Apple, a great and one of the top smartphone manufacturers in the world, is widely known to the people as the RICH company and that logo has been used by a lot of people in this world to show off. They not only manufacture the iPhone but also a lot of other electronic gadgets like Audio products, laptops, desktops etc. People once buy an apple product they always stick around the same brand for other companion accessories mainly because of the integration it provides. It creates a wonderful ecosystem that no brand can still deliver to the people in these times.
In that lineup the Airpods remain the most preferred earphones for Apple product users. From the integration to the seamless connectivity it still remains the top favour by the apple users. When the Airpods 1st Gen launched it was a 50-50 choice by the people since it’s a half in ear design hence does not provide a good fit for most of the people. Now the design got completely revamped with the full in ear design with silicone eartips. In this review let’s see if this redesign and sound still made the Apple users stick with the Airpods.
● Active Noise Cancellation
● Transparency mode
● Adaptive Equaliser
● Vent system for pressure equalisation
● Custom high-excursion Apple driver
● Custom high dynamic range amplifier
● Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
● Dual beam-forming microphones
● Inward-facing microphone
● Dual optical sensors
● Motion-detecting accelerometer
● Speech-detecting accelerometer
● Force sensor
Chip: H1-based System in Package
Sweat and Water Resistant: Sweat and water resistant (IPX4)
Charging Case: Works with Qi-certified chargers or the Lightning connector
Battery: Case – 519 mAH
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
● AirPods Pro
● Wireless Charging Case
● Silicone ear tips (three sizes)
● Lightning to USB-C Cable
The design is quite interesting and minimalistic. Now the stems are reduced in length and the ear tip region is designed as per the shape of the human ear canal. The interesting thing is that there is no physical nozzle whereas the area is completely now upppoted by the eartips provided by the apple and it’s a proprietary one hence if it’s lost you need to purchase one from the apple themselves. It uses a different locking mechanism for the eartips.
Now instead of the usual touch sensors they implemented the Pressure sensors where you need to pinch the stem to perform any controls hence no more unwanted accidental touches while adjusting the earphones.
There is a ventilated pressure chamber facing outside to balance the ear pressure to maximise the sound quality hence you won’t even notice the presence of Airpods in your ears even after several hours of usage.
The Airpods ofcourse comes only in the white colour and no other color options are available and even if you need you can skin them using third party services.
The case is now reduced in height and increased in the width to accommodate the new airpods pro design and the extra larger battery of the case. The case is however still pocketbale and also still retains the glossy finish which is prone to scratches and still holds the pairing button and the lightning port for charging. It still has wireless charging support and the hinge feels the same which gives a nice tactile feedback while closing and opening. There is a single led indicator for representing the charging status and the battery level of the case however the battery status of the earpieces alone is still not possible and can be checked only via the iPhone.
● Press once to play, pause or answer a phone call
● Press twice to skip forward
● Press three times to skip back
● Press and hold to switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode ● Say “Hey Siri” to do things like play a song, make a call or get directions
The AirPods Pro is a substantial upgrade from the original half in ear airpods because of the main degn change, the silicone eartips. Due to the half in ear the isolation cannot be achieved completely from ht external surroundings hence the noise seeps in leading to reduced and impact less bass response and rolled out highs. Now this problem is solved by two methods that are by the silicone ear tips and via the addition of Active Noise Cancellation.
The overall sound signature still remains as flat or neutral with slight bass boost due to the improved isolation over the OG Airpods. Many users are not even able to find any differences from the OG Airpods and the Pro’s when it comes to pure sound quality except the improved bass.
This flat or neutral sound signature is beneficial in one way where it can be eq’d by users according to their taste. But out of the box the sound signature is not pleasing to me. They sound very dull and lack dynamics. They are vocals centric and great for podcasts and for making calls though.
BASS: They sound very dull. The quantity of bass is good but the quality is really disappointing. There is no slam or attack. They are very slow and those deep rumbles in the sub bass section are very poor. Overall they are tuned to attract the mass consumers where they expect that boomy bass over the resolved and impactful bass. In audiophile perspective this is definitely not worth the purchase in my opinion and there are a lot of other budget TWS in the market which would easily beat the Airpods Pro in terms of pure sound quality.
MIDS: The mid section is the pleasing factor in the AirPods pro. They are mid centric and have non recessed vocals rather than usual V shaped tuning in the budget oriented TWS. The vocals are the star here. They sound very pleasant and clear. The tonality is natural and the guitar strings sound very nice. No harshness in the upper mid section and the lower mids are nicely emphasized thus providing a good body to the vocals and the whole mid section. Overall the mid section really impressed me and great for podcasts and classical music.
HIGHS: The highs are definitely rolled off early. If you use this to listen to the minute details in the song then this will definitely disappoint you. They are not extended like the wired earphones and hence they sound very smoother and no harshness or sibilance is observed in the high end.
The instrument separation is decent and the overall resolution is decent.
