Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Updated Feb 14, 2020 at 11:57 am
Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless Picture
Test Methodology v1.4
7.3
Mixed Usage
6.8
Neutral Sound
8.0
Commute/Travel
8.3
Sports/Fitness
7.1
Office
5.5
Wireless Gaming
5.4
Wired Gaming
6.5
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Noise Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Apple AirPods Pro are a welcome upgrade to the previous models of Apple AirPods. Their in-ear fit makes them much more stable in the ears, and they've improved their sound reproduction significantly, though some may find this design less comfortable. Their active noise cancelling works very well, and is among the best that we've tested on in-ear headphones, making them a good option to use while commuting or at work. While they're smaller than the previous models thanks to their shorter stems, they offer longer battery life and have an easier-to-use touch control scheme. Overall, they're better headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019, and are much more versatile for everyday use.

Note that our unit is currently broken and we're waiting on a replacement pair. We'll update the review with the results of the new unit once we've received and tested it.

Our Verdict

7.3 Mixed Usage

Decent mixed usage headphones. The Apple AirPods Pro are well-designed truly wireless headphones with a premium look and feel that matches previous models. Their sound reproduction is quite a bit better than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019, which is a welcome improvement. Their ANC is also one of the best we've tested in a pair of truly wireless earbuds, making them a great choice for commuting or using in the office. They're very portable, stable, and quite comfortable, making them a good option for sports as well.

6.8 Neutral Sound

These headphones are okay for critical listening. Their sound is much better-balanced than previous models and while they're still a bit bass-light, they provide quite a bit more bass than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 due to their in-ear design. They're a little bright-sounding, but sound more neutral and should be suitable for a wider variety of music genres. They feel very premium and are quite comfortable, meaning you should be able to wear them for long listening sessions without any discomfort.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
8.0 Commute/Travel

These are good headphones for commuting. Their ANC works very well and they do a great job at isolating the low rumble of bus and plane engines. They're very comfortable, which means you should have no problem wearing them for long commutes or even during extended travel days. Their battery life is slightly improved over previous models, at over five hours, which should be more than enough for most commutes. You may need to take a break to charge over long flights, however. They're also quite small and easy to take around with you.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
8.3 Sports/Fitness

These headphones are a great option for sports. Their silicone tip and in-ear design is incredibly stable and should have no problem staying in during strenuous workouts. They're small and lightweight, making them easy to toss in your pocket during workouts. Their bass is improved over previous models, which should help give you a little extra thump to get you motivated. Their ANC will also help keep you from getting distracted even when working out in a busy gym.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
7.1 Office

The Apple AirPods Pro are quite comfortable and block out a good amount of ambient chatter, making them good for office use. They're very lightweight and comfortable, meaning you should be able to wear them for a full work day without fatigue. Unfortunately their battery won't quite last a full day of work, and they take a bit longer than previous models to fully charge, meaning you may need to take a break from your music while they charge.

See our Office recommendations
5.5 Wireless Gaming

These headphones are Bluetooth-only and therefore aren't recommended for wireless gaming. While they're compatible with a Bluetooth-enabled PC, Bluetooth has high latency, which means they aren't ideal for multiplayer games. They aren't compatible with either PS4 or Xbox One.

See our Wireless Gaming recommendations
5.4 Wired Gaming

These headphones are wireless only and therefore can't be used for wired gaming.

6.5 Phone Calls

These headphones aren't recommended for phone calls due to their poor microphone performance. Their microphone's recorded speech is very thin and muffled-sounding. They also have only decent noise handling, meaning it may be hard for those on the other end of the line to hear you in noisy environments.

  • 7.3 Mixed Usage
  • 6.8 Neutral Sound
  • 8.0 Commute/Travel
  • 8.3 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.1 Office
  • 5.5 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.4 Wired Gaming
  • 6.5 Phone Calls
Pros
  • Comfortable and stable fit.
  • Great ANC performance.
  • Decent audio reproduction.
  • Premium, well-built design.
Cons
  • Poor customization options, especially on Android.
  • Mediocre microphone performance.
  1. Update 2/4/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/11/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

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Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

Updating the iconic look of their earbuds, the Apple AirPods Pro are just as sleek and minimalist as earlier models. The stems are now shorter, while the white silicone tips give them a premium look and feel.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.01 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The Apple AirPods Pro are quite comfortable for in-ear headphones. They come with three sizes of silicone tips, and don't enter too deep into the ear canal. They're very lightweight and put no pressure on your ears, meaning they're barely noticeable.

