Reviewed on Nov 08, 2019

Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
7.3
Mixed Usage
6.9
Neutral Listening
8.0
Commute/Travel
8.3
Sports/Fitness
7.0
Office
5.5
Wireless Gaming
5.3
Wired Gaming
6.5
Phone Call
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, as well as improving 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 are better headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019, and are much more versatile for everyday use.

Test Results
Design 8.1
Isolation 8.4
Microphone 5.9
Active Features 6.7
Connectivity 2.9
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 11/11/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

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8.1

Design

The Apple AirPods Pro follow a similar design aesthetic as the Apple AirPods 1 Truly Wireless 2017 and the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019, but with some minor changes. The headphones are now in-ears and have a silicon tip which is inserted into the ear canal, which some may not find as comfortable as the previous earbud design. They come with three different size options, so you should be able to find a comfortable and stable fit. The headphones themselves are slightly small as their stem is quite a bit shorter than the AirPods 2. The case is now horizontal instead of vertical, but is almost identical in size, being only slightly larger. The case feels just as well-built and supports wireless Qi charging.

Style

The Apple AirPods Pro have a very similar style to the previous models, with some minor changes. The stems are now quite a bit shorter, but still retains the iconic AirPod look. They still have the same premium feel of previous models and look well-made.

7.5 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 silicon tips, and don't enter too deep into the ear canal. They are very lightweight and put no pressure on your ears, meaning they are barely noticeable.

6.3 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
N/A
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Decent
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : Yes
Talk-Through
:
Yes
Additional Buttons : Voice enabled controls

The controls on the Apple AirPods Pro aren't bad. They don't have physical buttons but have an indented force sensor on the stem of each earbud. While it doesn't make a tactile sound, there is audible feedback through the headphones. The controls allow you to play/pause or answer phone calls with one tap, skip track forward with two taps, and skip back to the previous track with three taps. By default, a long press will activate the ANC, though this can be configured on an iOS device to activate Siri instead. Unfortunately, the long press can be a little difficult to activate, though this may be by design to prevent accidental clicks. All controls work on Android devices, though a long press will only activate ANC and cannot be configured to trigger other virtual assistants.

9.2 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 Portability
L : 1.2 "
W : 0.9 "
H : 0.9 "
Volume : 1.0 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

These truly wireless headphones are very portable. The earbuds are smaller than previous models, and are very lightweight.

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

The case of these headphones 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 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 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.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

The Apple AirPods Pro have a closed-back design, which differentiates them from the typical Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 or the previous Apple AirPods 1 Truly Wireless 2017 and affects their sound profile. Although they might sound bass-light, they don't lack as much sub-bass as the other open-back AirPods. These headphones have a fairly neutral sound profile that might sound a bit on the bright side. However, they do tend to perform a bit differently as they fail to deliver a consistent audio reproduction with various people. On the upside, these are noticeably more versatile than previous models for a wider variety of music genres and should satisfy most users.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
8.6
Bass-Heavy
:
3.9
Warm
:
5.4
Bright
:
7.4

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-backs. Note that the AirPods Pro don't have the best frequency response consistency, so users might hear this differently.

8.0 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.17 db
Dips
:
1.31 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.

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

The frequency response consistency of the AirPods Pro is just okay. There is 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.

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

The stereo imaging of the AirPods Pro 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.

0.7 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
1.4
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
2.1

The soundstage of the AirPods Pro is bad. This is because creating an out-of-head and speaker-like soundstage is largely dependent on activating the resonances of the pinna (outer ear). The design of in-ears and earbuds is in such a way that fully bypasses the pinna and doesn't interact with it. Also, because these headphones have a closed-back enclosure, their soundstage won't be perceived to be as open as that of open-back earbuds like the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019.

8.2 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.214
WHD @ 100
:
0.078

The weighted harmonic distortion performance of the AirPods Pro 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.

8.4

Isolation

The isolation performance of the Apple AirPods Pro is great. Their Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) works very well and does a great job at blocking out most background noises. This makes them a good choice for both commuting as well as office use. Because of their closed-back in-ear fit, they leak much less sound than previous models, meaning those around you shouldn't be bothered by your audio.

8.6 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-23.01 dB
Bass
:
-19.56 dB
Mid
:
-21.82 dB
Treble
:
-27.8 dB

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 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
32.59 dB

The leakage performance of these headphones 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.

5.9

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
No
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The microphone on the Apple AirPods Pro is unremarkable. Speech recorded with the microphone will sound very thin and muffled. The microphone performs best in quiet environments like conference rooms or on quieter streets. In louder environments, like busy streets or on the subway, the microphone will have a tough time separating speech from background noise.

5.4 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 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 will likely have a hard time separating your voice from background noise.

6.7

Active Features

The Apple AirPods Pro have a 5.5 hour battery life with ANC turned on, which is over an hour better than previous models. Unfortunately charge time is longer at just over an hour, though we did get 70% charge after only 20 minutes. They don't have a full companion app; on iOS you get some slight customization, but this isn't available on Android devices.

6.8 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 battery life of the Apple AirPods Pro is decent at just over five hours with ANC turned on. This is about an hour longer than previous models, even with the addition of ANC and a smaller form factor. The case will also give you an additional 5 charges and lets you charge one earbud while you use the other, which is convenient. Unfortunately, they take longer to fully charge, though they're still quite fast at just over one hour. On the upside, the battery charged to around 70% in only 20 minutes, meaning a quick charge should get you around 3-4 hours of playback. When not in use, these headphones enter a standby mode which will help conserve battery a bit, but not completely as they still stay on.

5.5 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : Yes
Android : No
Mac OS : Yes
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
No
ANC control
:
Yes
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
No
Playback control
:
No
Button Mapping : Yes
Surround Sound : 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.

2.9

Connectivity

These headphones are Bluetooth truly wireless headphones. Their charging case can be charged via Lightning or wirelessly via any Qi compatible charging pad. They utilize the H1 chip for seamless pairing to Apple Devices which is much more straightforward than usual Bluetooth pairing. While their latency is quite similar to other Bluetooth headphones, our testing rig doesn't take advantage of the H1 chip, which should provide a better overall performance with compatible Apple devices.

7.1 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
5.0+H1 chip
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
No
Line of Sight Range
:
171 ft
Default Latency
:
227 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

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.

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A

These headphones are only Bluetooth compatible.

0 Wired
Analog Audio
:
N/A
USB Audio
:
N/A
Detachable : N/A
Length : N/A
Connection : N/A
Wired 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.

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.

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

These headphones are Bluetooth only and are not compatible with Xbox One.

2.2 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

The charging case for these headphones 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.

In the box

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

Compared to other Headphones

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 are 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

6.9 Neutral Listening

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 fairly more neutral and should be suitable for a wider variety of music genres. They feel very premium and are quite comfortable, meaning and you should be able to wear them for long listening sessions without any discomfort.

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.

8.3 Sports/Fitness

These headphones are a great option for sports. Their silicon tip and in-ear design is incredibly stable and should have no problem staying in during strenuous workouts. They are 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.

7.0 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.

5.5 Wireless Gaming

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

5.3 Wired Gaming

These headphones are wireless only and therefore cannot be used for wired gaming.

6.5 Phone Call

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.

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