AirPods Pro Australian review: Are they worth $399?
WHEN Apple first released AirPods, there was a barrage of criticism and cruel memes.
People didn't like the way they looked. Many thought they were overpriced, said they could fall out too easily. Others said they didn't deal with unwanted noise and were not sweat and water resistant.
The criticism, however, has turned to rave reviews for Apple's AirPods Pro which arguably provide the most compact and comfortable in-ear design audio system released in 2019.
We've been testing ours in the toughest environments - on super windy days walking along the beach, in noisy crowded places and in rooms where people are talking all around you.
The active noise cancellation is exceptional - probably not as good as over the ear Bose designs you would use on a plane - but more than adequate for everyday use.
The technology, as you would expect coming from Apple, is super clever.
Active Noise Cancellation uses two microphones to continuously adapt to each individual ear and headphone fit. This removes background noise to allow you to focus on either the music you're listening to, or your phone call.
The first outward-facing microphone detects external sound to analyse environmental noise.
Your AirPods Pro then create an equivalent anti-noise that cancels out background noise before it reaches the listener's ear.
A second inward-facing microphone listens toward the ear, ensuring any remaining noise is cancelled. That process happens at the speed of 200 times per second.
Overall, the sound range is as good as anything in that size. One of the keys to that, of course, is ensuring a better fit for users.
There are now also three different soft, silicone ear tips. There's even an Ear Tip Fit test which checks the quality of the seal. If the seal is not right, it suggests changing ear tip sizes or just readjusting the AirPod in your ear.
There's also a vent system to equalise pressure, which means they are far more comfortable to wear for hours on end.
In terms of sound, there's an Adaptive EQ system which tunes the low and mid frequencies of the music to the shape of your ear. The driver provides decent bass down to 20Hz and detailed mid- and high-frequency audio.
If you want to hear what's going on around you, you can change to transparency mode just by pressing and holding the force sensor on the stem of each AirPod.
You can also use the same control to play, pause and skip tracks as well as answer or hang up phone calls.
For volume control, you simply say "Hey Siri volume up" or if you're wearing an Apple Watch just adjust it from there.
At the heart of the AirPods Pro is the H1 chip featuring 10 audio cores which caters for your every 'Hey Siri' request in real time.
When it comes to battery life, you can expect slightly less listening time if you are using active noise cancellation - four and a half hours instead of five.
But the Wireless Charging Case still offers a total of 24 hours of listening time or 18 hours of talk time.
One cool feature is being able to share the same song or watch the same movie with someone else using their AirPods close to you.
Another handy thing I found is having Siri announce your messages as they arrive - meaning there's no excuse for forgetting the milk on the way home.
With all that tech inside, AirPods Pro are not cheap. They retail for $399.
So are they worth that sort of money? It really depends on how much you love your music and cool audio. If you're an Apple fan, our guess is they will be one of the hottest gifts on offer this Christmas.