Apple AirPods Pro Review – Release Date, Price, and More
The Apple AirPods Pro delivers active noise cancellation and an improved design compared to the original AirPods. And that’s why they’re still the best Apple headphones you can buy today.
Suppose you’re an iPhone user looking for some well-fitting wireless earbuds with solid sound quality. In that case, you could do a lot worse than the new AirPods.
The redesign means they’re far less likely to fall out.
The additional microphones provide strong noise-cancelling (mainly when commuting) and a helpful Transparency mode, allowing the outside world.
While the fit is better than the original AirPods, you will need to control them with the capacitive, touch-sensitive ridge on each stem.
This takes some getting used to, but it’s a neat way to trigger noise cancellation and skip tracks.
Release Date and Price of Apple AirPods Pro
The AirPods Pro release date was 30 October 2019 worldwide. And you can pick them up from Apple and some other retailers.
The critical thing to note here is that they are not a replacement for the 2019 AirPods model, reflected in the AirPods Pro price point.
You can buy the AirPods Pro for $249 / £249 / AU$399 – which is a considerable hike over the 2019 AirPods’ $159 / £159 / AU$249 (with the standard charging case).
And even the $199 / £199 / AU$319 with the AirPods’ Wireless Charging Case bundled in. AirPods Pro deals are often available but don’t expect any substantial price cuts.
Like so many other Apple devices, the AirPods Pro instantly connects to your iPhone or iPad.
It would help if you opened the case to get going.
Well, we say ‘simply’ – you’ll need to make sure that iOS 13.2 or above is downloaded to your device so you can get, in Apple’s words, “all the advanced features” on offer.
We believe these are the new icons for the AirPods Pro and the ability to directly control the Transparency and noise cancellation from the Control Center.
Once activated, the AirPods Pro will automatically pair with your phone and all Apple devices linked to your iCloud account.
It including Apple Watch, iPad, and Macs), so it won’t be essential to keep connecting your new buds to your other Apple devices.
Once you’re in, heading into the Bluetooth settings will assess your fit, checking whether the earbud tips you chose. Whether that’s small, medium, or large – the medium is the default to create the proper seal.
How to Connect your Apple AirPods for the First Time?
Achieving a tight seal against your ear canal is an essential aspect of the overall sound quality of the earbuds.
And assistances to create physical sound isolation and passive noise reduction; in a perfect world, no sound gets in, and no sound leaks out.
This achieves by playing a short piece of music, with the AirPods Pro microphones internally assessing whether this sounds as it should.
If you’re like most people and get a good fit, you give the green light (or green lettering, to be more precise).
This writer’s ears are just dreadful when it comes to having most kinds of earbuds fall out, and we achieved a good fit straight away.
The AirPods Pro felt like they were in no danger of efficiently detaching from the ol’ head holes; in the headphones-reviewing world, we call that a plus.
Playing around with the fit and letting them dangle loosely out showed that the AirPods Pro could tell when there’s sound leakage.
Another pal of ours who used the new AirPods for the first time found that Apple suggested a giant bud, and then the seal was fine.
Switching between the tips in the box is, once again, significantly Apple. Whether that’s a positive or negative thing depends on how you feel about the company.
Rather than a silicon bud, you have to wiggle onto or off a small stem. These click into place.
This allows the AirPods Pro to have a more compact design and makes setting them up to feel more premium but at $4 apiece. They’re not exactly cheap to replace.
And while you can pick up new silicon tips for standard earbuds. Fitting them to the new AirPods isn’t as easy, thanks to the little clips, rather than simply wiggling silicon onto a stem.
Design and Use of Apple AirPods Pro
The first thing we noticed in our early test is that the AirPods Pro is light. They’re so soft that, once plopped into the ears, it’s hard to tell that they’re there.
Though this lightness is a plus in terms of ease, it could be a minus in other ways.
We could easily imagine a situation where you lose one. And don’t realize for a while that they’re not there (except that your music would have stopped playing).
The stems are much shorter than on the regular AirPods. And where you were able to tap the body of the older AirPods to skip tracks or activate Siri.
The fit of the AirPods Pro means that it would be a less comfortable experience here.
Instead, there’s a ‘capacitive force sensor’ in the stem, a small ridge on each of the AirPods Pro.
It hugging said the area would activate noise-cancelling / Transparency mode or hop and pause tracks.
Initially, this a little tricky to get used to, as the shorter stems made it hard to find the ridge, but after a few minutes, it became second nature.
Although the buds are pretty compact, it does feel a little like you’re pulling them out of your ear every time you activate it.
After a week’s use, we found that it was systematically second nature. And there was an instant instinct to play, pause and skip paths using this method.
It’s a shame there’s not a haptic click on the bud itself to settle the touch. As that would have completed, the new AirPods Pro feel so much more tactile.
You can change what squeezing the ridge does, setting it to control Siri if you’d prefer. And you can assign a different function (noise cancelling on one, Siri on the other) to each earbud as well.