Apple today announced the new AirPods Pro with active noise cancellation, a new design, and more. The AirPods Pro is targeted towards prosumers as its higher retail price would indicate. How does the AirPods Pro compare to Apple’s regular AirPods which was refreshed just earlier this year? Find out in this comparison.
There are a lot of differences between the AirPods Pro and the regular AirPods. They do share the same core — Apple’s H1 chip — and offer similar battery life as well, but the AirPods Pro lives up to its pro name by offering more features.
AirPods Pro vs AirPods: What’s the Difference
New Water-Resistant Design
The AirPods Pro has a design that’s similar to the AirPods but with a number of improvements that make it easily distinguishable from the latter. Compared to the AirPods, the Pro has an in-ear design meaning it fits securely and snuggly in your ears. It also comes with three varying silicone ear tips for a better fit. Many AirPods users are not satisfied with its fit and the AirPods Pro looks to solve those issues.
Despite packing in so many hardware, each AirPods Pro unit weighs only 5.4gms — 1.4g more than what one AirPods unit.
The in-ear design of the AirPods Pro means that it passively also blocks out the noise which automatically makes it sound better than the existing AirPods.
A major advantage the AirPods Pro has over the AirPods is that it has an IPX4 rating making it sweat- and water-resistant. This is a big deal since the AirPods lack any kind of IP rating and are not sweat-resistant. This meant one could not wear them while working out or a trip in the shower was enough to kill the earphones for good. The IPX4 certification of the AirPods Pro means one can wear it while working out without any issues.
Another unique aspect of the AirPods Pro design is that it has air vents which helps equalize pressure. Apple says this will make the wearer feel as if they don’t have anything in their ears.
Better Sound Quality
Despite their popularity, the AirPods were never really known for their sound quality. They were all about the convenience they offered and less about sound quality. With the AirPods Pro though, Apple has also focused on sound quality.
The wireless earbuds feature a custom high-excursion speaker driver to deliver powerful bass. This is complemented by a high dynamic range amplifier that produces clear sound and an amplifier that powers the speaker driver and works in tandem with the H1 chip to control the sound.
There’s also Adaptive EQ that automatically adjusts the tunes of the music as per the shape of your ear.
All this is powered by Apple’s 10-core H1 chip. Apart from offering always-on ‘Hey Siri’ functionality, it also offers lower latency, superior sound quality, and more. It sits right at the core of the AirPods Pro and makes it better than the competition.
While the H1 chip is also found inside the AirPods, Apple only uses it there for offering always-on ‘Hey Siri,’ lower latency, and longer battery life.
Active Noise Cancellation
It is not just better sound quality but the AirPods Pro also offers active noise cancellation — one of the most requested features from regular AirPods owners. With active noise cancellation, the AirPods Pro will block out all ambient sounds so that you can listen to your music in peace. The new in-ear design of the AirPods Pro also means that it blocks out a lot of noise passively.
If you are an audiophile or someone who travels a lot, the active noise cancellation feature of the AirPods Pro is going to be a boon for you.
Without going into the details, Apple boasts about adjusting noise cancellation on the AirPods Pro at about 200 times per second. If anything, this shows just how seriously Apple took noise cancellation on the AirPods Pro.
To ensure you are better aware of your surroundings, Apple has also added a Transparency mode which will let the ambient sound in. This will be useful while you are walking on a street or have taken public transit.
On the regular AirPods, one can switch between music tracks, answers/hang up on phone calls using various gestures, and more. The AirPods Pro features a force sensor at the bottom which is used to carry out these functions. You press the force sensor once to answer a phone and play/pause music. Double press it to skip a music track forward, three times to skip back, press and hold to switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode, and more.
In terms of battery life, the AirPods and the AirPods Pro are almost on the same boat. Both of them offer up to five hours of listening time on a single charge. However, on the AirPods Pro, battery life does take a slight hit with active noise cancellation enabled. The listening time goes down to 4.5 hours while talk time is around 3.5 hours.
With the included charging case though, both AirPods and AirPods Pro can last for up to 24 hours.
The regular AirPods will provide an additional 3 hours of listening time after being charged for 15 minutes via the case while the AirPods Pro will offer 1 hour of additional listening time after 5 mins of charging.
One advantage the AirPods Pro do offer is that the charging case has Qi wireless charging support. This means you can charge the case easily by simply putting it on a wireless charger which you already use to charge your iPhone. While this is also possible with the regular AirPods, one will need to buy the $199 variant of it for that. The regular $159 version comes with a charging case sans wireless charging.
If you are already stretching your budget to buy the regular AirPods for $199, my recommendation would be to just extend it by another $50 and get the AirPods Pro.
This is perhaps the reason why many people are curious as to how the AirPods Pro is different from the AirPods.
The regular AirPods start from $159 while the wireless charging case variant is priced at $199. The AirPods Pro retails for $249 which makes it almost $100 more expensive than the regular AirPods. For that additional $100 though, it offers a better design with water-resistance, superior sound quality, and active noise cancellation. Combined, these features have a massive impact on the overall user experience.
There are plenty of other earphones that also cost around the same as the AirPods Pro and pack a similar feature set. However, none of them will work as seamlessly with an iPhone as the the AirPods Pro do. If you are a prosumer who is looking for the best wireless earbuds for their iPhone, the AirPods Pro are a no-brainer in my opinion. If you are on a budget though and don’t really care much about the sound quality, the regular AirPods will do just fine.
What are your thoughts on the AirPods Pro? Are you already looking to upgrade to it from your regular AirPods? Drop a comment and let us know about it!