In-depth analysis of the Apple AirPods Pro: Design, Configuration, functionalities, sound quality, Battery and autonomy, opinion and price.
The arrival of the Apple AirPods in 2016 was a breath of fresh air in the wireless headphones market. They not only offered a user experience fully integrated with the iPhone but also had a battery case that always kept them charged.
However, the AirPods also presented some aspects of improvement. Its elongated design did not quite like everyone and could not compete in isolation with other competitors with active noise cancellation.
A few weeks ago, Apple launched the new Apple AirPods Pro that not only improves the design by reducing its size but also offer active noise cancellation thanks to external and internal microphones, as well as adaptive equalization to adjust the music to your ear.
Apple AirPods Pro - Analysis, Opinion and Price
Apple AirPods Pro Design and Construction
The Apple AirPods Pro arrives with a white oval case that, compared to the previous model, is much wider due to the change in the shape of the headphones. This case not only allows to store the AirPods Pro when we are not using them but also charges them thanks to its integrated battery.
The case is small enough to fit in a pocket and has magnets that make the Apple AirPods Pro not even come out when you place the case upside down. The cap closes firmly, so there is no danger of them coming out.
- On the front, we find a light indicator that provides information about the state of the charge of the case and the AirPods Pro.
- On the back, there is a button that allows us to pair the AirPods Pro if we keep it pressed for a few seconds.
- Finally, at the bottom, we find a Lightning connector that allows us to charge the case (and the AirPods Pro if they are inside) using a cable. It is a bit strange that Apple has included a Lightning cable with a USB-C end since chargers that accept USB-C at the end that goes to the charger are scarce (unless you have one of the latest iPhone 11).
The small size of the Apple AirPods Pro makes you lose them, so my advice is that, when you don’t use them, you have to keep them in the case. I have been using the AirPods since the first generation and I have never had any scares but it should not be trusted since replacements are not cheap.
The new Apple AirPods Pro has a design quite different from the previous AirPods. While conventional AirPods had a “stick” that projected quite a bit from the ear, the new AirPods Pro is much shorter and, therefore, go more unnoticed.
In my experience, the Apple AirPods Pro is very comfortable in the ear even after several hours and, of course, they remain in place even if you make sudden movements, so you can use them in the gym. While in the conventional AirPods a lot of dirt accumulated in the area of the headset, the new AirPods Pro remains much cleaner.
The Apple AirPods Pro is resistant to water and sweat in training and non-aquatic sports thanks to their IPX4 rating, which means they resist water jets with low pressure.
Apple AirPods Pro Configuration
The initial configuration of the Apple AirPods Pro is really simple. Simply open the AirPods Pro case near an iPhone - for example, Apple iPhone 11 Pro - so that it quickly detects its presence and is linked with the press of a button.
Once linked, the information is shared with all devices associated with the same Apple ID. This allows you to use the AirPods Pro with any of your devices - be it an iPhone, an iPad, a Mac computer or even an Apple Watch - without any additional settings.
The simplicity of this process contrasts with how slow it is to configure other Bluetooth headphones: activate discovery mode on the device, search for Bluetooth devices from the smartphone, wait for it to appear, confirm pairing and trust that the connection is not lost, for example by exceeding the maximum number of linkable devices.
If one day you decide to pair them with a device associated with another different Apple account, just keep the case button pressed for a few seconds and the pairing process will begin again.
The new Apple AirPods Pro can also link to other Bluetooth devices - such as an Android smartphone or a Windows 10 computer - but you will lose some of the features such as music stopping or resuming when you remove or put on a headset. Now, noise cancellation is still working.
iOS 13 has added a feature called Shared Audio that allows you to share the sound of the iPhone or iPad with a person using other AirPods. In this way, two people can listen to the same song or the same video, each with their own AirPods.
Use of Apple AirPods Pro
Upon entering the Apple AirPods Pro in the ears, a signal is heard that indicates that they are ready to go. The new AirPods Pro features the H1 chip that debuted with the 2019 AirPods.
This chip is responsible for the fast connection to our iPhone (or other devices), as well as the change from one device to another without interruptions. If you are listening to music on the AirPods Pro from the iPhone and want to switch to the iPad, the delay in moving from one to another is much less than in the first-generation AirPods.
Another advantage of the H1 chip is that it reduces sound latency in games up to 30 percent, which can be interesting for gamers.
One of the features that I like most about AirPods Pro is that, when we are listening to music, it is enough to remove one of them so that playback is interrupted. If you re-enter it, the music continues to play.
