Apple is the best when taking something that people find fussy or annoying and then makes it easy. And the new AirPods Pro is a perfect example.
They are not the first wireless earbuds with noise cancellation, and they are not the best wireless earbuds you can buy, but they sound good enough and are so easy that it’s difficult to go back to anything else. .
Make wireless easy
The original AirPod has been a huge success, and it’s not because Apple created the first wireless earbud that is truly wireless. Nor is it because they sound better than anything in their price range.
AirPod makes wireless easy. While next to your iPhone, AirPods pair up with your device just by opening the case. The connection is sturdy. They light up and connect when you take it out of the case and turn it off when you return it. They know when you take one out of your ear and pause the music automatically.
AirPod mattresses are small enough to fit in any pocket, open and close with satisfying magnetic clasps, and the earbuds fall right into their carefully installed slots.
With AirPods, Apple takes the annoying rough spots around using wireless earbuds and makes it simple and fun.
So what did Apple do for the encore?
It tweaks the design, improves sound quality, adds active noise cancellation, and calls it AirPods Pro.
AirPods Pro is really Apple’s highlight. Just like with the original AirPod, they are not a new discovery. They do not outperform the best wireless headphones in the price range. But AirPods Pro is very carefully designed, so easy and easy, so it’s kind of annoying to go back to using other wireless earbuds.
Design that is hard to beat
Let’s start with the case. This is a shorter and wider version of the case for ordinary AirPod, and includes wireless charging – there is no way to buy a non-wireless charging case. It’s only a little bigger overall, and it’s easy to put in any pocket. More than that, same as the AirPods case, and that’s a good thing. Locked open and close with magnetic hooks that are equally satisfying, and earbuds fall right into the slot installed.
Why hasn’t Apple’s competitors been able to emulate this experience? Since AirPod was released, Apple’s case is still smaller, easier to bag, easier to enter and exit, easier to use than others. It is good at Apple to update AirPods with noise canceling and silicone tips without sacrificing casing properties that are very compact and easy to use.
The earbuds themselves look familiar, only slightly modified. They quietly looked AirPod, and good or bad they only came in shiny white. Just as I like matte black, or Product (RED), or gray space, Apple seems to have decided that Apple headphones are shiny white. Point.
The stem is now shorter, which I appreciate very much. They don’t look too silly and the short stems make a better balance which helps keep them in your ears.
The most obvious difference is the tip of the silicon on the front. Anyone who has used many different earbuds will tell you: tips made from rubber or foam make a seal in your ear canal that helps improve bass response and block outside noise.
Apple gives you three pairs of tips – small, medium and large – and there is even a small “compatibility test” feature in Settings to help ensure you have a good seal. I have no problem passing the test with both medium and small tips, but small ones are much more comfortable. You should try various sizes.
AirPods Pro comes with three pairs of eartip (replacement for only $ 4) and USB-C for lightning cables.Ordinary AirPods are uncomfortable, but they don’t survive well. When moving a lot, they need to be adjusted again. When exercising, they tend to fall out. AirPods Pro solves both problems – they are light and very comfortable, and they remain in the right place even when running or exercising. Just enter and forget, without feeling depressed or uncomfortable, and don’t need to adjust their placement often. There aren’t many earbuds that I can say about that.
AirPods Pro also has new controls on the earbud itself. Instead of tapping on it like in old AirPods, there is a pressure sensitive area on the trunk. To use it, you have to sort the “pinch” rod – one pinch to play or pause, two to jump forward, three to jump backward, or long press to switch noise cancellation and transparency mode.
If you want, you can change the long squeeze to trigger Siri, and you can even have different settings for the left and right earbuds.
The problem is a bit strange. It was not a button, nothing moved at all. But Apple makes it feel like a button by making the speaker make a little “click” sound only on the earbuds you squeeze. So it feels like clicking on a button, even though there’s no button. Really haphazard and really Apple.
It took a little getting used to, but now I find pinching easier than knocking on regular AirPods. That doesn’t make the earbud fall from my ear like it knocks sometimes, and I can do it when I work in the yard with active work gloves.
Better sound, but not enough
Apple talks a lot about improving the sound quality of AirPods Pro, and it’s definitely better, but it’s still far from “Pro” quality.
This is definitely not the wireless earbud with the best sound I’ve ever heard. They don’t hold candles like MW07 from Master & Dynamic. This is an “Pro” earbud only in the sense that it’s the best version that Apple has to offer – audio professionals who would never actually use it for real production work.
Even so, they sound pretty good, and are slightly better than regular AirPods. With silicon tips to block outside noise and create better bass, Apple doesn’t need to overload the sound spectrum to provide excessive compensation for the loose design and open ears of the original AirPods. AirPods Pro is not so “too heavy” and does not make a high frequency sound.
Whether it’s hip hop, R&B, classic, rock, pop, or podcast, everything sounds balanced. I have never felt the need to equalize to make music sound as it should.
