AirPods

AirPods Pro - Unboxing, Noise Cancelling, Sound Test & More!


Yesterday we put out our 20 things you didn’t know article and video, explaining all the things you may not have known about the latest addition to the AirPods line-up, and today we have the AirPods Pro in the studio!

So grab those snacks and drinks and check out my live reaction and unboxing in the video above and have a read of three things I wanted to try out first on the AirPods Pro!


COMFORTABILITY

First things first, you can definitely feel them in your ears, so they’re nothing like Apple mentioned where you wouldn’t even notice them thanks to the new vent. You’ll definitely notice them right away, I can tell you that. 

Between the AirPods and the AirPods Pro, the Pros are a bit more comfortable, but that’s mainly because of the smaller size, so you don’t really feel the long foot touching your ear. Also, since they do have the rubber seals, they do secure far better than the regular AirPods do.

By taking the Ear Tip test you can see if you have the right rubber seal in

By taking the Ear Tip test you can see if you have the right rubber seal in

Inside the box you get three sizes of rubber seals; small, medium and large, but they all come with the medium ones pre-installed. I found that the medium ones work best for me, but here’s a Pro tip, once you pair the AirPods with your iPhone you can go into the bluetooth settings and then tap on the i icon, of your AirPods Pro’s and then you get into a menu which allows you to do an Ear Tip Fit Test so you can get the right size. What this does is that it will play a sound and the outwards facing microphone will read how much of that sound escapes from your ear. And if that’s too much, it will give you a message that you need to try a different size ear tip. 

I haven’t seen any other earphones that can do this, so props to Apple for implementing such a system.
Speaking of system, there’s a weird proprietary system of mounting the rubber ear tips. To remove them you have to pull really hard to the point where you think you’re about to break them. However, putting them on is very easy as they just click into place. 

 

ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION

So the biggest new feature that you get with the AirPods Pro’s is of course, noise cancellation. Now this is done both passive and well as actively. It’s done passive via the silicone ear tips that I mentioned before and then actively in a pretty smart way. The three microphones detect the background noise and then the AirPods themselves emit a sound of an opposite frequency in order to eliminate that background noise.

And it actually works extremely well, at least for in-ear earbuds. I mean they’re not as good as actual over the head noise cancelling headphones would be, but still I was very impressed with how well this worked. 

If you go to your volume option, with the AirPods Pro in, you will get the options to switch between the three options.

If you go to your volume option, with the AirPods Pro in, you will get the options to switch between the three options.

Now if you force touch on the Volume bar on your iPhone once they’ve been paired, you can switch between these three modes; Noise Cancellation, then Off and then Transparency mode. Think of this as the level of background noise that’s removed. So when transparency mode is on, the microphones will actually transmit the audio from the outside, back into your ears, in order to re-create that feeling of open-back headphones that the original AirPods had. And it’s not quite the same thing but it’s still pretty impressive. It’s in between in-ear headphones and the original AirPods. Then the off mode, is very similar to regular in-ear headphones where the seal is created by the silicone ear tips and then finally noise cancellation is the one where the AirPods will try to remove as much background noise as they can.

Now, when noise cancelling is on, they do give you that feeling of having a lot of air pressure inside your ears. Basically the same feeling that you get when you’re in a plane. But once I disable noise cancelling or turn on Transparency mode, that feeling is pretty much entirely gone. So I do find them a bit uncomfortable because of this feeling when I’m using noise cancellation, guess it will just take me a while getting use to it.

You also have that pressure sensitive button which is really cool! You see, it’s not really a physical button, it’s just a capacitive touch pad. However when you press it the AirPods Pro’s will actually make this clicking sound to give you the impression that it actually clicks!

And from there you have the three commands that I’ve mentioned before; tap once to pause, double tap to skip to the next song and triple tap to go to the previous song. And if you hold that bar, you can switch between the Noise Cancelling Mode and the Transparency mode, and you can also add an Off mode by going into the bluetooth menu options. 

You can even ask Siri to turn on an off Noise Cancelling or Transparency Mode, so that works as well, alongside the ability to invoke Siri by saying the ‘Hey Siri’ command.

 

SOUND QUALITY

Finally, when it comes to the actual sound quality, it’s pretty good! It’s much better than the original AirPods, the bass is stronger, the voice is clearer.

But the original AirPods weren’t that well known for their sound quality anyway. So if those were a 6/10, these are probably about a 9. They’re a noticeable upgrade, but that’s mostly due to the noise cancellation which removes all the background noise so that you can focus on your music. So that’s pretty much what makes them sound so much better than the original AirPods did.

