Let’s get one thing out of the way — using the “pro” moniker is an age-old marketing tactic and Apple is not the first one and it will not be the last one to use it. What I’m trying to convey is that the new AirPods Pro isn’t meant to be used in the studio to master tracks, they aren’t meant for live monitoring and as an audiophile, I’ll tacitly agree they don’t blow away my eardrums with incredible magical sound. With these caveats out of the way, what I will tell you is that these are the best wireless earbuds in the world and Apple comes close to perfection, even if you don’t use an iPhone.

what’s warped

  1. These sound pretty good for starters. You get balanced highs, thick mids and pretty tight low-end frequencies. I heard an assortment of music which included electronic acts like Blot!, Acid Arab, John Digweed, DVS1, Daft Punk, apart from slow blues from Robert Johnson and BB King and more thumping rock and metal from bands like Tool and Guns and Roses. And for the part, the sound was satisfactory. It was a marked improvement over the AirPods 2, and perhaps slightly better than the Powerbeats 2, but these are by no means audiophile-grade earphones.
  2. The AirPods Pro truly come into their own when you’re watching movies or YouTube via them. They have a crisp sound which is ideal for Netflixing on the go. And if you happen to have seen the new Apple TV+ shows like “The Morning Show”, then the sound stage is very impressive.
  3. My main problem with the AirPods has always been that their fit has been subpar and the long stem of the AirPods made you look like an alien. Well, the stem is shorter as the H1 chip, beamforming microphones, and new drivers are tucked upwards together along with offering new changeable silicone ear tips that are very comfortable, providing good passive isolation and a tight fit which will keep them ship-shape even if you dose off during a flight or take a brisk run.
  4. AirPods are known for their smarts and boy these are smart and simple. There is a fit test which is super handy which makes sure I always have them on properly. I’ve not seen this feature in any other wireless earphone. The transparency mode pulls ambient sound through filters from the outside world, and it sounds clearer than real life especially if your hearing isn’t that good (like I suffer from the preliminary phase of tinnitus). And of course, there is active noise cancellation which works seamlessly.
  5. The thing about the active noise cancellation is that it works well — be it a flight, or your bedroom or the streets of Mumbai. It works and will cocoon you in a blanket of silence. It is a great first effort and its idea is to not make you feel strangled in a vacuum compressed environment something whatSony and Bose noise-cancelling headphones do.
  6. Battery life is stellar. Apple claimed 4.5 hours using noise cancelling, I managed 4.7 hours on the trot. Apple claims 5 hours with noise cancellation, which is exactly what I got. And using the case, I was easily getting these puppies to work for more than a day.

what’s not

  1. They just don’t sound “Pro” which is kind of misleading but hey that’s going to be a problem. Audiophiles will not like them for the sound. They don’t even sound as good as the Sony noise-cancelling earphones which is problematic.
  2. The wireless case is great but because now they have eartips, they don’t clasp back in the case as majestically as the AirPods do. A minor quibble in the scheme of things.
  3. On the MacBook or iMac, you need macOS Catalina for active noise cancellation to work, which is a strange quirk. Many people haven’t updated to macOS Catalina due to professional reasons because of dodgy driver support for apps so can be a problem.
  4. These are AirPods at the end of the day and now at Rs 24,900, more expensive than ever — if you lose them which can easily happen, the damage will be significant.
  5. If you own an Android smartphone, the magic of the AirPods is gone. You’re still getting very capable wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation but these wouldn’t the definitive best for Android users.
  6. In terms of active noise cancellation, these earbuds are behind offerings from Sony and Bose. I’d like to argue, they are different as they don’t let you feel suffocated with the lack of sound, but if you are the type of person who wants to be cocooned in pure silence in any scenario, then these aren’t the ones for you.

At the end of the day, AirPods are computers in the garb of earphones. Now AirPods Pro are super smart and have tasteful active noise cancellation, a much better design which looks cool and offers a much more reassuring fit while sounding remarkably good. While they aren’t for everyone, especially people who care about having studio-quality sound or ultra-aggressive noise cancellation, but for most people, these will be almost perfect!


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