Apple AirPods Pro Review 2021 You Can Actually Trust!

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Music makes working out and life in general much easier.

A pair of quality wireless earpods not only sound great but are also convenient. Gone are the days of untangling headphones

One of the most reputable true wireless earbuds is the Apple Airpods Pro. 

We’ll discuss in detail in this Apple Airpods Pro Review.

Enjoy.

Here are the things we’ll cover in the subsequent sections:

  • About the Apple Airpods brand
  • Special features of the Apple Airpods Pro
  • Drawbacks of the Apple Airpods Pro
  • Comprehensive buyers guide on truly wireless earbuds
  • Benefits of the Apple Airpods Pro 
  • What others are saying about the Airpods Pro
  • Alternatives to the Apple Airpods Pro

Let’s dive in! 

Apple Airpods Pro Review

About the “Apple Airpods” brand

Airpods are one of the categories of Apple products. They are truly wireless earbuds and have three iterations. The original Airpod was released in December 2016.

The second-generation Airpod was released in March 2019. The Airpods pro is the latest edition of Apple’s earbuds and was released in October 2019.

Airpods are one of the most popular brands in the truly wireless earbuds market. It’s now considered a symbol of class. In general, it boasts good sound quality, reliable hardware, stable connectivity, and useful technologies.

Special features of the Apple Airpods Pro

Water and resistance

Airpods Pro are IPX4-certified water-resistant. This means that they are water and sweat resistant for non-water sports and exercise. Airpods Pro can be used in the rain and can also survive splashes.

That said, you should go swimming with these things. Not only will they get damaged but they are bound to fall out.

As a warning, do not charge wet Airpods Pro. This can result in serious short-circuits that will render them useless. Airpods Pro has an excellent earpiece design.

This allows them to stay on during vigorous activities-reducing the chances of accidental falls into pooled water. The fact that they seal the ear canal also helps make Airpods Pro sweat proof.

Active noise cancellation

The original AirPods did not have noise cancellation technology. This was one of the reasons it got negative press. The story is different with the Airpods Pro.

They have one of the best noise cancellation technology, similar to the one in beats and Sony wireless buds. It does a great job of keeping off ambient noise such as passing cars, animal sounds, etc. 

Each Airpods Pro earbud has two microphones-one on the inside and the other on the outside. The outer microphone picks up external noise signals.

It then forwards to the H1 chip which in turn triggers the audio driver to produce anti-noise frequencies. These signals are the exact opposite of the noise signals. Therefore, they cancel out.

Apple goes a step further to include an inward-facing, high-sensitivity microphone to pick noise signals that reach the inside of your ear. The H1 chip then produces more anti-noise signals to completely seal out your audio environment.

However, you shouldn’t expect total silence under persistent noises such as those of a plane or train. 

The in-bound microphone refreshes 200 times per second. This ensures that no noise signal bypasses the system. The result is a truly immersive experience when listening to audio files or making calls. It’s worth mentioning that all these processes happen in a fraction of a second before your ears can detect. 

Another feature of the Airpods Pro is the expanded microphone ports. It’s covered in a mesh that further dampens high-pressure noises. It gives you better call and audio clarity in windy situations. 

Battery

Airpods Pro have tiny lithium-ion cells embedded into the buds. According to Apple, these batteries should deliver 4.5 hours of listening time. This is with ANC on and volume at 50%. According to user reviews, people tend to get an average of  4-6 hours of listening time.

This is still a huge problem with all truly wireless earbuds.

Apple claims that you can get an hour of listening time from just 5 minutes of charging. This is useful if you are rushing for a workout after forgetting to charge them up the previous night.

The pods are charged using the carrying case. Speaking of which, the case is now slightly larger than on older AirPods. 

The charging case contains a 660mAH battery. It supports 18W fast charging. This means that they can go from zero to full in under an hour. The speed of charging the pods themselves depends on their current battery level and that of the case. You can fully charge them up anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Unfortunately, the case still uses a lightning cable. The cable has a type c plug on one end and a lightning head on the other. This brings with it the inconvenience of having to carry that specific cable everywhere you go.

Fortunately, you can always learn to remember. The case is also compatible with any Qi wireless chargers.

This affords you the convenience of using other people’s chargers as well as compatible wireless chargers in modern cars. To charge you Airpods Pro, simply put them back into the charging case.

