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AirPods vs AirPods Pro: Which Apple Earbuds Are Worth It?

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Whether you are shopping for yourself or a music-lover in your life, it can be hard to find the right pair of wireless earbuds. AirPods are a great choice, especially if you or your loved ones have an iPhone or other Apple devices. But should you choose the older AirPods 2, or are the newer, more expensive AirPods Pro really worth it? Here’s everything you need to know about the differences between the AirPods 2 vs the AirPods Pro, including the price, design, performance, and more.

This article compares the 2nd generation AirPods (or AirPods 2) to the AirPods Pro. The 1st-generation AirPods are no longer available from Apple, but they are very similar to the 2nd-generation AirPods in most ways. 

AirPods vs AirPods Pro: Design and Fit

The design of the AirPods 2 is noticeably different from the AirPods Pro. The earlier model has a longer stem, while the AirPods Pro are shorter and stouter. This means the 2nd-generation AirPods will stick out of your ears more.

AirPods vs AirPods Pro: Design and Fit
(Image Source: Apple, Apple)

The AirPods Pro come with silicone tips in three sizes that provide a more secure fit for ears of all shapes and sizes. The 2nd-generation AirPods, on the other hand, feature a hard plastic, one-size-fits-all design, which can become uncomfortable after wearing them for a long time.

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(Image Source: Apple)

With their silicone ear tips, the AirPods Pro won’t fall out of your ears as much. This is a common complaint with the older AirPods. While this can still happen with the new AirPods Pro, it isn’t nearly as much of a problem for most users.

Winner: AirPods Pro

AirPods vs AirPods Pro: Audio Quality

One of the biggest differences between AirPods vs AirPods Pro is that the newer model offers superior audio quality. This is because the AirPods Pro feature active noise cancellation and adaptive EQ, while the 2nd-generation AirPods do not.

Active noise cancellation blocks out environmental noises to give you a more immersive audio experience. Each of the AirPods Pro earbuds feature one outward-facing microphone and one inward-facing microphone that work together to detect unwanted noises and neutralize them with equal “anti-noise.”

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(Image Source: Apple)

The AirPods Pro continuously adjust their active noise cancellation 200 times a second, so they are great at blocking out most noises. However, they won’t block out all very low- and high-pitched noises, like fans or very loud engines. Also, turning on active noise cancellation can create a feeling of pressure that makes some users feel like they need to pop their ears.  

The inward-facing microphone in the AirPods Pro is also used to listen to the sounds in your ear and adjusts the low- and mid-frequencies to the shape of your ear. The Adaptive EQ feature is designed to give you a personalized listening experience, so your music will always sound great, no matter how your AirPods Pro fit.

The AirPods Pro also feature a transparency mode that lets you hear what’s going on around you without stopping your music. All you have to do is pinch either earbud to switch between the active noise cancellation and transparency modes.

While the 2nd-generation AirPods Pro don’t have any of these features, they are also decent earbuds. However, even with all the features turned off, the AirPods Pro still sound much better than the previous model. Because of their tight fit, the AirPods Pro deliver much more accurate audio, especially when it comes to bass and treble.

Winner: AirPods Pro

AirPods vs AirPods Pro: Controls

The AirPods have touch controls that you tap, while the AirPods Pro have a small ridge on each stem that you pinch. While the pinch controls might be a little more difficult to use, the AirPods Pro do offer a few more control options.

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(Image Source: Apple)

You can tap the AirPods 2 or pinch the AirPods Pro once to play or pause a song. If you tap the AirPods 2 or pinch the AirPods Pro twice, you can skip to the next track. However, the AirPods Pro also let you pinch the stem three times to skip to the previous track. Plus, you can pinch and hold the stem to switch between the active noise cancellation and transparency modes.

However, neither the AirPods 2 or the AirPods Pro have any touch controls that let you turn the volume up or down. You have to use your phone to change the volume, or you can ask Siri to do it for you. All you have to do is say, “Hey, Siri,” and you can ask Apple’s digital voice assistant to change the song, turn up the volume, or make a call.

Winner: AirPods Pro

AirPods vs AirPods Pro: Performance

The AirPods and AirPods Pro are both powered by Apple’s H1 chip. So, in terms of performance, they both offer fast pairing and efficient voice activation. This processor also provides both models with faster phone call connection and longer talk time. 

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(Image Source: Apple)

Winner: Tie

AirPods vs AirPods Pro: Battery Life

The AirPods Pro give you up to 4.5 hours of listening time and 3.5 hours of talking time on a single charge. Without the active noise cancellation or transparency modes turned on, the AirPods Pro offer the same five-hour battery life as the AirPods 2. However, the AirPods Pro 2 only offer three hours of talking time on a single charge.

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(Image Source: Apple, Apple)

The battery life of both models can be extended to 24 hours of listening time or 18 hours of talking time with the charging case. Both models also feature quick charging that will give you about one hour of listening time after just five minutes of charging them in the case.

Winner: AirPods Pro

AirPods vs AirPods Pro: Water-Resistance

The AirPods Pro come with an IPX4 water-resistance, which means they won’t be damaged by splashing water. So, you can wear the AirPods Pro while working out, and you don’t have to worry if you get caught in the rain. The AirPods 2, on the other hand, do not have a water-resistance rating at all.

Are AirPods waterproof?

If you want to know more about how waterproof the AirPods Pro are, check out our article here.

Winner: AirPods Pro

AirPods vs AirPods Pro: Price

The price of the AirPods 2 depends on which type of charging case you choose. With a standard case, the AirPods only cost $159. With a wireless charging case, the price goes up to $199. The AirPods Pro only come with a wireless charging case, and they currently cost $249. 

Winner: AirPods 2

Are AirPods Pro Worth It? 

Whether or not the AirPods Pro are really worth it comes down to your preferences. While the AirPods Pro are more expensive than the AirPods 2, the active noise cancellation, better fit, water-resistance, and other features make them worth the extra $50-$90.

If you’re looking for a cheaper pair of earbuds, check out our list of the best truly wireless earbuds here.