Apple AirPods Pro Review: The ‘Hearable’ at Its Best

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AirPods. Apple launched its first set of wireless earphones in late 2016. I never liked them. The design, even if it soon became part of our pop culture, was weird with its long stalk, and a rather bulbous and broad earpiece meant that for many people the fit was poor. AirPods Pro. These are different. Launched last month in India at a price of Rs 24,900 — lot of money to pay for earphones, but in this case worth it — the AirPods Pro are almost perfect. The design is palatable now, with stubbier stalk and the silicon earpieces that ensure fit is snug. The presence of active noise cancellation means that these are — most likely — the only earphones iPhone users need, whether they need it for travel or to listen to music while reading a book on weekend.

Compared to the previous AirPods, Apple has made big design changes in the AirPods Pro. All of them for better. As I said earlier, the stalk is shorter, and that not only makes the earpods look more coherent but also makes them less conspicuous. People who love to flaunt their AirPods — and there are people who do just like some people like to flaunt their iPhone for the sake of it — will still be able to flaunt the AirPods Pro. But people who earlier would not wear the Airpods because “it will look ridiculous” will not mind the AirPods Pro. They are small enough now. The shells are still made of shiny white plastic, which some people will like while some won’t. However, unlike the phones that we hold in hands, and hence may crave matte finish and glossy finish depending on the taste and mood, the glossy finish is practically better in earpods. It makes them easier to clean. Wipe the dust and they look pristine, or wipe the water and sweat. Glossy finish helps there.

The earbuds have been redesigned, and they now look closer to what is the industry standard. Given all the hardware and tech that is inside the earphones — audio hardware, batteries, H1 chip, sensors and stuff — the buds are little bulbous. Good bit is that unlike some other similar wireless earphones that seem to have a boxy or rectangular designs, the AirPods Pro have buds that are on smaller side and in well-rounded shells. This is the sort of design that Apple does so well, packing in a lot of technology in something that may not be flamboyant but is gracefully neutral.

What good is a pair of earphones if they don’t sound good? Thankfully, the AirPods Pro sound mighty swell. They sound best-in-class. The AirPods pro have a sound signature that is balanced, likely designed to highlight the mids while keeping bass and highs tight but enough to make the songs sound full and cheerful. This is the reason why I found that the AirPods Pro work best with the pop music. Bollywood music too sounds great on these, so does vocal heavy hip-hop. Rock, instrumental and classic is a bit subdued but never so much that you can’t enjoy.

Yes, AirPods Pro are pricey at Rs 24,900. But they are worth the price, which is if you have an iPhone to pair them with. The iPhone is needed to get the max benefit of the Pods Pro because a lot of features, “Hey Siri” and all those sensor-based detections for example, only work with compatible iPhones. But if you do have an iPhone, and you want an pair of all-in-one earphones, the AirPods Pro is a great choice. You can wear them on flights, you can wear them in office, you can wear them while jogging, you can wear them in the silent of night when you are listening to Leonard Cohen, and you can wear them while making calls or watching a movie or two on your iPhone or iPad. That I believe is worth Rs 24,900.

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