Within three months of Apple AirPods first going on sale in 2016, they’d become the number one wireless headphones in the world. Within a year, they became the number one headphones of any kind.
Apple AirPods Pro have a completely new design except the same gloss white finish and stem that points down towards your mouth. But that stem is noticeably shorter this time and has a more solid look to it.
The new AirPods are both water and sweat-resistant, this doesn’t mean they can survive being submerged and shouldn’t swim in them though.
Three sets of silicone ear tips are included in the box. The medium ear tip is in place. Once you’ve put the AirPods Pro into your ears, the Ear Tip Fit Test on the iPhone awaits: music is played, and the inward-facing microphone can tell if there’s a decent seal or not. If it decides there isn’t, the test advises you to adjust the AirPod or try a new ear tip.
The tight seal means the audio quality is already better than previous models but the big new feature on Apple AirPods Pro is the active noise cancellation.
As with other active noise cancellation devices, it works by using a microphone that listens to the world outside and creates a noise which is reversed in phase to cancel out the external noise.
Removing one bud from your ear pauses the music, and putting it back starts it up again. It’s the natural way to respond if someone speaks to you. The AirPods Pro also has Transparency Mode and it means the music still plays but you can hear your voice and that of the person you’re talking to.
Battery life on AirPods Pro is the same as on the previous version, around 5 hours. Running either noise-cancellation or Transparency Mode reduces battery life to 4 hours 30 minutes. There’s another 19 hours of charge in the case.
The stem on the AirPod Pro has a capacitive touch panel, when you press and hold it, switches between Noise-Cancelling and Transparency mode. A shorter touch is used to pause tracks or answer calls, repeated touches change to next or previous songs.
To pair the AirPods Pro to your iPhone you simply open the case and it’s done.
AirPods Pro are more expensive than regular AirPods which cost between £159 and £199 if you opt for the model with a wireless-chargeable case. So, there’s a £50 premium for AirPods Pro which cost £249.
This is a higher price than rival noise-cancelling in-ear headphones but are they worth the money? We’d say yes, the amazing audio you get with noise-cancelling turned on, the smooth user experience, the excellent, comfortable fit and the typically great Apple design.