As a fitness and audio enthusiast, I always have a pair of wireless headphones on hand. Listening to my favorite tunes while working out is essential to my motivation. Being able to tune out external distractions with active noise cancelation so I can tune in to my training is a major perk. The Apple AirPods Pro are some of the best noise-canceling earbuds on the market. They offer both ANC (active noise cancelation) and transparency modes to suit any environment.
If you're looking for in-ear headphones that deliver high-quality audio with dynamic drivers, are sweat-proof, offer both transparency and ANC modes, feature wireless charging for extended battery life, provide a comfortable fit, and Bluetooth connectivity, you can't do much better than Apple AirPods Pro. These headphones are pricey, but I believe they're worth the investment.
A lover of all things audio, I've researched, tested, and reviewed many noise-canceling earbuds, and my Apple AirPods Pro continue to reign supreme.
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A Quick Look at the Apple AirPods Pro
The Apple AirPods Pro were released late in October of 2019—the third pair of in-ear wireless headphones rolled out in the Apple lineup and the first to offer active noise cancellation. They came after Apple AirPods (first and second generations) and are a significant upgrade in both fit and features. I found the first-generation AirPods to be incredibly uncomfortable; I could wear them for maybe an hour at most. The second and third-generation AirPods have the same uncomfortable, hard plastic outer shell that sits inside your ear. The Apple AirPods Pro provide a much more comfortable, customizable fit with three pairs of differently sized silicone tips for the best sound-blocking seal, and I've found that I can wear them for as long as the battery allows. With ANC mode switched on, they've been my saving grace in blocking the unwanted external noise that comes with flying on many cross-country flights, while going beast mode on my MYX II indoor bike, and practicing yoga at home.
The AirPods Pro offer many desirable features that you won't get with first, second, and even third-generation AirPods. In addition to being the only pair of Apple in-ear headphones that offer active noise cancelation and transparency modes, they're also equipped with spatial audio, and dynamic head tracking, and are sweat and water resistant.
Setting up your Apple AirPods Pro is easy—especially if you're trying to pair them with other Apple products. They support Bluetooth 5.0 and will pair with any compatible device. If you're trying to connect to your iPhone or iPad, open the case with your AirPods inside, then follow the on-screen instructions. After that initial pair, they will automatically connect to your iPhone or iPad whenever they're in range—no need to go through your settings. If you're trying to pair with a non-Apple, Bluetooth-supported device, open the case with your AirPods inside, press, and hold the back power button until the light on the front of the case flashes white. Look for Apple AirPods Pro in your available Bluetooth devices, hit connect, and you're good to go.
The Apple AirPods Pro feature the sleek, white, minimalist aesthetic we've come to know and expect from Apple. They're built around a system-in-package design that features the powerful H1 chip. The H1 employs 10 audio cores, creating low audio processing latency that enables real-time noise cancellation. It's organized so that each component's placement is strategically based on the form of the ear. An outward-facing microphone detects external sound which the AirPods Pro then counters with equal anti-noise. An inward-facing microphone listens for unwanted noise inside the ear and cancels it with anti-noise to produce the Pro's stellar ANC. Noise cancellation is continuously adjusted at 200 times per second, for a fully immersive experience. Their iconic stems are slightly shorter than the other generations of AirPods and are where the touch controls are located. Unlike some of the other earbuds I've reviewed, these controls are consistently responsive: press once to play, pause, or answer a phone call; press twice to skip forward; press three times to skip back; and press and hold to switch between active noise cancelation and transparency. To activate Siri, simply say, "Hey Siri," and ask for things like directions, the time, or the daily weather report.
I bought my first pair of Apple AirPods Pro shortly after they launched in 2019 and they've held up beautifully. I still get the same high-quality sound and performance I got on my first day of use. The AirPods Pro use custom-built, high-excursion, low-distortion speaker drivers and inward-facing microphones to deliver crisp trebles, well-balanced mids, and adequate bass. If I'm going to nitpick, I do wish the bass lines had more depth for a more multi-dimensional listening experience. They're just not as punchy as I want them to be and fall a bit flat to my ears. I'm hoping to hear a bass upgrade in the hotly anticipated Apple AirPods Pro 2. Adaptive EQ automatically tunes the music to the shape of your ear for a consistent listening experience. The audio consistency is what I really appreciate about these earbuds—it's never disappointing.