They will automatically shut down and charge. A green light means that the battery level on both the pod and case is at 80%.

To check the battery levels of your Airpods Pro, open the lid of the case next to your unlocked iPhone/iPad. Ensure that both pods are inside. A card will pop up showing you the battery percentage of both pods as well as the charging case.

Audio quality

The question of audio quality on headphones usually raises many inconsistencies across users. This is due to the differences in the anatomies of people’s ears. Apple noted this problem and provided genius solutions.

First off, it packaged all components of the buds based on the form of the human ear. This promotes the fit and comfort of the Airpods. 

On the same note, Airpods pro comes with 3 differently-sized ear tips-small, medium, and large. This ensures that you find an ear tip that produces the best audio experience based on the shape of your ear.

Next, the H1 chip uses this fit to adaptively equalize audio signals. This sends the best possible sound through your ear canal. 

A super-efficient, high dynamic range amplifier produces a high-quality sound with low power requirements. The result is a long, high fidelity listening experience. The amplifier also powers the speaker driver to remove background noise, further enhancing your listening experience. 

Airpods Pro has a low audio processing latency. This delivers real-time noise cancellation. Airpods have a neutral frequency response across the mid-frequencies.

This makes it excellent for the reproduction of vocals, as in, calls sound very clear. It also has a relatively good low-frequency as well as a high-frequency response. 

You can still hear the bass even in loud environments. Note that by the virtue of Airpods Pro sealing the ear canal, a significant reduction in external noise can be achieved. This means that you can switch off the noise cancellation to preserve battery life while still enjoying a good audio quality.

Connectivity

The Airpods pro is both ANC and Bluetooth 5.0 compatible. This allows it to connect and maintain connections to devices much faster and more stable. It’s a huge upgrade from older versions of Bluetooth. Airpods pro can also connect to multiple devices at the same time. This allows you to share moments with others.

Bluetooth version 5.0 theoretically has a range of 800ft. The procedure to connect your Airpods Pro to an apple device is simple. Note that you need to run iOS 13 or later for optimal connectivity to Airpods Pro.

Don’t worry if you haven’t updated your device. The first prompt you’ll receive when attempting to pair Airpods is a software update request.

To connect your Airpods Pro to your iPhone, long-press the pair button on the Airpods pro case. Wait until a white light starts blinking. Next, open the case with Airpods pro inside. Hold the case near your iPhone until a pop-up card appears. Tap the connect button to pair up. 

To connect your Airpods Pro to an android device, long-press the pair button on the case. Ensure that both Airpods are inside. Wait for white light to blink. This shows that the buds are in Bluetooth mode.

Next, open the Bluetooth setting on your android device. Scan for the Airpods Pro and pair. 

Note that you’ll miss the auto-pause and  ‘Hey Siri’ features when you pair with android.

Control

One of the most outstanding features of the Airpods pro is its convenient control techniques. For instance, they use pressure-sensitive “buttons” in place of touch control as in older AirPods. This is much more convenient and interactive. It also allows the devices to be waterproof. 

Simply press on the stem of the Airpods to send commands. The following are some of the things you can do:

  • Press and hold to switch between Noise cancellation and transparency modes
  • Press once to play, pause and pick calls 
  • Double press to skip forward
  • Tripple press to skip backward

This makes it easier to navigate your audio experience without unlocking your phone. You can also say “Hey Siri” to activate Apple’s digital assistant. However, you must have already set up Siri. If that is already done, you’ll be able to seamlessly activate Siri straight from your paired Airpods Pro.

There are lots of things you can do with Siri. This can be anything from web searches to verbal controls on your iPhone or iPad via the Airpods pro.

Fit

One of the biggest issues with the original Airpods was the fact that they didn’t seal the ear canal. This made it easy for them to fall off during exercise. It also compromised their audio quality. The Airpods Pro fixes all these issues. It comes with three sizes of ear tips-small, medium, and large. 

You can certainly find a perfect fit for the shape of your ear. The Airpods Pro also has a fit test. This is meant to check if the Airpods Pro buds are seating correctly in the ear. To run this test, ensure that you have worn the right bud on the right ear and the left bud on the left ear. 

Navigate to the Bluetooth settings on your paired iPhone/iPad. Tap the “i” button to reveal more options. One of them is the fittest. It seeks to confirm that you are using the correct size of ear tips.

Once the test is finished, iOS will tell you if you need to try a different ear tip. This ensures that you get the best audio experience possible. 

