When music streaming platforms dominated the audio world, the need for high-quality wireless earbuds followed the trend. You can find all sorts of earphones in the market, but still, nothing compares to Apple AirPods. More than just for aesthetic, these tiny devices that we stuff in our ears provide a slew of helpful features to aid you through your day — whether you’re listening to music while working out or participating in a conference call. However, with the recent release of AirPods Pro, choosing which one to get is a real challenge. That’s why in this article, we’re going to compare AirPods vs AirPods Pro and help you decide which one suits you best.
*Since the original AirPods is no longer on sale, we’re comparing AirPods Gen 2 to AirPods Pro in the entire article. To clarify, all AirPods mentioned in this article refer to the AirPods Gen 2 version 2019 instead of the version 2016.
AirPods vs AirPods Pro: In a Nutshell
After launching the Apple AirPods 2 in March 2019, the device quickly became the leading earbuds in the world due to its sleek design and flexible usage. It renders good performance with crisp sounds you simply can’t resist. Plus, it’s handy and you don’t have to spend time untangling caught-up wires every time you’re using it.
But Apple doesn’t stop there. They’ve released a professional version of the AirPods and named it as—you guessed it—AirPods Pro. Packed with a myriad of upgraded features, the product lives up to its Pro moniker. The added improvements contribute to the device’s optimum performance, thus making it one of the bestselling products of Apple. Of course, these enhancements come with a hefty price tag.
So, which one should you get?
Before we go to the meat of the topic, here’s a quick overview of AirPods vs. AirPods Pro specifications:
|Battery Life||Up to 5 Hours of Listening Time
(More Than 24 Hours With Charging Case)
|Up to 4.5 Hours of Listening Time
(More Than 24 Hours With Charging Case)
|Sweat and Water Resistance||None||IPX4|
Charging Case: 38 g
Charging Case: 45.6g
|Dimensions||AirPods: 16.5 by 18.0 by 40.5 mm
Charging Case: 44.3 by 21.3 by 53.5 mm
|AirPods: 21.8mm by 24mm by 30.9mm
Charging Case: 60.6mm by 21.3mm by 53.5mm
|Extra Features||Bluetooth 5.0
|Active noise cancellation
Design, Fit, and Comfort
At first glance, AirPods vs AirPods Pro look exactly alike. The resemblance is almost uncanny until you’ve pulled out each of them from their charging cases and tried them on. At face value, the AirPods 2 follows the design of the original AirPods. It boasts a one-size-fits-all system that’s advertised as “universal fit.” Measuring 40.5 mm in height, the AirPods 2 takes on a longer stem than the AirPods Pro. This, of course, isn’t a huge deal, but it’s a difference worth mentioning when it comes to the design.
On the other hand, the AirPods Pro comes with a shortened stem with three new silicon tips to choose from: small, medium, large. These new ear tips are soft and flexible, and they provide a more comfortable and better fit for all kinds of users. These tips are bundled together upon purchase so you can freely change them when deemed necessary. If you’re not sure which size fits you best, there’s a software-operated fitting feature that allows you to test if you have the right-size tips.
With all that said, which one does the better job of securely fitting into our ears? The answer depends on you. Some users prefer the toothbrush-like design of the AirPods 2 since, according to them, it poses a better grip and it doesn’t easily slip out even when you do a headshake test. On another note, AirPods Pro’s customizable fitting also serves wonders especially if the universal fit feature of the AirPods 2 is either too loose or too tight for you.
Sound Quality and Performance
The huge difference between the AirPods vs. AirPods Pro lies within the sound quality and performance category. If you’re unsure which to get between the two, you’ll most likely find it out after reading this section.
Both the AirPods vs AirPods Pro use Apple’s latest H1 chip. This chip comes with 10 audio cores that seamlessly power up the functionalities of each device. For AirPods 2, the H1 chip allows faster Siri responses. It does the same with AirPods Pro, but it particularly gives power to the device’s noise cancellation feature without affecting the battery life.
One of the greatest improvements made by Apple is to employ a noise cancellation feature to AirPods Pro. With the increased need for virtual communications, owning earbuds with the ability to filter noises in your surroundings is more than just for leisure. After all, wearing a big and bulgy headset as you commute for work isn’t at all handy and comfortable.
You don’t have to worry about being interrupted as you listen to your favorite podcast or online lectures. If you turn on the noise-canceling feature, unnecessary background sounds are drowned out to promote concentration. How does this work? Well, AirPods Pro uses two microphones to deliver an excellent noise cancellation feature. The outward-facing microphone captures the noise from the outside and counters it even before reaching your ears. The inward-facing mic, on the other hand, also does the same, but instead of countering it, it cancels it for more precise noise cancellation.
These microphones utilize advanced software to adapt to the geometry of your ears and remove background noises with great ease.
