With everything from the flagship iPhone, iPad, and MacBook assuming a “Pro” tag, it was only a matter of time before Apple’s most popular wireless earphones joined the bandwagon as well. Days after iOS 13.2 beta gave credence to the rumors of the higher-end AirPods, Apple launched AirPods Pro via a press release. Much to no one’s surprise, the wireless earphones sport an all-new design along with some notable features that make it stand out. But those extra goodies warrant a premium price tag – $249. If you are planning to buy the earphones but aren’t sure which one of the two – AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro – can offer the best bang for your bucks, you have arrived at the right place. Putting AirPods Pro vs AirPods 2, we have taken a close look at what they offer and more significantly; what separates them from each other.
AirPods Pro vs AirPods 2 : What’s the Difference Between the Two?
The first thing that struck my mind when I first heard the release of Apple’s new wireless earphones was – “What is so pro about AirPods Pro?” Maybe the Cupertino-based company is trying to target a new segment of customers who don’t mind spending some additional bucks for high-end features. Or, maybe the company wants to streamline its entire lineup of products that can entice both budget-minded and flagship lovers alike.
The one obvious advantage that regular AirPods have enjoyed ever since they were announced in 2016 is the relatively affordable price (currently sells at $144). With the latest iteration shrugging off the affordable price tag in favor of some top-of-the-line specs, is it worth spending more than $100? Let’s jump right in to find the difference between regular AirPods and AirPods and of course the answer about which one should you buy!
This one is surely going to disappoint many iPhone owners (and some might even end up wondering why their more than capable iPhones have been left out). One of the biggest differences between AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro is compatibility. While the former works seamlessly with even older devices like iPhone 5, the latter supports iPhone 8 or newer, which leaves even capable iPhones like iPhone 7 with A10 chip in the lurch. So, if you are all set to purchase the AirPods Pro, do not forget to check out the compatibility.
AirPods 2 Supported iPhones, iPads, and iPods
- iPhone 5 and later
- 5th-generation iPad and later,
- All iPad Pro models
- 1st-gen iPad Air and later
- iPad Mini 2 and later
- 6th and 7th-gen iPod touch
AirPods Pro Compatible iPhones, iPads, and iPods
- iPhone 8 or later
- iPad Mini 5 or later
- 10.5-inch iPad Air 3
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2 and 3
- 10.5-inch iPad Pro
- 11-inch iPad Pro
- iPod touch 7
Probably the most striking difference between the AirPods and AirPods Pro is the design. Whereas the former look old-fashioned and lack ergonomic profile, the latter sport a trendy design. The Pro variant looks more compact and feels way more comfortable to wear courtesy the ergonomic form-factor. They also come with three sizes of silicone tips to offer optimal fit to the ear cavity.
Depending on your convenience, you can switch between the silicone tips – small, medium and large – to have a comfortable fit. They are designed to provide a great seal for active noise cancellation (more on this later). And with the vents in the tips, the pressure is equalized on both the sides of the earphones. Unfortunately, that is not the case with the regular AirPods. While they fit most people, they don’t fit everyone. Moreover, there is always a fear of losing them due to their slippery and less ergonomic design.
As against AirPods’ 1.59 height, AirPods Pro have a shorter 1.22 inches height but they measure slightly wider and deeper at 0.86 by 0.94 inches as compared to 0.65 by 0.71 inches of the regular version. The pro version weighs at 0.19 ounces, while the regular variant weighs 0.14 ounces. Another noticeable difference is that the stem of the AirPods Pro is a little shorter than that of the AirPods 2, which makes it look better in your ears. As for the AirPods Pro case, it measures 1.78 inches in height while the width is 2.39 inches and the depth is 0.85 inches. The case of the regular AirPods is a little taller at 2.11 inches. However, it’s just 1.74 inches wide and has 0.84 inches depth. Pro’s case is a little heavier at 1.61 ounces as against 1.41 ounces of the regular version.
Design-wise, the regular AirPods pale in comparison. Even though they are quite popular, one thing that can’t be denied is that they have probably the worst design among all the premium wireless earphones. While I have always loved them due mainly to the seamless music listening experience and fairly impressive sound quality, I have never come to terms with their odd design. And if you ask most users, you may get the same answers.
So, if you wish to be in sync with the trendy design and also would like to have a super comfy tip to wear the earbuds for hours, AirPods Pro should be your pick. That’s as straightforward as it can ever get!
The Core Functionality
This one is a no brainer, is it? As both the AirPods Pro and AirPods 2 come with the H1 (headphone) chip, their basic functionality is the same. So, you can seamlessly connect your wireless earphones with your iPhone or other compatible devices. It also offers a voice-activated Siri for controlling music. H1 chip is said to cut down audio latency for gaming by up to 30% which could be a great deal for gamers. Other goodies include the built-in optical sensor and motion accelerometer that work in sync to offer a much-improved audio experience.
