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AirPods Pro bring comfort and noise cancellation to Apple headphones

AirPods Pro has more firmness and slightly different design than AirPods, originally launched by Apple in 2016

AirPods Pro has more firmness and slightly different design than AirPods, originally launched by Apple in 2016

After you start use wireless headphones, it is difficult to remember what life was like before. The change seems silly, after all it's just wires, but the portability and practicality achieved are immense. After opening the earbud category in 2016 with AirPods, the Apple returned cargo in 2019 with a luxury version of the device, the AirPods Pro. The differences between the two models go beyond the price: normal AirPods cost R $ 1,350 in the country, while the Pro version costs R $ 2,250 here.

Until 2016, wireless headphones connectable with Bluetooth technology were headphones from brands such as Beats, Bose and JBL, with high sound quality, battery life of over 12 hours of playback and plenty of comfort. But AirPods then proved that it is possible to simulate the accurate audio reproduction of these large competitors in four centimeter devices, which fit in your pocket. AirPods Pro now arrive in more comfort.

Some things remain the same

Apple stresses that the AirPods Pro are not a second generation, but a new product in its category. It is clear that there are changes from one to the other, but the formula remains the same. This time, the case (which stores the headphones and recharges the battery, whose performance lasted around a week with moderate testing of the report) can be recharged via Lightning cable or wirelessly with Qi standard, following the company's tendency to force a life away from the tangle of wires.

Pairing remains excellent, taking seconds for the entire process to be completed: lift the case lid close to a iPhone, follow the brief steps on the mobile screen and voil.

The headphones stored in the case maintain the sound quality, with almost imperceptible changes in the bass. They have autonomy for 4.5 consecutive hours of audio reproduction, compared to 5 hours for the poor cousin. Yes, the new headphones have shorter battery life than the old ones. On a daily basis, however, it is difficult to notice the difference of thirty minutes less because it is rare to use the headphones for more than two or three hours uninterrupted.

More firmness

With regard to design and ergonomics, the AirPods Pro are smaller and each headset has a silicone in-ear rubber to seal the external sound and better fit the ear. These rubbers are removable and can be exchanged for other pairs in sizes small (S, small) and large (L, large), which already come in the box. This customization came late, it should have been launched in 2016 on AirPods, which have a universal size that, for many, is uncomfortable. Better late than never, but a pity that only the luxury version is still restricted.

For those who are unsure about the best rubber size in the Pro version, Apple developed the Tip Test, reproducing an ambient sound and analyzing the quality of the seal in the user's ear. In the tests of the report, both the small and medium rubber were approved by the company's software, but the day-to-day use proved that the small fit, by far, the best. In the end, what matters is to test yourself.

Smaller AirPods Pro are not only an aesthetic luxury, but also an ergonomic advantage, as is common in Apple products. Smaller rods (31 millimeters, compared to 40.5 mm of the poor cousin) and heavier (5.4 grams, compared to 4 g) hang better on the ear, while in-ear rubbers make the headphones firmer to the ear when placed in skin contact. The most obvious consequence of this is that exercise is much better, even when there is a lot of sweat involved. Still, it can be loose during a run if the rubber is not clean or dry.

Headphones cost R $ 2,250 in Brazil

Headphones cost R $ 2,250 in Brazil

Active noise cancellation

The biggest novelty of AirPods Pro is the long-awaited active noise cancellation, a function that, in real time, captures external sound through microphones and reproduces inverted sound waves to neutralize it. The magic happens so that the reproduced audio has as little external interference as possible (and the in-ear rubber plays a big role in this). Tasks that require more attention, such as podcasts or audio messages, are much more comfortable.

With the function activated, the noisy traffic of So Paulo is silent – or, depending on the chaos on the asphalt, at least muffled. Air turbines during a trip even disappear, relieving some of the stress that taking long flights. Sounds like horns and screams are not isolated because they are sudden, and the device cannot anticipate and cancel it properly. Anyway, it is really impressive to know that this is all done in practically real time by nanochips installed in a device already small enough to be easily lost.

Noise cancellation is not a new technology. Headphones from premium brands in the audible category have brought the function to the market for many years, but most of them are headphones, the big ones in the category. AirPods Pro do the same thing, but they are more portable and discreet. A matter of taste, of course.

The advantage of the AirPods Pro's noise cancellation, and that makes them so practical, is the ease of activating the function by pressing one of the earpieces for two seconds (either the right or left will do). Another way is to activate it manually in the Control Center of the iPhone, Apple Watch or iPad but it is much more convenient to use the headset itself for this.

Canceling noise, however, can be dangerous in society. Imagine crossing the street and not hearing a bicycle horn or walking on the sidewalk and not hearing a car leaving the garage. quite a problem.

Thinking about it, Apple created Ambient Mode, which, also in real time, mixes the sound of the street and the audio being played. It is a solution so natural and so easy to activate (just press the handset), that it has become a habit to step on the sidewalk and already activate the Ambient Mode. In closed and noisy environments, such as the gym or the subway, the Noise Canceling Mode remains preferred.

because of the noise cancellation and ambient mode, incidentally, the AirPods Pro have a shorter battery life, as stated earlier. In this trade-off, it is sometimes preferable to use less battery and choose a more accurate and clear audio reproduction.

After all, is it worth it?

This all comes at a price, of course. AirPods Pro maintain the company's premium price history and remain more expensive than direct competitors in the market.

Make no mistake: despite the Pro (professional) in the name, it is not a phone for those working with audio, such as sound engineers. , yes, a very portable headset, intuitive to use (especially if paired with an iPhone) and maintains the good taste in the design of the company's product line, but does not compare with really professional products. At the end of the day, the addition of Pro, in reference to professional, causes noise in the consumer, as has happened in recent years with iPhones, iPads and Macbooks

Noise canceling and ambient mode are addictive and make all the difference in the usage experience. It's weird to go back to the old AirPods because it looks like there's something missing. When it comes to technology, this estrangement is often a sign that the user has adapted well to change.

Assuming that price is not an issue, if you have AirPods and they still have good battery life, it might be worth waiting for a new version, with longer battery life, better fit to the ear and more accurate sound quality. Soon, noise cancellation and ambient mode will become mandatory on Apple headphones, we hope. Now, if you still don't have a good wireless headset (and a few extra pockets in your pocket), the AirPods Pro are quite a debut. Why not?