AirPods vs. AirPods Pro: Features Compared

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Apple has unveiled higher-end AirPods Pro with several improvements over the regular AirPods, including active noise cancellation, improved sound quality, and water and sweat resistance. To help decide between the AirPods and AirPods Pro, read our side-by-side comparison of the earphones below.

AirPods vs AirPods Pro Differences

AirPods Pro features in bold:

[*]$249 vs $199
[*]Three Ear Tip Sizes vs One
[*]Noise Cancelation vs None
[*]Water Resistance vs None

Design and Fit Differences

AirPods Pro sport an all-new in-ear design with three sizes of soft, flexible silicone tips that click into place, including small, medium, and large. Meanwhile, the standard AirPods have a one-size fits all design. While many people found this adequate, some users had issues with the original AirPods design falling our or hurting their ears. Apple says the new tips are designed to conform to your ear shape, keeping the AirPods Pro secure, while a vent system equalizes pressure to minimize discomfort.

AirPods Pro also have a feature named the Ear Tip Fit Test that checks the fit of the ?earphones in your ears to determine which size of ear tips provides the best seal and acoustic performance. Ear Tip Fit Test can be accessed by tapping the info icon next to your ?AirPods Pro? in Settings > Bluetooth.


Apple says advanced algorithms work together with the inward-facing microphones in each AirPod to measure the sound level in the ear and compare it to what is coming from the speaker driver. In just seconds, the algorithm detects whether the ear tip is the right size and has a good fit, or should be adjusted.

AirPods Pro and AirPods both have a familiar white plastic design with a stem dropping below the ear. However, while the regular AirPods are also placed in the ear, they do not have silicone ear tips.

Size and Weight Differenes

AirPods Pro are very slightly heavier than regular AirPods at 5.4 grams per earphone versus 4.0 grams, respectively. Apple says the AirPods Pro are engineered for comfort and fit, something many early reviews back.

AirPods Pro Only: Noise Cancellation and Transparency Modes

AirPods Pro feature active noise cancellation, removing background noise and allowing a user to focus on what they're listening to.


Two microphones assist with this feature. The first is outward-facing and detects external sound, which the AirPods Pro then cancel out with anti-noise before it reaches the listener's ear. A second inward-facing microphone listens toward the ear so that the AirPods Pro can cancel out any remaining noise detected.

Apple says the noise cancellation feature continuously adapts the sound signal 200 times per second for the best results.

If a user wants to hear something around them, they can simply press and hold the force sensor on the stem of the AirPods Pro to jump between active noise cancellation and "Transparency" mode, which lets outside sound in when necessary, such as when paying for a coffee or talking to someone nearby.

AirPods Pro have a "force sensor" on the stem to switch between active noise cancellation and Transparency mode. Press the force sensor once to play, pause, or answer a phone call; press twice to skip forward; press three times to skip back; and press and hold to switch between the listening modes.


The regular AirPods do not have a force sensor, active noise cancellation, or a Transparency mode.

Sound Quality Improvements in AirPods Pro

Apple says the AirPods Pro deliver "superior sound quality" thanks to "Adaptive EQ," which automatically tunes the low- and mid-frequencies of the music to the shape of an individual's ear.

Apple on the AirPods Pro:
A custom-built high-excursion, low-distortion driver delivers powerful bass. A super efficient high dynamic range amplifier produces pure, incredibly clear sound while also extending battery life. And Adaptive EQ automatically tunes music to suit the shape of your ear for a rich, consistent listening experience.
Early reviews have generally agreed that the AirPods Pro sound better than the regular AirPods, but there will always be some subjectiveness.

AirPods Pro also feature an expanded mesh microphone port that Apple says improves call clarity in windy situations.

Battery Life Similar

Apple says the AirPods Pro last up to 4.5 hours per charge with noise cancellation and Transparency mode enabled. With those features disabled, the AirPods last up to five hours, consistent with the regular AirPods.

AirPods Pro also provide up to 3.5 hours of talk time per charge, up slightly from three hours with the second-generation AirPods.

Both the AirPods and AirPods Pro come with charging cases that provide additional charges for more than 24 hours of total listening time and more than 18 hours of total talk time. AirPods Pro have a wider charging case to accommodate the ear tips, but the battery does not appear to be much larger.

Added Water Resistance in AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro feature IPX4-rated water resistance, while the AirPods have no water resistance rating.

The "4" in "IPX4" means "water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect." Apple says the AirPods Pro are "sweat and water resistant for non-water sports and exercise," so the earphones should not be submerged in any amount of water or else damage may occur.

