Thoughts on the AirPods Pro

When the AirPods Pro came out I knew immediately that I wanted to simplify my audio setup from AirPods and Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II to just AirPods Pro. I love my Bose over-the-ear headphones but the carrying case was just one more item to constantly carrying around. If the active noise cancelling on the AirPods Pro was good enough then just carrying around the small AirPods Pro would be exactly what I wanted.

Fast-forward a couple days after the release I was able to sell my Bose headphones and pickup a pair of the AirPods Pro.

What do I like about the AirPods Pro?

  • Active Noise Cancellation: I am currently sitting in a coffee shop with the AirPods Pro listening to the 8/5/2018 Phish concert at Alpharetta, Georgia with the volume at 50% and the noise cancellation is on par with the Bose headphones. I do not hear other people talking, the air conditioner blower sound is non-existent, and I am hearing no other ambient noise. If I turn off the music I can here some muted sounds but they are not distracting. Overall, the noise cancellation seems almost as good as the Bose headphones. For me, the smaller package is plenty sufficient. Some people are experiencing better results than the Bose QC 35s.
  • Transparency Mode: This mode lets you hear certain sounds around you. I’m not exactly sure how to describe it but if you turn it on you can hold a conversation with someone while still listening to music. Walking around the city you can turn this on and still hear the music while also oddly hear cars and other sounds around you. It is truly an experience you have to try out to fully understand it. To me, this is a very underrated but welcome feature. John Gruber explains it like this “This comment crystalized a thought that I couldn’t quite put my finger on while trying to describe transparency mode: it is audio AR. That’s it.” I’d say that is pretty accurate.You can switch between active noise cancellation and transparency mode by squeezing the tip of either AirPod.
  • Fit and the Rubber Tips: Unlike the regular AirPods, the AirPods Pros have soft rubber tips (that you can buy replacements for) that help seal out noise. So even without the active noise cancellation turn on it still provides better passive sound isolation. Personally, these feel better than the original one-size-fits-all plastic tips of the original. If the originals didn’t fit your ear canal I’m sure one of the sizes would work for you.
  • Water and Sweat Resistant: Apple states that “Your AirPods Pro are water and sweat resistant, but they are not waterproof or sweatproof.” I’m excited to workout with these. I sweat quite a bit and noticed sweat getting in my originals so I am thinking that the rubber tips will also help.
  • Siri: This is purely anecdotal but I’ve found that “Hey Siri” is working much better..
  • If you have ever wore rubber tipped earbuds before you might notice that when you take them out there is a suction feeling in your ears because of the rubber seal. The AirPods Pro are engineered in a way that this doesn’t happy by creating some sort of airflow from the outside. I’m not sure what black magic is happening but it is something you might not notice unless thinking about previous experiencing with similar shaped earphones.

Overall, these are worth the $250 price tag if you are looking for noise cancelling headphones.

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