I'm genuinely surprised at how much I like the Lightning EarPods that ship with iPhone 7 & 7 Plus. While I don't have the 3.5mm EarPods anymore to directly compare them to, the difference in sound ranges from noticeable to substantial. There's no cable noise, the connection to the phone is as tight as ever (these won't come out by accident), and overall it's a much better experience. They feel solid. Overall, the sound is purer which may be attributable to the digital nature of the Lightning port. With a proper fit contoured in the ear canal, bass is punchier and the soundstage is more open. They're really quite decent for podcasts and even casual music listening. I very much prefer them to the older 3.5mm model, and after looking at reviews on Apple.com I found that other people also noticed significant improvements. Even if you have an older iPhone with a headphone port, the Lightning EarPods may just be a better value than the AirPods and almost a worthwhile upgrade over the 3.5mm EarPods if purchased separately for an older device.