A Day With the New AirPods Pro

The original AirPods would not stay on my ears, which is an important prerequisite to using headphones. The new AirPods Pro utilize a proper in-ear design with changeable tips. There is a clever built-in test that plays audio and uses multiple microphones to advise on fit.

Having completed the pairing and calibration, I went for a run on a cool morning. It was a bit confusing to determine how the three modes work — normal, noise-cancelling, and “transparency,” which is supposed to provide the benefit of noise cancellation while also making voices and traffic noises audible. Transparency was particularly awful while wearing a hoodie, as every rub of hood against AirPod stem was loudly transmitted. Sometimes I heard approaching cars quite loudly, but then when a car was pulling out of a driveway right ahead of me, there was no sound at all.

A mile in, I wiped the sweat from my brow with the back of my hand, a common and subconscious action. In the process, I somehow jarred loose the right AirPod, which went flying to the ground. Luckily I did not step on it, but it did get pretty dirty. And when I put it back in my ear, it took a lot of fiddling on the phone before the music would start playing again.

Near the end of my run, I took off my sweatshirt. In the process, both AirPods came loose and fell off. That did it — another very expensive and impractical gadget is going back to the store, and I’m going back to my BackBeat Fits. They don’t sound as good and the case is bulky, but I’ve never worried about them falling out or getting lost.