ANC, transparency mode, and spatial sound with dynamic head tracking are what really set Apple AirPods Pro apart from the other generations of AirPods, and other wireless headphones in general. These features set a precedent for the entire wireless, in-ear headphone industry when they launched. ANC, or active noise cancellation, blocks out external noise for a fully immersive listening experience. Transparency mode allows external noise to filter through your headphones, so you can listen to your audio, but remain aware of your surroundings. ANC mode is great for activities like in-home workouts, commuting, and sleeping. Transparency mode is great for outdoor sports and activities where it's important to hear what's going on around you. Spatial sound with dynamic head tracking provides a surround sound effect for a three-dimensional, theater-like audio experience.
In terms of battery life, you'll get up to 4.5 hours of playback on a single charge, 5 hours with active noise cancellation turned off, and 3.5 hours of talk time on a full charge. Paired with the MagSafe charging case, the AirPods Pro can provide more than 24 hours of listening time and more than 18 hours of talk time. Just 5 minutes in the charging case gives you close to an hour of both listening and talk time.
Who Should Buy Apple AirPods Pro?
The AirPods Pro would benefit any individual looking for a high-quality pair of wireless, in-ear headphones and who can afford the premium price. These Bluetooth earbuds are great for the user who wants versatility in their listening experience with their ANC, transparency, and spatial sound. They're IPX4 sweat and water-resistant, so they're excellent for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. The MagSafe wireless charging case delivers extended battery life of up to 24 hours depending on usage. The comfortable silicone tips provide a customizable fit so you can listen to your favorite audio for hours on end without noticing that they're there. These are a no-brainer for Apple fans, and a worthy option for anyone wanting to connect to a Bluetooth-compatible device for a premium listening experience.
Apple AirPods Pro
- Type: In-ear, wireless headphones
- Airpods Pro dimensions: 1.22"H, 0.86"W, 0.94"D
- MagSafe case dimensions: 1.78"H, 2.39"W, 0.85"D
- AirPods Pro weight: 0.19 oz.
- Chip: H1 headphone chip
- Battery life: 4.5 hours listening time, 3.5 hours talk time
- Charging Case battery life: 24 hours listening time, 18 hours talk time
- Charging time: 1-2 hours
- Water resistance: IPX4
- Personal assistant: Siri
- Audio technology: Custom high-excursion Apple driver, custom high dynamic range amplifier, Active Noise Cancelation, transparency mode, vent system for pressure equalization, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, adaptive EQ
- Sensors: Dual beamforming microphones, inward-facing microphones, dual optical sensors, motion-detection accelerometer, speech-detecting accelerometer, force sensor
- Key features: ANC, transparency mode, spatial sound with head tracking, H1 chip
- Warranty: 1 year
What I Like
- ANC, transparency mode, and spatial sound with head tracking
- IPX4 sweat and water resistance
- Customizable, comfortable fit
- Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
- Good battery life
- Sleek, lightweight design
- Easy to take in and out
- Wireless charging
What I Don't Like
- Not enough bass
FAQs About the Apple Airpods Pro
Are the AirPods Pro worth it?
Yes! The AirPods Pro are worth the investment if you're looking for in-ear headphones with high performance and design. They're some of the best wireless earbuds available, and are great for working out as they're rated IPX4 sweat and water resistant with ANC and transparency listening modes to suit any indoor or outdoor training environment. They feature wireless charging and offer extended battery life.
Do the Airpods Pro fall out when you're running?
No. They feature a customizable silicone tip for the perfect fit, and stay firmly in place while running.
What's special about the AirPods Pro?
The AirPods Pro are special because they offer a system-in-package design powered by the H1 chip. They use high-tech, strategically placed microphones based off of the shape of the human ear to deliver some of the best active noise cancellation available. Spatial sound with head tracking gives a unique, theater-like, three-dimensional listening experience.
Which AirPods are best?
The Apple AirPods Pro are the best AirPods in Apple's in-ear lineup. Unlike the other generations of AirPods, they offer a customizable, comfortable fit, and both ANC and transparency modes to suit your surroundings. Whether you're running outdoors or training inside, Apple AirPods Pro deliver the features you need for a truly premium audio experience.