Tech review: AirPods were great, and AirPods Pro are better
Who knew AirPods would become so popular? Apple, I suppose.
I have to admit, though, that my first impression was that they had great sound and silly looks. The original AirPods have a stem that hangs down a bit from the ear, and I thought they made me look like I was wearing earrings.
I’ve always enjoyed the sound from my AirPods. And now that they’re everywhere, I’m over the whole earring thing.
AirPods Pro look familiar, but the stem is a bit smaller and the earpieces are now silicone-tipped.
The original AirPods sit in your ears and just kind of hang there. The sound is good, but since they don’t seal in your ear canal, you can still hear what’s going on around you.
AirPods Pro ($249) are designed to seal in your ears. Apple includes three sizes of silicone tips so you can customize the fit.
The Pros have Active Noise Cancellation, which uses two microphones on each Pod to listen to what’s going on around you, along with software and sound processors to produce “anti-noise” to minimize the sounds of the outside world. AirPods Pro make 200 anti-noise reductions per second.
If you’ve ever worn noise-canceling headphones, you know that they quiet the sounds around you. They don’t eliminate them, but it is magic.
Apple also takes the microphones used for noise canceling and uses them to create another listening mode called Transparency, which lets in the sound around you so you can keep the AirPods Pro in your ears and still hear someone who’s talking to you.
There are small touch pads on the stem of each Pod called Force Sensors. You pinch the stem over the pad to control mubu_air-posic and calls and pinch and hold to switch modes between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes or to call up Siri. You can’t control the volume from the AirPods Pro, but you can call up Siri and ask her to turn the sound up or down.
To set them up, you just wake your iPhone, bring the AirPods case next to the phone and open the case (with the AirPods inside). You’ll see a small dialog. Tap the Connect button. Then take the Pods out and put them in your ears.
You can also use the AirPods Pro with non-Apple phones or computers. They can work with any Bluetooth device. Simply push the button on the back of the case to put them in pairing mode.
Original AirPods came in one size. If they didn’t fit your ears, you were out of luck.
The AirPods Pro come with three sizes of tips so you can get a good fit in your ears. Removing the tips is a bit daunting the first time. Just pinch them and pull them straight off, and they’ll come off with a snap.
Once you find the tip size that feels good, you can check the fit with your iPhone. The AirPods settings page will play a little tune through the Pods and use the microphone to listen to the resulting tones. If the fit is good, you’ll see a green light on the settings page and you’ll know you have the right size tips.
I liked my AirPods, and the AirPods Pro sound even better. The silicone tips make them quite comfortable to wear for extended conference calls or podcasts.
The AirPods Pro are an improvement over the old AirPods in every way for me. I like the fit, and they sound great.
Pros: Smaller, better fit options, great sound, good battery life.
Bottom line: AirPods were great, and AirPods Pro are better.