The main thing that has changed is the way you control your music and summon Siri. While the older AirPods 2 had a touch sensitive earbud which you could tap to control music, the new AirPods Pro move the touch sensitive area to the stem. So, now instead of tapping, you will be using tough and hold gestures to control music. The change is neither good nor bad. You just have to adjust to the new gestures and that’s all.
Active Noise Cancellation
What gives AirPods Pro a decisive edge over the cheaper siblings is the active noise cancellation. The wireless earphones detect noise from both outside and inside the ear. Then, they create an equivalent “anti-noise” before you hear the sound. Thus, you can enjoy a peaceful conversation or listen to your favorite podcasts even at a crowdy place.
Furthermore, the earphones come with a transparency mode that can let you hear the outside sound. So, you can comfortably interact with the people around you. To enter transparency mode on AirPods Pro, users need to simply press and hold the force sensor on the AirPods Pro. Do note that the force sensor not only makes it easier to switch between ANC and Transparency modes but also enhances other tapping actions.
AirPods Pro features an extra inward-facing microphone designed to listen towards the ear. Thus, you get clearer audio. Not to mention the Adaptive EQ that automatically fine-tunes the low- and mid-frequencies of the music to the shape of an individual’s ear to enhance music listening experience big time.
Without an iota of doubt, AirPods Pro deliver better sound quality than their cheaper siblings. With the Adaptive EQ and a custom high dynamic range amplifier, the earphones provide crisp and clear sound. It also powers a custom high-excursion, low-distortion speaker driver that refines audio quality by removing the background noise. According to Apple, the driver offers consistent, rich bass down to 20Hz and crisp mid- and high-frequency audio.
Considering the regular AirPods have never received high praise for their sound quality, the battle of sound quality seems to be a lop-sided affair at least on the paper. But there are a couple of things that need to be reiterated before making a sure-fire conclusion. First and foremost, the regular AirPods with the charging case are more than $100 cheaper (currently priced at $144 on Amazon). And second, the price that AirPods Pro warrants puts them in the elite league where it’s up against the premium earphones like Powerbeats Pro (currently priced at $199.95 on Amazon) which is known to have excellent sound quality.
Sweat And Water Resistance
AirPods Pro are sweat and water-resistant with a rating of IPX4 under IEC standard 60529. While they are more than good enough to survive sweat and even take on rains (to a good extent), they are definitely not meant for water sports and swimming. Also, bear in mind that the charging case isn’t sweat and water-resistant. So, handle it with care.
Comparatively, the regular AirPods are not water-resistant. However, the second-generation model has a water repellent coating around the circuit board. So, whether you are a fitness freak or want to have the earbuds that can accompany you to the gym or even during fun-filled adventures, AirPods Pro are the right way to go.
In terms of battery life, the battle between the regular AirPods and AirPods Pro seems to be quite even-steven. According to Apple, the Pro variant delivers the same battery life as the standard model with up to five hours of listening time. But when the active noise cancellation mode is on, the Pro version provides up to four and a half hours of listening time and up to three and a half hours of talk time on a single charge. And with the wireless charging case at the disposal, they also deliver up to 24 hours of listening and around 18 hours of talk time.
Comparatively, Powerbeats Pro offers up to 9 hours of listening time (more than 24 hours with the included charging case). While AirPods Pro are able to hold the fort against the standard AirPods, they look pale in comparison to Powerbeats Pro when it comes to battery life.
Expectedly, the AirPods Pro earbuds also demand higher repair costs. Without AppleCare+, you will have to pay $20/$30 more than what you had to pay for the standard AirPods. The out-of-warranty servicing cost for each AirPod Pro is $89 as against $69 for the AirPod. The repair cost of the wireless charging case for AirPods Pro is $89 vs $69 for the wireless charging case of the regular earbuds. Given the high servicing cost, it seems apt to go for the $29 AppleCare+ so that you can get your earbuds repaired at less amount (up to $60).
Let’s put it straight to make it a tad easier for you! If you were willing to get the AirPods 2 with a wireless charging case that launched at $199, I would recommend you to to pay extra $50 in favor of a trendy design, active noise cancellation, transparency mode, impressive sound quality (as per what Apple claims) and much-improved sweat and water-resistance. Given the range of notable features, you will be quite happy with the deal.
However, if you are craving to have the same core features that the AirPods Pro deliver without having to dole out a lot of bucks, then go for the AirPods 2 as you can get it for just $140 right now. As for whether AirPods Pro offers the best price-to-value proposition or not, check out our best AirPods alternatives to find out for yourself.
AirPods Pro vs AirPods 2: Which One Did You Get?
Putting the premium pricing aside, the latest iteration of AirPods seems to be a step in the right direction. If the impressive design feels nice to the ear cavity and for style quotient, the active noise cancellation with transparent mode along with clear and crisp sound quality further enhances the reputation of Apple’s wireless earphones that are already among Fortune 500 companies. By the way, which one of the two earphones have you chosen: the standard earphones or the premium earbuds? We would indeed be glad to have your feedback in the comments down below.