Apple in October 2019 debuted the AirPods Pro, an updated higher-end version of its existing AirPods with an updated design, noise cancellation technology and better sound.
The AirPods Pro look similar to the original AirPods but feature a wider front to accommodate silicone tips for comfort, fit, and noise cancellation purposes. Tips come in three sizes to fit different ears.
Where the existing AirPods respond to taps to the body, the AirPods Pros’ controls have been moved to the stems, which now contain force sensors. A quick squeeze on either stem pauses or resumes a track (or answers an incoming call), a double-squeeze skips forward, a triple-squeeze skips back and a long squeeze switches between noise-cancelling modes.
With this new model, one doesn’t even have to identify an issue themselves – click on the AirPods Pros in the Bluetooth menu of your iPhone and you’ll find, among other options, an ‘Ear Tip Fit Test’ that, when tapped, plays five seconds of music that’s analyzed in order to identify any sound leakage. Get a green ‘Good Seal’ result and you’re ready to go, but if the Pros identify an issue you’ll be prompted to try a bigger or smaller tip. This is an impressive feature, largely because the Pros don’t feel like most in- ear headphones in that they burrow into the ear canal significantly less and generally exert a lot less pressure. In short, they’re more comfortable, but that comfort can initially be mistaken for looseness.
What’s most impressive is that the noise-cancelling is continuously adjusted 200 times per second. Apple claims these are the only headphones to take this approach.
Powering the whole experience is the same H1 chip that’s built into the second-generation AirPods. This is already renowned for enabling a flawless wireless performance and supremely quick pairing. During our tests, we experienced no drop-outs and found the automatic pairing, which instantly connects to your phone when you insert an earphone, to be predictably brilliant.
The H1 chip also enables the Pros to support Apple’s voice assistant, although Siri can also be activated by a pinch. One disappointment is that Siri is the only method for adjusting volume without reaching into your pocket for your phone’s controls. Other brands have managed to squeeze volume controls into their true wireless earphones and we wish Apple would do the same.
Battery life is a claimed five hours for the earphones with another 19 hours from the charging case. The case is wider than that of the standard AirPods but also more squat, resulting in a package that’s actually not much larger in terms of volume. The case that comes with the AirPods Pro also has the wireless charging feature alongside the type c to lightning charging cable. If the earphones run out of charge, five minutes back in the case will give you another hour of listening.
They are currently available here on retail at 350USD.