AirPods Pro is the lastest wireless earbuds offered by Apple. It complements AirPods 2 in the high-end market with some useful new features.
This wireless earbuds guide explains the top 10 new features of AirPods Pro (compared to AirPods 2): active noise canceling (ANC), wireless charging, in-ear design, transparency mode, force sensor, adaptive EQ, Sweat and water resistance with IPX4 rating, ear tip test, secure fit, and a $249 price tag.
Please note, the direct competitor to AirPods Pro is Sony WF-1000XM3, which offers better noise-cancelling and better audio quality (at $229). Samsung Galaxy Buds Live offers similar features with a lower price tag. Samsung Gallaxy Buds+ offers better battery life and cheaper price. Jabra Elite Sport offers a heart rate monitor and a companion workout app (Jabra Sport Life).
#1.Active noise canceling (ANC): the best new feature of AirPods Pro
As explained in this guide in detail, active noise canceling (ANC) uses special sound waves to cancel the ambient noise and therefore gives you an immersive and quiet listening experience.
Bose and Sony are the indisputable industrial leaders in ANC for consumer headphones. It is unclear whether Apple licensed some technology from third parties or developed their own ANC technology in-house.
If you compare AirPods Pro with Sony WF-1000XM3, Sony is a clear winner in most situations. Please do NOT compare AirPods Pro with the first generation of WF-1000, whose noise canceling was a failure.
Anyway, for many Apple users, ANC is probably new to them. They will enjoy this feature gradually.
#2. Transparency mode
Transparency mode is the opposite of noise canceling. In this mode, you can hear clearly outside without removing the AirPods Pro from the ears.
You can use the force sensor (read on) to switch between noise canceling and transparency mode instantly.
In fact, all noise-canceling earbuds and headphones have this feature.
#3. New in-ear design
Unlike AirPods and AirPods 2, AirPods Pro will “stuff” your ears if you are new to in-ear buds. It may take you a few days to get used to it.
The advantages of the in-ear design include better audio quality (by blocking some ambient noise) and secured in ears.
For some users, the AirPods Pro can be used as sports earbuds.
Anyway, the in-ear design is very likely one of the most welcomed new features of the AirPods Pro, especially for users who migrated from other in-ear earbuds.
#4. Wireless charging case included
You do not need to pay an additional $40 for the AirPods wireless charging case, which is included in AirPods Pro.
AirPods Pro charging case works with most Qi-wireless chargers.
You can even use some smartphones (not iPhones) like Samsung Galaxy S10 or Note 10 to charge AirPods Pro through wireless PowerShare.
Anyway, Apple finally is catching up on supporting wireless charging. AirPods 3 (2021) now comes with a wireless charging case.
#5. New force sensor
AirPods Pro allows you to use the force sensor to easily control music and calls, switch between ANC and transparency mode.
The force sensor supports gestures of single, double, and triple-taps, and press and hold (long press).
The positioning of the force sensor and the touch feel both are excellent. When AirPods Pro is in the ears, you can easily reach the force sensors because they are in the front part of the earbuds stem. You will hear the click sound when your gesture is recognized.
Most users will appreciate this convenience feature. It is (arguably) better than the confusing touch control in Sony WF-1000XM3 or Galaxy Buds earbuds.
Please check this guide on how to use and adjust the Force Sensor on AirPods Pro.
#6. Adaptive EQ
Apple claims the AirPods Pro can automatically tune music to the shape of your ears and therefore delivers superior sound quality.
But it seems noise-canceling plays an essential role in this feature.
For wireless earbuds, the audio quality is limited by the size of the driver and the volume of our ear canals. The adaptive EQ may improve sound quality. But your mileage may differ.
#7. Sweat and water resistance
AirPods Pro is IPX4 certified. So, it is sweat and water-resistant, unlike AirPods and AirPods 2.
As mentioned, AirPods Pro can be used as sports earbuds thanks to its in-ear design and IPX4 rating.
#8. Ear tip fit test
As in-ear earbuds, AirPods Pro ships 3 sets of ear tips of different sizes: small, medium, and large.
The default one on the AirPods Pro when you unbox it is medium.
Then how to know which ear tip is best for you?
In Bluetooth settings, you can now run the ear tip fit test to let the phone tell you which one is the best fit for you. It plays a song for a few seconds, collect the audio data, then decide whether the fit is good or not.
There is no magic here. The system does NOT know which tips you are wearing. The suggestion is purely based on the audio profile sampled by the buds.
The ear tip fit test is probably one of the most practical new features of AirPods Pro.
#9. Secure fit
The in-ear design and customizable fit (with ear tips) make sure AirPods Pro is secured in the ear.
Again, if you plan to use AirPod Pro during your workout, you will feel the difference.
#10. $249 price tag
Surprisingly, Apple did not demand a higher price, although $249 is not cheap.
AirPods 2 will cost you $199 ($159 +$40 wireless charging case). So, compared to AirPods 2 with a wireless charging case, AirPods Pro is actually a better deal.
Of course, compared to its direct competitor Sony WF-1000XM3, AirPods Pro is $20 more expensive.
But if you compare it with the popular Galaxy Buds from Samsung, you are paying double the price for AirPods Pro. Anyway, Galaxy Buds does not have active noise canceling. The latest $149 Galaxy Buds+ offers better value and longer battery life as explained in this guide.
What are your thoughts on the new features of AirPods Pro? Do you have any questions about these new features of AirPods Pro?
If you have any questions or want to share your thoughts on the new features of AirPods Pro, you may let us know in the comment box below.
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You may check Headphone 101 for detailed explanations of headphone technologies and terms.
For Bluetooth headphone guides, please check the Bluetooth headphones section.
Sports headphones section is dedicated to guides on sports headphones.
Active noise-canceling headphone guides can be found in the Noise-canceling headphones section.