Airpods pro noise cancelling review: Apple AirPods Pro 2 review

Apple AirPods Pro (second-gen) review: same look, better everything else

There are two main reactions to Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro, which will be available September 23rd for the same $249 as the original pair released in 2019. 

The first is “that’s it?” Apple has left the overall design and in-ear fit practically unchanged. The new AirPods Pro look identical to their predecessors. Despite arriving nearly three years after the first model, there’s been no major revamp. No shortened or eliminated stems. No new color choices. From a side view of your head, these are the same AirPods Pro as ever. It’s easy to be underwhelmed.

Rather than reinvent its wireless earbuds, Apple focused on improving everything about the formula that’s already proven massively successful. The second-gen AirPods Pro sound better. Their active noise cancellation is noticeably improved. You can now adjust the volume directly from the earbuds. And the charging case has gained a built-in speaker and pinpoint location tracking that makes it easier to find. Battery life is also slightly longer than before. For legions of loyal Apple customers, these changes are exciting — even if the outer design is old hat. So the second reaction has been along the lines of “these are what I’ve been waiting for.” 

8Verge Score

$199.99

The Good

  • Much better noise cancellation
  • New volume control works great
  • Improved sound quality and clarity
  • Case has speaker and pinpoint location finding

The Bad

  • Same old design
  • Lightning connector (hopefully for the last time)
  • Sound is improved but not top tier
  • No major new software features

$239 at Amazon$249 at Apple$200 at Best Buy

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But the second-generation AirPods Pro are contending with fiercer competition than ever before. Over the last few months alone, we’ve seen excellent earbuds released by Samsung and Google. Sony’s still in the mix with the WF-1000XM4s and newer products like the LinkBuds S. Sennheiser’s recent Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds demonstrate superb sound quality. To some extent, Apple’s rivals have managed to successfully replicate what felt so “magical” about the AirPods several years ago. 

Features like one-tap pairing, spatial audio with head tracking, and hands-free voice controls are now common across the industry. And right out of the gate, Apple’s improved noise cancellation performance has already been surpassed by Bose, which announced its QuietComfort Earbuds II on the very same day as Apple’s September event. If that’s not a sign of how contentious this market has become, I don’t know what is. The takeaway is that Apple doesn’t have it nearly as easy this time around as it did in 2019, when many tech players were (somehow) still finding their footing with true wireless earbuds.

These new AirPods Pro don’t add any major software tricks to Apple’s repertoire. Again, the priority was to improve on what was already there: the transparency mode now automatically dampens loud noises like emergency sirens or a screeching subway car. And personalized spatial audio (not exclusive to these AirPods, mind you) can fine-tune the audio profile based on your own unique ear shape for a more immersive experience. 

Noise cancellation is up to twice as powerful than before, making the second-gen AirPods a better travel companion than the originals.

But rumors about Apple making a leap to lossless or high-resolution wireless audio were unfounded. The AirPods Pro stick to the tried and true AAC codec over standard Bluetooth 5.3. I doubt many buyers will care about that aspect. If Apple does have higher-quality audio in the works, it makes sense to introduce such a luxury with the next AirPods Max. 

There are a few outward differences between the first- and second-generation AirPods Pro, but they’re very subtle. Some of the mics and sensors have been repositioned, and one of the microphone inlets is now concave. Without the case at hand, that little indented grille is the only telltale sign that you’re holding the 2022 earbuds. The AirPods Pro also now feature the same skin detection sensor as the third-gen AirPods, allowing for more accurate auto-pause when you remove a bud from either ear.

This concave mic inlet is one giveaway that you’ve got the new AirPods Pro.

Apple includes four sets of ear tips in the box this time: the new fourth option is an extra-small size. I’m a large tips person myself, but a friend who modeled the AirPods Pro for my photos mentioned that the XS tips did feel more comfortable than the small size from the previous Pros that she uses. Extra tips aside, everything about the way these AirPods Pro fit in your ears is the same as before, so you know what you’re in for. If you liked the original Pros, these will be no different. If not, maybe you’d be better off with the open-ear regular AirPods. The AirPods Pro still include ventilation to reduce any stuffy ear pressure buildup.  

There’s no way to tell old and new AirPods Pro apart when they’re in someone’s ear.

The ear tips between the two models are largely identical, though the ear gunk filters on the new ones are slightly different. I’m here to give you those nerdy details, friends. Does it make any difference? Who knows, but Apple seemingly doesn’t consider the ear tips cross-compatible. Even though first-gen tips latch onto the newer AirPods Pro without issue, second-gen replacement tips are sold separately. But if you purchased aftermarket foam tips for the original earbuds, they should work well enough on the new ones.

