Apple AirPods vs AirPods Pro: Comparing Design, Features, and Value

Owen Woods

a group of apple airpods sitting on top of a table

When it comes to wireless headphones, Apple’s AirPods lineup has been very popular. The AirPods and AirPods Pro are both known for working well with iPhones and being easy to use. People often compare these two models to see which one is best for them. Both offer good sound quality, but there are important differences in their features and designs. The AirPods Pro is seen as a more high-end option compared to the regular AirPods. It has features like noise cancellation and customizable ear tips for a better fit. On the other hand, the regular AirPods are designed to fit most ears comfortably without needing to change the ear tips.

These differences in design and comfort also affect their technical specifications and user features, making each model better for different preferences. Sound quality, battery life, and controls are important factors when choosing between the two. Both AirPods and AirPods Pro work well with other Apple devices, making it easy to use Siri and connect to iPhones. However, the AirPods Pro goes a step further by offering active noise cancellation and a transparency mode, creating a more immersive audio experience. It’s important to choose the model that best fits your needs.

AirPods or AirPods Pro: Which Is Right for You?

Design and Fit

Both AirPods and AirPods Pro share a similar aesthetic, but there are key differences in their design and fit. AirPods have a universal fit with no ear tips, while AirPods Pro come with silicone ear tips in multiple sizes for a customizable and secure fit. This design difference significantly impacts comfort and noise isolation.

Sound Quality

When it comes to sound quality, both models deliver a pleasant listening experience, but AirPods Pro have the edge due to their Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) feature. ANC blocks out external noise, allowing you to focus on your music or calls. AirPods Pro also offer a Transparency Mode, which lets you hear your surroundings when needed.

Additional Features

AirPods Pro boast several additional features that set them apart from the standard AirPods. These include Adaptive EQ, which automatically tunes the music to your ears, Spatial Audio with head tracking for a more immersive listening experience, and a force sensor on the stem for easy controls.

Battery Life and Charging

Both AirPods and AirPods Pro offer similar battery life, providing around 5 hours of listening time on a single charge. However, the charging case for AirPods Pro extends the total listening time significantly, offering up to 24 hours of listening time compared to 24 hours for AirPods. Both cases support wireless charging.

Price and Value

The most significant difference between the two models is the price. AirPods Pro are considerably more expensive than the standard AirPods. While the added features and improved sound quality of the AirPods Pro justify the higher price for some, others may find the standard AirPods offer sufficient value for their needs.

Comparison Table

FeatureAirPods (3rd generation)AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
DesignUniversal fit, no ear tipsCustomizable fit with silicone ear tips
Sound QualityGoodExcellent (with ANC and Transparency Mode)
Additional FeaturesNoneAdaptive EQ, Spatial Audio, Force Sensor
Battery Life (earbuds)Up to 5 hoursUp to 6 hours (with ANC off)
Battery Life (with case)Up to 24 hoursUp to 30 hours
Wireless ChargingYesYes
PriceLowerHigher

Which One Should You Choose?

If you prioritize sound quality, noise cancellation, and additional features like Spatial Audio, then AirPods Pro are the better choice. However, if you’re looking for a more affordable option and don’t mind the lack of ANC or other advanced features, then the standard AirPods offer excellent value.

Key Takeaways

  • Apple offers the AirPods and AirPods Pro, each catering to different user needs.
  • The AirPods Pro offers additional features like noise cancellation and in-ear comfort adjustment.
  • Both models integrate well with Apple devices, creating a seamless user experience.

Design and Comfort

When comparing AirPods to AirPods Pro, the design and comfort are crucial factors. Both models differ in physical characteristics and how they fit and isolate sound for the user.

Physical Characteristics

The AirPods have a one-size-fits-most design with a sleek, minimalist look. They come with a longer stem which is easily recognizable. The AirPods Pro feature a more compact design with a shorter stem. Both are lightweight and designed for easy portability, but AirPods Pro’s design aims for a more customizable experience, accommodating different ear shapes with replaceable ear tips.

Fit and Isolation

The fit of the AirPods is more universal. They sit in the opening of the ear canal but do not create a tight seal. This may affect their stability during vigorous activities. In contrast, AirPods Pro comes with silicone ear tips that create a snug fit. These tips improve sound isolation significantly. They come in three sizes for a customizable fit. The snug fit of the ear tips combined with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology allows for improved isolation from external noise, enhancing the listening experience.

Technical Specifications and Features

Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro offer distinct audio experiences through their different technical specifications. This section breaks down their sound and audio features along with battery and charging details.

Sound and Audio Features

AirPods deliver good sound quality with a custom-built high-excursion, low-distortion driver that offers powerful bass. They come equipped with the Apple-designed H1 chip which ensures a stable and fast wireless connection to devices. AirPods Pro, on the other hand, feature the H2 chip, which enhances audio quality. This chip allows the AirPods Pro to cancel noise more effectively; they can reduce unwanted sound up to two times more than the first generation. Both sets of earbuds have an Adaptive EQ that tunes music to the shape of the listener’s ear.

Moreover, AirPods Pro offer Transparency mode for listening to ambient sounds while still enjoying music. Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) on AirPods Pro uses two microphones and advanced software to adapt sound dynamically.

Battery and Charging

AirPods and AirPods Pro promise similar battery life, with up to 5 hours of listening time on one charge. They both come with a charging case that extends battery life for over 24 hours of total listening time. The AirPods Pro has wireless charging capabilities and supports MagSafe, as well as Qi-certified chargers. AirPods require a Lightning connector for charging. Both provide fast charging, giving around 1 hour of listening time with just 5 minutes of charge.