Trying to decide whether to get second-generation AirPods Pro or not

My Shokz Aeropex bone conducting headset is just out of warranty. The music still plays well, but people say they can barely heard me over the mic. All Shokz is offering is 20% off of a new one.

My standard iPhone earbuds work ok, but being all connected up in tangled wires while walking, using my iPhone for cashless payments, or to get on the train, or taking photos, etc. gets awkward. I don’t know how people did that in the 1900s.

And I’m taking a trip to the U.S. next month and thought it would be nice to have something with noise canceling. I looked at some over-the-head headsets today, that were considerably less expensive than Airpod Pros and had much longer battery time. But they are big and clunky and it’s hard to imagine using them day-to-day. Also, the noise cancelation wasn’t great.

Then I tested the Airpod Pros 2nd gen at Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara and… wow.

The sales guy was really nice and patient, despite the huge crowds today, and spent a lot of time with me showing it off and letting me try it on.

First, I was stunned by how good the noise cancelation was. The sounds in Yodobashi Camera (pretty loud with the crowds and announcements, etc.) completely vanished from existence! I was really amazed!

I loved the way you could control noise cancelation by long-touching on sound in the iPhone control panel and choosing from different options, like ambient sound, off, etc.

More awkward were the touch controls. I tried increasing and decreasing the volume by sliding over the part he was trying to get me to use, and after a bunch of failed attempts sort of got it to work, but it clearly needs practice.

I didn’t have them in long enough to really know how comfortable they would be for 14 straight hours (flying time from Tokyo to Boston). Typically I don’t like having things jammed in my ear. But I guess unless you get really expensive over-the-ear headsets the plugs are the only way of cutting out outside sounds and it must also help with keeping them in.

While one did fall out when first trying, he explained I needed to put it in at a different angle. After that they didn’t seem like they would fall out. He let me shake my head like a crazy man to test, and they stayed in place.

The downsides are several though. Unlike the headsets, the battery life is much shorter. Apparently you get up to 6 hours listening time on a full charge. After that you get 1 hour per 5 minute charge. That sounds quick, but what does it mean for a 14 hour flight? After 6 hours, 8 more 5 minute charges (for example)? Of course you could take a break and do 10 minute charges.

A plus side is that you don’t need anything else. (Though I guess you would need an extra accessory to use it with airline entertainment, right?) But I mean you don’t need separate daily use earbuds and travel noise canceling headphones.

I’m worried about what happens if you lose one of course. I’m not quite sure what happens, though under AppleCare+ there seems to be a flat rate for replacement. However unlike iPhones and other Apple devices, you can’t extend the warranty after two years.

If I get it from Apple I can always return them within 14 days if I decide they really aren’t for me.

So thinking about those. The sound quality and noise cancelation really are amazing. Of course I shouldn’t use noise cancelation while walking. I could literally get hit by a truck and not hear myself die in the crash.

Oh, for the Magsafe chargers, can those also be charged wirelessly? I read somewhere about being able to charge them on Watch chargers.

What do users here think? Does it take a long time to get used to? Do they fall out? Are they comfortable for long periods of time?


I’ve been using Pro’s for years now. The one big advantage is that I always have them. I keep them in a pocket. The other big advantage is that they switch (almost) seamlessly between Apple devices. If you start to pay attention to a device, the AirPods will switch automatically. It’s not like other Bluetooth headphones where you might even have to force disconnect from one device to pair with another. Occasionally they won’t switch, but you can just pair them from the device you want to use without fooling around. They work great for phone calls.

The downsides? They definitely will fall out. Usually I can feel them and stop them, but not always. That’s why when there’s snow on the ground, I switch to my Shokz OpenRun. Whether I’m cross country skiing or just shoveling snow, if an AirPod falls out, I’m not likely to find it in the snow. (My son-in-law once lost one of his in the front yard. It was found several months later when the snow melted. On the bright side, it still worked.). Wireless charging can be finicky, so I almost never charge that way, instead I plug the case into a Lightning cable. (Now they use USB-C.) The pair I currently use is my second, which was a replacement for my first when the first developed crackling sounds. Apple had a replacement program for that.

So yes, definitely get them, but you might want to replace your Shokz as well depending on what you do with headphones.


I think openrun is the successor to the Aeropex I have. I believe that’s the one they’re offering me the 20% discount on.

I usually use it on walks.

Hmm… more to think about. Thanks.

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Another Apple option are the Beats Fit Pro. These will not fall out - there are small soft plastic pieces that fit in the ridges of your ears - have both transparency and noise cancellation, though the noise cancellation matches the original Aipods Pro rather than version 2, which have better quality of noise cancellation. And they also will connect to all of your Apple devices.

These don’t have the stems of the AirPods but instead a single button which can be used with a long press (a short press is play/pause) to either switch between normal, transparent, and noise cancellation, or to change volume (one ear to go up, one to go down.). I just use the iPhone volume buttons to change volume, though you can also use Siri. I’m often in areas with poor internet connectivity when I wear them so I don’t generally rely on Siri to do anything, but when I know I have it and using the volume buttons I’ll “hey Siri, volume up” and it works after a short delay. But I can easily change volume with the buttons on the iPhone while it sits in my pocket.

