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AirPods Pro

Apple in October 2019 launched the AirPods Pro, a higher-end version of its existing AirPods with a unique design, noise cancellation technology, better sound, and a more expensive $249 price tag.

Apple says that with the AirPods Pro, the company is taking the magic of the AirPods “even further,” with the new earbuds to be sold alongside the more affordable AirPods 2, which do not feature noise cancellation functionality.

This hands-on video walks through the features of the AirPods Pro:
The AirPods Pro look similar to the original AirPods, but have a design with a wider front to accommodate silicone tips for comfort, fit, and noise cancellation purposes. Tips come in three sizes to fit different ears.

Though we heard rumors suggesting AirPods Pro might come in multiple colors, Apple is offering them only in white, much like the original AirPods.

Active Noise Cancellation is a key feature of the AirPods Pro, using two microphones (one outward facing and one inward facing) along with advanced software to adapt to each ear for what Apple says is a “uniquely customized, superior noise-canceling experience.”

With a built-in Transparency mode that can be toggled on, users have the option to listen to music with Active Noise Cancellation turned on while still hearing the ambient environment around them.

Inside of the AirPods Pro, there’s a new vent system aimed at equalizing pressure, which Apple says minimizes the discomfort common with other in-ear designs for a better fit and a more comfortable wearing experience.

Because of the new silicone tips, the AirPods Pro are larger than prior versions of the AirPods, necessitating a wider charging case. The new AirPods Pro case is longer in the horizontal dimension than the prior AirPods case, but still pocketable.

AirPods Pro are water-resistant with an IPX4 rating, which means they can hold up to splashing water regardless of the direction. This suggests AirPods Pro should be safe from sweat and light rain, but they shouldn’t be submerged.

Apple says that AirPods Pro include an Adaptive EQ feature for superior sound quality. Adaptive EQ tunes the low and mid frequencies of the music to the shape of an individual’s ear for a “rich, immersive listening experience.”

Like the AirPods 2 and the Beats Solo Pro, the AirPods Pro are powered by an Apple-designed H1 chip. The H1 chip powers real-time noise cancellation, the Adaptive EQ feature, and hands-free “Hey Siri” support.

AirPods Pro provide up to five hours of listening time on a single charge with Active Noise Cancellation disabled, or four and a half hours when it’s turned on. With Active Noise Cancellation, AirPods Pro also offer three and a half hours of talk time.

The AirPods Pro Wireless Charging Case supports Qi-based wireless charging and it can also be charged over Lightning (using the included USB-C to Lightning cable). The charging case offers more than 24 hours of additional listening time and over 18 hours of additional talk time.

Crackling Noise Repair Program

Apple launched a repair program for AirPods Pro to fix a problem that causes some AirPods Pro models to exhibit sound issues such as crackling or static or faulty Active Noise Cancellation. Customers who purchased AirPods Pro at launch in 2019 are covered until October 2022 should this issue arise, and those who bought in 2020 before the repaired version in October 2020 came out can get repairs until 2023.

Affected models have static or crackling sounds that increase in loud environments such as with movement or when talking on the phone, or Active Noise Cancellation that fails to work properly with a loss of bass, increased background sound, or a street or airplane noise.

The faulty AirPods Pro models were manufactured before October 2020, and those who are experiencing issues can take the AirPods Pro to Apple for service at no charge. AirPods Pro will be examined prior to service to verify that they’re eligible for the program.

How to Buy

The AirPods Pro can be purchased from the online Apple Store or Apple retail stores for $249. Third-party retailers also offer the AirPods Pro and sometimes provide discounts.

AppleCare+ can be purchased for the AirPods Pro for $29, covering two incidents of accidental damage for a $29 fee.

When purchasing, AirPods Charging Cases can be engraved with Apple allowing either text characters or an emoji to be added.

On its website, Apple offers AirPods Pro replacement tips in sets of two small, medium, or large ear tips for $7.99 each in the United States.

For those who don’t like Apple’s own tips, there are a few companies making foam tips, like Comply.

Design Details

AirPods Pro feature the same general design language as the original AirPods, but are notably different thanks to new flexible silicone tips that are designed to fit tightly within the ear to allow for noise cancellation technology.

The silicone tips come in three sizes to ensure a comfortable fit in most ears. Apple says the tips have been designed to conform to the contours of each individual ear, offering both comfort and a better seal, which is important for noise cancellation.

The tips come in small, medium, and large, and each tip clicks right into place on the AirPods Pro, making them easy to swap out. Each tip is internally tapered to conform to the shape of the inner ear to keep the AirPods Pro securely in place.

AirPods Pro measure in at 21.8mm wide and 30.9mm tall, so they’re wider than the original AirPods (which are 16.5mm) but they’re not as tall (AirPods are 40.5mm tall) as the stems are shorter.

The AirPods Pro are a third heavier than the standard AirPods, weighing in at 5.4 grams per earbud. The charging case also weighs in at 45.6 grams, up from 38 grams.

The AirPods Pro case is a good bit wider than the AirPods case, but it’s also not quite as tall, so the dimensions and pocketability are ultimately similar between the two cases.

AirPods Pro have been developed with what Apple is calling an “innovative vent system” that equalizes pressure within the ear to minimize discomfort that’s common in other in-ear designs. Apple says that AirPods Pro are designed to make you feel like there’s nothing in your ears.

There’s also an expanded mesh microphone port that’s designed to improve call clarity in windy situations.

Ear Tip Fit Test

To get the perfect fit and best audio experience, Apple offers an Ear Tip Fit Test for the AirPods Pro. After placing the AirPods Pro in each ear, Apple uses advanced algorithms and the microphones in each AirPod to measure the sound level in the ear and compare it to what’s coming from the speaker driver.

The algorithm then detects whether the ear tip is the right size and has a good fit, or if it should be swapped out for another size to create a better seal.

Replacement tips for the AirPods Pro are available if you contact Apple support and are priced at $4 for a pair. AirPods Pro owners who have purchased AppleCare+ appear to be able to get free replacement tips.

Water Resistance

AirPods Pro are sweat and water resistant with an IPX4 water resistance rating. That means the AirPods Pro have been tested and can hold up to splashing water from any direction, so they should hold up well to sweat and light rain.

AirPods Pro should not be submerged in water and water exposure should be avoided as often as possible as Apple’s warranty does not cover water or sweat damage.

Apple says that the sweat and water resistant ratings are for non-water sports and exercise, and that sweat and water resistance are not permanent conditions and could decrease as a result of normal wear.

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