Well, my ears are now wearing Apple’s new AirPods Pro . I just took some pictures for this article, and I had a group of people surrounding me. Once again, the public is always aware when Apple puts out a new product. And I am predicting that the AirPods Pro will generate the biggest sales for Apple since the first AirPods came out three years ago.
The biggest star of the new AirPods Pro is noise cancellation. It’s shockingly good given that these earbuds are so small. The noise cancellation is on par with that on Sony’s WH-1000XM3 buds, but feels a little smoother with your eardrums feeling less pressure.
Apple really excels with the “Transparent Mode,” which sounds tinny and digital on every device I’ve used that has this. However, Apple’s new buds make this mode sound more natural, just like the real world sounds. And given that the new buds have silicon tips that block off your ears, you will need to use Transparent Mode when driving, walking outside, and doing other things where using noise cancellation is more of a liability than an advantage.
Then, there is the sound. I’m glad to report that the AirPods Pro sound noticeably better than previous versions. Not only is there more of a kick in bass, but the separation between the mids and highs has increased. My early tests indicate that they don’t sound as good as the Sony WH-1000XM3 buds, but come close enough.
I’ve made two phone calls with the new Pro buds, and both listeners said they don’t notice a huge difference between these and other AirPod models. Of course, I can hear people a lot better given that their voices don’t have to compete too much with outside noise. The AirPods Pro easily beat Sennheiser and Sony when it comes to this.
My only major gripe with the AirPods Pro is that the battery life is still rather short (4.5 hours with NC on and 5 without). That may have been great three years ago, but Sony and Jabra have made earbuds that can last more than six hours on a single charge.
I may have some other gripes too, and I promise to do a more in-depth review once the honeymoon period is over. But so far, I believe that the $249 price tag is very reasonable for Apple’s new buds. You can bet they’ll be out of stock soon.