What's in the Box for Each

AirPods Pro come with a Lightning to USB-C cable in the box, whereas regular AirPods have a Lightning to USB-A cable. AirPods Pro also ship with three sizes of ear tips, a wireless charging case, and documentation.

"Hey Siri" and Bluetooth: Same


Both the second-generation AirPods and AirPods Pro feature an Apple-designed H1 chip that enables hands-free "Hey Siri" support for calling someone, controlling music playback, having messages read aloud, and more with voice commands. The first-generation AirPods do not support this feature.

Both the AirPods and AirPods Pro support Bluetooth 5.0.

Pricing Difference

In the United States, AirPods Pro are priced at $249 with a wireless charging case. The second-generation AirPods are available with a wired or wireless charging case for $159 or $199, respectively.

In other words, the AirPods Pro are $50 to $90 more expensive than AirPods.

AirPods Pro vs AirPods Bottom Line

The regular AirPods are a perfectly fine choice for truly wireless earphones, with roughly the same battery life as the AirPods Pro. Choose the higher-end AirPods Pro if you desire improved sound, noise cancellation, and water resistance.

Article Link: AirPods vs. AirPods Pro: Features Compared
 
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dan9700

macrumors 68040
May 28, 2015
3,282
4,532
They are really nice apart from AirPods 2 are louder and more punchy these new ones don’t go as loud
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
30,670
30,951
I think the most striking thing between the AirPod Pros versus the regular AirPods, (aside from the technology that’s included in the Pros), is the more minimalistic design. I think Apple did a really nice job where they don’t look as obtrusive as the regular AirPods do.
 

bbeagle

macrumors 68040
Oct 19, 2010
3,377
2,555
Buffalo, NY
Is there any documentation on what you can ask Siri to do with the headphones? Like raise/lower volume, skip song, noise cancellation, etc?
 

rajador

macrumors newbie
Mar 23, 2010
8
4
I received them this afternoon and after a lot of messing around I'm going to return them.I have the first version of airpods to compare and I expected that the sound would be much better and is imperceptible. Only better bass is appreciated but surely it's because the rubber seals the ear and closes the ear canal. The noise cancellation is minimal, and the most surprising is the transparency mode that is only curious because it gives the effect of not having them in the ear but the feeling of the rubber in your ear all the time ruins the experience. A pity because I wanted them so badly. I would emphasize the design, I love that the rod where the battery goes is smaller and thanks to the angle more closed, looks like glued to the cheek not as in the 1/2 versions that is sometimes pointing out. The case I like it more, more horizontal surface helps to put them back in the case... such a pity ;(
 

squizzler

macrumors regular
Feb 11, 2019
157
549
You Kay
Apple customers will always want more expensive, more recent model.

This never-ending debate on audio quality in AirPods is tiresome and needs to be ended. It’s Bluetooth, wireless, everyday casual use headphones. Don’t expect wonders.
 

FlyingDutch

macrumors 6502
Aug 21, 2019
267
310
Eindhoven (NL)
To me there are no doubts: the “old” AirPods are better. I really hate in-ear solutions.
- - Post merged: - -

I received them this afternoon and after a lot of messing around I'm going to return them.I have the first version of airpods to compare and I expected that the sound would be much better and is imperceptible. Only better bass is appreciated but surely it's because the rubber seals the ear and closes the ear canal. The noise cancellation is minimal, and the most surprising is the transparency mode that is only curious because it gives the effect of not having them in the ear but the feeling of the rubber in your ear all the time ruins the experience. A pity because I wanted them so badly. I would emphasize the design, I love that the rod where the battery goes is smaller and thanks to the angle more closed, looks like glued to the cheek not as in the 1/2 versions that is sometimes pointing out. The case I like it more, more horizontal surface helps to put them back in the case... such a pity ;(
You basically are complaining that an in-ear earbud is ... in-ear.
Surprise.
 

jonen

macrumors newbie
Mar 13, 2019
26
19
Ordered the wireless AirPods 2 earlier today for my wife at $169.99+tax -5% with RedCard. I think that was the real win here.

In all honesty, although it probably does not actually matter, I think it is telling that they released these with the same H1 chip. I'll be happy to upgrade my own 2's for the smaller rod in the future, at a price that doesn't feel outrageous to me.

