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Apple AirPods Pro Review in 2021


Apple released its 2nd iteration of the AirPods in October 2019. These little hair dryers will set you back about £220/$220, a step up in price from the original AirPods. Do the improvements warrant that price tag though? This review will take a look at the Apple AirPods Pro to see if they are in fact worth it.

Should You Buy It?



  • Sound Quality
  • Easy Pairing
  • Active Noise Cancellation


  • Not Great for Android
  • Expensive
  • No Battery Life Improvements
AirPods Pro outside of the charging case on a black, textured mat

Image by Nick Stafford from Pixabay

Tech Specs

  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • H1 Headphone Chip
  • Active Noise Cancellation
  • Transparency Mode
  • Adaptive EQ
  • 5hrs listening time (Noise Cancelling & Transparency Off)
  • 3.5hrs talk time
  • 24hrs listening time with the case
  • 18hrs talk time with the case
  • QI- certified for wireless charging
  • Siri
AirPods Pros outside of the charging cases

Design & Features

Apple decided to mix things up when it came to the AirPods Pro. The core design has remained the same but the earpiece has changed to an in earbud and the stem size has been reduced. All in all the AirPods Pro’s look less intrusive in your ears, you just have to wedge them in. You’ve got to admit it though, they do look good.

The Pros are really light, so light in fact that you often forget that they are even in your ears. Bit awkward when you leave one in by mistake and forget about it. Despite this Apple have still managed to fit a force sensor into both of the stems which enables you to toggle between the new Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes. There is no feedback in these though so you just have to squeeze and hope for the best. Also, there is still no volume control on the headphones themselves. You still have to get your phone out to adjust your volume. Siri can be a workaround here but it just isn’t as reliable or effective as if the controls were on the headphones. I feel this is something Apple could have included as part of the jump up in price Rivals like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro offer this feature at the same price point.

AirPods Pro charging case been held
AirPods Pro with the lid open showing the AirPods

Finally, we get some form of waterproof rating on an AirPods model! Before you get too excited and go diving in for a swim with them plugged in your ears it’s only IPX4 so they are basically splash resistant. Still, it’s a nice feature to have and adds that extra layer of protection when you are using them outside and the heavens decide to open. 

The other change is the charger case. Apple has opted for a shorter and wider charging case instead of the more square, taller case used for the original AirPods. Apart from the looks though it is no different to the original case. No quicker charging and longer battery life, which is quite disappointing, to be honest.

There are a number of silicone cases on Amazon to protect your AirPods Pros. Here are the Amazon links to some of the silicone cases I have bought and used.

AirPods Pro in a silicone case with the lid open showing the AirPods

Pairing & Battery Life

In terms of pairing and setup, nothing has changed. If you have used a pair of AirPods with an Apple phone before you will be familiar with how easy this process is. Nothing changes with the Pros. The connection is rock solid like on Originals, so you won’t have any interruptions or dropouts whilst belting out your guilty pleasures. If you are an Android user though the same problems persist. I did use the AirPods Pros with an Android phone and it is possible with still the same audio quality but the pairing experience is just not as good. Apple clearly wants you to invest in the ecosystem to get the best out of these which I think holds the AirPods back a bit. So if you are a die-hard Android user, probably best to look elsewhere unless you are dead set on owning some AirPods.

Like the pairing experience, battery life is something else that doesn’t change which is a bit disappointing really for this area. You get the same 5 hours of listening time and 3.5 hours of talk time as on the Original AirPods, that’s without Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes on. Needless to say, having these features turned on reduces battery life. It would have been nice if Apple would have pushed the single charge battery life closer to a full day’s use. The speed of caring in the case has also stayed the same at 2 hours charge from 10 minutes in the case. This is pretty standard across wireless headphones and you can’t really complain at those speeds. All in all, it’s an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it approach” from Apple in this category.

AirPods Pros on a wireless charger next to a plant ornament

Sound Quality

Similar to the Original AirPods the Pros aren’t going to knock your socks off when it comes to audio quality but I don’t think that’s Apple’s intention. Wireless headphones aren’t going to compete with good quality wired headphones for sound, they just won’t. So anyone who is looking for headphones to use in a studio or for music producing it goes without saying these are not for you and aren’t what they are intended for. These are more geared for recreational listeners and for this they are perfect.

AirPods Pros next to an iPhone 8 which is displaying music playing on Spotify
AirPods Pro settings on an Apple phone

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is a major plus here and a big incentive to get the AirPods Pro over the Original AirPods. Apple claims the ANC adapts to your ear to ensure that outside noise is blocked out. This was one of the main issues with the Original Airpods, they let in too much outside noise so in busy places, you had to crank up your volume to the max and basically burst your eardrums with all that noise. The ANC does work really well. You can pop these in, turn on your favourite tunes and ignore everyone else around you, fantastic!

Transparency mode counters ANC and enables you to have the best of both worlds. By turning this feature on, you let sound in so you can hear the outside world. This is a rude awakening after you have been immersed in that noise-cancelling tranquillity but I guess good things must come to an end.

The audio on the AirPods Pro is balanced, that’s the best way to describe it. I don’t think they are outstanding in one particular area, they are well rounded. The bass isn’t going to make your eyes shudder and the treble won’t shatter your ears with those high pitch solos but it delivers good sound across the board. Whether I was rocking out to a Rage Against Machine classic in “Killing In The Name” or some old school Rolling Stones the tracks were clear and loud. I must say that personally, I can’t use the Pros for a prolonged period of time. The earbud-style headphones hurt my ears after a while of continuous use.


There is a lot to like about the Apple AirPods Pro. Active Noise Cancellation is great, IPX4 water resistance is a nice feature, even if it is only splash-proof and it’s still ridiculously easy to connect to an Apple phone. However, with that bigger price tag, I would have liked to have seen an improvement in battery life to get it closer to a working day’s worth on a single charge. For me though, I will continue to use my Original AirPods in scenarios where I am using headphones for long periods of time. The in-earbuds style tends to hurt my ears after long usage, even after using the Ear Tip Fit Test. If you like in-earbuds and are invested in the Apple ecosystem then these are the headphones for you. If you are an Android user there are better options from Google and Samsung like the Pixel Buds and Galaxy Buds Pro. 

Want to check out a review of the original Apple AirPods? See our review on whether they are still worth getting here

If you fancy picking some AirPods Pro’s up? Always shop for the best deal. Once you have found the best deal see if you can get some cash back on top of it. I’m a big fan of using TopCashBack for big tech purchases to make extra savings. TopCashback offers varied levels of cashback across hundreds of merchants and are well worth a look to save some extra wonga. If you fancy joining them to make some savings you can use my referral link and you will get a £5 cashback bonus –

Let me know what you think of the AirPods Pros down in the comments below.

Thanks for reading this review. Until next time

Thumbnail Image by Squirrel_photos from Pixabay