Let’s dig right into sound quality. Apple completely redesigned the amplifier and driver in the AirPods Pro, and while those drivers are the same 11-millimeter size as what’s in the third-gen AirPods, they sound superior and deliver the cleanest, most dynamic output of any AirPods to date.

Apple redesigned the amplifier and drivers in the second-gen AirPods Pro.

It’s never been more obvious that Apple’s audio tuning philosophy is to land on the most pleasing sound profile it can find that provides consistency across genres and audio formats (music, podcasts, movies, etc.). When you’re aiming for such a universal solution, everything ends up sounding pretty good — but nothing I’d consider great or exemplary. The new AirPods Pro reach further into high and low frequencies than their predecessors, but it’s not a dramatic shift. The prior earbuds weren’t skull rattlers with their bass response, and neither are these. But overall clarity is better, and Apple is getting more out of the drivers. I’m still not a big believer in spatial audio, but going through the sometimes tedious personalization process in iOS 16 can make the effect more convincing since Apple is now scanning your ear and playing to its unique acoustic characteristics. I’m glad AirPods now have their own dedicated section in the settings menu: it makes exploring all these settings more intuitive.  All the usual bonus features like audio sharing, automatic device switching, and hands-free Siri are also present on the new AirPods Pro.

Many once signature AirPod features have been copied by competitors.

Listening to Elton John’s “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters,” the AirPods Pro present smooth vocals, well-separated harmonies, and distinctly layered string instruments. Big Thief’s latest album, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You, comes through with warmth and an extra layer of low-end presence that’s missing on the original AirPods Pro. But ultimately, these still sound like AirPods Pro with more refinement and depth. Apple isn’t straying too far from what people have come to expect from the world’s most popular earbuds. You’ll hear and appreciate the upgrade, but it’s not earth shattering.

That means that the AirPods Pro are still outclassed in sound fidelity by the likes of Sennheiser, and some people will prefer Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 Pro — though iPhone owners are unlikely to be cross-shopping the two. More practical alternatives include Sony’s WF-1000XM4 and Bose’s latest earbuds, and the AirPods Pro still don’t match the bass bump of those buds. If you do intend to use the AirPods Pro with Android, be aware there’s currently a significant bug where playback cuts out after 20 seconds or so. I’ve asked Apple about the issue but haven’t heard back.

But Apple has made substantial gains with its active noise cancellation. The company says, on average, the new implementation is “up to” two times as effective as the original AirPods Pro. And while I lack any scientific measurement tools, that claim doesn’t seem unrealistic. At our office, I recently moved desks and now sit near an air vent that emits a persistent whir. The original AirPods Pro leave a trace of that in noise-canceling mode, but it’s completely hushed and imperceptible with the second-gen pair. I can still hear chatting co-workers if they walk directly next to my desk, but at most times, the AirPods Pro grant me plenty of serenity. I’ve also observed legitimate improvements when commuting on the subway, and less overall street noise makes its way through when traversing Brooklyn day to day. 

The new AirPods Pro already trail Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds II at noise cancellation.

However, I can’t tell you that Apple is leading the pack. Bose managed to take the noise-cancellation crown with its $300 QuietComfort Earbuds II, which do better at combating human voices and higher-pitched everyday disturbances. Still, Apple is undoubtedly in a better spot than it was previously, and it’s possible that firmware updates could lessen the gap as the company taps into the h3 chip that serves as the brains of the new AirPods Pro. This ANC is on par (maybe a smidge better) than Sony’s WF-1000XM4s, but those use bulky foam ear tips that not everyone finds comfortable. 

Transparency mode is just as natural and lifelike as before but now comes with some built-in hearing protection of sorts. If the AirPods Pro detect loud noises when in transparency mode, they’ll automatically (and very quickly) scale down the volume of those harsh, ear-splitting sounds — without you having to switch back to noise-canceling mode or take any action yourself. Best as I can tell, this “adaptive” transparency mode doesn’t listen for specific noises or frequencies: anything above a certain decibel level seems to trigger the adjustments in real time. In my testing, that’s included sirens, obnoxiously loud motorcycles, and so on. Apple’s website claims this on-device processing happens 48,000 times per second, something that’s, frankly, impossible to verify. (Bonus tip: you can always adjust how much sound comes through transparency mode through the accessibility settings in iOS.) 

You can adjust volume by sliding a finger up or down the touch sensor.