The Airpods pro also has a small section around the speaker driver where ear tips fit. It holds them nice and secure. This reduces the chances of losing ear tips. (one of the saddest things ever).

Processing power(H1 chip)

Previous versions of AirPods used a “W1” chip. The Airpods Pro uses the updated H1 chip. The processor runs everything on the pods. It powers the 10-core audio amplifier, active noise cancellation, Bluetooth connections, and processes the press control inputs. It creates the “magic” in the Airpods Pro.

The result is quicker call answer times, longer range, high audio quality, and improved battery efficiency. Another feature supported in the H1 chip is “spatial audio”.

This feature was announced by Apple during the WWDC 2020. This is a simulated surround sound experience. It maps sound in a 3D plane to mimic actual presence in a scene. 

This feature requires iOS 14 or later. It’s supported by iPhone 7 or later devices. It’s also available in 3rd generation(or higher) iPad models.

To use this feature, find your Airpods Pro on the Bluetooth settings of your iOS device. Tap the “i” button to reveal further settings. Tap to activate spatial audio in the list of settings. 

Drawbacks of the Apple Airpods Pro

ANC issues

Recent firmware updates on the Airpods Pro seem to weaken its ANC(Active Noise Cancelation) capabilities. Note that this problem is common across all truly wireless earbuds including those from beats, sony, and bose.

Price

The Airpods Pro cost $250. While it’s decent for the features you get, there are more competitive offers. If you are in the market for a nice pair of wireless earbuds, then you should consider other devices too. These include the Beats Powerbeats Pro, Sony WF-1000XM3, Google Pixel buds and Beats Solo Pro.

Fewer features on Android

The audio quality of the Airpods Pro on android is rich by all standards. However, you’ll miss out on auto-pause and Siri activation features. 

Apple AirPods Pro Review and Buyers Guide

Price

The price of any electronic is often the most anticipated aspect of any device.  Especially in the wait of big events like CES to Apple, Google, and Microsoft release.

The fact is, there’s some truth to the hype! Months from the debut, several leaks would have already come up. And very soon, all of them start looking similar. And the cute bubble is almost always bursted!

Some of the things people wait to hear about include material design, utility, durability, connectivity, and sound quality of truly wireless Bluetooth earbuds. Fortunately, it’s now easy to pick up one of these well under 200 bucks.

However, note that quality will be compromised with a decrease in price. So, you have to pick your demons. Choose between paying a hefty price for subpar sound. In contrast, you could pick up a pair of similarly-priced “proper headphones”.

I know I’m in trouble for this but pardon me because they just sound much better!

Also, think carefully about what you’ll be using the buds for, at what frequency, and in which period. See that, music? Frequency? Period? Anything…? Alright, I also understood physics after high school, lol, don’t shy.

Anyways, I recommend buying the best model you can get for once. You may look for many features. Or even better, try prioritizing the perfection of a few key features instead. Whatever fits your bill. The process of shopping for truly wireless earbuds may prove confusing to some people.

So, here’s a quick tip for everybody concerned, “get what you like”. Whatever makes you happy, so be it. But be sure that it’s durable, made of premium materials, have an attractive design, and deliver high playback times per charge. OOH! Just being a good parent here. Moving on…

Comfort

An in-ear wireless pod must be comfortable. That means it should fit snugly around your ear canals. The result is an interior/exterior pressure equilibrium. It feels more or less like you haven’t put anything in your ears. They must not be too tight or loose either. 

However, ensure that you can seal your canals whenever comfortable. This will deliver the best audio experience possible. Other features that enhance comfort and fit include hooks and “close-to-custom” ear tips.  We’ll now discuss the two.

I recommend earbuds that come with extra different-sized ear tips. This ensures that you can find your perfect fit between the “small”, “medium,” and, “large” spare options.

This is typically the most popular package across manufacturers. You’ll find some models with four spare ear tips, one is a sub of the default plus the aforementioned three.

Properly-sized, strategically-positioned, easily-adjustable, and tight-fitting ear hooks are yet another effective way to enhance comfort, sound quality, and fit.

Earhooks serve four functions. First, they help secure the buds to your ears. Second, they provide a counter leaning point so that the ear tip is well-balanced inside your ear. This has two more benefits.

Third, you get a general feeling of comfort. Mostly because the body tends to feel disturbed when things don’t align symmetrically. Fourth, it seals your ear canal.