6.2
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
iOS
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Decent
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The Apple AirPods Pro's controls are mediocre. Instead of physical buttons, they have an indented 'force sensor' on each stem. Pressing the sensor doesn't provide any tactile feedback, but the earbuds do play a sound when a command is registered. The controls are straightforward: one tap to play/pause or to answer phone calls, two taps to skip a track forward, and three taps to skip a track backwards. If you hold down the controls, it will activate the ANC or Siri depending on how you configure your settings. However, it can be difficult to get the long press to work. On the upside, all the controls also work on Android devices including ANC, although you can't configure them to other virtual assistants.

9.2
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 0.8 C

Like most in-ear headphones, the Apple AirPods Pro don't trap heat inside your ears, which makes them a suitable option for sports. You won’t notice a difference in temperature when wearing them and won’t sweat more than usual.

9.6
Design
Portability
L 1.2 "
W 0.9 "
H 0.9 "
Volume 1.0 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

Lightweight and smaller than previous models, the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are very portable. Even inside their case, they should fit into most pockets.

9.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 1.8 "
W 2.4 "
H 0.9 "
Volume 3.6 Cu. Inches

Their case is excellent. It's extremely small and portable, measuring only slightly larger than previous models. Like the Apple AirPods 2, it supports Qi wireless charging as well as a Lightning port. It should protect the headphones well against minor falls and scratches, but not against water damage.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The AirPods Pro have the same build quality as previous models. They have a premium feel thanks to their high-quality plastic finish and should be durable enough to withstand a few accidental drops or bumps without sustaining too much physical damage. Unlike the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019, Apple has rated these headphones IPX4 for water and sweat resistance, which should help them survive through tough workouts, though we don't test this.

8.0
Design
Stability

These in-ear headphones have one of the most stable fits of any in-ears without stability fins that we've tested so far, and shouldn't fall out of your ears when working out or running. They don't move at all in your ears and don't break the seal, making them a good option for physical activity.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Apple AirPods Pro headphones
  • Charging Case
  • USB C-to-lightning cable
  • Three tip size options
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-2.57 db
Treble Amount
-1.83 db

The Apple AirPods Pro have a fairly neutral sound profile, although a bit on the brighter side as they lack a bit of bass, but not as much as the standard AirPods models which are open-back. Note that the Pro don't have the best frequency response consistency, so users might hear this differently.

6.5
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.74 dB

The AirPods Pro's frequency response consistency is just okay. There's some noticeable variation throughout the range, which means people might not hear the same thing when using the same headphones, with small differences in bass and treble.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.5
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.96 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
49.67 Hz
Low-Bass
-3.57 dB
Mid-Bass
-1.63 dB
High-Bass
0.36 dB

The AirPods Pro's bass performance is good. Thanks to their closed-back design, they don't have low-bass issues like the Apple AirPods 1 Truly Wireless 2017 and Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. However, the response is still a bit under our target curve, meaning some people might feel like they're on the bass-light side.

8.5
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.04 dB
Low-Mid
2.84 dB
Mid-Mid
0.9 dB
High-Mid
0.35 dB

The AirPods Pro have a great mid-range performance. The reproduction of vocals and lead instruments is fairly well-balanced, although a bit over our target, especially in low-mid. This might sound a bit cluttered and forward, but most people won't notice this.

8.5
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.06 dB
Low-Treble
-1.01 dB
Mid-Treble
-1.37 dB
High-Treble
-2.39 dB

The AirPods Pro's treble performance is quite excellent. The response is very accurate and follows our curve well. Vocals, lead instruments, and sibilants will have the right amount of detail and brightness and will sound natural.

8.8
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
0.85 db
Dips
0.71 db

These headphones have a well-balanced response that doesn't have too many peaks and dips. The overemphasis in low-treble might clutter vocals a bit, but this won't be noticeable for most people.

8.3
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.12
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
2.11
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.38
Weighted Phase Mismatch
2.86

The AirPods Pro's stereo imaging is great. The group delay graph shows it's under the audibility threshold, resulting in a tight bass and treble reproduction. The L/R drivers of our unit were also well-matched, with a slight mismatch in amplitude, but most people wouldn't notice it with real-life content as it's very minor. Note that these results are only valid for our unit and yours may perform differently.