The biggest new change to the AirPods Pro hardware is the addition of onboard volume controls. You can increase or decrease volume by sliding a finger up or down the capacitive “force sensor” section of the stem that you’d normally press for music controls. This works on either earbud, and you’ll hear a little click sound in that ear as you adjust volume. Strangely the feedback click is always one persistent volume and doesn’t preview what level you’re at. You hear a different beep at maximum volume and a bloop at zero, but that’s all. This new volume control works so well that I wish Apple had offered it on the original AirPods Pros. I’ve yet to accidentally pause or skip a track when changing volume, which routinely happens with gesture controls on other headphones and earbuds. No more having to reach for my phone or ask Siri to make volume adjustments? I’m in. 

Then there’s the carrying case, which now has a built-in lanyard loop on the right side. Apple doesn’t include a lanyard in the box, nor is it manufacturing one itself; I guess the company assumes not everyone will bother. Instead, Apple’s selling a $12 Incase Lanyard that I’ve used for a few days. It serves the purpose, but should probably be $6 cheaper: you can’t even tighten it to your wrist, but there’s an integrated method for looping it onto a bag or backpack. The case never opened unexpectedly when hanging like that, but I ended up switching to a Peak Design Anchor and tucking it into one of my backpack’s pockets for more security.

There’s now a speaker at the bottom of the case to help you locate it when lost.

You can also attach a lanyard to the new AirPods Pro case.

Speaking of security, the AirPods Pro case now contains the same U1 chip as an AirTag for precise location tracking. From the Find My app, you get the same augmented reality interface with arrows pointing the way to your misplaced case when it’s nearby. Apple has also added a speaker to the case’s bottom. The speaker makes little chimes when you plug it in for charging, when the battery’s running low, or whenever you reseat the AirPods and close the lid. More useful, the speaker can emit a sound when lost so you can track the case down in the couch cushions or wherever else it may be. Assuming they’re all within Bluetooth range, you can now locate the case and each earbud individually. 

If you lose your AirPods away from home (ideally still in the case), you can activate the Find My network and be notified if other Apple devices cross their path. AirPods are linked to your Apple ID account — a clever anti-theft measure that can’t be undone by a stranger — and it’s nice to see Apple continuing to improve the ease of locating them. I’ve also noticed that the battery levels for both earbuds and the case remain present in my iPhone’s battery widget much longer than they previously did. Normally, they’d vanish after being in the case for a bit. But now, you’ll have a better sense of when to recharge.

There’s an animation in the Dynamic Island whenever your AirPods connect.

Both the AirPods Pro and wireless charging case are rated IPX4 for water / sweat resistance, and you can now juice up the case with an Apple Watch charger in addition to MagSafe and traditional Qi charging pads. Battery life has climbed to six hours of listening with ANC enabled; this drops to 5.5 hours if you’re using head-tracking spatial audio, and Apple estimates 4.5 hours of continuous talk time on calls. Including case recharges, you get an estimated 30 hours of overall listening time, up six hours from the first-gen Pros.  

Voice call performance seems marginally improved from the original AirPods Pro. Apple hasn’t made any big claims in this department, but my colleague Becca Farsace and I both noticed that the second-gen model is a step up: stay tuned for various mic tests in the upcoming video review.

The buds and case offer IPX4 water and sweat resistance.

Apple didn’t make any surprising or wildly ambitious moves with the second-generation AirPods Pro. Instead, the company tried to evolve and perfect a hit product that millions of people already know so well. With its second try, Apple managed to improve sound quality reasonably and boost noise cancellation considerably. Those improvements, along with a more helpful case and even better transparency passthrough, will be enough for many to upgrade.

AGREE TO CONTINUE: AIRPODS PRO (SECOND-GENERATION)

Every smart device now requires you to agree to a series of terms and conditions before you can use it — contracts that no one actually reads. It’s impossible for us to read and analyze every single one of these agreements. But we’re going to start counting exactly how many times you have to hit “agree” to use devices when we review them since these are agreements most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate. 

Like any other Bluetooth earbuds, the AirPods Pro can technically be set up and used without you agreeing to anything in software. But in using them, you’re agreeing to:

  • Apple’s warranty agreement

Final tally is one mandatory agreement.

Even so, the AirPods Pro aren’t necessarily the standout they once were, now flanked by serious contenders from Apple’s tech foes. On day one, they’re not the best-sounding wireless earbuds you can buy, nor are they class-leading in ANC thanks to Bose. But neither of those facts are likely to dissuade iPhone owners from considering the second-gen AirPods Pro above most options based on their reliable performance and Apple’s seamless ecosystem benefits.  

Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge

AirPods Pro Noise Cancellation: How Does It Compare?

How good is the Apple AirPods Pro at Noise Cancellation? We compare to the Bose 700 and the Echo Buds.