This ensures that all the audio output is directed into your ear canal. It makes them sharper and clearer. This is not to rule the stem-design wireless earbuds like the Airpods Pro.

The stem design may turn out to be an advantage in its own right. Think about their position relative to their hooked counterparts. It’s obvious that they naturally sit in a way that blends with the upright orientation of the human head. (mostly). 

The stem also creates more real estate for sensors, ICs, and a larger battery. This improves the capability and performance of the set.

Audio quality

The type of signal-to-sound technology separates this category into two majors. First, truly wireless buds that use speaker drivers. Second, those that use bone conduction technology. Speakers come in different types, some with wooden magnetic cores others with cardboard, etc. 

The best speakers in use for wireless earbuds are the piston driver sub-type. In general, “speaker-type” wireless earbuds sound much better than their bone conduction counterparts.

They are significantly louder and have bigger bass. However, they tend to seal out the environment. It makes them a little unsafe.

This may mean noise-induced hearing loss or ear fatigue. Both of which feel terrible.  Overall, pick something that has an accurate reproduction of low, mid, and high frequencies. Also, if you can find a piece with wide frequency response, it’d be nice. 

Fun fact, it allows you to technically hear “more” notes that may be cut out in gadgets with narrower frequency responses. A good place to be is 20HZ-20,000HZ. The roof you can find in retail is probably 5HZ-33,000HZ. Note that a wider frequency range doesn’t always mean better performance.

Speaking of which, the condition and magnitude of the audio playback signal received are dependent on two things. The type of connectivity and quality of the hardware.

The quality of connectivity is dictated by cross-compatibility. First, in Bluetooth codecs used by the source device. Second, the version of BlueTooth. 

As I have mostly observed, wireless earbuds tend to be “left-handed” or “right-handed”. As in Apple or Android, and never both. I could be overreacting here! On a day-to-day, the experience is largely consistent between OSs and devices.

The difference is there but only if you are keen enough to discern it.

This means that you must keep your phone updated. This ensures that you get the best experience. Some of the things an update can do are expand the supported codecs library, better equalization abilities, and improved power efficiency.

Battery life

A truly wireless earbud should do just that, keep you wireless. In other words, away from the charger. To achieve this, some good pods include a larger battery both in the bank and charging case. This typically delivers longer playback times.

However, there are other useful features in this segment that can further boost stamina.

Fast charging is a great way to keep up with your power expenditure. Most premium headphones like the Apple Airpods Pro have wireless charging capabilities.

The charging case may also be charged via a high-watt charger for a 0-100 charging time of a couple of hours max. Depending on the battery capacity of course.

It also means that you can get a lot of playback time from a few minutes of charging if you are in a rush.

Connectivity

A truly wireless earbud should be compatible with your phone’s Bluetooth. This includes both the codec and version. It should also have a long-range to assure stable connections. This eliminates “drop-offs”. Also, ensures that the mic(s) has high sensitivity and dynamic range. It’ll prove efficient in keeping you connected with your phone.

Durability

The question of durability boils down to two things-materials and build quality. Whenever possible, I’d recommend metals over plastic on the body of a wireless earbud. It’s worth noting that some manufacturers have found a way to make premium plastic buds. A good example is the Powerbeats Pro. 

I’m glad to inform you that most manufacturers make a point of including extra ear tips. For a comfortable fit and also just in case you lose them, there’s a backup. Which is nice of them. Buttons should also be nicely secured. 

This should allow them to survive thousands of presses throughout its lifetime. ‘Jack here is telling me he has already pressed his 1M times’. Wait, is that possible?

Anyways, they should be waterproofed to some degree. This is because you may need them to push you through sweaty workouts without damaging them. 

It may be difficult to land a pair that is truly (as in IP67-certified) waterproof. Most of them are IPX4 water-resistant. That means that they can only survive splashes and sweat. Not submersion or water-related sports and activities.

Navigation

A truly wireless earbud should afford you at least some in-built controls. They should be useful and responsive. It requires that both the hardware and software are fine-tuned to deliver a smooth experience. Functions like play, pause, volume-, volume+, power on/off, call reject/answer/hangup. 

Fortunately, you are likely to find all those functions plus more. The market may use physical buttons, touchpads, or squeeze-responsive buttons to pick your commands. Ensures that the interaction points are conveniently located and well-secured.

