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Apple AirPods Pro Review and Comparison: Nailed it. You’ll want to upgrade

I see what Apple did with the AirPods, they created a wireless version of their EarBuds by simply cutting the cable and jamming amazing tech into that last bit that hangs out your ear. Familiar, and funky.

Personally, I didn’t like the look of them, and like the wired versions, they weren’t suited to the shape of my ear and would come out while mowing the lawn.

I just don’t like this look

Fast forward three years and Apple have surprised us with an all-new pair, sitting above the current AirPods on the range, priced at $399 with their own Wireless Charging case – meaning you’re paying $80 more than AirPods with a Wireless Charging Case.

What do you get for your $80?

A smaller set of headphones and that’s important. The “Stalk” hanging out your ear is much shorter and I think looks more wearable.

They also have a Silicone Tip on the end. Like the majority of earphones, the Silicone tip allows a bit of blocking to kill the outside noise – but that’s not enough to really cut out the jet engines on a flight.

So they also come with Active Noise Cancelling. This is the process where using microphones, the headphones are able to cancel out the noise around you by sending a reverse frequency into your ear – complex stuff, and not always done well.

And here’s the smartest thing Apple have done – a Fit Test. With all these silicon tipped earphones you get a range of sized tips in the box – and you just switch them out to see what feels good.

With the AirPods Pro, you go into your Bluetooth settings for them and you can do a Fit Test. During this, you hear some sounds, and the microphones outside the AirPods Pro listen out to see what leaks from inside your ear.

The app then tells you if you should use a different sized silicon tip!

Apple has done it well. As well as any other in-ear headphones I’ve tried.

They don’t come close to the level of noise-cancelling on the Sony or Bose over-ear headphones.

However they do rival, and in my view just pip Sony’s WF-1000XM3 which have the same $399 price tag.

They are also smaller than the Sony’s so that’s a big thing I think.

Noise-cancelling can be turned off via the volume slider in Control Center, while each ear also has a small force touch-sensitive spot for you to control play, pause, track skip and also a long press will turn on what Apple calls “Transparency” which is a feature similar to many other brands that use microphones on the outside to allow you to hear what’s happening around you – it’s a mode you should be using when in the city walking across busy roads.

I wish they came in Black. I think that would make them the ideal headphones. But we can only hope and wait.

For context, I’ve looked at five of the better fully wireless in-ear headphones on the market.

In this, I’ve tested making calls on each, using Bowen at the other end to rate the headphones blind – he didn’t know which was which.

And I’ve also used a loud plane like white noise to test the noise-cancelling capabilities.

Here’s how they stack up:

APPLE AIRPODS – FROM $249

  • Battery Life: 5 Hours
  • Battery in Case: 24 hours in total
  • Sound Quality: 7.5 (thin sounding but solid)
  • Noise Cancelling Rating: N/A
  • Phone Call Quality: 6/10

SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDS – $249

  • Battery Life: 6 hours
  • Battery in Case: 13 in total
  • Sound Quality: 7/10 (A bit thin, but solid overall)
  • Noise Cancelling Rating: N/A
  • Phone Call Quality: 5/10

JABRA ELITE 65t – $249

  • Battery Life: 5 hours
  • Battery in Case: 15 in total
  • Sound Quality:8.5/10 (less bass than sony)
  • Noise Cancelling Rating: N/A
  • Phone Call Quality: 4/10

SONY WF-1000XM3 – $399

  • Battery Life: 6 hours
  • Battery in Case: 24 in total
  • Sound Quality: 9/10 (very full sound)
  • Noise Cancelling Rating: 7.5/10
  • Phone Call Quality: 4/10

APPLE AIRPODS PRO – $399

  • Battery Life: 4.5 hours (5 hours without Noise Cancelling)
  • Battery in Case: 24 Hours in total (5 mins = 1 hour extra)
  • Sound Quality: 8.5/10 (great sound, treble-heavy at high volume)
  • Noise Cancelling Rating: 8/10
  • Phone Call Quality: 6/10

Overall?

These are now my go-to in-ear wireless headphones. They work right out of the box, the setup is just ideal for iPhone users, and the quality of sound, level of noise-cancelling and size of the product makes them a winner in my book.

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Apple AirPods Pro Review and Comparison: Nailed it. You’ll want to upgrade
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