There’s a new battle of the best new headphones on the block. What’s the best noise-canceling headphone on the market today? We put the AirPods Pro 2 vs. Echo Buds vs. Bose 700. What are the best noise-canceling headphones for you?

Top Pick

Not great

A great hi-fi option

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

Echo Buds

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

$199.99

$79.99

$299.00

Comfort:

5.0

Comfort:

4.5

Comfort:

4. 5

Portability:

5.0

Portability:

5.0

Portability:

4.0

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Top Pick

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

$199.99

5.0

Comfort:

5.0

Portability:

5.0

Buy Now

Not great

Echo Buds

$79.99

4.0

Comfort:

4.5

Portability:

5.0

Buy Now

A great hi-fi option

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

$299.00

4.5

Comfort:

4.5

Portability:

4.0

Buy Now

06/15/2023 06:06 pm GMT

Quick word: I’m not an audiophile. I’m a techy that enjoys great quality sound from my headphones. I travel a lot (noise-canceling in airplanes is very important) and working from home, with two kiddos at home (noise cancellation is even more important!). I won’t be able to dive into the nitty-gritty of audio quality, but I will be able to give you an above-average review of the real-life comparisons between the Amazon Echo Buds vs. Apple AirPods Pro (and the regular AirPods) vs, the Bose 700. Yes, I know that the Bose 700 headphone are over-the-ear headphones and naturally work better, but I talk about that in this review.

Also, check out our brand new Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Review.

How well do the AirPods Pro do at noise cancellation? Watch the video to see a real-world simulation.

What exactly is noise cancellation in headphones?

This is as technical as I’ll get in this review. First, there are two types of noise cancellation: active and passive. Passive is simply removing noise by closing it off (think ear muffs/earplugs) that simply don’t allow the sound to get to your ear.

The Bose 700 Headphones have great passive noise canceling because they are over the ear. The Apple AirPods Pro also has some great passive noise canceling because of the “seal” that it places between new ear tips and your ear canal. The original AirPods don’t have the ear tips that the AirPods Pro have.

The seal created by the AirPods Pro greatly increases passive noise cancellation. The original AirPods don’t have this seal.

Active is more complicated. The simple version is that there is “anti-noise” that is produced that “cancels” out the unwanted noise.

How noise-canceling actually works. Source

The best-case scenario with active noise canceling is you hear more of what you want and less of what you don’t want to – and you don’t notice the noise canceling. More on that last statement as we dive into the reviews of the AirPods Pro vs. Echo Buds vs. Bose 700 headphones.

Battle of the Noise Cancelling Headphones: What was I looking for?

Apple AirPods Pro: How do they fair in an airplane?

As mentioned, travel a lot and work from home. Noise Cancelation is extra important with two young ones running around the house and tons of noise in airplanes. Here’s specifically how I use noise-canceling headphones on a daily basis:

  • I participate in a ton of Zoom Video Calls: so I need the noise cancellation to block external noise but I also need the microphone to work well
  • Quick tip: use Krisp on any video calls – it’s awesome to cancel out noise on your end – and the caller’s end.
  • I listen to music a lot when working
  • I take phone calls via my iPhone – this is important because I have to switch devices very frequently (jumping from the computer with Zoom and iPhone).
  • I listen to Spotify a lot, too, on both my computer and iPhone.
  • On the airplane, I usually watch a movie or listen to music on my iPhone while I work.
  • I also edit a podcast several times a month.
  • I also edit videos for our YouTube Channel frequently.

I only highlight this to give you an idea of the real-world circumstances in which I’ve been testing when comparing the Bose 700 Headphones vs. Echo Buds vs. AirPods Pro.

AirPods Pro 2: Quick Review

Apple AirPods Pro: They look similar to the original AirPods.

Let me start by saying this: Apple is brilliant with its marketing. Their AirPods Pro website is full of great marketing lines like “Magic like you’ve never heard” and “Charge wirelessly. Use tirelessly.” But what does all the marketing buzz really mean for the everyday user?

Top Pick

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

$199.99

The best noise cancelling bud-style headphones we’ve tested.

Battery Life (Hours):
6

Buy Now

We might earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

06/15/2023 06:06 pm GMT

To be 100% honest, I bought the Apple AirPods Pro expecting they were going to be 99% hype. I was completely wrong. I was super blown away by the noise cancellation.

The second generation greatly improves noise cancellation and add a small speaker to the case, making it easier to find.

What’s great about the Apple AirPods Pro:

One of the best aspects of the Apple AirPods Pro: Deep system integration.

