Airpods Pro Is The Perfect Earbuds For The iPhone – I’ve never been able to use AirPods for two reasons. First, they’re one-size fits most design just doesn’t work with my ears. And I know I’m not alone. And two, they’ve got an open plan that just lets in so much outside noise. I don’t know how people deal with that on trains or city streets. But now, with the $249 AirPods Pro, Apple has addressed both of those points and gone even further. For the first time, they’ve got active noise cancellation. I guess that’s what makes them Pro. These sound like the AirPods I’ve been waiting for, and maybe you have too.
There’s a lot that’s new here, so let’s start with the case. Now it opens on the longer end, it’s a little bit bigger than before but still fits in your pants pockets just fine. And it also still supports wireless charging. So you can plop the Pro’s down onto a charger at night with your iPhone when you’re ready for bed.
More importantly, Apple’s changing the way the new AirPod’S actually go into your ears. The old ones are hard plastic, and they just kinda go in and sit there. For a lot of folks, that’s fine, they stay in place. But I’m someone who can’t get them to stay put no matter what I do. The new ones have silicone tips and an in the ear design, and they stay put so much better. Now some people don’t like how in-earbuds feel. because they create a sense of pressure almost like you’re underwater or something.
This happens because there’s air getting trapped in your ear because of that silicone seal. So for the AirPods, Apple came up with a brilliant solution. There’s a vent on the outside that equalises the pressure on the outside and inside. So that discomfort of hearing your own voice too loudly, that’s not a thing with these. Apple also designed the Pro so that the hard plastic doesn’t really touch your ear very much, and that also prevents soreness. Okay, so three sizes of silicone tips come in the box with the AirPods. Well, how do you know which one to pick?
You can run this test in the setting’s menu to make sure the ones you’ve chosen produce a good seal for the best possible sound quality. You’re gonna hear a few seconds of music and in inside facing microphone analyses the sound in your ear canal as you’re listening to it. Apple says some people might end up with different sizes in each one of their ears. And that’s okay, as long as there’s any seal at all the test comes back green, and you’re good to go.
So when I took the test, I got good results for both the medium and large-sized ear tips. Choosing one really depends on comfort and how tightly it stays in your ear. Pulling off those ear tips actually takes a bit of effort, and they snap back on a little quiet click, so you know they’re on there good and tight. If you lose them, Apple sells replacements in their store for about four bucks.
The old AirPods used a series of taps on the side to skip tracks or bring up Siri. But now there’s a new force sensor, it’s this little indent on both stems that you squeeze to do things. A quick squeeze will play and pause tracks or answer phone calls, a double hug skips to the next song, and a triple goes back. But there’s still no way to control volume with the earbuds themselves.
You’ve gotta pull out your phone or have Siri do it, which is often just an awkward guess. And squeezing the stem does take a little bit more effort than tapping did. I would have liked having the choice of either one. Pressing and holding the force sensor switches you between active noise cancellation and transparency mode, which naturally amplifies outside audio so you can hear traffic or flight announcements. Or order a coffee without yelling at the barista. You can have transparency mode on whenever you want.
So if you liked how the old AirPods kept you aware of your surroundings on a run outside, you could get that same experience here. But the big sell is noise cancellation, and there are several ways to turn it on. You can do it with the sensor, you can do it in the control centre, or you can just tell Siri to turn ANC on or off.
Apple’s noise-cancelling system uses a pair of microphones, one outside and one in. The external mic takes a reading of all the sound around you and then blocks that out with anti-noise. And the inside mic, meanwhile, listens for whatever does come through and tries to cancel that out too. Apple says the AirPods Pro can adjust their sound signal at 200 times per second to adapt for the shape of your ears. Now, I can’t verify that number, but I can tell you that this noise cancellation is legit.
