When the original AirPods were released, the tech community criticized them for looking stupid and being easy to lose.
At the time, I wrote on Power Moves “AirPods are the best Apple product since the original iPhone.”
Now, this is a mainstream opinion as Apple has sold more than 60 million of them.
Why are they so successful? They fixed the issues from previous Bluetooth headphones.
- No cord connecting the buds.
- Easy to set up.
- Easy to switch devices.
- No dropouts.
- Can’t feel them in your ears.
- AirPods don’t fit everyone.
- AirPods offer mediocre sound quality.
AirPods Pro fixed both issues:
- They come with three different sized tips. There's a fitting walkthrough guide to make sure everyone gets a proper fit. The tips are super soft and everyone should find a tip that fits.
- The improved sound comes from the active noise cancelation. Your surroundings disappear when you put them on. It’s not Bose 700 level cancelation, but it’s surprising how well they cancel noise given the size. The sound quality as a whole isn’t a drastic improvement, but they are better in loud public spaces or while flying.
The AirPods Pro tips are softer and more comfortable than most in-ear options, but you still feel them in your ears.
I’ve tried popular earbuds like Jaybird X3, Bose SoundSport Free, Powerbeat Pro, and Sony WF-1000XM3. The thing all these have in common is that my ears get super tired and start to hurt after an hour of use.
My ears are more sensitive than the average ear, but some of my friends have the same issue.
AirPods Pro beat AirPods in sound quality, but AirPods are still undefeated when it comes to comfort.
The best part about the original AirPods is that I don’t feel them in my ears. I’ve done this multiple times: come home from a bike ride, turned off my music, and continued to wear my AirPods without any music playing. I wasn’t doing this as some kind of statement. I just forgot to take them out.
As I wrote in 2017, “If you’re disappointed by the sound quality, you’ve missed the point of AirPods.”
The technology disappears and becomes a part of you.
Bottom line: AirPods Pro have improved sound quality and a different fit, but if you like the original AirPods, don’t upgrade. If the original AirPods don’t fit you, AirPods Pro may be the answer. They will provide a huge improvement while on a plane because the jet engines are too loud for the original AirPods to overcome.