of in a separate article soon. With these BlackPods Pro, you might as well throw your money out the window. Unfortunately, our review system does not allow me to award the zero stars these deserve.