  • The integration with Apple iOS and the Mac EcoSystem is incredible. It’s so easy to pair with your iPhone, especially.
  • The sound quality is surprisingly good. There has been a lot of discussions online about if the sound quality is better than the “normal” Apple AirPods. In my opinion, the sound quality is much better (I think partially due to the seal of the ear tips, but more on that in just a second).
  • The noise cancellation is about 10x better than what I expected.
  • I wear the AirPods Pro a lot more than I wore the original AirPods. The size is simply perfect to wear all the time.
  • The AirPods Pro have a great feature called transparency, where you can “click” one of the AirPods and it will use the microphones to let you hear what is going on around you. It’s much easier than taking off your headphones to hear a quick announcement.

What I don’t love about the Apple AirPods Pro:

  • The most notable is the price. At $250, they are a high-ticket item (here’s where I’ve found the best deal on the Airpods Pro).
  • More on this in a moment, but the Sound Quality isn’t quite on par with the Bose 700 Headphones
  • A couple of features, like how to turn up the volume have changed how they work compared to the original AirPods. It is also sometimes hard to “click” the AirPods Pro.

Besides the price, there isn’t much to NOT like about the AirPods Pro.

Amazon Echo Buds: Quick Review

Amazon Echo Buds: Ugly is so many ways…

I don’t know if Amazon cleaned it this week but Amazon release the echo but it’s just a few short weeks before Apple released The AirPods Pro. Amazon was clearly going after the AirPods market with its release of the Echo Buds. They were betting on the power of Alexa being a major selling factor.

It’s important to note that Amazon doesn’t bill their headphones as noise-canceling, but active noise reducing. There’s not much written on the difference besides the fact that noise reduction is more of a constant sound you can hear when there is nothing coming through the headphones. Think more of a white noise machine. Noise Cancelling, when done correctly, makes it so you don’t hear anything when the headphones aren’t playing something.

What I like about the Amazon Echo Buds:

  • First of all, the price. At $129.99 they are the cheapest on this list.
  • The sound quality was decent – not amazing.
  • Alexa integration is cool and interesting.

She’s even mildly annoyed about having to use Echo Buds.

What I didn’t like about the Amazon Echo Buds:

  • The noise reduction is not great. On the airplane, these Echo Buds barely worked at all.
  • On top of not having noise cancellation, noise reduction was distracting. It sounded like a white noise machine was playing in my ears when there was no music.
  • I didn’t like the form of the Echo Buds in my ears. It just seemed awkward how they fit. I never seemed to get them into my ears correctly.
  • The lack of integration, like Apple has with the iPhone and AirPods, really hurts Amazon at this point in the game. Having to pair the Echo Buds with both your phone and the Alexa App to work (and having spotty Wi-Fi on the airplane) makes the whole process really clunky.

Bose 700 Headphones Quick Review

The Bose 700: The grand-daddy of them all.

Now, I know it’s not fair to compare the Bose 700 vs. Apple AirPods Pro or Amazon Echo Buds. The Bose 700 is the top-of-the-line consumer product Bose makes. It retails for almost $400. But I still wanted to test how the Bose 700 faired with Noise Cancelling, especially compared to the AirPods Pro. I couldn’t find a good answer.

A great hi-fi option

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

$299.00

Hight Fidelity and great noise cancellation. If battery life and great sound are at the top of your list, then check out the Bose 700.

Battery Life (Hours):
20

Buy Now

We might earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

06/15/2023 06:21 pm GMT

What I like about the Bose 700 Headphones:

  • The sound quality is AMAZING. These are, by far, the best in the group.
  • The noise-canceling is great. It has the best active AND passive noise canceling available.
  • These pair easily with my iPhone and Mac.
  • The battery life is great and lasts a full day using heavily.
  • They are comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
  • The Bose 700 Headphones integrate with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant using the Bose App.
  • They are a giant upgrade in terms of noise cancellation over the previous QCII.

What I don’t like about the Bose 700 Headphones:

  • The size is my biggest complaint. I used to use the Bose 700 Headphones on Zoom calls, but it looked like I was wearing earmuffs all the time. It also takes up a lot of room in my backpack when I travel.
  • I had a ton of problems pairing my Bose 700 Headphones with their new app when it first came out. A ton of problems (and I wasn’t the only one). I had no problems with the Bose QCII I used before. That was frustrating but is now fixed.

If you want the best noise cancellation and sound quality money can buy, and size isn’t an issue, the Bose 700 Headphones are your best bet.

Which headphones do the best job at noise-canceling?

This is pretty easy: the Bose 700. But a very close second, as in a super surprisingly close second, is the Apple AirPods Pro. Watch our full video review to see a real-world simulation.

