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AirPods Pro 1 year later: Even better than before

AirPods Pro 1 year later: Even better than before

Apple‘s AirPods Pro first went on sale in late October 2019 and a lot’s changed in the space of a year. Not only did the AirPods Pro get a new spatial audio feature in iOS 14 that boosts the surround-sound experience, they now offer quick switching between Apple devices. After using the AirPods Pro for a year, we still think they’re the jack-of-all-trades: good for calls, listening to music and for watching movies. 

But there’s now more competition than ever if you’re looking for true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation. In this long-term review video, CNET executive editor David Carnoy and I discuss our impressions of the AirPods Pro after using them for a year and break down how they stack up against other earbuds, from sound quality to noise cancellation. We also share how we’ve improved the fit of the AirPods Pro using third-party foam tips and show you what you can do to tweak the sound profile to your liking.


Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

I haven’t been particularly gentle with the AirPods Pro: I’ve dropped them more times than I’d care to admit and even been soaked by a bucket of water while wearing them to test the IPX4 water-resistance rating. Surprisingly, they still work as they did on day one. The main issue has been a reduction in overall battery life, which is commonplace among wireless earbuds with prolonged use. While we haven’t experienced any audio issues with our AirPods Pro over the course of the year, Apple did recently say it would replace models that were experiencing crackling and static for free. 

But the biggest surprise of all was the addition of spatial audio, which unlocked technology inside the earbuds that we didn’t know was there at launch. Read more about how spatial audio works and which apps are compatible with it.

Even one year on, the AirPods Pro are still pricey at $249 (£249, AU$399) but you can regularly find them discounted by anywhere from $25 to $35 at a range of retailers, and we’re expecting more discounts to pop up during Black Friday sales. 

For more of our thoughts after using the AirPods Pro for a year, watch the video on this page.

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