In the market for new earphones and trying to decide if AirPods Pro are the best way to go? Slickdeals has done all the work by looking at 10 trusted reviewers to see what aspects of the Apple devices they all agree on and which raise some concern.
Apple AirPods Pro Specs
- H1 Chip
- Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
- Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode
- Dual Beamforming Microphones
- Force sensors for track control
- IPX4 sweat and water resistance
- 4.5 hours of playback on a single charge with up to 24 hours with charging case
- Charging case compatible with Qi Chargers
Consensus: Universally Positive (8/10 Positive, 2/10 Neutral)
Main Takeaway: Many reviewers shared a common gripe with the original AirPods; namely that they featured a “one-size-fits-some” design. Depending on your ear shape, they were prone to falling out and weren’t the most comfortable earphones to wear. By ditching the previous shape, the AirPods Pro have adopted a more traditional in-ear style with three sets of ear tips included. Almost all the reviewers welcomed this design change. The majority of testers found the Pro earbuds to sit more comfortably and securely than their predecessors.
“When you first start using the AirPods Pro, you’ll want to find the right size eartip to use, because the rest of your experience hinges on it.” –Sound Guys
The above tip from Sound Guys might seem like a no-brainer, but the subtle size difference between the ear tips could make noticeable improvements when using ANC. If the ear tips are too small, they may fall out easily. If the ear tips are too big, they may cause discomfort. Most of the testers got a good fit with one of the three ear tips that come in the box.
“The first thing we noticed in our early test is that the AirPods Pro are light – they’re so light that, once plopped into the ears, it’s hard to tell that they’re actually there.” –TechRadar
Despite all the new high-tech gadgetry, AirPods Pro are smaller than regular AirPods. Though TechRadar and some other reviewers complimented this change, there was some concern among testers that these earbuds could easily get lost.
“The case is bigger than the AirPods but they easily fit not just in your pocket but in that small extra pocket (in your jeans). That keeps them from bumping or scratching your phone or getting scratched by your keys.” –Linus Tech Tips
Instead of the portrait style charging case, the Pro earbuds now nestle in a slightly larger, landscape-oriented case. Agreeing with Linus Tech Tips, many of the reviewers had no qualms with the bigger case. It is still pocketable, unlike Apple’s other flagship wireless earbuds, the Beats Powerbeats Pro.
Consensus: Mixed (5/10 Positive, 3/10 Neutral, 2/10 Negative)
Main Takeaway: According to some reviewers, the sound quality of the AirPods Pro is a clear step up from the regular AirPods. This is attributed to the silicone ear tips and Active Noise Cancellation feature. However, many of the testers noted that the AirPods Pro are not the best-sounding product on the market, especially in the $250+ price range.
“The AirPods’ noise cancellation, which is effective, also helps with external noise, and the combination of the seal of the tips and the active noise cancellation means they sound much better (than regular AirPods) in noisier environments like city streets.” –CNET
Everyone is excited about the addition of ANC to the AirPods Pro. While all agree the feature works, many reviewers still feel there is room for improvement. According to Linus Tech Tips, the Active Noise Cancellation is best-suited for environments with consistent noise levels, such as on an airplane. But for places with unpredictable and punctuated sounds like human voices, it tended to struggle. Tom’s Guide confirmed this when they compared the ANC of the AirPods Pro to Echo Buds and the Sony WF-1000XM3.
“When I played music, I was a little disappointed that I had to pump the volume to about 60% to drown out my co-workers. It was better than the Echo Buds, which was approximately 65%, but nowhere close to the WF-1000XM3’s 45%.” –Tom’s Guide
While ANC allows you to immerse yourself in your music, it is also important to be safe and aware of your surroundings. To aid this, the AirPods Pro also feature a Transparency Mode that utilizes the microphones to let you tune in to your environment. Digital Trends as well as other reviewers found this to work surprisingly well.
