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Apple’s AirPods Pro are the latest (and claim to be the greatest) in noise-canceling earbud technology. The new and improved earbuds from the tech giant now have two microphones for superior hearing and blocking of background noise, plus a vent that’s designed to alleviate the pressure that the silicone tips can cause.
AirPods Pro are available to order from apple.com and in the Apple Store app in the United States and more than 25 other countries and regions for $249. They began shipping on Oct. 30 and are now available in stores.
Though noise canceling is the flashy new feature, the new AirPod Pros also have a transparency mode for when you want to be able to hear what’s going on around you while still listening to your favorite music or podcast. You can use the force sensor on the stem to switch between modes as well as play, pause or skip tracks and answer or hang up phone calls.
According to the company, internal software adapts the sound based on the user’s particular ear canal shape and length as well as the noise level in the area. They come in three sizes. They’re sweat and water-resistant, making them safe for working out and outdoor adventures.
When you open the charging case near an iOS or iPadOS device and give it a tap, AirPods Pro will automatically sync to all devices signed in a user’s iCloud account. Their battery life provides up to five hours of listening time.
“AirPods are the best-selling headphones in the world,” Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in a press release. “The one-tap setup experience, incredible sound and iconic design have made them a beloved Apple product, and with AirPods Pro, we’re taking the magic even further.”
Samantha Kelly, tech editor for CNN Business, tried out the AirPods Pro for herself, and found the noise cancellation feature to be “fantastic.” She said it successfully blocked out sirens and traffic just a few feet away from her. While she found the sound quality for music to be very good, she said it wasn’t quite as clear for phone calls.
As for the promised superior fit? Despite customized sizing, Kelly said one of the buds still flew out of her ear while she was on the subway.
PCMag.com gives the AirPods Pro a 4 out of 5 star “excellent” rating.
“For $249, these are actual earphones that seal off your ear canal, as opposed to resting against it like regular Airpods,” reads their review. “This makes for a tremendous improvement in fit as well as audio performance, with rich bass depth and crisp high-mid presence. The AirPods Pro also deliver strong active noise cancellation in a certified splash-proof build. They’re easily worth the premium over the standard model, and earn our Editors’ Choice.”
While the AirPods Pro have certainly made a splash, they’re not the only noise-canceling earbuds on the market. Sony’s WF-1000XM3 True Wireless Bluetooth noise-canceling in-ear headphones are $149.99, and according to BGR.com, they’re the superior pick.
The Bose Quiet Comfort 20 acoustic noise-canceling headphones clock in at $249, the same price as AirPods Pro.
Will you give noise-canceling earbuds a try?