Same battery life, so a big no on a full 14 hour flight. But you can use them one ear at a time, just like AirPods, so you can quickly charge one bud for 10-15 minutes and then the other and give yourself another hour and the expense of about 20 minutes of noise in one ear. My longest flight since I bought these was 6 hours and the beats lasted the entire flight for me, and definitely the entire time I was trying to sleep.

The case is a slightly different shape from AirPods. Slimmer but wider.

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I have two pairs of the Pros, in part to mitigate against the short (relative to other options) operating time. Yes, they are at risk of falling out, no doubt about that, but as you say they have awesome noise cancellation. Less often mentioned, but also awesome, are the many accessibility parameters that allow you to, among other things, amplify the sound around you while in transparency mode according to a spectrogram, either generic or one you give, for your hearing. This (almost) makes them de facto hearing aids for mild-to-moderate conditions …

I love my Pros for the quality (also mic when on calls) as well as the noise cancellation. When the USB-C version came out, I immediately replaced my OG Pros.

That said, I can’t stand the finicky touch controls with all that squeeze this tiny surface baloney, but then again, all I ever need to do is change between transparency and noice cancellation and that one squeeze I usually manage without triggering something else I don’t want. Unfortunately, you can only choose the other haptic functionalities, but you can’t turn them off entirely. So of course from time to time I do end up initiating something I don’t want.

I have mixed feelings on this subject.

While I use AirPod Pros for most of my Zoom/Teams calls, I will alternate with an old-fashioned wired Logitech headset, especially when the AirPod batteries are running low. I prefer wired earbuds when outdoors or on the move. They’re also very good for listening to something while in bed. Nothing like waking up your partner while fidgeting to find a loose earbud in bed, and it is no fun trying to retrieve an expensive earbud that bounced through a sewar grate.

A few years ago, my company evaluated several different earbud models, and there were some interesting alternatives that people rated very highly and were significantly less expensive than AirPods. I think the current equivalent models would be the noise cancelling Jabra Elite 4 or 5 ($80-$120) and the passively noise-suppressing Jabra 3 (~$60). There also are higher end models that have longer battery life.

Personally, I think AirPods tend to have higher sound quality, though the Jabras seemed to have stronger bass, which some people prefer. My point isn’t that the Jabras are better or worse, just that there are some good alternatives for people who don’t want to spend $200 or more for earbuds with limited lifetimes.

FWIW, my wired earbuds are the Sony MDR-EX155 model, which I bought a few years ago for around $30. Especially at that price, I find the sound quality to be very impressive, with strong bass and clear highs. I don’t think they are made any longer, but the current model MDR-EX110AP looks very similar.

Highly recommend the rev2 Pros. They can fall out but they never have. The touch stop/start and volume slide took a while to learn but are second nature now. I have other overear bluetooth headphones which are excellent, Sony XM5s, but they don’t match the ease of auto switching between devices the Pros offer. I use the Sonys for hiding-while-travelling, the noise cancellation is total, and for listening to music attentively. But the Pros are with me always and are my default from podcasts late at night to zoom and other meetings

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A lot depends on ear shape. Mine probably fall out at least once a week or so, even when I am simply on a Zoom call, and I’ve tried every size ear tip.

Fair point, I can’t wear the original wired and the non pro version at all.

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Mine never just fall out like that. But on longer calls or watching a movie I will have to push them into my ears once or twice to maintain a good seal.

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So the curly-looking stem contains the mic? I’m still undecided. My trip is in 3.5 weeks. I still have time to (1) buy, (2) not like, (3) return, (4) repeat a couple of times. :slight_smile:

The fact the flight is 14 hours though is a put-off.

Plus I read a Tom’s Guide review of the Air Pods Pro 2 and while he loved them he said (1) they get uncomfortable after many hours and (2) he said your voice on calls is muffled and he is often asked to take them off during Zoom meetings or calls.

People here don’t have that problem?

It’s not an irritant pushing things into your ear multiple times? Ears don’t need the fresh air?

Microphone is right here.

So what’s the curly stem-like thing?


It’s what keeps it in your ear. See this photo (not me)…

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Never had a problem with them in that way. To me they feel comfortable to wear for many hours at a time.

But ears and fit are a very personal thing. If at all possible, I’d try to get a pair to try on myself before I buy.

OTOH Apple’s return policies are grade A so you could always just get them to try on and return them within 14 days if you find them uncomfortable (they come with multiple tips so you can choose the most appropriate yourself).

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Ah. That looks like it might be a better compromise. But you say the noise canceling isn’t as good as the AirPod Pro 2 that I tested yesterday.

And then there is the whole short battery life (for a 14 hour flight).

And getting an extra gadget so you can connect to the airline entertainment system.

But I don’t want to repurchase a Shokz. And that is still ok for walks - just not calls.

How is the one in the picture for calls? I only take like two international flights a year - to the U.S. and back. Something like that for daily use might be a nice compromise!

How do they distinguish between a long press to switch noise cancelation and change volume?

I’ve been using the Pros for a couple of months and have been happy with them. They fit better than the old Apple ear buds. Noise cancellation is amazing. Far better than any other NC headphones I’ve tried. I find that my ears start itching after a couple of hours. For extended use times you can always use just one while the other charges then switch. You do lose noise cancellation when doing that.

As mentioned, the device switching is wonderful. No other headphones come even close. The volume adjustment is the weakest point. I find it easier to just use my phone’s volume buttons.