No pair of noise-canceling headphones will block out 100% of the sound. That just doesn’t happen with any of them. If the Bose 700 Headphones block out 90% of sound, I’d say the Apple AirPods Pro block out about 80-85% of sound.

I will continue to use my Bose 700 Headphones when I’m recording/editing videos and podcasts, but I don’t think I will continue to bring them on flights. They are just too big to justify the small difference.

Top Pick

Not great

A great hi-fi option

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

Echo Buds

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

$199.99

$79.99

$299.00

Comfort:

5.0

Comfort:

4.5

Comfort:

4.5

Portability:

5.0

Portability:

5.0

Portability:

4.0

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Top Pick

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

$199.99

5. 0

Comfort:

5.0

Portability:

5.0

Buy Now

Not great

Echo Buds

$79.99

4.0

Comfort:

4.5

Portability:

5.0

Buy Now

A great hi-fi option

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

$299.00

4.5

Comfort:

4.5

Portability:

4.0

Buy Now

06/15/2023 06:06 pm GMT

AirPods Pro Review: TWS Noise Canceling Headphones

This year, Apple has been aggressively pushing the development of true wireless headphones, first with the introduction of the second generation of AirPods, and later with the first Beats model in this form factor – Powerbeats Pro. But Cupertino decided not to stop there, and by the New Year’s Eve sales season they released completely new AirPods Pro headphones, which received an active noise reduction system. Let’s see what the new product has to offer users.

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Tsikavo

Contents

  • 1 AirPods Pro
  • 90 013 2 Design and charging case

  • 3 AirPods Pro usability
  • 4 Equipment and noise reduction
  • 5 AirPods Pro sound
  • 6 Autonomy and charging

AirPods Pro package

Like previous AirPods models, the novelty comes in a cardboard box, inside which, in addition to the headphones themselves, you can find a charging case, two additional sizes of silicone nozzles, as well as a cable from USB Type-C to Lightning.

The latter will finally allow you to charge your headphones from new MacBooks without using an adapter.

Design and charging case

The new earphones at Apple were developed without much regard for the first and second generation of AirPods, so the Pro version has little in common with them externally.

Unsurprisingly, the company needed to fit more electronics into a compact package while changing the form factor from in-ear to in-ear headphones. Therefore, AirPods Pro use a different case shape, they are larger and now with silicone tips.

In addition, the length of the “legs” into which the body of the emitters smoothly flows has changed, they have become shorter and now look neater. And against the background of the mass of clones of the original AirPods, the novelty is also visually distinguished.

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As before, the headphones are available only in white, which is diluted with larger microphone openings covered with black mesh.

The big innovation in AirPods Pro is that they are sweat and water resistant (IPX 4), making them great for sports. In general, after the Powerbeats Pro, these are Apple’s second fully wireless headphones that are waterproof.

Along with the design of the new AirPods, the charging case has also changed, it has become noticeably wider (60.6 mm), but shorter in height (45.2 mm). Its weight remained quite light and is 45.6 grams.

At the same time, the design of the case has not changed, in the upper part of the case there is a hinged cover that hides the holes for installing the headphones for charging.

On the back of the case there is a button that you need to press to pair the headphones, on the front there is an LED indicator, and on the bottom you can find the Lightning connector.

AirPods Pro Comfort

To ensure a comfortable fit for the earphones, Apple used a slightly elongated case with a snug-fitting silicone cap.

Weighing only 5.4 grams per earpiece, it is almost invisible in the ear. But only if you choose the right silicone tips, otherwise a deeper fit may begin to cause discomfort during prolonged use, or the headphones will transmit external sounds more strongly and simply fall out of the ear. Apple even added a special test to the Bluetooth settings, which allows you to determine whether the AirPods Pro sit tightly in the ear.

Due to the deeper fit, the headphone “feet” no longer touch the body, they are no longer needed to “support” the driver housing. Now they are used, in fact, not to increase the size of the case even further, and to accommodate some of the electronics, as well as small panels with pressure sensors for control. The latter allow you to pause playback, switch tracks and turn on the “transparency” mode, when the headphones begin to specially pass external sound through the built-in microphones so that the user hears what is happening around. The control is much more convenient than in the first and second generation AirPods, where it works through the accelerometer and tapping on the case.

In general, AirPods Pro fit quite well in the ear and due to the in-canal fit, they will fit better in the ears of users who, due to physiological characteristics, could not use regular AirPods. But in any case, before buying it is better to try the headphones yourself to make sure that you choose the right one.

