Should You Buy AirPods Pro? 6 Reasons to Think Twice

AirPods Pro seem to be everywhere these days. With active noise cancelling, transparency mode, and a customizable fit, Apple‘s premium earbuds aim to tune out distractions so you can enjoy audio bliss no matter where you are.

But before joining the wireless earbud trend, ask yourself – are AirPods Pro worth the investment for your needs? Or do shortcomings like a lofty price tag and real-world usage quirks outweigh the appeal?

This buyer‘s guide examines the AirPods Pro from multiple angles to help you decide if they deliver sufficient value:

Overview

Released in October 2019, AirPods Pro packs custom silicon tips and an in-ear design for improved comfort and noise isolation during workouts or outdoor use. The signature glossy white finish retains predecessor aesthetic cues but adds IPX4 sweat and water resistance.

Using an Apple H1 chip, AirPods Pro enables hands-free "Hey Siri" access to change songs, get directions, or adjust volume. Touch controls let you toggle between active noise cancellation and transparency modes to block out or allow ambient sounds.

With an MSRP of $249, AirPods Pro targets Apple ecosystem inhabitants wanting cutting-edge features. But potential downsides span cost, battery life, controls, and beyond. We‘ll analyze if drawbacks outweigh conveniences.

Reason 1: Steep $249 Price Tag

AirPods Pro‘s sound quality and noise cancelling improves markedly over standard AirPods. But heightened performance barely keeps pace with rival true wireless earbuds costing $100 less – no small savings.

ModelPriceKey Features
AirPods Pro$249Active noise cancelling, transparency mode, sweat resistance, wireless charging
Galaxy Buds Pro$149ANC, ambient sound mode, water resistance, wireless charging
Beats Fit Pro$199ANC, transparency, spatial audio, wingtips/fins for secure fit, sweat resistance

At 15%+ of latest iPhone costs, AirPods Pro equates a substantial additional outlay. Compared to just $50 for basic Bluetooth headphones, is noise cancelling worth 4-5 times more to you?

AirPods Pro annual cost of ownership further spotlights pricing effects over years:

AirPods Pro Ownership Cost Over 3 Years

Unless iOS integration outweighs all else, $400+ in cumulative costs makes budget wireless earbuds more compelling than ever.

Reason 2: Mediocre Battery Life

AirPods battery life compares reasonably to rivals on paper but falls short in real-world testing:

ModelRated Battery LifeTested Battery Life (SoundGuys)Extra Charges Needed
AirPods Pro4.5 hours3 hours, 30 mins33% more
Sony WF-1000XM48 hours7 hours, 30 minsN/A
Sennheiser Momentum TW7 hours6 hours, 30 minsN/A

With ANC disabled, AirPods Pro lasts merely half an hour longer – still rated 25%+ lower than competitors. Slow charging means you‘ll crave top-off recharges others avoid.

For travelers facing long flights/commutes, short runtimes hamper convenience. Even casual listeners may weary of persistent low battery notifications interrupting playlists. Upcharging cycles also shorten long-term battery lifespan.

Person Frustrated by AirPods Low Battery Notification

If you require 6+ continuous playback hours or 30+ cumulative hours, AirPods Pro will continually disappoint. More lifespan per charge better suits those needs.

Reason 3: Connectivity Quirks

AirPods Pro connectivity and pairing relies deeply on Apple‘s ecosystem for stability. Android owners in particular face obstacles like:

  • No automatic device switching between sources
  • Inability to customize touch controls
  • No always-listening hands-free Siri access
  • Reduced maximum volume output caps

Even iOS users cite frustrations like:

  • One earbud randomly disconnecting
  • Audio cutting out momentarily during playback
  • Difficulty re-pairing after applying firmware updates

Headphone forum posters frequently request assistance resolving persistent wireless headaches. Memorizing arcane troubleshooting tips defeats AirPods Pro‘s seamless reputation.

If you lack patience for connectivity issues or desire equal cross-platform flexibility, temper expectations. Android compatibility remains far clunkier than Apple‘s refined ecosystem – but alternatives better handle both.

Reason 4: Hands-Free Control Limitations

Quickly toggling between noise cancelling modes ranks among AirPods Pro‘s signature perks…if wearing an Apple Watch. Without one, you face convoluted voice prompt or settings menus traversal.

Watch wearers simply swipe Control Center and tap their desired mode. That handy convenience vanishes for those not continually staring at their iPhone screen. You must instead:

  1. Wake iPhone
  2. Open Control Center
  3. Long press volume controls
  4. Select noise control mode

Or scream "Hey Siri" and hope background noise doesn‘t garble the command.

Compare that experience to select Sony or Samsung earbuds permitting tap controls for both iOS and Android users. Apple Watch dependency for straightforward commands can complicate usage across devices.

Reason 5: Fit and Case Removal Difficulties

Unlike prior AirPods, Pro‘s in-ear design and silicone tips aims for active lifestyles with heightened noise isolation. But owners still report earbuds slipping around during workouts despite correctly-sized tips.

And while the wireless charging case adds portability, its recessed lid and glossy plastic makes cleanly removing earbuds an ongoing battle. The cumbersome grip conflicts with on-the-go use cases.

AirPods Jar Opening Motion to Remove Earbuds

Until mastering the "twist and pinch" technique, expect fumbles transitioning AirPods Pro in and out of pockets smoothly amid your busy schedule.

Reason 6: Many Fakes and No Way to Verify Authenticity

Given AirPods popularity, counterfeit knockoffs flood the market annually. But inconsistently replicated components makes telling genuine versus fake models impossible for average buyers.

iPhones now display warnings during pairing new earbuds seeming suspicious. But vague error messaging offers no definitive authentication method or recourse. With no absolute certifications like codes to validate, purchasing uncertainty persists.

Wary shoppers should only buy AirPods Pro from authorized Apple retailers. Tempting closeout deals likely signify scam listings rather than genuine markdowns in many cases. Paying current retail prices unfortunately remains the only surefire way to avoid counterfeit risks.


So do AirPods Pro merits outweigh their limitations for you? Answering requires honestly assessing your personal priorities.

Frequent Apple device users should consider reasonable battery life and steep pricing acceptable tradeoffs. But Android owners face trickier compatibility considerations requiring more research beforehand.

In every case, no "one size fits all" recommendation encapsulates every buyer. Avoid impulse purchases until comparing competitors matching your exact needs. What works wonders for friends may disappoint your expectations.

The Bottom Line

Before buying AirPods Pro, scrutinize wireless earbud alternatives matching your budget and usage. Despite competitive noise cancellation and iOS tie-ins, potential frustrations span cost, battery longevity, and controls. Identify non-negotiable needs before deciding no rival measures up.

Overhyped industry leaders fail matching some shoppers‘ ideal balance of price, features, and platform support. See if forgiveness necessitates ignoring too many AirPods Pro shortfalls. Your friends love them – but their passions may not mirror your experience.

What other questions about AirPods Pro should I have addressed? Let me know in the comments below!

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