A significant upgrade to the original AirPods, the AirPods Pro gives you Apple's best in sound quality, convenience, and technology. Now with Active Noise Cancellation, Spatial Audio, and the brand-new Force Sensor, the AirPods Pro guarantee a rich sound experience while integrating into your Apple ecosystem seamlessly.
If you liked Apple's AirPods, you'd love the AirPods Pro.
Released in 2019, Apple released the AirPods Pro, the successor to the AirPods (2nd-generation). With a range of upgrades from sound quality to new features, the AirPods Pro costs more but improved in every way imaginable.
As devices, they are even more compact than before. They sit on the users' ears comfortably and don't protrude as much. The case is more significant, but only slightly, as it now accommodates the new ear tips. Each AirPods Pro now comes with three pairs of silicone ear tips, designed to help users find their perfect fit.
Perhaps the most significant upgrade to the AirPods Pro is Active Noise Cancellation. With a dual-mic system that will prevent outside noises from piercing the audio played from the AirPods Pro, Active Noise Cancellation will block out everything. On the other hand, users can also turn on Transparency Mode, which allows outside noise to seep in for situations where users need to be attentive.
Another new and significant feature is the Force Sensor, which replaces the AirPods' Double-Tap feature. The Force Sensor recognizes more actions and can be customized to activate a more diverse range of commands. Controlling audio, switching modes, and activating Siri are all options with the Force Sensor.
A few prominent features from the AirPods is in the AirPods Pro. For example, the remarkably successful H1 chip allows users to smoothly connect their AirPods Pro with their devices. Simply opening the case around the device will activate the AirPods Pro.
The accelerometer and motion sensors are also still available, features that have existed since the 1st-generation AirPods. These two sensors work together to detect when users have removed the AirPods Pro from their ear so that the audio will automatically pause. Putting the AirPods Pro back in will, naturally, restart the audio.
The AirPods Pro will still last users 4.5 hours uninterrupted with Active Noise Cancellation enabled, and 5 hours with Transparency Mode on. Of course, support for "Hey, Siri" is still available. Then, with IPX4 water resistance, the AirPods Pro are immune to light rain, sweat and splashes of water, but any more could be damaging to the devices.
Design and Size
The AirPods Pro weighs in at 5.4 grams each. It is 30.9 x 21.8 x 24.0 mm, making it shorter but broader than the AirPods. These devices won't stick out of your ears as much, making them even more discreet.
The charging case, on the other hand, is more massive. Weighing at 45.6 grams without the AirPods Pro inside them, its dimensions span 45.2 x 21.7 x 60.6 mm. However, carrying the case won't be an issue, as it can fit comfortably in your pockets.
The AirPods Pro also comes with silicone ear tips for a better fit. Each pair comes with three ear tip sizes in small, medium, and large. With the Ear Fit Tip Test, Apple helps determine which size is better for users to get the best sound quality and comfort when using the AirPods Pro.
The Double-Tap feature of the AirPods was handy but limiting. With only a few functions available, Apple improved upon that feature massively with the Force Sensor. Controlling audio on the AirPods Pro is more intuitive and smoother now.
Users can skip forward or backward on tracks with just a couple of squeezes or taps on the Force Sensor, located at the stem of each AirPods Pro. Users can also activate Siri or switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode through the sensor.
Active Noise Cancellation
One of the most significant upgrades of the AirPods Pro is its noise-canceling feature. When Active Noise Cancellation is on, the AirPods Pro not only blocks out all noise but also dramatically improves the sound quality.
The AirPods Pro has an internal speaker. When outside noise enters the external mic, the internal speaker counteracts it with anti-noise in the users' ears. Transparency mode turns the internal mic off, allowing noise to seep in.
Spatial Audio is a new feature that comes with Apple's latest iOS 14. Spatial Audio is what it sounds like: the AirPods Pro's audio is more immersive and appears multi-directional. The Spatial Audio feature will create a richer experience for users while listening to music, podcasts or more.
The AirPods Pro uses its internal gyroscope and accelerometer. The gyroscope and accelerometer were originally intended to detect the placement of the AirPods on the users' heads. These features use audio filters to change the sound frequency, which gives the AirPods Pro the ability to simulate surround-sound experience.
It's important to note that Spatial Audio works best with Active Noise Cancellation.
The AirPods Pro still has the H1 chip from the 2nd-generation AirPods. The H1 chip speeds up processes like setup and connection. By just holding the AirPods Pro next to an Apple device and opening the case's lid, users can instantly set them up with ease.
The H1 chip also links the AirPods Pro to all Apple devices with users' Apple ID. The transition from using the AirPods Pro on iPhones to the Macs is incredibly smooth. Users won't experience any delay when switching over.
Accelerometer and Motion Sensor
The AirPods Pro also retained the accelerometer and motion sensor from the original AirPods. These give the AirPods one of its most essential features: detecting whether the AirPods are used or not.