TECHNICALITIES: It is not the strongest aspect of the AirPods. They don’t beat the other earphones in this segment and not even budget range TWS. The soundstage is however above
average. They have a good sense of space and air between the instruments and the width is super expansive, that too when combined with the Spatial Audio it’s very nice.
The imaging is decent and overall the separation is average. The tonality is natural which is one of the prime factors in the sound department and no time issues found during my listening.
ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION:
This is where the Airpods Pro beats the other TWS in the market out of the park. It’s amazing! They block out nearly most of the external noises and it’s very distinguishable when you compare it with other ANC enabled TWS side by side. There is however no controls to adjust the levels of noise cancellation like many brands do eg: Jabra and Sony. Despite that feature the strength of the ANC is very impressive.
They block out not only the low end rumbling noises but also most of the mid frequencies which is quite interesting and impressive. This ANC is achieved by the use of externally facing mic and the internally facing mic. They work meticulously and adjust the ANC by adapting to the user’s ear and the external surroundings, adjusting them over 200 times per minute to execute this perfect ANC.
The transparency mode is very nice too. They sound very natural and not robotic or artificial like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. They sound very clear and it feels as if you are not wearing anything in your ear. The voice detect feature which the Buds pro has is really an under rated feature which is missing here and hope that apple implements it in their next iteration of airpods lineup.
The call quality is exceptional in this pair of TWS. They sound very natural and clear. The volume is not as high as the Galaxy Buds Poro but this sounds very natural. The receiver end will not be able to tell that the speaker is using a wireless earphone. The mics in this are really exceptional and no problem even in the external noisier environments.
SPATIAL AUDIO AND DOLBY ATMOS:
This feature made every consumer drool , but in the end after experiencing it it’s not that good in my opinion. The spatial audio currently works with Netflix App and Apple Music which of course not yet launched in India as of writing this review. The soundstage got improved a lot in the spatial audio mode but it messes with the spatial que. The instrument’s placement gets messed up as it sounds as if listening to a broken record. The truth is the tracks and videos are not properly mastered as of now hence this feature is a big bummer for me.
The sensors in the earbuds detect your head movements and adjust the instrument placement and the direction of the audio. Spatial audio works with movies, TV and video in supported apps. Requires iPhone or iPad. This works better than the Galaxy Buds Pro’s Dolby Head Tracking Feature but the good thing in the Buds Pro is they work with most of the apps like even with youtube videos!. For most part I turned off the spatial audio during my listening period because it messes with the spatial que and the instrument placement. This feature needs a lot of work around to take this to near perfection.
● Up to 4.5 hours of listening time with a single charge (up to 5 hours with Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode off)
● Up to 3.5 hours of talk time with a single charge
AirPods Pro with Wireless Charging Case
● More than 24 hours of listening time
● More than 18 hours of talk time and 5 minutes in the case provides around 1 hour of listening time or around 1 hour of talk time
The airpods pro supports both wired and wireless charging, but the issue is it supports only lightning hence you need to to carry a lightning cable along with you wherever you go unless you are already a Apple user. For most part I used wireless charging which is very convenient and reduces the cable mess.
Now when it comes to connectivity with Apple Products then nothing can beat the easy pairing of the AirPods. They have the H1 chip which instantly pairs the AirPods to your iPhone and has the inbuilt app support and no need to install them separately. There is also a seamless switching option here where you can easily and instantly switch from your iPhone to your Mac or iPad. Even though they have the inbuilt app support they still cant be eq’d based on your liking hence you need to get used to the default sound signature and if you are an android user this is just a nightmare.
They have this feature called auto read and reply messages which is a very nice touch and very handy if you got your hands full of work. The battery stats of the earbuds and the case are neatly displayed in your iPhone and you are out of luck if you are using it with an android phone.
AirPods Pro, the latest offering from the brand Apple is a welcoming one when compared to the AirPods 2nd Gen mainly in terms of the design and the additional features like the ANC, Transparency Mode and the underwhelming Spatial Audio. However in terms of pure sound I still consider this as a mediocre product, of course there is a slight improvement over the half in ear AirPods but does not justify the steep price increase. The total sound improvement is mainly due to the better isolation and the fit.
The other features like ANC, Transparency Mode and the Call quality really impressed me when compared to its competitors but is it really worth a huge price increase? Maybe it’s a YES for a previous apple user but for a general consumer and apart from apple users i would still prefer the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro over this mainly due to the highly improved sound quality and versatile app support. If you are an iPhone user you can still choose the Buds Pro if you want the excellent sound but if you need those top level ANC, Transparency then choosing the Airpods Pro is the right choice.
PROS AND CONS:
● Seamless connectivity with Apple Products.
● Excellent ANC, Transparency and Mics
● Fit and case pocketability
● Mediocre Sound
This Review is Written By KATHIRAVAN.C
I’m Kathiravan from Tamilnadu. A budding audiophile here with high love towards music and audio equipment. My first experience of enjoying the hifi audio came when I started to use budget chi-fi gears and now it came all along the way of reviewing the gears with high end stuffs. I love reviewing audio products.