When I first bought AirPods this past summer, I wrote about how they completely blew me away for their convenience and ease of use. There is no gadget I carry around more frequently besides my phone than these headphones.
Every single major thing I had complained or found particularly disappointing in its design were distilled to two core things: sound isolation and sound quality. For me, the original AirPods were never about really getting the best sound quality, but I would be remised if I didn’t say how average their sound was. There was not that much sound separation between the mid and highs. The bass was present, but not that punchy. There was always a component and a wish for me that one-day AirPods would be at least a little more satisfying to listen to as a whole package.
This naturally leads to the more important concern I had with the original AirPods: sound isolation. The most frustrating thing about them was that I would have to repeatedly increase the volume to be able to hear whatever I was working on or listening to in any non-silent room. It naturally leads to not only more ear fatigue, but it got to the point where I would sometimes just take them out because I refused to listen to music at such high volumes. I, like almost anyone who uses headphones, don’t want to destroy my ears, and if there was anything that did concern me the most about AirPods, it was the fact I could never use them in public transit or busy coffee shops because the environments were just too loud.
When Apple announced the AirPods Pro at the end of October, I do not recount any other time where I was more excited to scoop up a new gadget that closes to launch. After seeing the overwhelmingly positive reviews, I sold my AirPods 2 and picked up the AirPods Pro at Michigan Ave Apple Store. I admittedly ran into a slight technical difficulty when I realized that I had to update my software to use the headphones, so I waited for another hour and then just got to test them out.
For the past month, I’ve been using the new AirPods Pro every single day. I’ve walked between classes with them, taken them through the green and red lines, worked in busy shops, and taken them on the plane. I wanted to reserve my judgment until I comfortably could speak towards what I truly felt about the gadget as a whole.
AirPods Pro are, simply put, my favorite headphones I’ve ever owned.
The feature that singlehandedly makes these headphones for me is the active noise cancellation. My daily driver headphones before I had bought these for ANC had been the Bose QC35s. The noise cancellation was fantastic, but recently, after three years of constant use, they are showing some signs of aging. Almost instantly, I was just blown away with how great the ANC was on these tiny earbuds. The way with which they not only actively drown out noise but remove almost all pressure upon your ears most commonly associated with ANC is truly special. They allow me to travel with a quiet world in my pocket, which especially as a college student, is something that I value. For the moments where I don’t want that, transparency mode, which you can toggle on/off with either three presses or through control center, does a good job in allowing you to be more of your surroundings. Nonetheless, I choose to just never turn off noise canceling, which allows me to continue to play my music at low volumes and still enjoy it.
Something I hadn’t anticipated enjoying so much was the fit of the earbuds. They produce a true solid seal in my ears that the previous AirPods were never quite as successful with. I have no issues moving actively, whether biking or in the gym, with these in my ears. Perhaps the true winner in this design is the perforations in its chassis that exist that balance out the noise cancellation with the outside world. This enables it to have an almost airy, light feeling whenever I have them on.
The fit ultimately is what enables these to have such a substantially better sound quality in comparison to the original AirPods. Although the drivers are larger and are more dynamic, it is the more secure fit that enables you to truly feel the sound in these more than with the originals. The bass is strong, the stereo separation is far more noticeable, and most of all, I’ve been able to pick up the same minute music details that I hear in my over-ear Bose. I was already accepting of the sound quality that the normal AirPods had at the expense of convenience. However, to be able to have this level of sound quality, to have noise-canceling this great in the tiny jeans pocket, let alone in a pocket, has truly changed the way I enjoy my day.
Apple has made one of their best products in recent years with the AirPods Pro. They addressed the main concerns consumers had with the originals and executed on those changes successfully. This is one of the few Apple products that I genuinely see no issue in paying a premium for. Sure, this may have a battery that will last for three years or so, but aside from that, these are a true quality product worthy of the high $250 asking price. With sales and discounts popping up occasionally, you can even scoop these up for $230 or $220. I cannot recommend a product quite like these, especially if you don’t have AirPods, and even more so if you do not have noise-canceling headphones. These will truly change the way with which you engage with music, and for that reason alone, should be worthy of your consideration.
Being Noah Tesfaye #110: AirPods Pro are That Good
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