Apple’s new wireless in-ear AirPods Pro sound superb. They are more comfortable than most “true wireless” earbuds, but stay in less well than some. I have already had to dive to stop one bouncing onto the Tube track after it fell out – and I have unusually retentive ears.
Before I get to the positives, a couple more niggles. I found the squeezable controls on each stalk awkward at first. The battery life, at about five hours, is just OK. And, yes, the AirPods Pro look silly – slightly less so than the originals, but still silly. Only when Apple makes them in grey or black (rumoured this year) will they be less conspicuous.
But now for the wonderful USPs: they have two modes new to AirPods and unusual in any earbud: noise cancellation and “transparency”. Use the Pros on a busy street or a train and you will be amazed. The noise cancellation is impressive, if not as powerful as on good over-ear cans. But “transparency” gives the most interesting effect. It lets in the sound around you without quietening or stopping the music, which this kind of headphone feature normally does. It means I can wear headphones at home and, so long as I’m not playing something hyper-loud, not worry about missing the doorbell or landline.