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August 12, 2021
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AirPods Pro observations

My wife recently gifted me a pair of AirPods Pro for our 22nd Anniversary which is coming up in a few days.

She loves her AirPods. She has repeatedly said “these are my favorite Apple product ever” and she’s owned many products made by Apple including iPhones, Apple Watches, laptops, and iPads — all great products in their own right.

I’ve used her AirPods a few times in a pinch. And they are really great devices. The tap to pause/play, etc. does not work consistently enough for me to call them my favorite Apple product, but they are very well made. And in some cases it is great to go cordless.

I was excited to see how the AirPods Pro compared to her AirPods. Here are my observations after using them in many different situations like – going for a walk, mowing the lawn, at the computer, casually with the iPad, and listening to podcasts.

  • Good: The noise cancellation while mowing the lawn is pretty impressive.
  • Not-so-good: They do fall out of my ears. In fact, prior to switching the nubbins that fit into my ears to a smaller size for my left ear, it fell into my pan while I was cooking. So if you are just getting set up with AirPods Pro I would suggest getting them fitted well prior to doing anything that may harm them if they fall out.
  • Better: Now that I’ve switched the left ear nubbin size they do seem to stay in much better than they did at first.
  • OK-I-Guess: The button on the stalk is tough to find. Perhaps my garden-calloused finger tips aren’t as sensitive as others, but the button seems fiddly to find.
  • Not-so-good: With the regular earphones that ship with iPhones you can change the volume on the chord. Other than Siri, I do not believe there is a tap or gesture to change the volume on AirPods Pro. I find myself missing this feature.
  • Bad: Battery life. Certainly not on the same level as other Apple products such as the iPhone 12 Pro Max or the iPad — both of which have over 50% of power when I go to sleep at night. I have to slip the AirPods Pro into their charging case a few times a day.
  • Not-so-good: I thought leaving AirPods Pro in my ears all day would be super useful. But it turns out that it makes me look like a jerk. Even if they aren’t playing any sound, if I’m in an office setting and I have them in my ears I just look like a jerk that isn’t listening to anyone. It is sort of like taking notes on your phone during a meeting. People will THINK you’re looking at SnapGramApp even if you really are taking notes.
  • Good: The case is small and light enough that one could conceivably carry it with them in their pocket all the time. I tried that for a day. But I prefer to keep the case in my laptop bag. We’ll see where I end up longterm.
  • Almost good: The AirPods Pro will switch between devices as you use them. Sometimes. I don’t exactly understand how Apple is trying to determine what you want device you want to listen to. But, using the sound preference to switch to the AirPods Pro is far better than any other Bluetooth device in my experience. If Apple can figure out how to quickly switch between devices and get it right 99% of the time it would be magic.
  • OK: I haven’t really commented on the sound because I don’t expect much from this type of earphone. The sound is good for what it is. Music sounds pretty good. But I mostly listen to voice using AirPods Pro. Any serious audiophile wouldn’t be using these I wouldn’t imagine. At least not for music.
  • Wish: I wish these were waterproof. Not only do I sweat a lot while mowing the lawn or going for a run, but I can see these getting wet for a variety of reasons.

This isn’t an exhaustive list. I’m not blown away by AirPods Pro. If they weren’t a gift, I’d likely exchange them for AirPods or just return them altogether. I can live without them. But, because Eliza thoughtfully bought them for me – I’ll keep them around and make sure I use them a lot. Perhaps I’ll warm up to them over time and they too will become my favorite Apple product. I’ll report back if that happens.

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