This will ensure you never press the ‘wrong buttons’. If you know, you know. 

Benefits of Airpods Pro

  • Look stylish 
  • Great audio quality 
  • Have an excellent range 
  • Water and sweat-resistant 
  • Allows you to make calls hands-free
  • Connects to both iOS and Android devices 
  • Allows you to pair with multiple devices at once
  • Removes distractions as you workout unlike wired headphones
  • Active noise cancellation to seal out your immediate environment for better sound fidelity

Alternatives to the Apple Airpods Pro

1. Aftershokz Aeropex bone conduction wireless buds

The Aftershokz Aeropex wireless buds are known for its proprietary bone conduction technology. Instead of regular speakers producing sound waves, Aeropex vibrates the cheekbone instead. This motion is processed into sound by the brain. They are audible and have good sound quality.

With a battery life of over 8 hours, these things are set to take you through the day. They also recharge relatively quickly-about 2 hours from 0-100%. Since no earbuds are going into your ears, Aeropex is less intrusive.

It allows you to be conscious of your ambient auditory environment. This makes them much safer to use.

They also allow users to maintain interactions while listening to their audio files. At the same time, they help prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

Key features of the Aftershokz Aeropex bone conduction wireless buds

  • Well-priced 
  • Durable battery
  • Excellent build quality 
  • Durable titanium body 
  • Good for preserving auditory health 

Notable differences between the Aftershokz Aeropex bone conduction wireless buds and the Apple Airpods Pro

  1. Cheaper 
  2. Outputs less bass
  3. Larger and bulkier 
  4. Better battery stamina 
  5. Unique magnetic charging cable 
  6. Lacks Active Noise Cancellation(ANC)

2. Powerbeats Pro

Apple acquired beats by Dre on August 1st, 2014. Therefore, the Powebeats Pro and the Airpods pro are technical “brothers”. This could not be further from the truth.

They share the same plastic material on the body. Mics, the H1 chip, control functions, and Siri are other similarities between the two. Price as well-both retail for about $250.

However, the Powerbeats Pro has more features and design cues that enhance its performance. For instance, in place of the stem, it has ear hooks instead. This makes them more stable and well-planted on the ears.

Its why they are suitable for workout purposes. Powerbeats Pro has more spare ear tips as well-4 instead of 3 as in the Airpods Pro.

Another outstanding feature of the Powerbeats Pro is its long battery life. At 9 hours on a single charge, it nearly doubles the stamina of the Airpods Pro. It also sounds way better. However, it has fewer sensors and lacks Active Noise Cancellation capabilities.

Overall, Powerbeats Pro can be termed as the more rugged, useful version of Airpods Pro.

Key features of the Powerbeats Pro

  • Rugged design 
  • Long battery life 
  • Well-planted buttons 
  • Convenient ear hooks
  • Stable Bluetooth connectivity 

Notable differences between the Powerbeats Pro and the Airpods Pro

  1. Contains fewer sensors 
  2. Available in wider color options 
  3. Has a hook in place of the stem

3. Jaybird Vista True Wireless Earbuds

The Jaybird Vista is a lightweight, premium pair of earbuds. They sound great and have excellent build quality. With a high-efficiency, 6mm audio drivers, it manages to deliver sufficient battery longevity. The carrying case doubles as a charger that delivers a total of 16 hours of playback from full to empty. 

The buds themselves charge fast. You can get an hour of playback from 5 minutes of charging.  The case can power one earbud for a total of 32 hours. I like the way they look as well. Overall, they offer competitive performance for almost $100 less than Airpods Pro.

Key features of the Jaybird Vista True Wireless Earbuds 

  • Good battery life 
  • Great audio quality 
  • Durable construction 
  • Portable charging case 
  • IPX7-certified waterproof 

Notable differences between the Jaybird Vista True Wireless Earbuds and the Airpods Pro 

  1. Lighter 
  2. Smaller 
  3. Cheaper 
  4. Has a longer battery life 

Conclusion

The Airpods Pro fixes most issues with the original Airpods. It has an updated design, wireless charging, and Active Noise Cancellation. This is not to forget about its great audio quality, the array of sensors, and smooth integration with Siri.

I would happily recommend AirPods Pro for daily usage. It can also be used for workouts if no other options are available.

Thanks for reading to the end. If you liked this article, feel free to check out more amazing content on the site. 

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