Completely agree with the earlier comment about the debate on sound quality needing to end. The purchase decision here is and should be about convenience.
 

dojoman

macrumors 68000
Apr 8, 2010
1,543
523
So Pro still have same speaker drivers as Airpods 2? Pro sounds better only because of seal tips and ANC? Specs say nothing about bigger drivers.
 

zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
5,622
6,603
Florida, USA
To anyone who had bought these, I'm curious:

Do the AirPods Pro feel like you have something shoved deep in your ear? How far in do they go compared to the regular AirPods? I've tried other similar "earplug" style headphones (including the ones Apple themselves made in the late 00s) and they're really uncomfortable for this reason. There's this constant suction and I had to stop using them because over time they would cause impacted earwax (look it up, ewww, and it hurts.)

That's one reason I like the regular AirPods; they don't go very far into my ears. I had issues with them falling out but adding foam covers has solved that. It'd be nice when I replace them eventually to get something that fits better out of the box!
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,347
8,964
California
Do the AirPods Pro feel like you have something shoved deep in your ear?
Not far at all. Unless you've got potatoes growing in there :p I don't think they stick in far enough to get earwax on them.

I have the old ones and the rubber pads on the new Pro ones do cause a slight pressure on the inside of the ear canal where the rubber presses against your skin to make the seal. So if that is something that bothers you, you might be more comfortable with the old non-Pro style. I don't find them uncomfortable though.
 

zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
5,622
6,603
Florida, USA
Not far at all. Unless you've got potatoes growing in there :p I don't think they stick in far enough to get earwax on them.

I have the old ones and the rubber pads on the new Pro ones do cause a slight pressure on the inside of the ear canal where the rubber presses against your skin to make the seal. So if that is something that bothers you, you might be more comfortable with the old non-Pro style. I don't find them uncomfortable though.
Thanks for the response, this is encouraging. Have you ever used the old Apple in-ear headphones?


(I think they're discontinued. I remember buying them a LOOONG time ago.)

I wonder how they compare in fit and quality to those. I had a bad experience with them, which is why I wouldn't buy the AirPods Pro unless they are MUCH better.

EDIT: I just dug them out and wowww, the rubber earplugs have totally degraded and are all yellow and sticky now. Couldn't even give them another try because there's no way I'm putting those in my ears.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_largepv_8ed5.jpg
 

gelie

macrumors 6502a
Mar 7, 2010
502
181
So Pro still have same speaker drivers as Airpods 2? Pro sounds better only because of seal tips and ANC? Specs say nothing about bigger drivers.
Not sure if the driver are the same. But , the sound is significantly better. Crisper and better range. Maybe the ANC or better fit?
 

KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
14,464
3,025
Not sure if the driver are the same. But , the sound is significantly better. Crisper and better range. Maybe the ANC or better fit?
The seal helps with the sound. I am impressed with the active noise cancellation. Transparency is interesting. It is “louder” than no noise cancellation since it is actively letting in ambient noise. It is better for phone calls since you can hear your own voice better.
 

axantas

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2015
308
215
Home
Thanks for the response, this is encouraging. Have you ever used the old Apple in-ear headphones?


(I think they're discontinued. I remember buying them a LOOONG time ago.)

I wonder how they compare in fit and quality to those. I had a bad experience with them, which is why I wouldn't buy the AirPods Pro unless they are MUCH better.

EDIT: I just dug them out and wowww, the rubber earplugs have totally degraded and are all yellow and sticky now. Couldn't even give them another try because there's no way I'm putting those in my ears.

View attachment 873744
I still do have them. I hesitated a long time. At the end I aquired these in-ear buds with NO bass at all. Utterly disappointing...
 
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skys15

macrumors member
Aug 23, 2017
67
39
Would like to know the distance specs. I was only getting a lousy 30ish feet with the new AirPods when they came out with Bluetooth 5 on it.
 

jonnysods

macrumors 603
Sep 20, 2006
6,328
3,053
There & Back Again
Some pretty amazing tech in such a small device. I'd love to get a pair, but my first gen AirPods have to die before I can do it. Not like AirPods have much resale value!
 

frumpy16

macrumors 6502a
Dec 8, 2008
843
512
Ordered the wireless AirPods 2 earlier today for my wife at $169.99+tax -5% with RedCard. I think that was the real win here.

In all honesty, although it probably does not actually matter, I think it is telling that they released these with the same H1 chip. I'll be happy to upgrade my own 2's for the smaller rod in the future, at a price that doesn't feel outrageous to me.

Completely agree with the earlier comment about the debate on sound quality needing to end. The purchase decision here is and should be about convenience.
This is the better deal, FYI (Costco). Can even choose whether you want the wireless case or not.
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