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Features and noise cancellation

AirPods Pro are based on the same Apple h2 system-on-chip as second-generation AirPods. She is responsible for the operation of all headphone systems from sound transmission to calling the voice assistant Siri. Actually, with its help, the headphones are connected via the Bluetooth 5.0 protocol and minimal delays are provided during sound playback. And here it is worth paying tribute to Apple, AirPods Pro keep a very stable connection and quickly switch between different devices.

The headphones are also equipped with dual array microphones, internal microphones, optical sensors, accelerometers and touch sensors.

Traditionally for AirPods, the new model is best sharpened to work with iOS devices, in the operating system interface you can see the charge level, enable or disable the noise reduction system and activate the “transparency” mode. However, AirPodsPro also work well with Android smartphones, allowing you to use the capabilities of the headphones to the maximum, the only thing is that you can switch between operating modes only from them, through the touch sensor on one of the “legs”. But this is not a big problem, given that the management is implemented well.

One of the important innovations in AirPods Pro, compared to other headphones from the company, is active noise cancellation, which works on the basis of a system of external and internal microphones. The first monitors external sounds, after which the h2 chip analyzes the data in real time, adapting the sound 200 times per second, and at the right time creates anti-noise that dampens external noise. The second microphone is directed into the auricle and thanks to it the h2 chip can hear what the user hears and cut off the remaining noise.

In real use, the headphones do not remove 100% of external sounds, the noise reduction in them does not try to compete with full-size models. But for compact and fully wireless in-ear headphones, it works well. For example, a user on the subway will hear the noise of an arriving train in the distance, but it will not override the sound of the music. If you need to hear what is happening around, then just grab the control panel on the “leg” of one of the headphones and hold it for a bit, this will turn on the “transparency” mode.

Sound of AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro sound different from other AirPods, Apple has developed a new wide amplitude driver and extended dynamic range amplifier for them. In practice, they do sound better, although this is primarily achieved through a tighter fit and active noise cancellation, they allow you to hear more details that eat up external sounds in the earbuds.

But other than that, AirPods Pro have more headroom than other AirPods, they create a wider stage and more bass. The sound is almost always smooth, with a slight selection of high frequencies. Apparently, Apple relied on universal sound, and they succeeded. However, they do not reach the sound of Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless or Sony WF-1000XM3, so the Pro prefix in the title is more an attempt to distinguish headphones from other AirPods models than a hint of professional use. But in general, the sound for this form factor in AirPods Pro, though not outstanding, is good, and the difference for users of the first and second generation of Apple headphones will be noticeable. So the company in this regard falls right into the top ten.

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Autonomy and charging

Apple traditionally does not disclose the detailed characteristics of its devices and AirPods Pro is no exception in this regard. But as revealed by the iFixit teardown, each earbud comes with a 168 milliwatt-hour battery that runs at 3.7 volts, which is about 45.4 mAh. According to the manufacturer, this is enough for 4. 5 hours of listening to music with active noise cancellation, and this is true.

Inside the case, the earphones are charged using magnetic connectors, and just 5 minutes of charging provides about an hour of audio playback.

The case has a built-in 519 mAh battery and supports Qi wireless charging. But it is also possible to recharge it wired via the Lightning port.

5

ITC.UA score

Pros:
compact dimensions, moisture protection, three sizes of ear pads included, stable connection and fast switching between different devices, good sound for this form factor, active noise reduction system, convenient control, transparency mode, autonomy and fast charging, the case supports wireless exercise

Cons:
high price in Ukraine at the start of sales

Conclusion:

AirPods Pro is today one of the best solutions among fully wireless headphones with an active noise reduction system. Apple managed to fit in one product several advantages that are important for users of such devices at once, of which I will note a stable and fast connection with low lag, a fairly comfortable fit and high autonomy. And while the sound quality on the AirPods Pro isn’t up to par with the best true wireless headphones, it’s good enough and better than previous AirPods. In addition, today it is one of the most compact headphones with active noise reduction system

Specifications

The editors would like to thank the iLounge.ua online store for providing Apple AirPods Pro headphones for review

Review of 2nd generation Apple AirPods Pro headphones: almost perfect -Week

Motherland

Thematic applications

Union

Fresh issue

Digital

11/30/2022 13:33

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Oleg Kapranov

It so happened that for the last couple of years I’ve been walking around with classic 2nd generation AirPods, and when they broke, I tried almost everything on the market, mostly made in China. The result turned out to be sad – the sound quality is so-so, the volume is not outstanding, and they don’t stay in the ears normally. So when the opportunity arose to get acquainted with the updated AirPods Pro 2, I immediately took up this.