Taking one AirPod Pro out, pauses music instantly, putting it back in, resumes playing the song. Hence, you won't even have always to use the Force Sensor to react to situations. Take the device out, and your audio will halt.
With Active Noise Cancellation on, the AirPods Pro offers 4.5 hours of listening time, which is slightly less than the 5 hours on the AirPods. However, with Transparency Mode on, the AirPods Pro matches the AirPods' battery life at 5 hours.
When users aren't using their AirPods Pro, putting them in the charging case automatically charges the AirPods Pro. And, the charging case still carries an additional 24 hours of listening time.
For the AirPods Pro, all cases are wireless (with a USB-C plug) and are compatible with Qi-certified charging devices. Instead of a Lightning to USB cable, AirPods Pro now comes with a USB-C cable, following Apple's current trend of using USB-C instead of Lightning cords.
Siri is an essential function for the AirPods Pro. While the Force Sensor allows you to perform most commands, Siri will let you do everything else. For tasks like making calls, answering questions, or more, Siri provides users with its full array of abilities.
Users can activate Siri with "Hey, Siri" or set up their Force Sensor to do this by pressing and holding. Go to Settings > Bluetooth and then customize their AirPods Pro settings from there. After activating Siri with their AirPods Pro, users can utilize Siri as they would on their iPhones.
IPX4 Water Resistance
The AirPods Pro are equipped with IPX4-approved water resistance. The water resistance feature means that splashes of water, sweat, and light rain won't damage the AirPods Pro. The water resistance feature makes the AirPods Pro perfect for fitness enthusiasts. Feel free to exercise or go on runs in the light rain with the AirPods Pro.
However, users should still be careful about bringing their AirPods Pros near water. Water-resistance is not waterproof. Submerging the AirPods Pro into water or any liquid will cause significant damage to the devices. When approaching broad and deep bodies of water, be wary.
AirPods Pro vs. AirPods
|Price||Starting at $249||Starting at $159|
|AirPods Dimensions||30.9 x 21.8 x 24.0 mm||40.5 x 16.5 x 18.0 mm|
|Water Resistance||IPX4 water resistance||N/A|
|Case Dimensions||45.2 x 21.7 x 60.6 mm||44.3 x 21.3 x 53.5 mm|
|Battery Life||4.5 hours listening time||5 hours listening time|
|Quick-Charge||5 mins for 1 hour time||15 mins for 3 hours time|
|Noise-Cancelling||Active Noise Cancellation||N/A|
|Audio Control||Force Sensor||Double-Tap Feature|
Design and Size
Let's start with the physical features for this AirPods comparison guide.
The white AirPods Pro are smaller than the original AirPods. The white AirPods have the bud and a long stem that extends down past the earlobe. The AirPods Pro has the bud and a smaller stem that barely extends out of the ear.
For the difference in size, it's a wonder the AirPods Pro have almost the same battery life as the AirPods; we'll cover the products' battery lives later on in this guide.
The AirPods Pro also comes with silicone ear tips in three different sizes, which offer a better fit for users. The Pros also have IPX4 waterproofing, meaning that light rain, sweat, and water splashes will not affect them.
The cases are not much different. The AirPods Pro case is wider but shorter. Both cases are still portable enough to fit in your purse or pocket, like a pack of dental floss!
The AirPods offer 5 hours of listening time on a full charge. The AirPods Pro, with noise cancelation, offers 4.5 hours of listening time. The individual charging cases provide an additional 24 hours of listening time for their respective devices.
The AirPods Pro also has a quick-charge feature. Charging the AirPods Pro in their case for 5 minutes will offer 1 hour of listening time.
The AirPods Pro's charging case works with both wired and wireless charging. The AirPods offer the option of a wireless charging case, for an extra fee, or a regular wired case.
One issue for the AirPods Pro charging case is that it still uses the Lightning cable, despite Apple's transition to USB-C cables. Maybe in the future, Apple will come out with a modified version of the charging case or new AirPods Pro altogether.
One of the significant advancements of the AirPods Pro is their noise cancellation. AirPods Pro offers a noise-canceling mode and a transparency mode; the latter allows outside noise to trickle in.
When noise cancellation is on, the AirPods Pro's sound quality is significantly improved from the AirPods'. The AirPods Pro uses its external mic to detect outside sounds and then uses an internal mic to play anti-noise to cancel outside noise.
When transparency mode is on, the sound quality of the AirPods Pro is about the same as the AirPods'.
With the AirPod, double-tapping the side of one AirPod only performs one action depending on your choice (play/pause, skip forward, skip backward). Meanwhile, The AirPods Pro comes with a force sensor on their stems. It allows you to control your audio more freely.
Of course, both AirPods and AirPods Pro come with H1 chips. Saying "Hey, Siri" can still be used to make calls, control audio, and more for both models.
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