Review: Ears-on with the new and improved Apple AirPods Pro

Sep 22 2022, 1:15 pm

It has been over two weeks since Apple announced its new suite of devices, including the iPhone 14, some new Apple Watch options, and a significant upgrade to the AirPods Pro.

I’ve spent over a week with the new and improved AirPods Pro, and the experience has been a pleasant surprise.

Having primarily used over-the-ear headphones for the past two years, I was skeptical about going back into the world of in-ear headphones, especially since my Sony WH-1000XM4 cans do such an excellent job of noise cancelling. How could in-ear headphones do a better job than those comfy cushions around my ears blocking out the sounds of public transit?

Apple seems to have mostly figured out the answer to that question.

A quick disclaimer this was my first pair of AirPods or AirPods Pro. So these ears were a clean slate.

I’ll be reviewing the new AirPods Pro by looking at a few different factors: comfort, battery life, convenience, noise cancellation, and sound quality.

What’s in the box?

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Apple has been praised for its iPhone packaging, and its design philosophy extends to its accessories. In the box, you get the AirPods Pro, several different silicone ear tip sizes, the MagSafe AirPods Pro charging case, one lightning cable, and the typical documentation.

Specs and features

new apple airpods pro


Apple is calling the new device the “second generation” of the AirPods Pro, powered by the new H2 chip.

Touting an IPX4 rating for sweat and water resistance, the new and improved Pro buds now feature touch control, which using specific gestures, allows you to perform functions like pause and play, skip forward or skip back, volume control and switching between Active Noise Cancellation and Adaptive Transparency.

Another prominent feature of this device is Personalized Spatial Audio, which we’ll get into later.

One cool feature Apple added relates to the MagSafe charging case, which now includes the U1 chip, meaning you can use the Precision Finding feature in Find My App if you misplace the case.


new apple airpods pro


One of the reasons I moved away from in-ear headphones is comfort.

The reason I liked in-ear headphones was the fact that they wouldn’t mess up my hair on my daily commute to work. Still, over time I felt the tips on basically every pair of in-ear headphones I tried — and believe me, I’ve tried many — would cause my ears some discomfort after longer listening sessions.

I can safely say that after a week of using the new AirPods Pro as my primary headphones, I haven’t felt this discomfort pop up. Not yet, anyway.

I’m also not shoving the tips into my ears to get them to stay in place, something I’ve had an issue with when using any other in-ear headphones. I’m not sure how the AirPods Pro fit so well, but they do.

I’ve been out to the gym several times with the new AirPods Pro, and the tips stay in place even when sprinting on the treadmill or doing other vigorous activities. This is while using the default size.

The only thing I’m not a massive fan of is the aesthetics of the pods themselves, but the shorter stem is appreciated.

Battery Life

new apple airpods pro


I can easily get 30 to 40 hours of battery life out of my Sony XM4 over-the-ear headphones, so I was worried about how the battery life would compare on the new AirPods Pro.

So far, I have no complaints. The actual AirPods can last up to six hours (5.5 with Spatial Audio and Head Tracking enabled), and I’m never listening to anything for more than two to three hours straight. Once I’m done, I pop the AirPods Pro into the charging case, which offers 30 hours of additional battery life.

Apple states that the charging case offers 30 hours of listening time and 24 hours of talk time, so you’re looking at around 30+ hours in full on a single charge, easy.

The case also charges the AirPods quickly, and I’ve never found myself out of juice, only needing to charge every few days.

Apple also allows you to digitally engrave your MagSafe charging case.




The AirPods Pro easily trump my Sony headphones when it comes to convenience. While Sony offers an in-ear version of their high-end noise-cancelling headphones, there are still some factors that wouldn’t change the fact that the AirPods Pro are easier to use overall; software being one of the key factors.

It boils down to how Apple’s ecosystem offers more cohesion within its stables of devices. For example, once I unboxed the AirPods Pro, with Bluetooth enabled, my iPhone paired with them seamlessly.

Once the AirPods are paired to your iPhone, adjusting the settings is easier than ever, thanks to a fully functional control centre.

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The control centre lets you turn the noise cancelling on and off, change what the touch functions do, and more.

Amir Ali/Daily Hive

The new touch controls allow you to adjust the settings of the AirPods Pro on the fly. For example, suppose you want to turn off noise cancelling. Press and hold the touch sensor, eliminating the need to scroll through your settings. There’s a touch sensor on both sides, depending on your handedness.

I use a MacBook Air for writing these articles, and the AirPods Pro also recognized my MacBook without me needing to do any additional setup.

Overall, the setup and daily use of the AirPods Pro is a breeze.

Noise cancelling


The benefits of noise cancelling might vary depending on the type of headphone user you are.

I love how on my XM4s, the over-the-ear cans block out noise to a certain degree even before they’re turned on. Once they are turned on, the software and audio processing create an almost eerie level of silence, but I appreciate that.

Coming from these high standards, I was skeptical when Apple claimed they had doubled the noise-cancelling ability of the AirPods Pro since the first generation release.

I couldn’t fathom how in-ear headphones could do as good of a job, but they do, thanks to an advanced software and hardware combination.

While I don’t get the dead silent experience that I do with my Sony over-the-ear headphones, I don’t mind it. The ambient noise that filters through when no music is playing is almost pleasant. The AirPods Pro do a great job of blocking out harsh noise while still allowing me to be alert if I’m crossing the street or needing to be aware of incoming hazards that might surround me.

While music is playing, noise cancelling does a tremendous job of giving you an immersive audio experience, regardless of your situation.

Sound quality


Last but not least, sound quality is the most crucial feature of any headset.

I like headphones that provide a good amount of bass, but not the bass that’s muddy or distorted.

My first set of tests involved popular movie soundtracks to see if the AirPods Pro could give me a genuinely cinematic audio experience.

I was blown away.

I first listened to the title track from Top Gun: Maverick. If you haven’t listened to the new Hans Zimmer version, it absolutely slaps, and it sounds fantastic through the new AirPods Pro, and this is also where Spatial Audio shined. If you’re unfamiliar with Spatial Audio, think of it as surround sound or 3D audio technology. The point is to create an immersive soundscape for a cinematic experience.

When setting up your AirPods, there’s a function that allows you to photograph your ears so the software can provide the best-personalized experience.

I also listened to Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city album, some psychedelic rock from Queens of the Stone Age, and Alice in Chains’ live album, MTV Unplugged, to get a diverse range of genres to see what the AirPods Pro could do. I also listened to some podcasts.

Throughout all my listening experiences, I was impressed by how the AirPods Pro could deliver on the bass I needed while offering excellent quality regarding instruments, vocals, and treble. I didn’t feel like I was missing any piece of the audio experience as I have with some other headphones on the market.


new apple airpods pro


I have to say, I really like these headphones.

If you’re debating whether to take the jump and get the new AirPods Pro, it’s hard to imagine you’d be disappointed with the purchase.

While the price tag of CND$329.99 might seem steep, that’s in the ballpark of what most manufacturers are charging for high-end noise-cancelling headphones. It’s also the same price as the first generation, with tons of improvements.

Suppose you’re not an audiophile or someone who appreciates high-quality audio. In that case, it might not be worth the investment. But, if you want a set of headphones that are easy to use, that sound excellent, and that will significantly reduce the amount of outside noise you’re exposed to, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better choice than the new Apple AirPods Pro.

The new AirPods Pro are available starting September 23, but you can purchase them now.

Amir AliAmir Ali

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