Most users will not be disappointed with the sound quality of AirPods Pro, especially if you are familiar with regular AirPods. But with $ 250, AirPods Pro might sound a little better. Bass is not as tough as I would like, and the highest does not have sharp sharp sounds that make cymbals sound great.
Active noise cancellation for the masses
Then there is the big ticket item, active noise cancellation. Apple is not the first to do this in a wireless earbud – Sony has several different models that do it – but the popularity of AirPod means that this may be the first wireless earbud – perhaps the first headphone of any kind – with which many people experience noise cancellation.
Fortunately, Apple’s implementation isn’t half bad. AirPods Pro does an excellent job of eliminating the noise of the most active noise cancellation systems: medium to low frequency continuous noise such as air conditioners, dishwashers, trains, traffic, and aircraft noise. They struggle a bit on irregular, higher frequency sounds like children screaming or certain types of electrical devices.
A good pair of over-the-ear noise-reducing headphones from Bose or Sony will almost certainly do a better job of removing background noise, but for in-ear wireless earbuds, Apple has done a pretty impressive job.
While most noise canceling headphones give you control over the strength of the feature, Apple relies instead on the automatic adjustment feature that continuously adjusts sound up to 200 times per second. I am worried about this automatic adjustment thing, but in practice it really works well. Moving between environments, noise cancellation always sounds even and natural. And that feature makes it easier to use. Audiophiles want precise control over the level and nature of noise cancellation, but the average user only wants to enter and use their earbuds.
However, between the silicon tip and noise cancellation, most of the background noise will be dramatically reduced, if not completely eliminated.
This means you don’t need to play your music to hear it clearly. When using this on my desk or walking around my neighborhood in the suburbs, they isolate me so well that I just get carried away into my own little world, which is entirely focused on music. If you have never used good noise canceling headphones before, it feels truly magical.
The best transparency mode
Of course, eliminating all background noise can be dangerous in some situations, and that’s where transparency mode comes in. All modern noise canceling headphones have something like this, even though they have different names. There are modes where they leave noise-canceling on, but use a microphone to channel sound from outside, focusing on the frequency range that you need to hear most like cars and human voices.
Apple’s transparency mode is one of the best I have ever used. With other headphones, this feature tends to make everything sound far and fake, while your own voice is loud and inside your head. It’s a bit like you hear the world through a telephone line.
At AirPods Pro it sounds very natural and makes it very easy to have a conversation with someone. It is not at all annoying to let it be activated when you go for a walk or ride a bicycle, and that is not something that can be said about most noise canceling headphones.
Apple gives you many ways to switch between active noise cancellation, transparency mode, and noise cancellation. You can go to Bluetooth settings, or use the volume control in the control center, or your Apple Watch, or even just ask Siri. And yes, this works with Siri completely hands-free, like second generation AirPods and Powerbeats Pro.
The most comfortable earbuds ever
The real genius of AirPods Pro, the reason you want this than some other wireless earbuds that might sound better or have better noise cancellation, is because they are very comfortable.
They are very light, and very fitting, and stay in place properly, so it’s easy to forget you have it altogether. AirPods usually jostle out of place too easily, so that even when they don’t fall, I find myself occasionally adjusting their placement. That’s not a problem, per se, but it means that I’m thinking about my AirPod.
This persists even when going to run in a way that will make regular AirPods misaligned, or come out of my ears completely. A better balance of shorter stems and the silicon tip keeps everything in place. I never found myself thinking about Pro AirPods, until someone waved to me trying to get my attention because I was away in my own little music world and they tried to talk to me.
The best earbuds are not the best earbuds
Just like regular AirPods, AirPods Pro is easier to set up than other wireless headphones, and has a super small casing that is fun to use. They maintain a rock-solid connection, stop automatically when you take it out of your ear, and die automatically when you put it in their case. That’s just the easiest wireless headphones iPhone users can get.
AirPods Pro is all you like about AirPods, but better. They are more comfortable. They stay in your ears better. They sound better, and have a pretty good active noise cancellation with an excellent transparency mode.
The only thing Apple doesn’t fix is battery life, which is still only O.K. You get about five hours without noise cancellation, and four and a half with noise cancellation. This case has a 24-hour charging time and can recharge earbuds quickly enough.
AirPods Pro is not the best-sounding earbud. They do not offer the best noise cancellation performance. They do not have the longest battery life. They are not “the best,” however, they are the best wireless earbud hand-down that an iPhone user can get. They are doing quite well, and are very comfortable and convenient and reliable, which makes me constantly bothered by the small weaknesses of competing earbuds.
At $ 249, it costs $ 50 more than regular AirPods with Wireless Charging Case, or $ 90 more with regular charging cases. The improvement here is more than justifying the price difference, although I think the sound quality should be a little better for the price.
Basically there is no reason anyone should buy a regular AirPod anymore, unless you only want cheaper items, you can quickly get into your ears to receive phone calls.
AirPods Pro is a perfect example of what Apple does best. They take advanced technology and make things that may not be enough to outperform their competitors, but still perform well enough, while being far easier and more enjoyable to use.