Are AirPods Pro worth it? The pros and cons of Apple's best wireless earbuds

If you're a fan of Apple kit you'll love what these earbuds can do. But there are other great options too

Apple AirPods Pro being worn by a woman with black hair
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Are AirPods Pro worth it? The short answer is yes, especially if you're a fan of Apple's way of doing things and have other Apple hardware. While they've been out for a while they remain among the best wireless earbuds you can buy. But the longer answer is that while they're very good indeed, they're up against some stiff competition – and they're due to be replaced by a newer model this year. 

AirPods Pro: what's good

Our AirPods Pro review tells it like it is: these are comfortable, clever earbuds with great sound. The noise cancellation is very impressive, they work brilliantly with other Apple devices – switching seamlessly between MacBook and iPhone or Apple TV and iPad – and they're also smaller than many rivals, which means they're more comfortable for long wear.

The big difference between the AirPods Pro and Apple's AirPods (3rd Gen) is that the normal AirPods don't do noise cancelling, and they don't have the silicon tips that make the Pros fit nicely in your ears. Sound quality is better as a result, with more impressive bass.

AirPods Pro listen out for "Hey, Siri" and can announce incoming messages, lowering the level of your music so you can listen to them, and a software update added Spatial Audio, a 3D audio system that's really good for movies if a little gimmicky for listening to music that hasn't been recorded specifically for the technology.

Apple AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Amazon)

AirPods Pro: what's not so good

These aren't the best sounding headphones in their price bracket. The Sony WF-1000XM4 sound better, as do the Astell&Kern UW100s – although that latter set doesn't have the active noise cancelling and transparency mode of the Apple earbuds.

Noise cancelling in earbuds isn't as good as it is in over-ear headphones such as the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 or Sony WH-1000XM4.

Battery life is good but not great. Expect to get about 4.5 hours with noise cancelling enabled and 5 hours without. With the charging case you can get a total of around 24 hours of listening. Many rivals last much longer.

The official price is £249/$249 but you shouldn't pay that much: discounting is widespread if you buy from retailers rather than Apple, and with a newer model coming later this year you don't want to be paying full price for them – and if you're willing to wait a bit, the price will drop even more when the new ones are announced.

You can have any colour you like as long as it's white.

Some of their best features aren't available on Android; while it's possible to use AirPods Pro with Android phones, Apple clearly isn't hugely keen on you doing so.

 

Should you buy the Apple AirPods Pro?

If the price is right and you need noise cancelling, yes. If not, check out the AirPods (3rd Gen) which are considerably cheaper.

These are very good earbuds with very good noise cancelling, and while they're no longer at the top of the earbud tree they're still excellent and their Apple integration is very good indeed. For iPhone and Mac users they are an excellent all-round choice. Just make sure you look for AirPods Pro deals so you don't pay the full RRP.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).