Apple Airpods Pro VIEW PRODUCT The GoodBest-in-class transparency mode, Super Light, Great noise cancellation, Intuitive gestures, Sounds better than Airpods. The BadEcosystem-specific features, Beaten by competition in the sound department😎 Cool Factor4.00📘 Learning Curve5.00💪 Performance4.00💸 Bang for the Buck3.00
Apple did popularise truly wireless earbuds with the original Airpods even though the company wasn’t the first to launch them. But the original AirPods (even after its facelift last year) has had a fair share of problems and the Cupertino giant’s first “Pro” branded earbuds, fixes most of these problems.
I wouldn’t deem the AirPods Pro as the runaway “best noise-cancelling wireless earbuds” out there, but they’re pretty close to being perfect, especially if you’re someone on the iOS camp. For INR 24,900, these are smaller Airpods that seal off your ear canal, as opposed to resting against it which makes for a noticeable improvement in fit as well as audio performance, with rich bass depth and crisp high-mid presence.
The AirPods Pro also deliver strong active noise cancellation (ANC) in a certified splash-proof build which does make it worth the extra moolah over the original Airpods.
The Refreshed Design Makes A Huge Difference
Regardless of whether you’ve owned a pair of the first or second generation Airpods, the moment you flip open the Airpods Pro, the most glaring change with the latest model is an updated design. The previous AirPods featured a one-size-fits-all earbud construction, while the Pros have interchangeable silicone tips.
While I agree that a select bunch may miss the original style, most folks will appreciate the ability to customize the fit. According to Apple, one design change you won’t be able to see is the addition of splash resistance (they’re IPX4 rated), which makes these expensive new Airpods effective as workout earphones.
The tips also help performance by passively blocking outside sound, a necessary improvement for noise cancellation. To ensure that you’re using the right-sized tips to seal off your ear canals, the new AirPods come with a sweet new, easy-to-use feature that plays a short snippet of audio, which is then measured using internal microphones. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to have the earphones paired to an iPhone to use this feature.
The insert tips may make your ears feel slightly plugged up, even with noise-canceling turned off. But the AirPods Pro also have a “transparency” mode, which uses built-in microphones to intentionally pipe in outside sound. Apple didn’t invent this feature, but having tried a bunch of popular implementations, the Airpods Pro do it best.
So essentially, the AirPods Pro let you cycle through three noise settings — Noise Cancellation, Transparency, and Off—by squeezing lightly on the earphone stems. Combinations of shorter squeezes activate other controls, letting you start and stop playback and cycle through tracks.
Strangely though, there’s no way to adjust the volume without calling up Siri or pulling out the device you’re connected to which is odd.
All The Advantages Of Airpods In The Same Form Factor As Before
The wireless charging case that you get here is a shade heavier at 45 grams (as opposed to 37 grams) and can be charged with a Qi pad or with the included USB-C-to-Lightning cable. Opening the case for the first time triggers an on-screen prompt on your nearby iOS device.
As soon as you’ve unboxed these earphones, they’re ready to pair, and this is also achieved with an on-screen prompt, rather than having to go to the Bluetooth menu on your phone. This is all enabled by Apple’s H1 chip, an update to the W1. Both chips enable similar features, but the H1 supports newer Bluetooth technology, which allows for lower latency as a result. You can also share music between two pairs of Airpods provided they both have the H1 chip.
You get the drift. You get all the ease-of-use, ecosystem linked featured you’d get with an Apple-made product. But does it make no sense to pick one up as an Android user? It doesn’t but that’s not because you miss out on a lot of features, but because you have better options for the price.
For one, Android users don’t get to change any of the default settings, so you’ll need an iOS device to decide whether a long-press of the Pro’s shorter stems cycle between active noise cancellation, transparency, or nothing at all. Still, those stem-based controls are great and work quite well.
Android users also miss on the fit-tuning feature, but I don’t see that as being a big miss anyway.
But How Do They Sound?
While the noise-cancellation does improve audio fidelity overall, the Airpods Pro still sound like you’d expect Airpods to sound like. I’m certainly no audiophile, but I can tell you for a fact that they don’t match up to the profile of the Sony WF-1000 XM3’s or the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless.
These are definitely not the best-sounding wireless earbuds I’ve heard. There! I said it.
These are “Pro” earbuds only in the sense that they’re the best version that Apple offers and professionals would never use these for real production work.
Still, they sound good enough, and quite a bit better than regular AirPods. With silicone tips to block outside noise and create better bass, Apple doesn’t have to overload the sound spectrum to overcompensate for the loose, open-ear design of the original AirPods. AirPods Pro aren’t so “mid-heavy” and don’t muddy up the high-frequency sounds so much. It also does extreme well with sub-bass.
Whether it was hip hop, R&B, classical, rock, pop, or podcasts, everything sounded appropriately balanced. I never felt like I needed to break out an equalizer to make the music sound as it should.
Battery Life Remains Pretty Much Unchanged
The AirPods Pro maintain many of the best-loved features of the previous AirPods. Connecting to Apple devices is still seamless, and while the portable charging case is slightly longer than the original AirPods case, it’s still small enough to carry around in a pocket.
The advertised battery life is essentially unchanged. With Noise Cancellation or Transparency turned on, Apple says the earphones should last 4.5 hours. With those features off, you should expect the same 5 hours you’d get with the previous AirPods, according to Apple.
Like its predecessors, a fully charged AirPods Pro case is supposed to recharge the headphones for up to 24 full hours of playback. The case is compatible with wireless charging pads, which you can purchase separately. Apple first introduced wireless charging with the second-generation AirPods, which were released earlier in 2019, but you had to pay more for the upgrade. With the Pros, the wireless charging case comes standard.
Let’s Discuss Options
At INR 24,990, the Apple AirPods Pro are well within the price range of other wireless portable noise-canceling headphones, particularly true wireless models. That’s a good INR 10,000 more than the retail price of the second-generation AirPods with the wireless charging upgrade making it worth the upgrade.
There are still plenty of other true wireless headphones worth considering.
The AirPods Pro sound far better than Apple’s earlier models, they still don’t meet the audio quality of the Sony WF 1000XM3s. As for the Android camp, I still think that the Samsung Galaxy Buds, which sell for just INR 9,999 are a great pick if features are all you care about. (They aren’t noise-canceling.)
But for many consumers, the AirPods Pro will and should be a clear and obvious choice.