In the consumer electronics space there reigns the undisputed king of wearable tech and thats still Apple Airpods and now more recently the Airpods Pro. Many companies have tried to emulate the appearance of the iconic airpods and thats where the BlackPods or Black Pods come in.
On September 10th 2019 there was a video made by Lewis Hilsenteger who runs Unbox Therapy channel on YouTube. The video provided users with a first hand Unboxing look of the BlackPods and as of the date of this article that video has received 4.4million views demonstrating a clear unmet need for ?cheaper airpod alternatives?.
Unfortunately the chain of events up to this point is far more sinister and frankly criminal than most people might realise. The people behind ?BlvckNoir? that paid Unbox Therapy for this video have since closed their website under the weight of consumer demands, credit card networks and paypal as well as the US Attorny General who have all come calling to investigate these people.
How Did This Happen?
That is a question that will take a slight but informative detour to answer. For those unfamiliar with the ?Clone Airpods? or ?Fake Airpods? consumer electronics scene, to boil it down its basically when a company manufactures a product very similiar to Apple Airpods but at a vastly reduced cost ? helping to meet the needs of younger people who might not have the ability to drop $149 USD on a new set of earbuds but are happy with something very similar.
This is how the idea of BlackPods was born, create a unit that functioned in a similar way, looked almost the same and came in a cool black colour that by now most consumers were very interested in but Apple simply wasn?t offering.
Unfortunately for everybody who watched the Unbox Therapy Blackpods video there had already been a BlackPods Scam just like this one before. In 2018 there was the i12 TWS in Black which were also called ?BlvckPods? or ?BlackPods? by another company that sponsored a video on YouTube and then failed to delivery any product and collapsed in exactly the same way that BlvckNoir did.
At this point we need to be specific and mention that the original i12 TWS scam that went ?viral? on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook ads was also shut down for being a charlatan group who took customers money and never delivered anything. Looking back at their Instagram account from 2018 the imagery, language and exact method of marketing these products was identical to that used by BlvckNoir in 2019.
Unfortunately looking further into other sites that offer these BlackPods its evident to see almost all of them use the same kinds of language, the same images on Instagram and all (except a few) use the ?Unbox Therapy? video to justify their credibility. Which I would like to restate again that original video has since proven to be a fraud and a scam and BlvckNoir has collapsed and is being investigated criminally.
But I Really Want To Buy BlackPods Where Is Safe?
After having investigated this for a few weeks I can definitely recommend one site and I?ll outline my reasons why. BlackPods from Podsbay.com or their BlackPods Pro are safe options at $54.99 (with free shipping) and $94.99 respectively.
PodsBay is at this time the only site I could find that sells BlackPods that also accepted PayPal and other respected and trusted transaction companies like Klarna and Sezzle if you need Buy Now Pay Later options. One of the reasons PayPal is a bellweather for authenticity is PayPal has built their business on protecting the consumer (that means you and me). If somebody places an order and their item is not sent then the customer can lodge a dispute on PayPal and get a refund.
I noticed that all the other BlackPods websites like Blackpod, BlvckNoir (when they were still around), Blxckedpod ? and the dozens of others all do not have PayPal in their payments list, only credit cards. A website that only accepts credit cards for payments is automatically dangerous as it offers no consumer protection and likely does not offer PayPal because they have been banned from the PayPal network before.
This is why I recommend the BlackPods or BlackPods Pro at Podsbay.com
BlackPods vs Airpods?
In terms of functionality the BlackPods are very similar to Apple Aiprods in that they both connect to your iOS device using the H1 chip with the iOS popup and display battery levels and look similar (just in black).
Where they differe is Airpods are able to sync across all your devices seamlessly but the BlackPods can only be recognised on the device you connected to and won?t sync on iCloud or have GPS ?find my device? functions.
In terms of Sound Quality I felt the real Airpods were the clear winner but I must admit I was surprised that the BlackPods came rather close, I would say about 80% as good as the real deal in terms of sound ? but thats just my opinion. For a 100 USD price difference I think the value there is compelling as the BlackPods are much cheaper.
For the overall Quality of Construction again I would say the Airpods are clear winners but given the huge price difference this is to be expected. The BlackPods were no slouch either though with a hefty weight in the hand of 46g and a nice svelte soft matte black feel to it which was nice in the hand.
Overall because price is a major factor in purchase decisions for those on a bit of a budget I would absolutely recommend the BlackPods over the Airpods because they do have basically all the same features and functions and they cost around $100 less.
Who Is To Blame For The BlackPods Scam?
Thats a good question which at this time has no clear cut answer but I?ll try my best to put things into perspective. Ultimately all scams rely upon a medium or method of ?getting their message out there? so customers recognise them and buy them.
In this example Unbox Therapy was the channel that first allowed BlackPods to blow up in 2019 and despite the comments section of that video being flooded with messages from Lewis? subscribers and other visitors that they weren?t being sent what they ordered the video still remains to this day online.
Furthermore I would suggest that as one of the larger YouTubers on the platform Lewis has a Duty Of Care to his subscribers when it comes to promoting a product to them. Because in effect by doing a review on BlackPods and specifically pointing out the website they could be bought from Unbox Therapy was engaging in Paid Promotion work for BlvckNoir and should be held responsible for doing nothing to check the authenticity of this company and even moreso once it became very clear very quickly it was a scam he still did not remove the video.
It should be noted another YouTuber Everything Apple Pro also did the same review on them with a link in his description which still exists to this day despite BlvckNoir being a known scam by this point.
These two YouTubers in particular hold huge culpability for taking no discernable action to protect any of their subscribers. From a wider point of view its estimated that 10?s of thousands of customers worldwide have been defrauded and their money lost.
There is a video which covers a lot of this I found here.
But There Is Hope:
As I said before not all of these companies are scams though, there are some that offer genuine Airpod Alternatives for reasonable prices and they do continue to offer PayPal and other ?safe? options with which to buy. I mentioned earlier that the BlackPods from Podsbay.com were being sold with PayPal, Sezzle and Klarna and I believe the bar is set high there. If you see a website that seems too good to be true and they can?t even offer safe consumer protection payments like PayPal then I think its best to walk away.
Did you get scammed by BlvckNoir? We?d love to hear in the comments your thoughts