Apple-Airpod-Pro
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Are Apple Airpod Pros worth the money?

Apple-Airpod-Pro

 

For Christmas, my wife, at my request, got me some Apple Airpod Pros. I’ve tried out truly wireless earphones before with not a lot of success and ended up reverting back to my £7 pair.

 

In this post, I’m going to cover the use of Airpod Pros in everyday life and whilst running. I love to run with music. You may prefer a podcast or nothing at all. If you’ve followed my Awesome Running Playlist you’ll know I like my dance music. Two hours of Annie Mac’s Dance Party from her Friday night show on BBC Sounds tends to cover my solo runs.

 

A note upfront note – I’ve been an Apple iPhone and Mac laptop user for many years and much of the right up refers to linking to Apple products.

Setup & Connection

As with many Apple products, the setup and connection of the Airpod Pros is intuitive. There are no instructions needed. You open the charging case whilst holding it next to your phone, up pops a screen asking if you want to connect, press the button on the back of the charging case and that is pretty much it, you’re ready to go.

 

Otherwise, you go into the Bluetooth settings on your phone or Mac and tap the relevant item you want to connect to. Once connected for the first time, later when you take the Airpod Pros out of the charging case and pop them in your ears, they will automatically connect. The only time you need to go back into Bluetooth settings is when you are flipping between your phone and computer (with them both nearby).

 

Apple-Airpod-connect

 

On a few occasions, I only had sound in one AirPod. This is normally after running out of charge (and then a recharge) which required me to tell my phone to forget the device in the Bluetooth settings and then do the original reconnect.

Fit & Comfort

The Airpod Pros come with three sizes of soft, flexible silicone tips that click into place. Personally, the medium ones fitted me fine with no issues. There is an Ear Tip Fit Test to find the best fit and get the best sound (again under Bluetooth settings). This tells you if you need a combination of sizes, which I had not thought about. If the standard Apple headphones work for you, you should have no problems with fit.

 

For me, they fit very well and are comfortable. I can wear them for several hours with no pressure points arising. The fit is secure enough to run with them in. I’ve had no near misses (as yet) of losing one of them whilst running.

 

There’s a feature in the “Find My” app on Apple that allows you to find your AirPods, you can get your phone to look up the last location and provide directions or play a sound through the AirPods to help you locate them.

Battery

Battery life is always important with wireless earphones. The charging case can be plugged into a lightning cable or charged via a wireless Qi-certified charger. Based on Apple’s tests –

  • The Charging Case delivers more than 24 hours of battery life.
  • Up to 4.5hrs of listening time on one charge
  • Around 1hr of listening time on only 5 minutes of charging

When the battery is low, the AirPods Pro notifies you via your iPhone letting you know the batteries are drained and it’s time to charge. This warming is not very long. From hearing the warning, you only have around 5 minutes (if that) until one AirPod cuts out, and the other will go a few minutes after.

 

Apple-AirPods-Pro-battery

 

There’s a light on the charging case showing the charge status of your AirPods or the case depending on whether they are in the case or now. Green means fully charged, and amber means less than one full charge remains. The light is very small, and whilst I do look at it, I pretty much ignore it and hope I have plenty of charge. The Control Centre on iPhone and Mac will give you a percentage update.

 

I’ve run out of charge a few times, but as this has been at home it’s not been an issue. If I’m heading out, I tend to give them a quick charge to be safe. With plenty of use, they do need regular charging.

The Sweat and Waterproof Question

Apple state –

“AirPods Pros are sweat and water resistant. This is for non-water sports and exercise”.

 

The Airpod Pro waterproof rating is IPX4 meaning they “protect from splashing water, no matter the direction”. The charging case is not sweat or water resistant.

 

I’ve been using the AirPods in winter and spring so haven’t got too sweaty and have had no problems at all. It may be a different matter in the summer. There could be a chance that the fit will become looser in sweaty conditions, but I can’t comment on that as yet.

Noise Control

The AirPods have 3 settings for Noise Control

 

Active Noise Cancellation – An outward-facing microphone detects external sound. The AirPods Pro then counter it with equal anti-noise, cancelling the external sound before you hear it. Good for full immersion and works very well when next to a busy road.

 

Transparency Mode – the outward-facing microphone picks up external sounds so you can hear what’s happening around you. Good for running or when your wife/husband/child is intending to get your attention. This works very well but if you want a full conversation, you need to stop what you’re listening to, to hear well. This allows you to hear what is happening nearby but doesn’t remove the safety issue of running with earphones. If in doubt, do not wear earphones when running particularly in dark and/or remote places.

 

Off – earphones as normal.

 

You can toggle between the settings by pressing and holding the force sensor on the stem.

Sound & Microphone

The sound quality is great for an earbud. If it’s a flawless sound quality you’re after, you should buy some over the ear headphones. The Noise Control discussed above is a real benefit. The microphone works well with an iPhone, though is strangely disconcerting that it picks your voice up so well with no microphone near your mouth.

 

Other Controls

Automatic Ear detection – this connects the AirPods as soon as you put them in your ear which is helpful and also disconnects in the same way. On an iPhone, the audio will stop if you take one AirPod out. This is not the case on a Mac.

 

Spatial Audio – immersive 3D audio from supported videos that provide a cinema experience with dynamic head tracking that follows the movement of your iPhone. This is pretty funky and gives a very realistic cinema sound.

 

Play, Pause, Skip, Answer – pressing the force sensor on the stem as below allows you to control the audio, which is very handy so you don’t have to get your phone out all the time.

Apple-Airpod-Pro-controls

Sharing – you can share a song, podcast, or other audio stream between two sets of AirPods with Audio Sharing from the same Apple device (dependent on version or generation). This is a nice touch and allows the wireless experience of the old school double headphone adapter.

 

Apple-Airpod-sharing

Price

They are pricey. £250 in the UK and $250 in the US. A bullshit £70 difference! If you are considering them, I would weigh up how careful you are. Are you likely to lose one or both of them? You may want to consider a leash to fasten one to the other for security. While this removes the truly wireless aspect, it’s only needed when active outdoors and not when at home.

Pros/Cons & Thoughts

I have only used the AirPod Pros in the Apple ecosystem in which they work fantastically. I can’t discuss other setups, but if you are an Apple user I would seriously consider the AirPod Pros.

 

The best thing about them is the no tangle factor. You can leave your phone on the table and walking around. The range is good, maybe up to 10m as long as there are not too many walls between you. There are no wires to faff around with or get caught on draw or door handles which yank them out your ears. This comes with any wireless or truly wireless earphones.

 

The only time I’ve knocked one out of my ear is when pulling a t-shirt or jumper off, so you do need to take some care.

 

They are small and could be easily lost. Again, care is required. Be careful around drains, the toilet, anywhere you are not going to be able to recover them from. Single AirPod Pros can be replaced at £85 each in the UK or $89 each in the US.

Conclusion

I instantly loved my AirPod Pros. They contact easily, sound great and I’ve had no issues with them falling out my ears. The Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode both work well and I find myself using both modes to great effect. If you can get over the price and are an Apple user, you’ll quickly forget the cost and wonder why you didn’t get them sooner. Highly recommended, but costly. In answer to the question in the title, Yes.

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