There is no real point in getting the AirPods Pro if you have an Android device as the sound quality is much poorer

There is no real point in getting the AirPods Pro if you have an Android device as the sound quality is much poorer

And as a conclusion, I love them. It’s pretty amazing having active noise cancelling earbuds that are this small. The Sony ones are very good as well, but the charging case is just gigantic. 

Also, if you have an Android phone just forget about getting these because the volume would be unbearably low. 

Other than that, they’re great and a huge step up from the original AirPods. But are they £250 / $250 good? Not fully sure just yet, a few more days of testing and I will have a verdict for you.

AirPods Pro - 20 Things You Didn't Know!


So just as we were finishing up a video on the final leaks and rumors on the AirPods Pro, Apple went and released them!

So instead of that article and video, here are 20 things you didn’t know about the newest in-ear headphones from Apple.


1. AIRPODS PRO DIMENSIONS

The new AirPods will feature the biggest design change since the original AirPods that came out in 2016. According to Apple the new AirPods are 30.9mm tall and 21.8mm wide. When you compare this to the original AirPods, which were 40.5mm tall and 16.5mm wide, you get the idea of how different these will look. Picture them like Borat and Azamat, Google them and you will get the idea.

 

2. CASE DIFFERENCES

But it is not just the AirPods themselves that have had a design change, the case has received one too. Taking a look at its dimensions compared to the original AirPods case we can see that it is going to shorter but wider, like the AirPods Pro themselves, but also thicker as well.

The case dimensions of the AirPods Pro compared to the AirPods

The case dimensions of the AirPods Pro compared to the AirPods

  • Original AirPods Case: 53.5mm x 44.3mm x 21.3mm

  • AirPods Pro Case: 45.2mm x 60.6mm x 21.7mm

This means that the case will take up more space in your pocket, which I am kind of upset about. I loved how small and portable the regular AirPods case was, and I was expecting something thinner and more portable, but it seems like were not getting that with the AirPods Pro.

 

3. ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION

This is the main new feature of the AirPods Pro. How active noise cancellation works is that the AirPod has an outward facing microphone which detects external sounds and the AirPod will emit an equal noise of an opposite frequency to eliminate that noise.

On the AirPods Pro this will continuously be adjusted at 200 times a second, and with the new rubber seals this should make for a great listening experience.

 

4. RUBBER SEALS

As I mentioned in the previous section, the AirPods Pro will come with rubber seals, like we get on many other in-ear headphones. This is another change from the current and original AirPods, which are a single piece of glossy plastic.

There will be three different sizes; small, medium, and large, so these should fit everyone’s ear and I am certainly curious to try these out.

 

5. TRANSPARENCY MODE

Now while we do have noise cancellation and rubber seals to make the listening experience more immersive, I did like being able to hear what was going on around me with the original AirPods. However, we get a ‘Transparency Mode’ with the AirPods Pro which is activated by pressing and holding on a new pressure sensor. What this will do is actually let the noise in from the microphone that works for the noise cancellation in real time! Pretty cool stuff!

6. NEW CONTROLS

Speaking of the new pressure sensor, it can actually do more than just switch on and off the microphone for Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode.

You see on the original AirPods you would double tap and that would be the only control, you could customise the double tap for each AirPod in the settings, and have double tap on the right AirPod to skip to the next song and double tap on the left one to go to the previous song. That’s how I had it.

Then with the second generation we got the ‘Hey Siri’ command to summon her, which worked brilliantly.

And with the AirPods Pro you can now press on that force sensor once to play a song, pause or answer a call. You can tap twice to skip forward and tap three times to skip backwards, and then hold to switch between the Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Modes that I talked about before.

 

7. VENTS

The air-vents that have been put on the sides are there to help equalise the pressure so that you don’t really feel the AirPods in your ears. According to Apple you’ll feel like there’s nothing in your ear, but I am very sceptical that this will be the case but its another thing I am interested to check out.

 

8. WATER RESISTANCE

I use that heading quite loosely. The AirPods Pro will be IPX4 rated, so that means that they can deal with splashes of water, but they will have no dust resistance at all. So definitely do not take these swimming as they will not hold up. However they would be perfect for use in the gym or even out on a run when its raining.

Its also important to note that the case itself is not water resistant at all, so keep that in mind.

 

9. APPLE WATCH SUPPORT

So whilst there is support for these on the Apple Watches, there is no support on the original Apple Watch. If you are planning to get these make sure that you have a more recent model of the Apple Watch to ensure you are getting the most out of the pairing. If you do have an original Apple Watch then you will need to use the original AirPods that came out in 2016, as the second gen are not supported on it either.