“The sound piped in from the outside world is surprisingly natural — as close to just pulling the buds out as we’ve heard yet.” –Digital Trends
Set Up and Functionality
Consensus: Mixed (5/10 Positive, 3/10 Neutral, 2/10 Negative)
Main Takeaway: According to reviews, pairing the AirPods Pro to an iPhone is extremely quick and easy thanks to the new H1 chip. You just pop open the case next to your phone and a pop-up screen appears on your device to show the link. This feature went over really well with the testers and many of them deemed this process “magical.” Unfortunately, the force sensors didn’t impress users as much. Replacing the tapping method of the original AirPods, you now have to squeeze the stem a number of times to play, pause, skip tracks or toggle ANC.
“It was annoying at first because the shorter stem is a bit closer to the side of your head the way they fit. But then I got used to just squeezing the sides normally.” –Marques Brownlee
Brownlee, like other reviewers, was disappointed by the lack of volume controls on the earbuds. To manage the volume, you will either need to call upon Siri or make the adjustments on your phone. And depending on your surroundings, this may not be the most convenient thing to do.
“They’re absolutely worth the fifty to ninety dollar premium over the standard AirPods and they actually do work well on Android, which is kind of surprising.” –Snazzy Labs
Thanks to Bluetooth 5.0, Apple AirPods Pro can pair with Android devices as well. Many reviewers like Jim’s Review Room tested the earbuds on both operating systems and found them to perform just as well on Android as iOS. The major difference is the lack of a fancy pairing screen for non-Apple devices. Whether it’s music or videos, the Apple AirPods Pro was lag-free on either operating system.
“You can now listen to music, watch videos or play games together. Holy moly, done!” –iJustine
With iOS, you can also do audio sharing with another pair of AirPods or AirPods Pro. In iJustine’s review, she walks us through the process of pairing a second set of earbuds. The process is just as seamless and you can actually control the volume of both pairs of AirPods right on the iPhone.
Consensus: Neutral (4/10 Positive, 5/10 Neutral, 1/10 Negative)
Main Takeaway: Most reviewers took a pretty neutral stance on battery life. The most frequently occurring assessment was the “battery life isn’t amazing, but isn’t terrible either.”
Much like the Apple Watch Series 5 and the previous 4, AirPods Pro include several seemingly power-hungry improvements but maintain the same battery life as the regular AirPods. Apple states the earbuds will last up to 5 hours on a single charge, 4.5 hours with ANC always on and 3.5 hours of talk time. The wireless charging case which can provide up to 24 hours of power has fast-charging capabilities as well. Just 5 minutes inside the case can give you another hour of battery life on your AirPods Pro.
“Being upfront here, 5 hours was the average for most truly wireless earphones but now it’s actually on the low end with many new competitors and even budget brands offering seven, eight and nine hours worth of battery life.” –Jim’s Review Room
Much like the other reviewers, Jim brings up the AirPods Pro’s closest competitor, the Sony WF-1000XM3. In his battery tests, the Sony wireless earbuds lasted about 6.5 hours. However, the total of 24 hours of playtime you can get from the charging case was the same for both devices.
How to Save No Matter When or Where You Shop
Navigate multiple sales at once by setting Deal Alerts on Slickdeals for items you need and are already shopping for, and by checking our coupon pages for current promo codes for your favorite stores.
You can also download the Slickdeals browser extension to help save you money when you shop online. It auto applies coupon codes before you check out and can also show you any active deals our community of over 12 million active deal hunters has found as you visit any of the hundreds of supported stores.
- VIDEO: Slickdealers Scored a $4,500 Samsung TV for $131 on Amazon
- VIDEO: How This $1500 Espresso Machine Compares To a $50 Alternative
- VIDEO: Nest Hub Max Pros and Cons According to 10 Experts
- ‘Free’ Sam’s Club Membership Deal Is Back But Ending Soon
- Sound Guys
- Tech Radar
- Digital Trends
- Tom’s Guide
- Linus Tech Tips
- Marques Brownlee
- Jim’s Review Room
- Snazzy Labs