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AirPods Pro review: Convenience without compromises
Apple’s best true wireless earbuds set the bar from the category
While the sound quality may fall short of what audiophiles might expect, the AirPods Pro manage to make the most of decent noise-cancellation tech and deliver a great true wireless experience. Combined with a solid form-factor that weaves together small but meaningful conveniences, Apple’s high-end in-ear headphones are one of the easiest options to recommend in the category.
Even if the Apple AirPods Pro aren’t the best that the premium corner of the market has to offer in terms of sound quality, they set the bar for what consumers expect of it nonetheless.
Apple AirPods Pro price in Australia
In Australia, the Apple AirPods Pro has a recommended retail price of $399. That puts them at almost double the price of the 2nd generation AirPods and $120 over the asking-price of the 3rd generation AirPods.
When it comes to the company’s roster of wireless options, the only thing more expensive than the AirPods Pro are the over-ear AirPods Max. If you’re the kind of person who can’t imagine spending more than $250 on a set of headphones, the AirPods Pro might not be for you.
That said, the $399 price-tag isn’t that unreasonable compared to other high-end true wireless headsets like the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds.
The Apple AirPods aren’t the most expensive true wireless earbuds you can find, but they’re close enough that it does feel like you’re paying more for the brand on them.
AirPods Pro sound quality
The AirPods have never been known as exceptional when it comes to sound quality, so the fact that the Apple AirPods Pro do sound significantly better shouldn’t be that much of a surprise.
However, the story here isn’t quite as simple as it seems. It’s not just a case of just sounding better. Rather the AirPods Pro are better equipped, through key improvements like noise-canceling and a superior fit, to make listening to music and podcasts that are much more immersive and impressive. They set a better Bluetooth soundstage and deliver a stronger performance as a result.
In practice, melodic fare like Post Malone’s “Sunflower” or hyperpop frenzies like 100 gecs “Mememe” sounded great when heard through the Apple AirPods Pro. While I will disclose that my earbuds ha
The earbuds built-in noise-canceling tech managed to clear the decks of unwanted noise the majority of the time. However, it sometimes struggled when it came to very loud phenomena like a nearby train or an obnoxiously loud gym class instructor.
In addition to sounding good, the Apple AirPods Pro also gives you a lot of leeway when it comes to the practicalities of how you want to listen to your music or podcast. You can listen with just one earbud, or both. You can turn off noise-canceling completely, or toggle the earbuds into a transparency mode that lets some noise through. It’s all very intuitive, but never forced upon you.
AirPods Pro design
The AirPods Pro are more futuristic and sleek than their everyday counterparts. The earbuds themselves are slightly smaller. They’re less stalks and more stubs.
Downsized when it comes to height and breadth, the AirPods Pro also feature pressure vents that prevent the kind of pressure build-up that can sometimes make headphones like them uncomfortable to wear over longer stretches of time.
Alongside these aesthetic touches, the AirPods Pro also features a few more tangible improvements like IPX4 water resistance. The earbuds also come with a set of custom eartips, allowing you to find the right fit at your leisure.
These hardware features come complemented by software perks, so long as you’re sitting in Apple’s walled-garden.
When paired up with an iOS device, the Apple AirPods Pro supports fast-pairing, automatic device switching, spatial audio, custom profiles and adaptive EQ. The earbuds themselves will still work Android or Windows PCs, but you won’t get access to these extra features.
As for color options, there aren’t any! The Apple AirPods Pro are only available in white, though Apple do offer engraving options for those who pick up a set through their online storefront and crave a little more customisation.
Controls can be the biggest pain point for this style of earbuds, but Apple’s headphones have opted for a novel solution that sets them apart from the rest of the competition. Rather than feature the typical haptic touch controls or physical triggers found elsewhere, the AirPods Pro rely on an elegant alternative: squeezing.
Apple AirPods Pro controls
|Pause / Play audio||Single squeeze|
|Skip forward||Double squeeze|
|Skip backwards||Triple squeeze|
|Answer phone call||Single squeeze|
|Decline phone call||Double squeeze|
Apple AirPods Pro battery life
The Apple AirPods Pro boast four and a half hours of playback per charge, plus another 20 or so hours of playback via the case for the earbuds.
If you’ve not dabbled with true wireless earbuds before, the setup here is fairly standard. When you take the AirPods Pro out of their case to start listening to something, that four-and-a-half hour timer begins to tick downwards. After you’re done listening to whatever, you put the AirPods Pro back inside the case and the built-in battery charges them back up again. You will have to eventually charge up the case itself when it runs dry, but a full day of playback time means that this is rarely a concern.
While four-and-a-half hours gives you plenty of time to work with, the AirPods Pro have fallen a little bit behind the curve when it comes to true wireless battery life. For comparison, the Jabra Elite 3 offer seven hours of battery life at a time.
The AirPods Pro can be charged wirelessly via compatible Qi or Magsafe chargers. Otherwise, you’ll have to use the Lightning port at the base of the case.
Are they worth it?
Over the past three years, the Apple AirPods Pro have been my go-to true wireless earbuds for something like 90% of the situations where I’d need headphones.
I’ve relied on buds with better battery life and noise-canceling headphones that filter out more of the world around me. However, when it comes to finding that sweet spot between price, performance and practicality, the Apple AirPods Pro are undefeated in the field.
Although they’re expensive enough that the price can feel daunting, the AirPods Pro benefit from a jack-of-all-trades approach to premium true wireless headphones. They’re not the best at any single thing, but the combination of strengths here makes them a solid choice for most people.