 

10. SUPPORTED DEVICES

On the subject of support and no support here is a full list of devices that the AirPods Pro will be supported on:

  • iPhone SE, 6S and newer

  • iPad Mini 4, iPad Air 2 and newer

  • iPod Touch 7th Gen from 2019

  • Apple Watch Series 1 and newer

  • Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD

  • Mac Pro from 2013 and newer

  • Mac Mini from 2012 and newer

  • iMac from 2012 and newer

  • MacBook Pro from 2012 and newer

11. USB-C CABLE

In the box with the AirPods Pro we will be getting a USB-C to lightning cable as the AirPods Pro will still have a lightning port on the bottom of the case, but at least the cable itself is now the same one as we get on with the iPhone 11 Pro’s

 

12. LIVE LISTEN

This is slightly different to the Transparency Mode I mentioned earlier as this is actually an Accessibility Feature, which also works on the regular AirPods too in case you didn’t know. What this feature does is play back audio to you in real time from the microphone, so would certainly be a useful feature for people who may have trouble hearing.

 

13. WORSE BATTERY LIFE

So although we do get those new feature I mentioned earlier, this does in fact impact the battery life of the new AirPods. The regular AirPods gave 5 hours on each AirPod, and up to 24 hours using the case, whereas the AirPods Pro will have 4 and a half hours each, and up to 24 hours using the case.

However, if you turn off Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode, you can get 5 hours of playback in the AirPods Pro.

 

14. FASTER CHARGE

With the original AirPods, you could get 3 hours of playback and 2 hours of talk time off a 15 minute charge, whereas with the Pros we get 1 hour of playback and 1 hour of talk time off a 5 minute charge. With that in mind we can estimate that you should get 3 hours of playback and 3 hours of talk time with a 15 minute charge. So a slight increase, but whether or not this turns out to be true is another matter.

 

15. TRIPLE MICROPHONES

A breakdown of the AirPods Pro showing the inward facing microphone

A breakdown of the AirPods Pro showing the inward facing microphone

The original AirPods also came with two beamforming microphones, which the Pros also come with. However the Pro also comes with an additional third microphone. It is likely that this is the microphone for Active Noise Cancellation, but it seems odd to have that as an inward facing microphone as it should be taking noise from the surrounding area.

16. SOUND QUALITY

When it comes to sound quality, the AirPods were okay. But with an adaptive EQ, the vent system for pressure equalising, custom high-excursion Apple driver, custom higher dynamic range amplifier, Active Noise Cancellation, and sealed ear tips, the Pros might just have the best sounding wireless headphones on the market! We will of course test them out though to make sure.

 

17. WIRELESS CHARGING

Whats good to see is that we are getting a free wireless charging case in the box with the AirPods Pro, whereas you would have to pay $40 extra to get this with the regular AirPods.

 

18. VERSUS AIRPODS

So compared to the AirPods 2 that came out in 2019, are these worth it? Well, the AirPods 2 cost $200 and these cost $250, so if you’re already paying $200 for the AirPods and another $40 for the wireless charging case, you might as well just pay $50 and get the Pro’s as these are a much bigger upgrade.

However, if you don’t want the Pro’s, then the regular AirPods at $160 are very good already. Aside from wireless charging you don’t miss out on anything. You even have the same Apple H1 processor that the AirPods Pro already have.

 

19. VERSUS POWER BEATS PRO

But the big question here is, how do they compare with the PowerBeats Pro?
You see Beats are owned by Apple, so the PowerBeats Pro, which are their newest model, are the closest thing to the AirPods Pro and they’re also made by Apple

The PowerBeats Pro seem to be focused even more towards fitness users. They have an over the ear clasp that helps them stay secure. They have the H1 processor as well, just like the AirPods and the AirPods Pro, so they will automatically connect to your iPhone and other Apple devices. ‘Hey Siri’ is also supported and the battery life is actually better with up to 9 hours on each earbud and over 24 hours with the case. 
Water resistance is also there, but there is no official rating it seems, just a mention.

In addition they cost $200 compared to the $250 of the AirPods Pro, so they look like a better option, right?

Well, they kind of are. Sound quality should be better with the AirPods Pro, since there’s much more talk about it on Apple’s website, whereas the PowerBeats Pro are focused more towards fitness and use during workouts. Also their case is much bigger than the AirPods Pro case.

 

20. APPLE PUSHING AIRPODS

And the last section in this article is about Apple pushing the AirPods Pro. If you go over to the Apple website you will see the Pros promoted on almost every single Apple product page that they have. They’re featured in the iPad tab, the iPhone tab, the Apple Watch tab, the TV tab, and the Music tab.

CONCLUSION

So there you have it. 20 things you didn’t know about Apple latest product announcement. It is likely that we will hear more from Apple in the coming days regarding other product releases, but make sure to stay up to date with the channel and our articles to find out how the AirPods Pros really are!