It’ll quiet down city streets and your office. If you turn down the volume, you can hear some of what’s going on, these aren’t over-ear noise-cancelling headphones like those from Sony or Bose. On a plane, you can’t beat those, but everywhere else, I’m really impressed by what these AirPods can do. Now, beyond noise cancellation, you’re probably wondering how the Pro AirPods sound. And the answer is right, very good, and way better than the previous AirPods ever did. They’re balanced, they’re neutral, and the ear tips seal results in a significant improvement to base, which is right where I want it to be on these earbuds.
The Pros have all new drivers, Apple won’t say how big they are. And there’s this feature called adaptive EQ that runs whenever you’ve got noise cancellation on. That inside mic listens to how the music sounds to your ears and adjusts the low end and mids to make everything seem more full. Turning off noise cancellation also disables adaptive EQ. And you can tell the difference. Now, some headphones offer a deeper base, like the Powerbeats Pro, or the Echo buds from Amazon, and others.
If that’s your style, these might not work, but I think a lot of people are gonna be very happy and more than satisfied by how the AirPods Pro sound. These are not audiophile headphones, they have never been, but they’re fun, and they’re well suited for everything from Taylor Swift to Miles Davis.
So the AirPods have this reputation as the best earbuds for making voice calls with, and that makes total sense. The stems put the microphone closer to your mouth, and a lot of earbuds don’t have that. But for the new AirPods Pro, Apple made that stem a little bit shorter. So my question is, are these still the best way to make voice calls on the go?
So Apple says battery life on the AirPods Pro is suitable for 4.5 hours of continuous playback, with the noise cancelling on. That’s pretty close to the standard AirPods five hours, and you get that here too if you turn off noise cancellation. But that battery is nowhere near the Powerbeats Pro, which can last nine hours on a single charge, albeit, they don’t make noise cancellation.
Now, the saving grace with AirPods, just like always, is the case, which holds enough juice for 24 hours of total listening time. So having heard all that, you’re probably thinking, Apple did it, these are the perfect AirPods. Not quite. See, much like iOS 13, these can be buggy. Sometimes the force sensor just stops working briefly from time to time. And changing modes in the control centre doesn’t always do what it should.
Now, these are minor issues, and they don’t happen very often, I fully expect Apple’s gonna fix them through iOS or AirPod firmware updates. But you’re paying $250 for these earbuds, and any bugs are kind of disappointing. And second, you can change devices really fast from your iPad to your iPhone to your Mac, but you can’t pair to more than one device at a time. Other earbuds can do that, and I’d love to see the AirPods do it as well.
Here’s the thing about the AirPods though, so much about their appeal is tied to Apple’s ecosystem. So if y’all have an Android, you lose out on a lot. You give up the instant pairing by holding them close to your phone, and you lose out on the ability to configure what the touch controls do, and so on, and so on.
Noise cancellation still works on Android, and the sound quality remains the same, which is good. But it’s still not the ideal experience, so you might be better off with the Echo buds, Sony’s, Samsung’s Galaxy buds, or even the Powerbeats Pro for that battery life they have. And then there’s the environment situation. If you use your AirPods a lot, the battery inside is gonna last two years, three max.
This is a dilemma of truly wireless earbuds. None of them is what you’d call repairable. Maybe you’re okay spending $250 with the knowledge that these things have a shelf life, and you’ll have to upgrade in a few years. But what happens then? I’ve asked Apple about this, and the company says it tries to recycle as much as it possibly can of every earbud. No one wants to see these things wind up in the garbage or landfills. When the time comes, be sure to take your AirPods to the Apple store. Or some other place that can responsibly recycle them, so that doesn’t happen. They’re a great product, but be cold to the earth. So should you get the AirPods Pro?
If you’ve got an iPhone and somehow don’t have AirPods yet. And you’re ready to upgrade and you’re not turned off by their high cost. “Absolutely yes”. They finally fit my ears, and hopefully, they’ll meet yours too. The noise cancellation really works, and the sound quality is a significant improvement compared to previous models.
We’ve come to accept these white stems hanging out of our ears as usual. AirPods Pro is the best reason to do that yet. They feel like a next-generation product. They’re not perfect, but they’re inching very close.