The Apple AirPods Pro includes a pressure sensor on the elongated part that allows you to start and pause sound reproduction with a simple press, as well as forward/backward between tracks by pressing the pressure sensor two/three times.
This sensor also allows you to control how much ambient sound reaches your ear. If you keep it pressed, you switch between the active noise and ambient sound cancellation modes that we will talk about in the Sound section.
The Apple AirPods Pro is always attentive to the activation of Siri, so it is possible to start using the assistant just by saying “Hey Siri” while wearing them. This is useful for playing a song, making a call or getting directions without using your hands.
Siri also allows you to control music playback with your voice. If you want to increase or decrease the volume, you can say “Hey Siri, turn down the volume” (no need to pause between “Hey Siri” and the instruction). The same goes for skipping a track, asking what’s playing, etc.
Although these commands are comfortable, I would have liked Apple to incorporate some physical control that would allow you to increase and decrease the volume without having to resort to Siri - for example by dragging your finger vertically across the surface of the headset.
Apple AirPods Pro Sound and Functionalities
The new Apple AirPods Pro incorporates as its main innovation, the active noise cancellation mode, a feature that is reserved for high-end headphones and that cancels outside noise so that we can focus on the music or the sound we are listening to.
The Apple AirPods Pro have external microphones that capture the ambient sound and cancel it before you hear it by means of a noise signal of equal amplitude.
In addition, Apple has included an inward-facing microphone that checks if there is any unwanted sound and also cancels it with an anti-noise signal. This process is repeated 200 times per second.
One of the disadvantages of the headphones with Pad is that the isolation of the external sound is so strong that it is difficult to interact with other people without taking them off. In AirPods Pro, you can press and hold the pressure sensor on the elongated part of the headset to switch between the active noise cancellation mode and the ambient sound mode.
In the ambient sound mode (also called transparency in the iPhone menu), the sound picked up by the microphones is played in your ear without any cancellation, so you can listen to other people perfectly. This mode is more appropriate than the deactivated mode if you want to talk to someone since in the latter everything is heard decreased by the isolation produced by the ear pads.
The switching between modes can not only be done by long presses on the pressure sensor but also from the iPhone itself if you press and hold the volume control in the Control Center.
The AirPods Pro manages to greatly reduce the surrounding ambient noise, especially in places with constant background noise, such as the cabin of an airplane, the car of a train or at home with the washing machine running, etc. If the background noise is more erratic - for example, a conversation between two people next door - the cancellation is not as effective.
As for the sound quality, despite their small size, the AirPods Pro speakers have a high excursion and low distortion controller that offers very powerful bass, as well as a high dynamic range speaker for very sound sharp.
In addition to listening to music, the AirPods Pro allows you to make calls thanks to the microphones that each headset incorporates.
The AirPods Pro are able to notice that you are speaking thanks to the detection of small vibrations, and the microphones focus on capturing the sound of your voice, filtering any external noise so that your voice is clearly heard on the other side. The microphone rack now occupies more surface, which improves the quality of calls when it is windy.
The AirPods Pro uses Bluetooth 5 and remains paired with the iPhone all the time, even if you move away several meters away. I find them especially practical to be able to talk on the phone while I move around the house with my hands busy.
Battery Life and Autonomy
With a full charge, the new AirPods Pro offers a range of up to 4.5 hours of music (or 5 hours with active noise cancellation and ambient sound mode disabled) and up to 3 hours of conversation.
The AirPods Pro is charged when they are inside its case, which is capable of storing charge for more than 24 hours of music playback (or 18 hours of conversation). With only 5 minutes inside the case, the new AirPods Pro gets 1 hour of music or conversation.
If you always keep the AirPods in the case, it will be very easy to always keep them fully charged. You can charge the case using the Lightning connector of the case or support it on a wireless charging base.
On the front of the case, we find a small light indicator that marks the state of charge of the AirPods Pro when they are in the case. When the AirPods Pro is not in the case, the light marks the charge level of the case: green if it is charged and orange if it has less than one full charge left.
The case of the AirPods Pro supports wireless charging and, when placed on a charging base, the light illuminates for 8 seconds so you have the certainty that it is charging.
Price and availability
The price of the new Apple AirPods Pro is $ 249 and includes an illustration with your name, your initials or your phone number if you buy them directly from Apple.
Its high price is justified by the benefit of using wireless headphones that not only connect easily and quickly to any of our Apple devices but also offer excellent sound quality with active noise cancellation.
All these improvements and innovations are priced and, in the case of Apple AirPods Pro, cost $ 249. This is a fairly high amount of money for headphones but is in line with what other wireless models with active noise cancellation cost.
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