If you prefer to hear your environment while listening to music, you can enable Transparency Mode in AirPods Pro. This mode simply allows the outside sound in so you can be aware of what’s happening in your surroundings. This is usually enabled when you’re performing outdoor workouts such as running and cycling.
Another feature that’s unique to AirPods Pro is the Adaptive EQ. This isn’t new to the world of earbuds as most Bluetooth headphones, such as the Jabra Elite Active 65t, already employ this component. When a device uses an Adaptive EQ feature, it automatically optimizes the sound quality for one’s physiology.
Not quite get it? Here’s how Apple explains it.
Apple says that the AirPods Pro “automatically tunes the low and mid-frequencies” to produce clear and crisp sounds that are right for your ears. Awesome, right?
The noise cancellation, Transparency mode, and Adaptive EQ features are only available to AirPods Pro.
One of the things you need to consider when buying Bluetooth earbuds is battery life. When the device is geared with premium, but it doesn’t last an hour or so while being used, then that tech isn’t good at all. So without further ado, let’s examine AirPods vs. AirPods Pro in terms of their battery. How long do these devices last while on use?
The AirPods 2 renders up to five hours of listening time, and with another 19 hours if added with a charging case. On the other hand, AirPods Pro delivers up to 4.5 hours — a few hours shorter than AirPods 2’s battery life. There’s also an additional 19 hours if the device comes with its charging case.
If you’re wondering how long each AirPods will last when used for calls, the AirPods 2 offers up to three hours of talk time while the AirPods Pro offers 3.5 hours.
You can prolong the battery of AirPods Pro as long as the Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes are off.
Connectivity and Compatibility
Thanks to the powerful functions of H1 chip and Bluetooth 5.0, the connectivity of both the AirPods vs. AirPods Pro isn’t an issue. In fact, everything is swift and seamless; connecting to any device is easy as pie.
So far, Apple’s automatic pairing is genuinely quick and responsive, and there have been no reported problems about it.
AirPods Pro Compatible Devices
Here’s a list of Apple AirPods Pro compatible devices:
- iPhone (with iOS 13.2 or later)
- iPod Touch (with iOS 13.2 or later)
- Apple TV
- Apple Watch
Just make sure to enable the Bluetooth of the devices to connect with the AirPods Pro.
AirPods Compatible Devices
For the Apple AirPods 2, you can connect the device to the following devices:
- iPhone 5 and newer (with iOS 12.2 or later)
- iPod Touch 6th Gen
- Apple Watch
- Apple TV
You can also connect both these AirPods models to an Android device. However, certain features might work properly so try it at your own risk.
If you’re wondering, “Are AirPods waterproof?” The answer is both yes and no. Generally speaking, when Apple released the first and second generation of AirPods, many users called it out for not having the ability to withstand sweat and water. Of course, a number of us still use it for working out, but this action is a risk everyone takes every single time.
Thankfully, the release of the Apple AirPods Pro paved the way for users to openly bring the device to any of their activities that involve a little bit of water without the fear of having them destroyed. The AirPods Pro has a rating of IPX4, which means that it won’t be damaged by sweat and splashes of water. However, the device can actually break if it’s completely submerged in water. So no, you can’t still bring it for swimming.
Another feature worth mentioning for both AirPods vs. AirPods Pro is the “Hey Siri” support. If you’re a fan of voice commands, both these models don’t disappoint. What’s even nice about them is that they make use of a lightning-fast and responsive Siri function and automatically activate in just a single call. This way, you’re free to perform any commands you like hands-free!
Since we’re done detailing all the features of AirPods vs. AirPods Pro, let’s talk about the price. How much do AirPods cost? Well, expect that the AirPods Pro is a tad higher compared to the AirPods 2. At $250, you’ll get AirPods Pro with a wireless charging case. For some, this price is a great deal considering that the device is jampacked with extravagant features. Moreover, the AirPods 2 costs $159 for the standard pair, and $199 if you choose to include the wireless charging case.
If you don’t mind shedding extra bucks, the AirPods Pro is a good choice. However, if you’re shopping on a limited budget, AirPods 2 is a viable option.
AirPods vs AirPods Pro: Are AirPods Worth It?
Not everyone loves the idea of owning AirPods. However, if you’re leaning on having one, know that AirPods offer an extreme user experience for listening. Sure there are other brands out there that offer good earbuds at the same price line but still, nothing can equate to an Apple product especially if you’re an iPhone user.
Before choosing which AirPods model suits you best, take into consideration the features you really want and need, and your budget. Both models are a nice choice, but if you’re in for a good Active Noise Cancellation, then you should go for AirPods Pro. On the other hand, if you’re still new to the AirPods world, trying out the AirPods 2 doesn’t hurt as well. Just make sure to analyze the price to the quality of each device so that you’ll don’t regret anything at the end of the day.
If you’re an Android aficionado, check out our review on whether the Samsung Galaxy Buds are really good.