Comparing new AirPods Pro to the AirPods Lineup

The official AirPods lineup has the following models: the second-gen AirPods, the third-gen AirPods, the second-gen AirPods Pro, and the AirPods Max.

While Apple has not extended to sell them, you can still purchase the first-gen AirPods Pro from various retailers, including Walmart, Amazon, and Target.

The second-gen AirPods Pro offers several improvements over their prototype, but are they worth the $249 marked price? With such a broad range of AirPods available at diverse price points, that’s a tricky question.

Except for the AirPods Max, all of the AirPods in Apple’s current lineup are in-ear, true wireless earbuds. Compared to the second-gen AirPods, the third-gen model and both generations of the AirPods Pro deliver shorter stems that are a little heavier and broader if comfortable fit concerns a lot, glance to the first and second-gen AirPods Pro. The latter also features replaceable silicone ear tips in various sizes, though only the second-gen AirPods Pro sport the extra-small sizing.

Apple markets two cases with its earbuds. It has a wired charging case that charges thru a standard Lightning cable and a MagSafe-compatible model that can also assess via Lightning. The MagSafe charging cases are consistent with Apple’s MagSafe technology and additional Qi-compatible wireless chargers.

However, Apple only vends the second-gen AirPods with the Lightning Charging Case, which only offers your AirPods up to 24 hours of the listening period instead of the 30 hours the other cases deliver. In addition, unlike the other charging cases in the AirPods lineup, Apple’s Lighting Charging Case isn’t sweated- or water-resistant.

Regarding sound quality, we can safely say that all of Apple’s AirPods — except the second-gen AirPods Pro, do a great job. Yet each model offers different features, some of which improve the listening experience.

If you’re peeking for a pair of noise-canceling earbuds, you’ll like to check out the AirPods Max or either era of the AirPods Pro. All three recommend active noise cancellation, which mutes background noise so you can reasonably focus on what you’re listening to.

Ultimately, while the second-gen AirPods, first-gen AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max all offer dual optical sensors that detect when they’re in (or on) your ears, the third-gen AirPods and second-gen AirPods Pro do not.

Apple’s in-ear AirPods deliver two beamforming mics in each ear cup, with technology that should decrease outside noise and allow better focus on your voice. Unfortunately, the second-gen AirPods lack inward-facing microphones, so they cannot listen inside your ear to reduce internal sounds. The AirPods Max, meanwhile, features nine microphones: eight for active noise cancellation and three for voice pickup.

The AirPods Max is, unsurprisingly, the clear victor in terms of battery life. Apple states they offer up to 20 hours of the listening period on a single charge with active noise cancellation or the clarity mode.

The second-gen AirPods Pro is Apple’s first earbuds to offer swipe-based controls. For example, swipe up or down on the stem to modify the volume. Every pair features a Digital Crown — a more extensive version than the Apple Watch dial—and a secondary button you can employ to alternate between active noise cancellation and transparency modes.

AirPods are also compatible with the latest Apple Watches, iPhones, iPads, and Macs. However, the second-gen AirPods also operate with older devices, like the iPhone 6 and the second-generation iPad Mini.