We’re going hands on with Apple’s new AirPods Pro! Are the new features worth the higher price tag?
AirPods have become the world’s best selling headphones and now Apple has a new version called AirPods Pro with a different design along with active noise cancelling technology built in. They also have a slightly higher price tag.
We got a pair from Apple and got to try them out.
The new design fits more inside your ears - it's a more secure, tighter feel. The touch controls have now moved to the stems, where the action is more of a squeeze.
The biggest new feature is noise cancellation: processors adapt the sound 200 times a second.
I found that the noise cancellation is excellent. During a treadmill test at the gym, I was fully immersed in my own music, as opposed to ambient sound at the gym and the music playing over the loudspeakers.
When you want to hear more of the world around you, there's Transparency mode.
This helps you hear the world around you, but you have to choose one or the other, you can’t have both enabled at the same time.
The AirPods Pro come at a time when competition for earbuds is heating up!
Amazon Echo Buds are $130 and reviews say they sound great.
Samsung Galaxy Buds are $130 and they do a good job of sealing out sound.
Microsoft Surface Buds are $250. They look strange but felt great and lightweight. They'll arrive later this year.
Google has new Pixel Buds on the way with advanced features, but they won’t be ready until next year.
Finally, if you just want a basic pair of buds for under $50, reviews site Wirecutter recommends Skullcandy ink’d Bluetooth headphones. Although at that price, they can't rival the sound quality of more expensive headphones.
One more unique feature of Apple’s AirPods Pro: they can even tell you if you’ve got the right fit. Just place them in your ears and use your iPhone to run a simple test and it will tell you if you might need to switch to larger or smaller silicone tips.
Bottom line: are AirPods Pro worth their higher price tag of $250?
For starters, that's about $50 more than the standard AirPods. Sure, technically, they sell for as little as $159 but that doesn't include the wireless charging case. If you get regular AirPods with the wireless charing case the price is $200. The AirPods Pro include a wireless charging case for $250.
Also, battery life is pretty much the same on both regular and Pro AirPods. Apple says they get up to 5 hours of use or 24 hours total including recharges from the case.
The downsides: the pressure sensitive controls are a bit tougher to master quickly. It takes more effort to skip tracks and switch between noise cancelling and transparency mode. Also, it's a bit tougher to get the AirPods Pro out of the case.
I'd recommend going pro if you travel a lot or otherwise want noise cancellation. Additionally, if you work out a lot the sweat resistance is also a benefit. These are fantastic earbuds - just keep in mind they do fit tighter in your ears and have more of a "sealed up" feeling, which some people don't prefer.