AirPods Professional vs. AirPods: Which Are Higher?

Wireless earbuds have become ubiquitous – and Apple's AirPods paved the way. No wonder that the AirPods and AirPods Pro have become the earphones with which all others are compared due to their tiny design, the charging case with hinged lid and the foolproof operation. But which AirPods should you buy? The classic AirPods are reliable and affordable, while the Pro offers Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and a host of other upgrades for $ 249.

If you're in no rush to buy something, keep an eye on the rumor mill. A new generation of AirPods Pro and a cheaper AirPods Pro Lite should be on the way. However, if you can't wait, here's a breakdown of the current models to see how they stack up into different categories. Ultimately, you want the true wireless earbuds that meet your needs without breaking your budget.

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Apple's AirPods start at $ 159. This is the version that comes with a regular charging case that you turn on with a Lightning cable. There's also a $ 199 version that comes with a wireless charging case. The AirPods Pro, on the other hand, costs $ 249, the same price as the Powerbeats Pro. Then there are the associated replacement costs in case something breaks or is lost. Replacing a single AirPod is $ 69 while the AirPods Pro will cost you a cool $ 89 apiece. Even the charging case is more expensive: it costs $ 69 for the AirPods wireless case and $ 89 for the AirPods Pro wireless case.

There are many reasons why the AirPods Pro is so expensive, but there is no doubt that AirPods don't charge wirelessly if you're looking for the most wallet-friendly way to turn on your AirPods. It's also worth noting that you can still find a pair of the original first-generation AirPods for a little less.

winner: AirPods

Water resistance

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Ever since Apple introduced the original AirPods, consumers and reviewers have been complaining that they are officially unable to cope with sweat or rain. Not that this stopped people from running with them or taking them to the gym, but the reality is that it is taking a risk. The AirPods Pro have finally put an end to the worry: They are waterproof to IPX4. IPX4 is good enough to protect the AirPods Pro from damage even during the most sweaty workouts, and they can withstand adverse weather conditions.

However, they are still not waterproof. You certainly cannot swim with them, and even cleaning should be done with caution. However, some protection is better than none, so the AirPods Pro clearly embrace it.

winner: AirPods Pro

Sound quality

Not only do the AirPods Pro sound better than the AirPods, they also sound a lot better. Compared to the second generation AirPods, which offer improved sound range and volume compared to their first generation counterparts, the AirPods Pro have raised the bar and offer better bass reproduction and a nice mid-range full of detail and brightness. Apple finally shipped a line of true wireless earbuds that compare nicely with the best we've ever heard, and that says something.

With a real noise-isolating in-ear design, the AirPods Pro already have a huge advantage, simply because they seal off the outside world better. However, when you add the better fit offered by the three sizes of silicone earbuds and Apple's new adaptive EQ, which automatically adjusts the low and mid frequencies of music to the shape of a person's ear, that's a crucial step so far how the sound quality goes.

winner: AirPods Pro

Noise cancellation

Much like water resistance, the regular AirPods have a tough time winning a category that they don't even compete in. The new AirPods Pro are the first AirPods to offer Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), a feature that's becoming increasingly common among the better wireless earbuds in the market. The technology uses a combination of microphones and software to analyze outside noise and effectively suppress it at equal and opposite frequencies. In addition, the earphones offer three settings for noise cancellation: On, Off and what is known as the transparency mode, which allows the microphones to let in outside noise so you can hear what is going on around you.

Now let's talk about passive noise cancellation. Again, it's tough for the non-regular AirPods to compete here. Passive noise cancellation is basically the noise that is kept away in your ear due to the sealing of the earbud. The universal fit of the AirPods may be sufficient for some users to block noise. However, if passive or active noise cancellation is an important feature for you, the AirPods Pro have three sizes of earbuds to choose from.

Apple has had some problems with noise cancellation in the AirPods Pro lately. In May the issue was fixed and two troubleshooting support pages were offered (here and here). Amazingly, the Apple version of ANC did just as well as Sony's on its debut, and significantly better than the Bose Active Noise Reduction included in the new Amazon Echo Buds.

winner: AirPods Pro

Fit and comfort

It was no coincidence that Apple's original iPod earbuds became so popular (and iconic) – after all, their uniform design was perfectly adequate for most people. For many, however, the fit was lacking. Their hard plastic can become uncomfortable with prolonged use, and they can easily fall out of your ears when you perform even the most basic of movements.

The AirPods Pro largely solve this problem by redesigning them with customizable silicone tips so that the earbuds fit into a variety of ear shapes. The tips are much more comfortable and allow for a better seal (see passive noise cancellation above) and more comfort, especially when worn for long periods. The tight fit also ensures that the buds stay in place even during the toughest workouts. The pros also have a unique ventilation system that helps reduce the feeling of pressure in the ear that is often associated with tightly fitting earbuds. Vents on the outside of each bud offset this pressure for added comfort.

If you're not sure which tip size is best for you, Apple has given it some thought too. The microphones and speaker drivers in each earbud, as well as the Ear Tip Fit Test app, allow you to measure sound levels to see if you're getting the best fit or if you should try a different size.

winner: AirPods Pro

Battery life

The AirPods began their existence with battery life that was considered good, but not great. Five hours of uninterrupted use between charges was once considered decent, but with the ever-growing field of options that offer longer life, Apple has some catching up to do. Disappointingly, the AirPods Pro still haven't improved that number. If you leave ANC on, you will only get 4.5 hours of continuous playback. Recent rivals like Sony's standout WF-1000XM3, which offers 6 hours of noise-canceling operation (8 hours without), raise the bar. We'd love to declare the AirPods Pro the winner here, but Apple hasn't made battery upgrading a priority for its latest AirPods.

winner: To draw

Call quality

It's rare these days that you make a Zoom call without many attendees wearing Apple's iconic AirPods. When it comes to call quality, the first and second generation AirPods are known to perform well, with the latter generation receiving some improvements and improvements in noise reduction when dealing with wind. When compared to the AirPods Pro, the call quality is actually pretty similar, with the pros possibly having a slight advantage. But where the professionals really take on a significant leadership role is in their sound-insulating design. With the tighter seal, not only can you hear calls better, but the microphones in each earbud also work with speech recognition to reduce background noise and better pick up your voice. The AirPods Pro's ventilation system works here too, helping to reduce wind noise for even quieter calls.

winner: AirPods Pro

Charging case

Apple AirPods Pro

With a more rectangular shape but a smaller overall size, the AirPods Pro wireless charging case is easier to slip into the bag than the AirPods charging case. The lid opens at the wide end, but it's just as easy to open with one hand once you've gotten used to the new shape.

The charging case for the AirPods Pro offers a listening time of up to 24 hours and is compatible with all wireless Qi chargers. One of our reviewers prefers the AirPods Pro case over the older model.

winner: AirPods Pro


The AirPods Pro are worth the extra $ 50. This updated version of the AirPods has active noise cancellation and offers better sound quality than its predecessor.

You will notice some significant differences in a few areas, including an improvement in call quality. In addition, the new AirPods Pro fit better and feel more comfortable thanks to the adjustable silicone tips. The new AirPods Pro are also waterproof thanks to their IPX4 rating, making them a great choice for running and exercising.

While the AirPods Pro are superior in terms of performance, buying the AirPods makes sense if you don't want to spend the extra $ 50 or how the in-ear buds feel.

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