I’m gonna go ahead and say right up front that I am not an audiophile at all. If you’re looking for a deep dive into the sonic properties of the new AirPods Pro, I am not your dude. Lack of expertise, however, has never stopped me before, so here are my thoughts.
Compared to the AirPod Amateurs, the Pros come in a case that’s wider, but not as tall. It’s almost like an elongated AirPod case turned sideways. Unless you have a pocket that JUST fits the regular airpods, the new Pros will likely fit about the same, they’re still very pocketable.
The earbuds themselves have traded the hard plastic of the originals for a rubber tip that fits snugly inside your ear holes and helps provide noise isolation. As an added benefit, they’re definitely more comfortable to me. The “stalks” are also shorter, so if you hated the look of the originals due to the stalks coming out of your ears, you may find these a bit more tolerable. I think they’re fine, and I do like that the shorter stalks are less likely to get caught on stuff like messenger bag straps, but I didn’t hate the originals either.
Noise cancellation is pretty solid. It doesn’t block out EVERYTHING but it does do a good job of blocking out the kind of noises that are super distracting, the humming from my old refrigerator’s compressor, the sound of my car at idle, my garage door opener, etc. It’s almost subtle after you’ve had them in your ears for a minute, but switching over to Transparency mode makes you very quickly realize just how much work the Noise Cancellation was doing.
I haven’t had them long enough to do any battery testing, but apple claims 4.5 hours per charge and enough charges in the case for 24 hours total. They are generally pretty accurate with their battery estimates, so I have no reason to doubt them this time. Everyone seems up in arms about the price, but it’s right in the ballpark for other wireless noise cancelling earbuds. Sony’s 1000-XM3’s are $229. I don’t find $249 to be out of range, especially given their integration in the apple ecosystem with automatic pairing to all iCloud devices and all.
The sound quality is good, at least in my opinion. It’s honestly hard to say how much of that is “better headphone” and how much of that is “noise reduction/less ambient noise” but everything sounds clearer. The one obvious improvement is higher perceived volume at the same volume setting, which is probably a very good thing for your ears. Bass seemed markedly improved over the old Airpods as well.
Overall I’m pretty impressed with the AirPods Pro, even though their name is terrible to write about.
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