As an AirPods convert—now enthusiast—I once held reservations about the divisive product. But slowly, something happened. Everyone from Kristen Stewart to Henry Golding were fans, and eventually I accepted that AirPods are not just cool, but sexy. I wrote about my scientific findings proving that AirPods maketh the hot man, but my security in its seductiveness began to waiver on October 28 when Apple announced that the newest model was dropping. Could they get any hotter? They look funny, no? And finally, why do I need them immediately? Twitter, as Twitter is wont to do, went nuts.
Despite my reservations, and as someone who regularly drinks the Apple-infused Kool-Aid, I knew I had room in my heart for the AirPods Pro. After all, everyone’s got jokes until they try them. So I did.
AirPods Pro were released yesterday, but the new design of the AirPods Pro has already been memed to death. The Bellsprout shape is ripe for bullying, and the AirPod’s once sleek design is now undular. Don’t worry though—they look exactly the same as the old ones when they’re plugged into your ears.
One major difference from the old AirPods is that you no longer tap the bud, you squeeze the tip. This is great because the new update allows you to do more than the previous two-command offer; You can play, pause, skip, go backward, and talk to Siri, and more. I found that squeezing is a little slower than tapping when skipping songs on Spotify, but it’s a minor inconvenience.
Important to note: AirPods Pro includes a slimmer case size, so you might have to replace your beloved bedazzled protector. Bummer.
The one-size-fits-all design of the original AirPods was troublesome, so the tech giant scanned thousands of ears worldwide to figure out a better system. Their solution? Each product comes with three varying silicone tip sizes. When I first tried on the Pros, one pod immediately fell out and I was spooked. It felt like a soft breeze could knock them out. That’s why Apple created the Ear Tip Fit Test, which sonically tells you whether you should readjust, or swap sizes. However, the first time I took it told me I was fine—I was not fine—so I had to retake the test multiple times until I settled on the proper fit.
AirPods Pro are sweat-proof and water resistant, so I wore them out in an extreme setting: the gym. The new Pros lasted through a few sets of deadlifts and thirty burpee-box-jumps (I’m modest, can you tell?) until one eventually flew out. The same thing happened when I first exercised with the OG style, so I’m chalking this up to learning how to accurately place them in the future.
AirPods Pro marks Apple’s first foray into noise-cancelling software, but it’s trippier than what you might think. Perhaps the greatest feature of the new model is what Apple calls “Transparency” mode: It means that with a click of a touchscreen button, you can basically undo the plugged-in. Your music will continue to play, but outside world can still be heard through what I assume is black magic. Apple suggests this feature for runners or cyclists who need to be aware of their surroundings. Being neither a runner or a cyclist, I just think it’s nifty that I can passively talk to strangers without turning off my music, or eavesdrop on the subway.
The Final Verdict
The fit problem will likely be an issue for many, but it’s something I am continuing to work through. If you’re a AirPods virgin, the Pros might be for you. Priced at $249, the Pros are only a slight a jump from the OG price tag of $159, so it could be worth it for all the jazzy new features. But if you’re already sitting on a pair, you might want to hold off on the upgrade unless you’re serious about sound quality.
AirPods are a known flex. Updating yourself from any-other-brand headphones to wearing them is like being upgraded to business class and not wanting to make eye contact with coach. You’re acting beyond your station, but you sure do feel fancy.
Lastly, the AirPods Pro will confront a potential shame: your ears are filthy, and those silicone tips will make you grossly aware of that fact. That’s fine though, because of course Apple sells replacement individually for $4 a pop at stores nationwide.