Apple

It is worth recalling that the AirPods Pro line has become a new direction for Apple through the use of built-in noise reduction. This market was originally formed by Sony, and Apple, as is usually the case, ignored it to the last. And the release of AirPods Pro a couple of years ago with active noise cancellation (ANC) and in-ear fit became a notable event.

And now the 2nd generation. In terms of appearance, the AirPods Pro 2 case is no different from the first generation. But compared to the classic AirPods, it is more elongated and noticeably resembles Chinese headphone cases.

The weight of the case has become more – 50 against 38 grams in the previous model. The weight gain is the result of adding speakers to the case. The battery has slightly increased, but rather symbolically – now 523 mAh instead of 519 mAh. An interesting improvement was expressed in the appearance of a strap attachment. Now lovers of straps do not need to buy an additional case for this.

As for the headphones themselves, the design has not changed much. However, the location of microphones and sensors has been significantly rebuilt. For example, the microphone is moved to the top face. As a result, the headphones more accurately determine when they are in the ears and when they are removed.

Another new option is additional XS size ear pads that will fit people with very small ears. As before, you can check the fit and secureness in the settings on your iPhone – this is important for the best sound quality and noise cancellation performance. Most in-ear headphones fall out of my ears, with the AirPods Pro 2 things are much better. At least I can bend down with them and even crawl under the table. And after I replaced the standard ear pads with the largest ones, everything became just fine. I will especially note the mechanism for attaching the ear pads – Apple has the best one. Information for fans of outdoor sports – the headphones themselves, as well as the case, received an IPX4 protection class, so they are not afraid of rain.

In fact, the cover has been upgraded almost more significantly than the headphones. About adding speakers has already been said, but it has not been said why they are needed. The design about various sounds when charging is turned on and opened is all from the evil one and is turned off in the settings. But the fact that now the case is able to squeak when the “Locator” is launched is cool. This is especially useful if the cover falls somewhere behind the sofa, as is often the case

But in Russia it does not work so cool. But sanctions have nothing to do with this issue. To accurately determine the location of the case, it has a U1 chip, as in all iPhone 11 generation and older, as well as in AirTag tags. The chip uses UWB (Ultra WideBand) technology. We already wrote that this technology does not work in Russia due to problems with access to these frequencies. A year ago, Apple was waiting for its application to be considered by the SCRF, but then everyone was not up to it.

In addition, the case has support for MagSafe and Qi wireless charging, which can now be implemented using the Apple Watch charger, which means you can carry less on one charge.

Speaking of battery life, it’s not perfect. The thing is that all these noise reduction and other embellishments are quite voracious in practice. And some, like the transparency mode, are also not very noticeable. So AirPods Pro 2 run out much faster than classic AirPods. Combined, the batteries in the case and earphones should provide approximately 30 hours of battery life, which is several hours more than the 1st generation AirPods Pro. But in general, I can not say that I was delighted.

But not a single battery. The AirPods Pro 2 has an Apple h3 chip. He is responsible for system performance and processing of all enhancements, including noise reduction. The headphones also support Bluetooth 5.3, but this does not affect the sound quality yet. Bluetooth LE Audio is not here, which is a pity. And the battery would have lived longer in this situation.

In terms of control, the sensor part has been modernized. You can now adjust the volume by moving your finger up or down the earpiece foot. Each of them has a special flat platform for this. But the trick is that each movement lowers the volume by one division. So if you need to sharply make it quieter, you will have to rub your legs very fiercely. And in this situation, the familiar buttons on the iPhone case look more attractive. And the very location of these sites did not seem very comfortable to me.

Now about the sound itself. Let’s start with the sound itself. It has become more interesting, there are basses, good mids. This is especially good for accentuating the voice or vocals. There are no questions about the quality of calls either. Both speakers and microphones work great. The voice is heard clearly, nothing is clogged with the wind. There are no manual sound adjustments, these AirPods Pro 2 are unfavorably different from competitors, but as for me, it is redundant to consider this a problem. These are still not audiophile headphones, but a headset.

Apple says the AirPods Pro 2’s noise cancellation is much better with the new h3 chip, microphones and algorithms. As for me – a solid noise canceler. There are no problems with audibility even in the subway or train. Car noise and announcements are cut off flawlessly. The “transparency” mode, when external microphones broadcast sound from the outside, is cool. And probably the best on the market. But very voracious – the battery, I repeat, flies away with a bang.

iOS 16 adds spatial audio that is personalized for each user. But I didn’t see much of a difference. But spatial stereo, when the sound reacts to head turns, is a very funny thing. Surprisingly, it works very well. And when listening to music or watching movies, it adds the effect of presence.