The AirPods get a Pro upgrade.
Apple’s AirPods isn’t perfect, but for everyday use along with invoking Siri and even making calls, it does the job. It also unintentionally introduced a new flex for users who want to show off new Apple hardware. Our original review of the AirPods mentioned that it offers a decent sound output, but it clearly needs some form of noise cancellation to make it better – enter the AirPods Pro.
The 999 AED AirPods Pro brings in a much-awaited feature – active noise cancellation. This basically uses microphones to listen and cancel out background noise so you can enjoy your music without the daily interruptions. It sports a new design, and now includes silicone ear tips so help block out sound as much as possible. This also means that it can securely fit into your ear without any worry of it falling down, which is one of the complaints from most users on the previous AirPods.
Each AirPod now includes dual microphones that are used for active noise cancellation, along with a new pressure-sensitive stem right below that you can press for additional functions. The AirPods Pro also got a new IPX4 rating, meaning that’s sweat and water-resistant – that only applies to the earpiece so the charging case still has to be dry.
The AirPods Pro are still housed in the same glossy white charging case, but now in a wider build so at least no one will mistake it for dental floss again. The earphones come with three pairs of silicone ear tips (small, medium and large), which should give you a nice seal when you’re wearing them.
Powered by the Apple H1 chip, the AirPods Pro pairs just like the previous one: simply place the case next to your iPhone and a pop-up will walk you through the setup process. Once that is done you’d be taken to a screen called the ‘Ear Tip Fit Test’, which will play music inside your ear and algorithms will determine if you’re wearing the right tip. Apple said that results may vary per user and that using different-sized ear tips is also possible because the structure of each ear is different so it might recommend you wear large ear tips on one AirPod and medium one on another. The ultimate goal here is to give you the best sound output possible.
You have the option to use the AirPods Pro with active noise cancellation on or using a new Transparency Mode. This mode lets you hear outside noise that is useful when you’re walking outside and have to be wary about your surroundings. All of these functions can be programmed on the pressure-sensitive stem or on the Control Center of your iPhone. The earphones also utilize Adaptive EQ, which automatically tunes music according to the shape of your ear.
But how does it perform? Sound quality is almost similar to the previous AirPods. Bass is deep without overpowering, and mid and highs are still audible no matter what listening mode is on. If you compare the AirPods Pro with the previous AirPods, you’d notice a slight improvement in the Pro version.
Active noise cancellation works well and while it’s not as good as what other bigger headphones offer, it’s certainly a great feature to have on small wireless earphones like this. On a busy commute on the Dubai Metro, it managed to drown out the sound of the crowd and the sound of the train while it is moving. It didn’t completely block it out, but it managed to lower the background noise so I can enjoy my music even at a low volume.
Apple says that the AirPods Pro should give you around 4.5 hours of battery life with every charge and with active noise cancellation turned on. The charging case can also offer up to 24 hours of battery life and can give around an hour of listening when you charge it for 5 minutes.
The earphones come with a USB-C to Lightning cable, similar to the ones found on the iPhone 11 Pro, which we feel is now a requirement for a Pro status on an Apple device. If you’re not a fan of wires the charging case also supports wireless charging.
Overall, the AirPods Pro delivers what it promised: active noise cancellation on your Apple device and it works. The 999 AED might be too much for some, but if you’re looking for a better listening experience from an AirPod, going Pro is the best solution.
+ Decent audio performance
+ Acceptable active noise cancellation
+ Sweat and water-resistant
– Similar performing earphones cost less
Final Rating: 4/5