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Apple AirPods Pro: Exceptional everyday earbuds

I am an Apple geek. No apologies, no shame. What Apple consistently does is make extremely great products, that just work and then they do it again, and again.

I LOVE AirPods. The initial negative critics’ reviews, not from me, are gone. The naysayers are now saying how great they are!! I always did say how great they were, and still believe that they are a stroke of genius from Apple.
I upsold them to a number of friends as the best thing that Apple did since the iPhone. They all loved them too.
Take them out the self-charging case, pop them in your ears, and boom, great sound, a great microphone, direct connections, and last all day when you put them back in the case.
I didn’t always get them back In the case in time to charge them before my next conference call. My solution, purchase another set. So I am the example guy carrying two sets of AirPods, so I can switch to a fully charged pair.
Now, I never use them.
What happened?
Well as usual Apple upped the game. They released another version. £100 / $100 more expensive than the already pricy AirPods (which when you got them were the best money you spent since the iPhone). From £150 / $150 pair to £250 / $250 a pair
(Don’t get me started on Apples FX rates, and Apples inability to realistically reflect the US price in the UK — the biggest company in the world and they still rip us off on Exchange Rates).

Apple made the
AirPods Pro
— and so what. Smaller, but longer battery, a lot more in-ear, different interface, click rather than tap, and so what.
Well, two big changes:

  • built-in Active Noise cancellation (ANC)
  • Sound quality comparable to the most expensive studio headphones

So the first improvement is fantastic Sat on the train, surrounded by a large group of people heading to town for a business event, turn on ANC they fade into the background. On an Airplane people, engines, announcements, ….
Just back from Berlin, and didn’t notice any of that.
And you can turn On (Full ANC), Transparent (Let relevant noise in — like speaking), Off (Airpods are back).
All controlled through both the Bluetooth settings and clicking AND holding the AirPod Pros themselves. The click and hold take a while to “get”.
Quantifying sound quality
The second improvement is difficult to quantify. I will try.
I am not, by any means, an audiophile. I would love to be, but honestly don’t have the time. I have five children, I love to cook, I am now home baking sourdough bread, and I run my own businesses. So who has the time to sit in front of a perfect set of speakers, with your dozen favourite Albums and play them? Well, I don’t.
However I listen to music in every waking moment I am able to, and the iPod was the best invention since the record player. I am now completely digital. I miss the audio output of my album collection, on vinyl, when I could not only name the album from the cover but list all the songs on the album, in order.
The reality is that I hadn’t played any vinyl for ages. I tried to give away my collection of over one thousand records several times, and finally, my cousin took them, to sell a few years back.
The CD’s will follow, and similar numbers sat in the loft somewhere (offers welcome).

I am now Apple Music. When my friend Scot, told me several years ago, we would be renting all content in the future, I really thought he was a complete idiot and probably told him so. Well, it was me that was deluded.
I am avid in listening to my music. I love it ALL, and I love it EVERY DAY. And I had an iPhone and AirPods, and occasionally used the HomePod in the kitchen also great quality (bread takes a long time). So I was set, and happy.
On the train, London rides in the car, …. Music is my passion. And AirPods upped the game. No more wires, no thought of what to take with me (Apple Music, and before that the biggest iPod I could buy), and I was, and to an extent still am in love. The AirPods were the best thing for music on the go.

Another £250 / $250 to buy AirPod Pros and like I said before “so what”. Well, the change in quality of output is no less than extraordinary.
I can’t emphasise enough, the AirPods were the best product Apple made since the iPhone. The AirPod Pro’s are even better.

I am re-listening to albums that I listened to as a youth in bed on analogue headphones, on a high-quality record player I bought when 12 and they sound far better. The clarity, depth, stereo effects, tones, … incredible.
I have not the first clue how Apple has achieved this, in a small set of headphones. Some tech in there, that is beyond my capability to explain. They have done it, and it is brilliant.

Unbox and setup

It comes in a small square white box with 2 embossed AirPods on the lid, which is a nice touch.

Opening it up, you are presented with the user manual. Underneath that is the charging case for the AirPods and finally a Lightning USB cable to charge the case.

The AirPods themselves are inside the case.

Once I opened the lid, my iPhone detected them and ask if I wanted to connect to them, which was very cool; no need to fiddle around with pairing buttons.

It took two attempts to get them connected, the first few times saying that there was an error connecting. After they’re connected, a tone is heard in
the AirPods and all audio is now directed to the pods.

Usage

With the AirPod Pros though there are little rubber things that seal to the ears. I always assumed I had big ears, well having tried the different sizes, the medium is supplied fitted already, I find that the App in the AirPod Pros settings, that checks your fit, says small is a perfect cap to fit. Who knew — small ears — quite shocked by that.

Once fitted, pop back in turn on Active Noise Cancelling, all good. Dulls down background noise very effectively. Then turn on music. Blown away! I forgot how great some of these songs should sound, and the Pro’s make them sound great.

At any point you’re listening to music or watching a video, and you take off one of the pods to hear something, it will automatically pause the media,
just put it back in and it will resume playing.

You can still listen to your phone with one pod in, just press play after it automatically pauses.

If you take both out, it will automatically disconnect from your iPhone, very convenient as it allows me to use my phone without messing around with Bluetooth
settings or turning them off.

Sound Quality

I have been using for a few months , and I am still surprised in the benefits of these small overpowered beasts. They are excellent. They work just like AirPods, but the sounds far far better.

My musical tastes as quite a bit eclectic, and so I have listened to a bunch of songs over the last few weeks, and hearing nuances that I have genuinely never heard before, or in some cases, not since those headphones on the record player. (For the 20 somethings — google record player).
The Beat never sounded fresher, Floyds the Wall comes to life again, ELO’s Out of the Blue back to swapping across ears, Highway to Hell /Back in Black / … ( all AC/DC) even better if that was possible, Dr John’s Out of New Orleans more echos and birds, Maytones rhythms, Reverend and the Makers, UFO Strangers better and clearer, Enemy, Reel Big Fish, Blue Harlem most horns, Black Spiders, White Stripes, …. All sound incredible.

I swapped back to AirPods, to try some of the more astounding songs, and even with my limited tone, I can clearly hear the improvement in quality with the AirPod Pros. I had to put the AirPod Pros back, and I use them all the time now. I carry my AirPods still in case I get long phone calls. Just have not had to use them for weeks.

With first generation AirPods in my ears I can just about shut out the outside world, I can still hear the rumble of a London tube as they do not have noise cancelation.
This really depends on the level of volume, and whether you’re listening to a song or a book, but they are really audible!

Are They Secure?

For me? Yes. Instead of using the one-size-fits-all approach, Apple adopted earbuds with interchangeable different sized tips which means it should fit the majority of people.

If you have issues with the AirPods staying in, AirPods Pro might be exactly what you need.

Conclusion

If you can afford £250 / $250 for a pair of headphones to listen to your music collection, then honestly you should just go and buy a pair.
Don’t know how to phrase this, other than to say it, If you want to listen to your music in a more astounding environment do go for it, save up, buy Airpod Pros, now.
If you can’t afford Pro. but can afford the lower price for Airpods, these are still the next best thing Apple had done and well worth the investment, and my referrals all still use them constantly above way more expensive Earphones they had bought.
I still keep my AirPods with me, just haven’t used them for months. AirPod Pros are irreplaceable, once you use them. Until Apple do the next thing.
See also:
Apple AirPods Have Changed My Life

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