0.9
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
1.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.1

As expected of in-ears, the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless' passive soundstage is bad. Earbuds are generally unable to create a soundstage, by design: in order to get that out-of-head, speaker-like feeling, your pinna or outer ear has to activate with different resonances. Because the AirPods Pro bypass the pinna altogether and they have a closed-back enclosure, they won't feel very open or spacious.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No
8.2
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.214
WHD @ 100
0.078

The AirPods Pro's weighted harmonic distortion performance is great. This results in a clean and pure audio reproduction, and the bump in the treble range shouldn't be audible for most people. There's also no big jump under heavier loads, which is good.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
2B584
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
On
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated
Isolation
8.6
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-23.01 dB
Bass
-19.56 dB
Mid
-21.82 dB
Treble
-27.8 dB

Update 12/04/2019: After receiving multiple reports of the ANC being worse than before after the 2B588 firmware update, we retested the Apple AirPods Pro's noise isolation performance and didn't get noticeable test result differences. Apple might have tweaked the ANC, but not enough to noticeably impact the overall performance.

The noise isolation of these headphones is impressive. They do a great job isolating the low rumble of bus or plane engines, making them good for commuting. Their mid-range performance is also great, making them excellent for blocking out ambient chatter. Their weakest isolation performance is in the treble range, though this is the least important for most situations and they still do a decent job.

8.2
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
32.59 dB

Their leakage performance is very good, and much better than previous models due to their in-ear design. They leak the most sound in the treble range, meaning the leaking will be thin-sounding. It's unlikely that these headphones will bother those around you.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

The Apple AirPods Pro have an integrated Bluetooth microphone.

5.4
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
630.82 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
5.29 dB
HFE
22988.02 Hz
Weighted THD
204784053.405
Gain
7.31 dB

The recording quality of the Apple AirPods Pro's microphone is passable. Speech recorded sounds very thin and muffled, though you should still be able to make out what's being said.

6.4
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
16.18 dB

The noise handling of the Apple AirPods Pro's microphone is mediocre. In quiet environments you should have no problem, but in noisier situations like on busy streets or on the subway, it'll likely have a hard time separating your voice from background noise.

Active Features
6.8
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
5.3 hrs
Additional Charges
5
Total Battery Life
31.8 hrs
Charge Time
1.1 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Standby mode
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port Lightning

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless have a satisfactory battery life. Improving from previous models, these earbuds have just over 5 hours of charge with ANC turned on - roughly one hour more than before. The case also provides five additional charges when you're on the go. While it can take over an hour to fully charge, if you're in a hurry, just under a half hour of charging can give you about 3-4 hours of playback. When not in use, the Apple AirPods Pro go into standby mode. This can help to conserve your battery life but because the earbuds still stay on, you might want to turn them off completely if you can't charge them right away.

5.5
Active Features
App Support
App Name iOS Interface
iOS Yes
Android No
macOS Yes
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
On/Off
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping Yes
Surround Support
No

The Apple AirPods Pro don't really have a companion app, just a settings screen on iOS devices. They have slightly more customization options than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019, with ANC and transparency mode toggle, and the ability to change long-press on each earbud to either ANC control or Siri activation. The app also allows you to do a Fit Tip Test to help find which size tips give the best fit, though we had mixed results from this. There are no customization options for Android devices. However, if you do prefer having a bit of customization, check out the Amazon Echo Buds Truly Wireless and their 3-band EQ or the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless with their 20 available presets.

Connectivity
6.8
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0+H1 chip
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
171 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
227 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
162 ms
Android Latency
147 ms

These are Bluetooth-compatible truly wireless headphones. They use the H1 chip for Apple Devices which helps with pairing, connection strength and latency. Unfortunately, our testing dongle doesn't support Bluetooth 5.0 or interact with the H1 chip so you may experience better overall performance when paired to an Apple device. If you want more gaming-oriented truly wireless headphones for non-iOS devices, check out the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These headphones are only Bluetooth compatible.

0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

These headphones can't be used wired, which is expected with truly wireless headphones. They charge via the included USB-C to Lightning cable, but don't include a charging power brick.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones are compatible with PC via Bluetooth if your PC is Bluetooth-compatible or you have the correct USB dongle. They aren't compatible with PS4.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No

These headphones are Bluetooth-only and aren't compatible with Xbox One.

2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
Lightning

Their charging case is very premium feeling and is rather small considering its battery capacity. It charges via Apple's Lightning port or any wireless Qi charging pad.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The Apple AirPods Pro are decent truly wireless earbuds that look and feel premium and have great ANC. Their sound reproduction may not be as good as some similarly-priced options from competitors, but they're a big improvement over the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. We suggest taking a look at our recommendations for the best truly wireless earbuds, the best noise cancelling earbuds, and the best wireless earbuds for iPhone.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Apple AirPods Pro offer similar performance to the Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless but have much better ANC. Their sound profile is similar, though the Sonys are much more consistent among users. The Sony also provide longer battery life and a much more customizable app with a full graphic EQ for both Android and iOS. The Apple, on the other hand, are more comfortable in the ear and feel significantly more stable.

Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are better truly wireless headphones than the Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless. They have a great ANC feature that blocks ambient noise and their case is noticeably smaller and more portable. The Bose are bigger and have an earbud design, and aren't quite closed-backs, meaning you'll be able to monitor your surroundings, which is great for outdoor runners. The SoundSport also sound a bit more neutral with a more accurate bass performance.

Jabra Elite 75t Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless perform similarly for mixed usage to the Jabra Elite 75t Truly Wireless. They're equally comfortable, but the Elite 75t have a much better control scheme, a better microphone, and a customizable sound profile. On the other hand, the Apple feel slightly more premium, fit more stable, have slightly better overall battery life, and have a better-balanced and more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box.

Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless have better sound reproduction than the Apple AirPods Pro. They also have a better control scheme, great battery life, and a more sports-friendly ear-hook design. On the other hand, the Apple feel a bit more premium, have significantly better noise isolation thanks to their ANC, and a much smaller and more portable design that still feels just as stable in the ear.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are similarly performing earbuds to the Apple AirPods Pro. Their sound profile is very similar, though they are much more consistent among different users. They offer Android users lots of customization options including EQ presets, while the Apple have very minimal customization overall. Their battery life is also significantly better. The Apple, on the other hand, offer ANC which gives you much better noise isolation. They also provide seamless pairing for Apple users thanks to their H1 chip.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 Wireless 2018 and the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are two great products, but for different uses. The QC35 II's over-ear design is more comfortable and the ANC blocks more ambient noise. On the other hand, the Apple are more portable and better for sports thanks to their better stability and breathability performances.

Jabra Elite 65t Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

While both sound very well-balanced and isolate a lot of noise, the Apple AirPods Pro will be better truly wireless earbuds for most people than the Jabra Elite 65t. While the Jabra have more customization options on both Android and iOS, the AirPods Pro are more comfortable, and their ANC helps them isolate even more noise in the bass range, which is important when commuting.

Amazon Echo Buds Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are slightly better truly wireless in-ears than the Amazon Echo Buds Truly Wireless. They're more comfortable, feel better built, have a much smaller case, and have better ANC. On the other hand, the Echo Buds have access to a 3-band graphic EQ and charge quicker.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are better truly wireless headphones than the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless. They're more comfortable and also features a great ANC feature that blocks ambient noise. They're also more stable for sports, and have a more neutral out-of-the-box sound profile.  The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless look a bit more high-end and barely leak any noise at high volume. They also have volume control, which the Apple lack.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless and the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are two very different headphones. Some may prefer the comfort of over-ears while some would prefer the portability of a truly wireless design. When it comes to noise isolation, both are great, but the Sony are better in this regard thanks to their amazing ANC feature. On the other hand, the Apple are more neutral sounding and are noticeably more stable and breathable, which is great for sports.

Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 are similar truly wireless in-ears to the Apple AirPods Pro. The Apple are more comfortable, have a better case, feel better-built, and have ANC. On the other hand, the Anker have better controls, a more bass-heavy sound profile, and a better dedicated app.

Razer Hammerhead True Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are better truly wireless in-ears than the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless as they're much more comfortable, feel more premium, and have a much better-balanced sound profile. On the other hand, the listening experience is more consistent among users with the Hammerhead, and with gaming mode enabled, their latency is lower on non-iOS devices.

Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Apple AirPods Pro are much better than the Apple AirPods 2. Their sound reproduction is much better, especially in the bass range, and their in-ear design and ANC provides significantly better noise isolation. They have an easier-to-use control scheme and feel much more stable in the ear. On the other hand, the non-intrusive fit of the AirPods 2 may be more comfortable to some people, and they charge much quicker.

Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2017
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Astro A40 TR + MixAmp Pro 2017 and the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are very different headphones that are both great for their intended purposes. The Astro are comfortable wired headphones for low-latency gaming while the Apple have a more portable, casual design with great active noise cancelling for everyday use.

Anker SoundCore Life P2 Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

If you can afford them, the Apple AirPods Pro are better truly wireless headphones than the Anker SoundCore Life P2 Truly Wireless. They are more comfortable, feel much more premium, and have ANC to help block ambient noises. On the other hand, the Anker have a similarly well-balanced sound profile and offer good overall value if you don't want to pay the premium price for the Apple.

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Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless Price

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